September 18, 2012 in Sports

Rested Eagles prepare for Big Sky opener

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Eastern Washington sophomore running back Jordan Talley said the Eagles are focusing on offensive balance.
(Full-size photo)

COMING UP
Saturday:
EWU at Weber State, 5:05 p.m.
Radio:
700-AM

Weber State is winless in three games, but there’s little chance the Eastern Washington players and coaches will look past the Wildcats this weekend.

“It hasn’t even been an issue,” Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said after practice Tuesday evening at Roos Field. “Nobody has talked about it, or even thought about it.”

The Eagles open Big Sky Conference play Saturday night in Ogden, Utah, against the Wildcats, who’ve faced perhaps the toughest nonconference schedule of any Big Sky team. After opening with a 37-10 loss at Fresno State, Weber fell 45-13 at BYU, then lost 35-21 at home to perennial Football Championship Subdivision playoff participant McNeese State.

Meanwhile, Eastern is coming off a close loss at Washington State on Sept. 8, followed by a bye week.

“We’re hungry to play,” Baldwin said, noting that as of Saturday, it will be more than three weeks since the Eagles’ only win so far, 20-3 at Idaho on Aug. 30.

And more important, it’s the conference opener, the first step in reaching the players’ stated goal of winning the Big Sky Conference title.

“The first Big Sky game is pretty special,” senior offensive tackle Will Post said. “It’s what we’ve been waiting for. And they’re a good team.”

Post said the offensive line has focused on “being more consistent in our blocking, sustaining our blocks and doing our thing.”

That will help the running game, which is off to a good start this year with an average of 126 yards in two games, compared with 79 yards per game for the 2011 season.

“I think we’re definitely focused on being more balanced,” said sophomore running back Jordan Talley, who has 134 yards so far this year. “WSU was a close game. If we executed better we might have won, so we’re focusing on execution, and long, sustained drives.”

Baldwin and linebacker Ronny Hamlin had one word for the Weber’s offense: “physical.”

“Just their physical presence,” Baldwin said. “They want to outphysical you, so you have to hit them right back in the mouth.”

“They’ll try to run it down our throats,” Hamlin said. “They’re a good team, but we’re ready for them.”

Notes

Even as practice ended at about 6:20 p.m., workers were still toiling on the new video scoreboard, which is expected to be ready for the Montana game on Sept. 29. … Running back Demitrius Bronson was in full pads and is expected to play Saturday after missing the first two games with an injured hamstring. Wide receiver Greg Herd is recovered from a concussion suffered at Washington State, but defensive end Paul Ena is doubtful this week after hurting his wrist at WSU.


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