Fresh off the biggest nonconference FCS game in school history, Eastern Washington should be ripe for a letdown Saturday evening against Weber State.
Not a chance, the players and coaches insisted before Tuesday’s practice and windblown Roos Field.
Not when the Eagles (2-2) have dropped two straight games for the first time in two years, not with the defense in an ornery mood after a tough weekend in Texas, and certainly not when it’s the conference opener and their first home game in four weeks.
That starts from the top, said safety Tevin McDonald, referring to head coach Beau Baldwin.
“He’s proud that we’re upset at the fact that we’re not 4-0,” said McDonald, who along with cornerback T.J. Lee III was forced to make double-digit tackles in a 49-34 loss last weekend at Sam Houston State.
Noting that Weber State runs “some things similar” to Sam Houston State, McDonald figures he and the rest of the defense have “a chance to fix some of the things we didn’t get right.”
Players and coaches couldn’t help but take one last look back at a game they figure should have been closer in the fourth quarter, despite giving up 556 yards on defense and struggling to move the ball consistently on offense.
Wide receiver Shaquille Hill lamented that sometimes, the offensive players were “not on the same page, but added that a costly pick-6 on a ball intended for him was solely the result of Sam Houston State cornerback De’Antray Loche guessing right and jumping Hill’s route.
Said Baldwin, “I give credit to Sam Houston State, not just that game but what they’ve done over several years, but I’m disappointed that I think we had more to offer.”
“It’s one of those things where you’re disappointed, but you have to channel your energy,” said Baldwin, whose team fell this week to sixth in the FCS media poll and eighth in the coaches’ poll. Baldwin added that future opponents who run similar offenses will dissect the Sam Houston game plan and try to dish out more of the same.
That includes Weber State, which is 1-4 and has been outscored 214-22 in its last four games. “They’re a good team, and they play hard,” Eagles center Ashton Miller said.
“We are definitely not overlooking anybody.”
Adams on list
Quarterback Vernon Adams was added on Tuesday by The Sports Network to the Watch List for the Walter Payton Award, which will be presented for the 27th time to the outstanding player in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision.
Adams is ranked second in FCS in points responsible for with an average of 26.0 per game (total of 104 with 15 TD passes, two rushing TDs and one two-point conversion). He is third in passing efficiency (189.9), fourth in passing yards (347.5 per game) and second in total offense (394.8). Ex-Eastern QBs Erik Meyer and Bo Levi Mitchell won the award, in 2005 and 2011, respectively.