As Eastern Washington resumed two-a-days on a warm Monday morning, coach Beau Baldwin said he hopes the players respond to the heat and pressure between now and Aug. 23.
That’s especially important in the Eagles’ fast-tempo offense. With one scrimmage in the books and the season opener against Sam Houston State just 12 days away, Baldwin hopes to keep his offense in up-tempo mode all day and all game.
After looking at film from Saturday’s scrimmage, Baldwin said he was pleased with how his offense handled playing at a high tempo, “especially in the first 75 percent of the scrimmage,” but lamented some sloppiness at the end.
“That’s where we have to get over the hump,” said Baldwin, adding that he was pleased at the offensive balance on Saturday – 207 yards rushing and 201 yards passing – although that was by design.
Defensively, Baldwin said he liked the intensity across the board, including the new generation of cornerbacks.
Coaches aren’t ready to name starters at the most-watched position on the team, but Baldwin said that’s not important.
“You don’t really have to sort it out – the way I look at it, we’ve got four or five guys who are going to play,” Baldwin said.
“Our depth is such that it won’t matter so much who starts, because we’ll have three or four guys in there,” Baldwin said.
In no particular order, those appear to be junior Frank Cange; redshirt freshmen Jake Hoffman, Moe Roberts and Victor Gamboa; and Arizona State transfer Rashad Wadood.
“I’m excited about the competition at corner,” Baldwin said.
After the scrimmage, cornerbacks coach Cherokee Valeria said his players are “coming along very well, and the competition our guys face every day only raises our level.”
Outside linebacker Ronnie Hamlin has been sidelined for a week with a left foot injury, and the timetable for his return is uncertain.
“It’s just one of those things,” Baldwin said Monday. “We’re going to get it looked at again to see what we need to do.”
In what Baldwin decribed as a “freak deal,” Hamlin’s foot was stepped on during practice on Aug. 4; it has been encased in a boot ever since.”
“He’ll be fine (for Sam Houston State) … but we have to attack it in rehab,” Baldwin said.
Strong safety Todd Raynes has been out for a week with an injured ankle, but Baldwin expects him back “at the tail end of this week or early next week.”
The Eagles will hold single practices today and Thursday (both at 9 a.m.) and the last two-a-days of fall camp on Wednesdy and Friday (at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.). The second and final scrimmage is set for Saturday at about 9:50 a.m.