There’s nothing easy about two-a-day drills, including giving them up.
Seniors Jeff Minnerly and Will Post were almost wistful as the Eastern Washington football team began two-a-day sessions on a warm Monday morning. The sweat was pouring, mixing with the emotion of saying goodbye to a way of life they’ve known every August since they were kids.
“It’s probably the the last time I’m going to do a lot of these things,” said Minnerly, a senior from Spokane. “When it’s the last time, you don’t want to leave anything out there.”
Including regrets at not passing the baton to the next generation.
“You want to teach, and you want to get everyone on the same page,” Minnerly said.
They may not look it, but Minnerly, a lean, 200-pound safety, and Post, a 295-pound offensive lineman from Portland, have much in common: both are all-stars on the field and in the classroom and role models to to younger players.
“It’s all about your attitude,” Post said. “You have to be ready to grind it out every day, and come out with the attitude that you’re going to progress every single day.”
That’s the whole point, said head coach Beau Baldwin, while adding that two-a-days aren’t what they used to be, when out-of-shape players went through the grinder.
“We older guys can tell them that we had it harder,” Baldwin said after Monday’s practice, the first of three two-a-day sessions and five overall. “But these players can say that they worked so much harder in the summer than we did 20 or 30 years ago.”
Either way, it all comes together in August.
“It’s just getting over some mental hurdles, operating when things don’t feel right,” he said.
That includes the weather. Temperatures in the 90s are just fine, Baldwin said, especially with the Eagles opening the season Aug. 30 at Idaho’s Kibbie Dome.
“That dome is going to get hotter than they say,” Baldwin said.
Of course, there’s always a fine line in two-a-days, and that’s where the training staff comes in.
“For the veterans, it’s about keeping them healthy,” EWU head athletic trainer Brian Norton said. “We have to be smart and give them a day off, because we know what they can do.”
Including Minnerly, Post and the other seniors who’ve already done so much.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet, and it’s hard to believe that it’s the last one,” Post said.
The Eagles are ranked 12th in The Sports Network FCS preseason poll. Sam Houston State is first, with Montana State fourth and Montana 11th. … Quarterback Kyle Padron looked sharp Monday, including a gorgeous throw to an in-stride WR Cory Mitchell. Running back Demitrius Bronson continues to impress; Baldwin said if the Idaho game were tomorrow, Bronson would be the go-to back: “But it’s not tomorrow.” … Several players were held out of drills as a precautionary measure, including offensive lineman Steven Forgette and defensive back Miles Weatheroy. … The Eagles will have single 3 p.m. sessions today and Thursday, with two-a-days Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The first of two scrimmages is scheduled for Saturday at about 11:20. The final scrimmage is set for Aug. 23.