“Trueing,” Terence Grady calls it, which means getting on the college football field as a true freshman.
Mission accomplished: The wide receiver from Kent, Washington, got the word last week that he would see the field this year at Eastern Washington.
“Now it’s about showing what I can do, and showing the coaches that they’re making the right choice,” Grady said after Saturday’s scrimmage at Roos Field, the Eagles’ last live action until the season opener next weekend against Sam Houston State.
And true to his word, Grady made coach Beau Baldwin and his staff look pretty smart by catching five balls for 105 yards, including a 41-yard, over-the-shoulder catch on a nice throw from backup quarterback Jordan West.
As Grady came down with the ball on the defense’s side of the field, at least two teammates made an instant comparision: “Just like Kaufman,” they said, evoking the name of former star receiver Brandon Kaufman.
Grady has a long way to go to match Kaufman, a former all-American who finished with 3,731 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns – both No. 2 in Eastern history – but it’s a start.
Grady wasn’t the only true freshman trying to make an impression on a day when Baldwin rested nearly all of his starters. Defensive linemen Marcus Saugen and Patiole Pesefea and defensive back Nzuzi Webster – who also will be “trueing,” this year – saw extensive action; Saugen and Webster each had a team-high five tackles.
Likewise, some veterans were getting some needed snaps. Senior John Goldwire, a linebacker for most of his career, was moved to the defensive line last season but played sparingly. Now he’s No. 2 on the depth chart at end and eager to see action.
“It’s not urgency, we’re more kind of antsy,” Goldwire said. “I’ve been ready to play for two weeks.”
Elsewhere, receiver Shaq Hill showed that a minor injury is a thing of the past with a 67-yard touchdown pass from West, who in turn solidified his No. 2 spot behind Vernon Adams by completing 8 of 10 passes for 175 yards and a score.
Sophomore running back Jalen Moore also had a strong scrimmage, rushing seven times for 56 yards and a score.
The scrimmage also helped the coaches sort out personnel at cornerback, where Baldwin said four or five players are still in the mix to see significant playing time.
Presumably that includes Arizona State transfer Rashad Wadood, who didn’t suit up on Saturday. “He doing a great job, and he’s very humble,” Baldwin said.
“We’re closer to sorting it out,” said Baldwin, who hinted again that the top corners may split time, with benefits in terms of staying fresh throughout the season.