Back at Roos Field three days after the biggest win of his football life, Vernon Adams talked about class: Stepping up, stepping down, and having enough class to deal with sudden fame.
“I’m handling it OK,” the Eastern Washington quarterback said as he stepped onto the practice field Tuesday afternoon in the wake of the Eagles’ stunning, 49-46 win at Oregon State of the Pac-12.
Next up is Western Oregon of the Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, in Saturday’s home opener.
Adams said all the right things: that the Eagles wouldn’t overlook anyone, not after Oregon State perhaps made that fatal mistake. But Adams seemed to mean it.
His body language, his intensity during practice was the same as last week. The rest of the players were likewise, a product of head coach Beau Baldwin’s even-keel approach to every game.
“You just try and stay consistent,” Baldwin said. “I don’t change who I am and what I do even after tough losses, and I think that instills that consistency.
Winners are borne of consistency, Baldwin added. “That’s why they’re great, because they’re consistent.”
Citing the Oregon State game, Baldwin said, “Years from now people are going to look back on that game,” Baldwin said. “But then you get to the point where you move on,” Baldwin said. “We’re at that point.”
And to make his point, Baldwin limited questions in order to return to the practice field as his players finished warming up.
Cramping their style
More than one Eastern player was felled by cramps during the Oregon State game. Besides Adams – who left twice and was given intravenous fluids during the game – the Eagles lost receivers Cooper Kupp and Shaquille Hill as well as linebacker Ronnie Hamlin.
Those three were lost for most of the fourth quarter, while others missed entire series. The nine-hour bus ride from Cheney to Corvallis was one culprit, head athletic trainer Brian Norton said Tuesday; players simply didn’t drink as much as they needed on the day of a game.
“Once it (dehydration) happens, it’s hard to manage, because it (proper hydration) starts two or three days before the game, Norton said, noting that Oregon State had similar problems on a warm Saturday afternoon.
Norton added that he and his staff will “do a few things differently,” starting with the next road game on Sept. 14 at Toledo. That will include misting fans, which were already lined up for the Sept. 28 game in muggy Hunstville, Texas, against Sam Houston State.
Athletic director Bill Chaves said that by the end of the Oregon State game, he had received 100 congratulatory texts and 30 emails from around the country. Many more have followed. “A lot of people know it was a historic win, for the program, the athletic department and the university as a whole,” Chaves said. He added that the school is trying to figure out what is the best way to maximize the exposure of the big win. “Hopefully we’ll be rolling out something shortly,” Chaves said. … Chaves said that the new merchandise and concessions building above the stadium will be “functional” for Saturday’s game and fully operational for the Big Sky Conference opener against Weber State on Oct. 5.