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EWU sports live chat (Sept. 10) replay

Jim: OK, Eastern fans, let's do this!

Jim: What's your biggest takeway from the Oregon game?

Jim: For me, it's depth at the quarterback position and the need for better tackling on defense.

KHatch_Brecek: I thought it was great that Hennessey came in like he had been doing it for years. His confidence was huge for me!

Jim: Hennessey was even more impressive when you consider he hadn't played in a game in almost two years.

Jim: He looked very poised out there, and had more speed than I expected (I haven't seen him scramble much in practices and scrimmages, but obviously he's capable.)

KHatch_Brecek: I loved when Nzuzi (I hope I spelled that right) caught up with one of Oregon's RB's and tackled him. I thought our defense looked good, but def had a lot of missed tackles and needs work. BUT-- thought we did goo.

joemon (guest): Offense could be really good again,defense maybe not ( but it was Oregon they were defending)

Jim: I think the 4-2-5 scheme is putting the best athletes on the field. And yes, it's hard to judge solely from the Oregon game.

joemon (guest): I'm not sure that 4-2-5 is going to work.The DL has to plug the middle and I'm not sure they are physical enough to do it

Jim: That's my concern. Sommer is a 310-pound load at one tackle spot, but Lino is only 265.

joemon (guest): I think we will be in for some shoot-outs again from Idaho State and Montana State

Jim: For sure. Both of those teams faced lower-tier opponents last week, so it's hard to tell. ISU faces Portland State this week in what should be a great game.

KHatch_Brecek: Jim, curious your thoughts on the Kreifels tackle. Obviously it's over and done with, but wanted to know what our thoughts were-- intentional or not.

Jim: This has been dissected by better football minds than mine, but I don't think the hit was intentional. It's a tough call sometimes when the QB is scrambling. Still,Kreifels led with the head. The bigger problem, of course,was Kreifels' gesturing to the crowd.

Jim: Kreifels will learn from this - Baldwin will make sure of it.

joemon (guest): Whats your opinion on West vs Hennessey?

Jim: I think Hennessey deserves to see some action this weekend - regardless of the score. He looked game-ready to me in a very hostile venue against the best talent the Eagles will face this year.

KHatch_Brecek: Right, agreed. I thought Baldwin's comment to you about him earlier this week in regards to "having a problem with anyone on offense" was a perfect answer.

Jim: I was there when Baldwin said that; and he said without a trace of humor - very fitting under the circumstances.

joemon (guest): Do you know who didn't make the trip to Iowa beside Kriefels and Curtis?

Jim: I don't. Zach Bruce (shoulder) didn't practice Tuesday, but that doesn't mean anything. I'm heading out to Cheney this afternoon for a feature interview with roverback Todd Raynes. I'll try to learn something about Bruce (and others) while I'm out there.

joemon (guest): So, if VA was EWU's QB and Lockie was Oregons would this have made a bit of a difference?


Jim: I've thought about that one a lot, going back to February when VA was on the fence. This made a huge difference, because the EWU defense could have focused more on the Oregon running game. We'll never know...

KHatch_Brecek: How do you feel we will handle the offense of N. Iowa? Didn't they just get an FBS QB transfer?

Jim: Funny you should mention that; I have a story in today's paper on Aaron Bailey and the UNI offense:

Jim: By all accounts, Bailey is a strong runner (he's 6-2,226lb) but a mediocre passer.

joemon (guest): I'm a bit concerned about a letdown going into N Iowa. A big difference in competition.

Jim: With the prospect of being 0-2, Baldwin won't allow a letdown, IMO

Jim: In fact, Baldwin made a big point of that in Tuesday's presser - that regardless of who the Eagles played last week, they're 0-1.

joemon (guest): Do you know who is filling in for Curtis?

Jim: Junior Jerrod Jones, a 6-6, 295lb redshirt junior from Arlington, Wash. is next on the depth chart. Also in the mix is 310lb WSU transfer Matt Meyer.

KHatch_Brecek: Who do you think is faster of the Webster twins, depsite both being on opposite ends of the ball? (Sorry, random question came up on the long car ride back from Eugene)

Jim: Yes, that's pretty random. I think Nzuzi (a cornerback) is faster, but Simba (a wide receiver) has better moves. That's why he's on offense, methinks.

KHatch_Brecek: How do you feel our offense line did on Saturday?

Jim: Solid. That's the word EWU O-line coach Aaron Best used to describe blocking in the Oregon game. Good but not great protection against an active, athletic front seven. Run blocking was better than I expected, and the result was a respectable 111 yards on the ground. A good showing

joemon (guest): Thanks for doing the chat Jim, I have a client waiting. Any prediction? I'm going with 38-20 EWU

Jim: That's not a bad pick. I like the 38, but I'm not so sure about the 20. The Eagle DEs and LBs have to hold the edge and the DBs must do a better job in run support.

joemon (guest): I tend to agree with you on that. I'm hoping the difference in speed will work to EWU's advantage.

Jim: The defenders like the new scheme, they say it allows them to feel as if they're running downhill.

KHatch_Brecek: Who stood out to you besides the given-- Kupp, Hennessey and West?

KHatch_Brecek: Were there any freshman who surprised you?

Jim: Besides those three. I thought the true freshmen RBs McPherson and Williams on offense.

Jim: On defense, Ferris product Cole Karstetter had a good game with five tackles; also Kacmarcik had seven tackles. Freshman safety Mitch Fettig had eight tackles in his first start.

Jim: Too many tackles by the safeties, which is never a good thing.

Guest423 (guest): Curtis looked pretty good for playing all of the 2nd half with a broken foot.

KHatch_Brecek: Do you foresee anyone having a breakthrough year of those younger players?

Jim: I'm keeping my eye on all of the above, and of course true freshman DE Keenan Williams.


KHatch_Brecek: I thought Keenan played great, and really stayed in there, despite being held a lot I'm really hoping he has a breakthrough year!

Jim: Anyone out there surprised by what the Big Sky Conference did last weekend? Does that worry you?

KHatch_Brecek: I still can't believe Montana beat NDSU.... but not surprised by Cal Poly and PSU wins. Te Big Sky will be a dog fight this year. That's one of the things I've always loved about our conference over the years.

Jim: Lost in the headlines was North Dakota's win at Wyoming. Maybe it's a good thing EWU misses them this year. They also miss Southern Utah, which took Utah State down to the wire before losing 12-9.

KHatch_Brecek: PSU, historically, has given us some "grief" over the years. Same with Northern Arizona, and Southern Utah.

Jim: In fact, SUU in 2012 and NAU in 2014 are the Eagles' only conference losses in the last three years.

KHatch_Brecek: In 2013, didn't we almost lose AT HOME to PSU? Came back with a TD in the last few minutes, if I remember right.

Jim: Yes indeed. PSU went ahead with about a minute to play but missed the XP. Adams hit Kupp for a TD in the final seconds and EWU won 42-41.

KHatch_Brecek: Besides, Montana State and Idaho State,who else do you feel will be tough games for us this year?

Jim: Cal Poly, which I picked to finish third behind EWU and MSU. And the Griz, of course. Lots of tough games, but you don't want a bunch of cupcakes - right?!

KHatch_Brecek: Ha ha ha, no! I like the tough competition. It prepares us for post season.

Jim: Well said! Thanks, everyone - we'll do it again next week!

KHatch_Brecek: Thanks Jim!



Jim Allen
Jim Allen joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently covers K-12 education and women's basketball.

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