On a blustery day last week, Eastern Washington long snapper Cory Alcantar was being carried away by his emotions.
“It’s been amazing, and I feel so blessed to be here – I feel like I won the lottery,” said Alcantar, who certainly beat the odds last summer in becoming the first junior college transfer in recent Eastern history.
“We really don’t recruit JCs, but we felt like he would compete right away,” Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said. “Ultimately he took it over and has run with it.”
Alcantar has jumped with it too. On off days, he and punter Jake Miller routinely scale the fence at Roos Field, where Alcantar works on his spiral, and his placement.
“Jake knows the position better than I do,” said Alcantar, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior from Yucaipa, Calif., who also played offensive and defensive line in high school.
Fans probably haven’t noticed, and that’s a good thing: long snappers are almost invisible until something goes wrong.
“We were looking for a kid who could come in and play right away,” said special teams assistant Jeff Schmedding, who was able to watch Alcantar during a junior college game instead of a practice.
“I could see a kid who had talent,” Schmedding said.
After arriving last fall, Alcantar said he’s grateful for the tips and coaching, which have come not only from Schmedding and Baldwin, but also from offensive line coach Aaron Best and his players.
“I just feel blessed to have the opportunity,” Alcantar said.
After viewing film of last week’s scrimmage, Baldwin said that mistakes – on both sides of the ball – occurred because one of two players “weren’t on the same page” as their teammates. “More than anything, we want to make corrections from the scrimmage, the way we made corrections last week from the previous week’s scrimmage,” said Baldwin, adding that “We’re a long way away from where we want to be fundamentally.” … Baldwin drew an example from the three interceptions thrown by quarterback Vernon Adams on Saturday. The first resulted from a scramble drill in which Adams and receiver Kendrick Bourne “weren’t on the same page,” while corner Victor Gamboa made a “great play on the ball.” On the second pick, a screen that was destroyed when nose tackle Matthew Sommer slid over from the middle of the line and snagged Adams’ pass, was a play in which “any QB could have ended up throwing that pick,” Baldwin said. The last interception came on a deep throw that safety Zach Bruce read perfectly, moving across the field and preventing a score. In two scrimmages, Adams, is 27 for 38 for 209 yards, five TDs and three interceptions. Backup Jordan West is 13 for 24 for 253 yards and three TDs.