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Eastern Washington defense owns the day in first scrimmage of spring camp

UPDATED: Fri., April 13, 2018, 6:54 p.m.

The offense rolled up 398 yards and the defense broke up seven passes and made a pair of interceptions, highlighting Eastern Washington’s first full scrimmage of spring football camp on Friday at Roos Field.

A trio of quarterbacks threw for 286 yards and scrambled for another 51 in the 70-play session in rainy conditions.

The Eagles defense had most of its highlights early, including several pass breakups and a pair of interceptions by sophomore safety Calin Criner that squelched drives. The defense added a safety as it held the offense scoreless on its first eight drives, not including a pair of red-zone possessions for the offense.

“A lot of guys took reps, and there was some really good football and some not-so-good football,” second-year head coach Aaron Best said. “On one side, you’re excited about red-zone turnovers on defense, and on the other side you’re cringing as an offensive coach. We could have done away with those and at least stole three points out of those possessions.

“We will look at the film and take a peek at it to see what we can do differently.

“When you have good competition, and when you have good depth, guys are going to make plays. We just want to make sure those plays are made because they made a great play, and not gift them a play.”

Starting quarterback Gage Gubrud completed 4 of 12 passes for 101 yards, and rushed for another 19. He scored on a 5-yard run, capping a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive.

Sophomore quarterback Eric Barriere led the offense on scoring drives of 74 and 82 yards, the first ending in a 7-yard TD pass to senior Terence Grady. The second drive ended on a 5-yard run by Dennis Merritt, the second of his two touchdowns on the day.

Grady caught four passes for 73 yards to lead the Eagles, and junior Tamarick Pierce had 44 rushing yards on seven carries. Barriere finished with 32 yards on the ground and was 10 of 17 through the air for 145 yards.

Best said he would like to see more consistency out of his offense.

“We put the ball down this scrimmage and just wanted them to play,” he said. “Last week was more of a control type of setting. This week we just wanted to put it down, and we only had a couple of controlled situations that we worked on. We need more consistency in the run game and consistency lining up, plus getting to the play and moving faster at a better tempo.”

The Eagles have eight more practices and scrimmages this spring. Eastern will also scrimmage on April 21. The annual Red-White Game takes place on April 28 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field and will be televised live on SWX.


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