Spring football is full of teachable moments, and thanks to a change in the schedule, the Eastern Washington coaches and players have more of them than ever.
Spreading 15 practices and scrimmages over a five-week period, instead of four weeks, has been “much more conducive to teaching,” head coach Beau Baldwin said before practice Tuesday afternoon at Roos Field.
Traditionally practice hasn’t gone beyond the Red-White Spring Football Game and Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction on April 27. Not anymore. “I’m not going back” to the four-week schedule, said Baldwin, which he described as “crammed.”
The new format incorporates practices or scrimmages on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, which allows for more efficient film study and meetings on the following days, Baldwin said.
The Red-White Game itself will be followed by three more practice session, concluding on May 4.
The new schedule also helps flatten the learning curve, which got pretty steep at last Saturday’s scrimmage, the first of spring. The adjustment to game-like conditions was “more than anything, peak-and-valleyish on both sides of the ball, and some of that comes from rotating guys and bringing the younger guys in,” Baldwin said.
“You could see with the young guys on the sidelines on an island for the first time.”
Other film critiques included pad level – “higher than where you want it to be,” Baldwin said – and an inconsistent passing game, although Saturday’s weather was a contributing factor. On the other hand, poor passing conditions gave the offensive coaches a chance to ramp up the running game “to another level,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin added that as a group, quarterbacks Vernon Adams, Anthony Vitto and Jordan West are “taking on more new things than other groups have,” but more is coming, including more checks, situational drills, red-zone drills and blitz situations.
On defense, Baldwin said the younger players need to do a better job of communicating, even more so at Saturday’s second scrimmage when officials will be added to the mix.
“It’s good to put them in stressful situations where practices feel like they’re faster than in games,” Baldwin said. “Because if you don’t, then you’re in a world of hurt.”
Tickets are still available for the 32nd Annual Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction. Online ordering of tickets and more information is available at www.goeags.com for Killin, which takes place at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center. There is no admission charged for the Red-White Game, but cost for the dinner is $100 per individual, or $700 for a table of eight. The event starts with a social hour and auction at 4:30 p.m., followed by the dinner (6:15 p.m.), program/presentations/live auction (7:15 p.m.) and dancing (8 p.m.). Tickets may also be obtained by calling (509) 359-2463 or 1-800-648-7697.
April 27: Red-White game at Roos Field, 2 p.m.