April 10, 2012 in Sports

Eagles plan to get back to basics

By The Spokesman-Review
 

After a week of spring drills, Eastern Washington football coach Beau Baldwin is lowering his expectations.

“We’re still playing too high,” said Baldwin of the offensive and defensive lines. “Based on what we’ve seen on film, our pad level isn’t low enough, on offense or defense, and that’s something that we have to correct.”

That’s a big part of the basic packages Baldwin and his staff will focus on this week, which includes practices today and Wednesday and the first full scrimmage of the month Friday afternoon.

Baldwin’s other observation, typical for April, is that the players’ bodies haven’t caught up with their minds; in other words, muscle memory hasn’t matched playbook memory.

“I think that overall, they’re understanding a lot of the concepts of what we’re trying to do,” Baldwin said. “Even some of the younger guys are putting in the extra work in terms of the playbook, even 7-on-7 drills on their own.

“But physically, when you’re going full speed, there are some things we need to get down.”

That would include tackling, even for a front seven that “should be strong, since they are a pretty good group of players.”

The offensive line is performing at an “average” level so far, said Baldwin, citing the same pad-level issues, but noting that the line includes several younger players.

This week, practices will add more game-situation drills, including red-zone drills and overtime situations, and will stress short-yardage execution.

Notes

Practices today and Wednesday will begin at 4 p.m. Friday’s full scrimmage starts at 3:30 p.m. … None of the current injuries are major, but Baldwin says the staff and trainers will continue to “play it smart” with S Jeff Minnerly (sore groin), WR Brandon Kaufman (recovering from ACL surgery) and LB John Goldwire (hamstring pull on Saturday). … Returning letter winner David Gaylord has moved from defensive end to linebacker, but that may prove to be a change in scheme, not position. Other offseason position moves include Scott Burgett from safety to linebacker and Jakob Puglsey from linebacker to defensive line.

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