The Big Sky Conference schedule has been one of Eastern Washington University's best friends in the early stages of the 2009 college football season. And it serves up another highly beatable opponent on Saturday, when the Eagles (3-1 overall, 2-0 in the Big Sky) travel to Pocatello, Idaho, to take on winless Idaho State (0-4, 0-1).
Eastern's first two opponents -- Northern Colorado and Sacramento State -- figure to be second-division teams this fall, and ISU could well be the league's bottom feeder. The Bengals are coming off a 33-22 home loss to D-II Central Washington and are struggling on both sides of the football.
I asked their coach, John Zamberlin, for his thoughts earlier this week on trying to defend EWU's talented stable of receivers -- which is so deep, it allowed Beau Baldwin to move a returning second-team all-conference wideout, Brynsen Brown, to defensive end.
You can read his comments below.
"It must be nice to take a kidn who's second-team all-conference (as a wideout) and make him a defensive end," Zamberlin said. "To have that kind of luxury says a lot about your depth at that position."
Zamberlin went on to discuss EWU's receivers -- including tight end Nathan Overbay -- and what he hopes to do to slow them down.
"First, you have Aaron Boyce, who has been a heck of player for them," he said of Boyce, who has caught 17 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns this fall. "And then No. 20, Tony Davis (a team-high 19 catches for 176 yards, but no TDs) is a great inside slot kind of guy.
"But their No. 2 receiver is the Overbay kid (15 receptions for 155 yards and a team-high four touchdown cathces). They've got depth and they've got talent, and we're definitely going to have to have a good (defensive) plan and be able to do some different disguises (in the secondary).
"But, what makes it all go is Matt Nichols, the quarterback back there. He's been a really good player for them for a lot of years."
I linked to game notes from both the EWU and ISU sports information departments earlier this week, and I'm including this link to a story in the Idaho State Journal about Zamberlin's reaction to some defections on the team and his overall recruiting philosophy.
Be sure to check back on Saturday for links to game stories, as soon as they become available.