Oct. 13, 12:00 PM
Jim Allen: OK,bring on your questions!
Jim Allen: And, yes, I will be traveling with the team tomorrow morning to Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Jim Allen: A pleasent surprise: it’s 72 in Grand Forks today. Rain is in the forecast tomorrow and Friday, but that won’t matter as the game is being played indoors.
SE174: Hi Jim. Was Adams pulled in the 3rd quarter last week because of the lead, or was he hurt? Will he be 100% on Saturday?
Jim Allen: Definitely because of the lead, which I believe was 41-12 when Vitto came it. This was a great chance to give Vitto some PT
SE174: So Adams wasn’t hurt on that last series?
Jim Allen: Not at all; he’s 100 percent, at least he looked it at practice on Tuesday.
EWUALLDAY: do you know who will be starting at runningback for the game?
Jim Allen: Funny, I’m not sure the coaches do at this point. Baldwin said at practice on Tuesday that it depends on who’s looking best during practice. This is definitely running back by committee. That said, Mario Brown looked very good last week, especially up the middle.
SE174: UN”D” has been playing pretty poorly on defense. Will EWU’s run success against WSU continue against the no names?
Jim Allen: Definitely
GOEWU: Hey Jim, how do you see EWU attacking UND defense?
Jim Allen: The offense is as balanced as it’s been under Baldwin. That’s the formula the rest of the season
Jim Allen: As I noted in a story earlier this week, the Eagles have run the ball 190 times and thrown it 163.
Jim Allen: Trivia question: The No. 1 sport at the University of North Dakota is: A) football B) men’s basketball C) women’s basketball D) hockey
SE174: Besides Hardin, who are the UND players on both offense and defense to be aware of?
Jim Allen: On defense, RB Jake Miller is 67-344 and 5TDs,; QB Joe Mollberg has been spotty, with 63 percent passing, 5TDs and 6 INTs
Jim Allen: Defensively, their No. 3 tackler is their strong safety - not a good thing
SE174: D - hockey. They have a few NC’s I believe.
Jim Allen: That is right. Big game against Vermont tomorrow night, with 10K fans expected
GE1963: What is Jake Rodgers status?
Jim Allen: Jake is still in a knee brace and didn’t practice on Tuesday
GOEWU: Watching the game last week Adams took several hard hits and was limping a few times during the game as well as holding his elbow on several occasions. He looked hurt to me almost from the start. And this was against a team that wasn’t all that good. Glad to hear he looks ok at practice…but still concerning. Any word on Rodgers return to the o-line?
Jim Allen: Adams is fine, but Rodgers is still listed as questionable with a knee sprain
Jim Allen: Also, RB Jabari Wilson is still questionable with a shoulder injury but it making progress
Jim Allen: Overall, you’d have to agree that the team is quite healthy, especially on defense, and most importantly at linebacker.
Jim Allen: Don’t be shy now …
GE1963: Speaking of linebackers, Albert Havili is impressive. What other younger players are standing out on defense?
Jim Allen: Quite a few, including LBs Havili and Zamora, plus DE Samson Ebukam
SE174: Who gets the most rush yards on Saturday? Who leads the team at the end of the year?
Jim Allen: Great question. At the beginning of the year, I thought it would be Wilson, but with him hurt, I think it will be Forte, just ahead of Brown. That’s for the entire season, mind you. This week it will be Brown.
Jim Allen: Brown is showing himself to be a good all-around back. At 5-9, 190, he can make an impact inside more than Forte. On the other hand, Forte is better in the passing game.
SE174: Secondary is arguably the greatest strength of the defense, with very talented play makers in Lee and McDonald. Yet on the year, we only have 3 INTs and are -3 in turnover margin. Is this something Baldwin and co. have addressed?
Jim Allen: Another great question. I think INTs are the product of a strong pass rush, which I don’t believe is a strength of this team. Eastern’s defense is more of a read-and-react scheme. The minus-3 has more to do with six fumbles by the offense, four of which were lost.
Jim Allen: I will agree that since the championship season, Eastern has not been a strong takeaway team; only 16 in all of 2011 and 27, I think, last year.
GE1963: What is your biggest surprise in the BSC so far?
Jim Allen: Good question. We are halfway through the season and I still can’t figure out some of these teams. Southern Utah looked to be the biggest surprise early on, then stumbled last week. Montana is very compared with last year, but then we should have expected the Griz to bounce back. There is still a lot on inconsistency across the board.
SE174: EWU’s pass efficiency defense also ranks 90th of 122 FCS teams… pretty bad. Is that also attributed to the lack of pass rush and conservative scheme? Will Graham crank up the aggressiveness at all this year?
Jim Allen: Yes, and also getting burned on play action at Toledo and Sam Houston State. The SHSU QB threw only eight passes, but his passer rating was through the roof. I’ve been expecting to see more aggressive schemes, but perhaps that will come in the big games still ahead.
Jim Allen: One stat leads to another. Great RBs at Toledo and Sam Houston forced Eastern’s DBs to cheat up, and then they paid for it.
Jim Allen: This is a very talented defense and will get better in the second half of the season.
GOEWU: Drum Roll please…your score prediction for Sat.’s game.
Jim Allen: I think UND will get some big plays in the passing game, but this one shouldn’t be close: EWU 47, UND 24
SE174: Odds that the Coug flag survives College Gameday in Seattle?
Jim Allen: They’d better clear that flag out early; those darned Husky fans will be out for blood, especially after they get pummelled by the Ducks for the 10th time in a row!
GE1963: Don’t you think that Neil Diamond puppet face singing on the Roos Field scoreboard is about the creepiest thing ever?
Jim Allen: I always liked that song, but I’m glad I’m not in the stands when that video is running!
Jim Allen: I think the videoboard has been a great addition to the game day experience, however.
Jim Allen: My turn to ask: what will be Eastern’s final record in conference play. I say 7-1 - what say you?
GOEWU: For the record…sitting on the visitors side looking into the sun on those toy bleachers suck. Jim, how much to switch seats with you next home game?
Jim Allen: That depends: will you write my story for me?
Jim Allen: Before I got this gig, I also went to games at Roos and sat on those same bleachers.
SE174: 7-1 sounds about right, with a decent chance to run the table for once. UM is good but beatable, we get MSU in Cheney, and Cal Poly appears to have taken a step or two back from last year.
Jim Allen: That’s exactly how I feel. Both games are toss-ups, in my opinion. The best thing about beating Oregon State is that if you go 7-1 in conference, a 9-3 overall record will be good for at least one home playoff game, perhaps two (given Eastern’s strength of schedule)
Jim Allen: And no matter what others may think, 8-4 will definitely get the Eagles into the playoffs. You heard it here first.
Jim Allen: Four minutes left before I return to my weekly Eastern player feature, which runs tomorrow
GOEWU: I can see an 8-4 record unless we get a lucky bounce(or call)or two. Remembering the Championship run we had things go our way on many key occasions. To make a deep run or win the BSC a team needs a wee-bit-o-luck on their side.
Jim Allen: And of course it helps to be at home for the playoffs, which is what the rest of the regular season is alll about for the Eagles
SE174: Does Adams win the Walter Payton? He hasn’t thrown less than 3 TDs in a game, and is on pace for 45 on the year. Currently only ranks a half point or so behind Montana’s Jordan Johnson in passer rating in FCS, 1-2.
Jim Allen: Anyone’s guess. He really makes this offense go, so he’s definitely deserving. That’s one more thing to look forward to on Oct. 26 in Missoula!