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EWU sports live chat transcript (Nov. 3)

Jim: Let's talk Eastern Washington sports!

Jim: How about that soccer team, which is two wins from the NCAA tournament!?

KHB_GoEags: It feels so good to beat Montana!

Jim: Exactly, they beat Montana yesterday to advance to the semifinals.

KHB_GoEags: And to beat them for soccer, too!

Jim: You read my mind, KHB!

Jim: And it wasn't raining.

Guest5379 (guest): Amazing that soccer (if I read properly) had never won in the postseason before. Hope they can keep that coach around!

Jim: Correct, that's their first postseason win.

Casey (guest): Great job by Chad, Max and their staff. Nice to see Chloe (Williams) come up big again with the help of her team.

Jim: And before we talk about that OTHER football,check out our special basketball section that came out today. Here's a link to a must-read story on graduate transfer Jacob Wiley:

EWU transfer Wiley has come a long way | The Spokesman-Review

Casey (guest): Chloe has been scoring big playoff goals since her freshman year of High School.

Jim: She's special, for sure.

Guest8302 (guest): Football ...let’s go

Steven Christopher: Startoff: Who has has beaten Cal Poly?

KHB_GoEags: Not Montana, ha ha ha ha

Jim: Cal Poly is 6-2 overall and 4-1 in the Sky. They beat the Griz 42-41 a few weeks ago, but struggled in some other games.

Guest5375 (guest): 9 out 10 of Top FCS teams have tough games this week. Could be an upheaval in the polls. I've been concerned about this game all year. Emotional win, having to travel to CalPoly, triple option,this is going to be a tough game for us

Jim: IMO this is the toughest game for Eastern among these last three in the regular season. Defending the triple option demands discipline and not trying to do too much.

Jim: The players said as much at practice on Tuesday. "No heroes, just do your job," LB Ketner Kupp told me.

Guest8302 (guest): Worried about triple option???

Guest5375 (guest): Do we get Calhoun back?

Jim: Not sure. EWU is being less specific with injuries lately -they're not specifying with words like "questionable" or "probable" - just saying that they've missed a game.

Casey (guest): Ok big challenge this weekend. Time for the defense to prove all the hard work wasn't for nothing. We have historically struggled against running teams and tackling. Areas that have improved this year. Will we be ready Saturday?

Jim: I think so. Last year was a struggle, but I think this year's D-line is better and more experienced.

Guest8302 (guest): D is playing great

Guest5379 (guest): Weather will probably good which should help EWU's offense immensely.

KHB_GoEags: I do think our guys are up for the challenge. This is a special game for many of our players, as it's in their home state!

Guest5375 (guest): yes worried about t-option; face once a year, 500 yards on the ground. QB who can throw. Yes worried

Jim: Of course that was against Sac State, which is probably the worst team in the Sky.

GoEags88: I think the D will have a huge game this week.

Jim: More athleticism on defense too this year, but the safeties need to keep their eyes right.

Casey (guest): Agree with Jim. Absolutely the toughest game left. North Dakota beat CP but there isn't one area to point to as the decider.

Casey (guest): Yes but Sac State also scored 47 points so CP needed those yards.

Jim: That really surprised me. Baldwin said the CP defense is "stout" and "smart" but they're given up some big plays too. They're mediocre against the pass.

Casey (guest): In their lone loss they were "held" to around 200 but also threw for 200. The safeties can crowd the box but need the corners to be alert. And watch TE's.

David C. Edwards: Yep that last game versus Sac State they were behind and had to rally. Not sure they could do that against us

Casey (guest): Baldwin says that about every defense doesn't he? Coach-speak.

Jim: Quite true, Casey - I've yet to hear Baldwin say something like, "Yeah, that defense is horrible - we're going to light them up!"

Casey (guest): Any team like CP struggles to play from behind, as David pointed out. If the offense avoids sputtering at the beginning (like last week) then it will be tough for CP to control the clock and wear our defense out.

Guest5379 (guest): We allowed over 500 yards to Montana and they yielded only 16 points

David C. Edwards: Our corners will be the key, but they have been playing great

Jim: That's been huge this year. Webster, Tucker, Gamboa and company have covered very well on the sidelines, which was such a problem last year. Thoughts?

Casey (guest): Yes every true about the yards allowed last week. The defense was solid when needed. End of the first half was a great example!

KHB_GoEags: That was the lowest points we've allowed all season, right?

Jim: 16 vs. Montana - yep!

Casey (guest): I think that the increased pressure generated by the D line but also with extra guys (yes blitzing) has made it difficult for the WR's on other teams to get open fast enough. And the corners have gotten better at using the sideline as a defender.

Jim: Huge, and I think that's allowing the safeties to be more aggressive.

Jim: However, that can be a negative against Cal Poly - their QB has the highest passer rating in the conference because teams bite on the run.

Casey (guest): Seems like we used to funnel receivers to the middle and now push them wide. Rushed passes from the QB make those tough to complete.

Casey (guest): Agree, Jim. Even the threat of their aggressiveness has been beneficial. You can actually see other teams actually worried about the blitz the defense might bring.

David C. Edwards: If I have a smallish complaint it is the SLOW starts...waiting till the 3rd quarter is playing with FIRE.

Guest5375 (guest): This team is special in many ways and I for one want the best playoff options for them i.e. all home playoff games. This is the game that makes all of that possible.

Casey (guest): David!!!! Couldn't agree more. I've been complaining about this all year. It’s absurd to start the game with 3 and outs.

Jim: I don't think they're TRYING to start that way. Does it seem that the offense takes awhile to get into rhythm, like some locomotive that stalls in the station for a while and then becomes almost unstoppable?

Guest5379 (guest): Could it be that teams are playing UP to us in the first half before our depth shuts them down? I couldn't watch last week's game but it seemed like EWU got off to a solid start.

Guest5375 (guest): big difference between griz dump off passing game and great run teams. In Past years playoff games teams that control the game via the run have been very difficult for the Eags

Jim: Illinois State, 2014 - that was the worst of all, IMO

David C. Edwards: Knocking out a couple of their players didn't hurt matters either for Montana. Any word on those two injuries of those kids from UM?

Casey (guest): It’s a Baldwin specialty though. It’s not new to this season. It has cost us home playoff games, and our seasons, in the past. How can they not come up with a plan with 6 days to prepare yet work miracles in a 20 minute halftime?

Casey (guest): Its almost always one side of the ball that starts slow. Against Montana St. it was the defense getting gashed on their first drive and then giving up a big play on the second drive before they locked in. Last week it was the offense with consecutive 3 and outs.

Casey (guest): I don't expect us to score to start every game, or prevent a score. But for goodness sakes get off the field on 3rd and long (which we have improved overall) and get a couple first downs before stalling out on offense.

Guest5375 (guest): yep. I think the improvement on D-line in size and the new d-line coach (from Cal Poly ) ( yes I read article Jim) are Beau's recognition of that weakness in the playoffs.

Casey (guest): It hasn't cost us during the regular season but it has cost us playoff games more than once. That is what concerns me so much.

David C. Edwards: Since tomorrow is the first day for Playoff Seeding where do you think we end up? I believe we will be a #2 behind Dakota

Jim: Actually, they're supposed to release the rankings today, according to this article:

FCS playoff committee breaking tradition, releasing its top 10 this week | Grand Forks Herald

David C. Edwards: My bad ...what time?

Jim: I've been checking even as we've been chatting, but I can't find a story.

Jim: Which leads me to a question: Where would you rank the Eagles RIGHT NOW?

David C. Edwards

College football: NCAA DI Football Championship Committee to announce top 10 teams three times |

Casey (guest): There is someone that does a prediction. Bracketology if you will. Had us as a 4 seed this week.

Guest5375 (guest): #2 I hope.Strength of Schedule and only loss to NDSU.

David C. Edwards: The rankings will be announced as part of College Football Daily on ESPNU Nov. 3 and 10 at 4 p.m. (ET).

Casey (guest) It doesn't make much sense though to have Big Sky champ as the four seed when the conference will get 4 berths according to his predictions.

FCS Football Bracketology | College Sports Madness

Guest5379 (guest): Tough not to argue #2 for us. Seems like the committee doesn't hold much stock in what the rankings show.

Guest1296 (guest): How sam Houston ranked so high they played nobody

Jim: I say 2 or 3, behind Jax State and possibly SH St.

Casey (guest): The committee is kind of silly if you look back. Last year the Big Sky champ got hosed while Montana did not. If you win the best conference in the nation you should get a bye.

Jim: Some would say the MV is the best conference.

Jim: And Montana never gets hosed because they can fill that stadium.

GoEags88: I'd say #2

David C. Edwards: SH st??? They have played NO ONE!! Sorry respectfully disagree

Guest5375 (guest): MV is best conference. BS is close but have weaker teams at bottom of conference

Casey (guest): I know its "Bracketology" but still predicting four teams in, yet EWU as a four seed doesn't make sense. Yes the MVC is neck and neck with the sky.

Jim: MV is tougher top to bottom.

David C. Edwards: Don't get me started on UM and their playoffs...I mean "payoffs"

Jim: Well played, David!

Jim: In fact, an 8-3 Griz team (assuming they win out) will certainly host a first-round game.

Guest5375 (guest): Top shelf "David"

Guest5379 (guest): We'd beat NDSU if we played them this weekend. Our defense has improved and I doubt we'd have the same weirdness from the refs we saw earlier.

KHB_GoEags: Casey, while I understand what you are getting at, we seem to have a great plan every week-- we are 7-1, and should end the season as Big Sky Champs, if not, share the title. It is frustrating to come out slow, but it always seems to be the plan that they will adjust.We are a VERY different team than in years past!

Jim: I'm sure the Eagles don't want to go back to Fargo, but then Huntsville TX and Jacksonville AL don't sound too appealing either. (I'm talking about possible semifinal games, of course)

David C. Edwards: So is it safe to discuss post season awards,or still too far out?

Jim: Not at all... Kupp and Ebukam

Jim: That's in-house awards.Kupp is the best player in the nation.

Jim: Change of topic ...

KHB_GoEags: I think we are a better team than NDSU, but, I know they will go #1. With their schedule and history, I think they are the favorite. We should be a #2, with SHSU and Jacksonville State right after.SHSU has had a cupcake schedule, though.

Casey (guest): KHB - "Always seems to be the plan" has cost us home playoff games in the past. The coach is the same. The players may not be the same but the coach is. Don't get me wrong...Beau is great! His flaw though is the seeming inability to prepare

Casey (guest): Just out of curiosity...what is that is SO different about this team? Don't tell me the offense either because the offense is always dangerous even if a little more than in the past.

Guest5375 (guest): Semi's, Semi's your talking Semi's (my best Jim Mora voice)


KHB_GoEags: If we're the #2,wouldn't we host all the way?

Jim: Yes, at number 2. But I'm thinking about being 3 or 4.

Casey (guest): We can move past the slow starts. I just hope the fans aren't let down in the post season as a result. That's my biggest concern.

KHB_GoEags: Casey-- I think our leadership is so much stronger, and we have players there

David C. Edwards: I am curious what you think about National Awards? Does Kupp and Gubrud hurt each other in the National Awards?

Jim: Of course, that is a danger. Chase Edmonds, the RB from Fordham, as 1426 yards so far.

Casey (guest): Leadership as in the players correct? I would agree with you there (JC and Bo Levi for example were huge when they were here). But that doesn't explain the slow starts.

KHB_GoEags: **That actually WANT to be there, and make a difference, leave a legacy. Our defense has made huge strides improving, which has really shown this season. I think how the end of last year ended, they never want to relive that again....and its shown. These guys are hungry.

Jim: Great chat, by the way!

Guest5379 (guest): Seems like we have better depth and we can wear out the other teams. I keep thinking about how WSU looked a little dinged up at the end of the game. I don't think they were expecting that hard of hits from an FCS team...

Jim: I keep hearing that from opposing coaches: physicality from the entire defense, not just the front seven.

Casey (guest): Great points KHB. I'm with you man. The players definitely seem more invested.

David C. Edwards: That is not playing around, but what league is he playing in?

Jim: Patriot League, and no,it's not very good. But Fordham is in NYC, and that's the center of the universe, so ...

Guest5379 (guest): Perhaps last year's disappointment was a wake up to the team and lit something under them too...

Casey (guest): Depth is significantly better and the O-line gets better every week. The defense brings some pain and the improved tackling is a big factor. Less grasping and more hitting/wrapping up.

David C. Edwards: Yah that is going to hurt him. Yes NY...UUGGGHHH

Guest1296 (guest): Sr center will be back


Jim: Yes, Jerrod Jones - they need him. Run blocking has been so-so.

KHB_GoEags: Casey-- Trust me,I agree with you, slow starts are frustrating. The first two series,I was biting my nails, because we didn't do much, and everyone in that stadium knew we were better than Montana.BUT, it's working for us. Maybe the slow start is in their game plan? And it's *Wo-man

Guest5375 (guest): Defense has a way different feel this year. I remember seeing a shirt on D-line coach Eta that Said "Nasty"

Guest5375 (guest): Yes O-line is getting better however because of injuries 2 none o-line players are filling in.

Casey (guest): Great points from some of you about the bitter taste of last year. Not making the playoffs is a real kick in the teeth. Can't point at something and say "Hey we made it to the quarterfinals so that is good."

GoEags88: You hear about it almost every week how the guys prepared in the off-season. They took it upon themselves to not let whathe happend last season happen again.

Casey (guest): KHB - sorry about the gender. I actually thought about that after I hit send. My bad.

KHB_GoEags: I don't remember the last defense we had that was this physical? Jim-- can you shed some light?

Jim: I thought 2012 was pretty good, with LB Zach Johnson and a very stout D-line.It went downhill from there.

Casey (guest): Speaking of running...has anyone noticed that we run differently depending on the back? I don't have the names correct but usually when its RB1 we run wide and when its RB2 we run dive.

Jim: I think Custer will be the real deal once he becomes more patient. He's quick, but pretty small, and he's getting smacked around.

KHB_GoEags: Did Ena come from Cal-Poly?

Jim: Yes, he was there from 2013-15; at Idaho before that. Played HS ball in Inchelium for two years!

Guest5375 (guest): Somebody didn't read the SR article

Jim: This one:

Eastern faces Mustangs’ explosive triple-option | The Spokesman-Review

KHB_GoEags: He has clearly brought something different to the table! And it's working.

Casey (guest): I want to say Custer is the dive play and Pierce is the wide run. But it’s obvious

KHB_GoEags: Guilty, I haven't, yet! Ha ha

David C. Edwards: Can someone please teach Gubrud to SLIDE correctly?

Guest5375 (guest): Just giving you a hard time, sorry

Guest5379 (guest): I read one of our recruits turned down an offer from San Jose to play for EWU. I think someone else a couple years back turned down a Boise State offer. That's HUGE for EWU to steal FBS offers!

Jim: I don't pay enough attention to recruiting until January, but yes, it's on the uptick lately.

Casey (guest): Also...what the hell was with that option stuff last week. Once by our end zone and then late when the defenders could Tee off on Gage. Seemed senseless

David C. Edwards: Anyway we can keep the chat moving till after the announcement of the seedings would love to see your reactions?

Jim: Sure, I don't mind, since I have writer's block for my feature tomorrow.

Casey (guest): I'm with David. Jim probably has commitments though.

KHB_GoEags: Yes, David,agreed!

Guest5375 (guest): Jim you’re the best. Really enjoyed article on Wiley this morning and the local connection on the young man.

Jim: Thanks, Jacob is very impressive.

David C. Edwards: How about an article about Weir and Sorensen?

Jim: Nice try

Jim: Actually, I wrote a piece on Paul Sorensen and his son Cody who played for Idaho State. The story was about radio announcers who are calling a game that their son is playing in.

KHB_GoEags: FCS Football twitter posted 30 min ago that they would announce in minutes.... still nothing.

Jim: Thanks for the update!

KHB_GoEags: Jim- Are you going to CP?

Jim: No, for several reasons: 1) cost 2) late kickoff and then a frenzied trip to a charter flight that leaves too soon for me to write anything decent 3) I have GU women's basketball Friday night.

Jim: That's the last game I miss, however!

David C. Edwards: That's right I do remember that. What's your prediction Jim?

Jim: OK, let's hear some scores ... I have it EWU 52, Cal Poly 34

KHB_GoEags: It's going to be 80 degrees on Saturday, I can't wait for some of that Cali sun and heat!!!!!

Guest5379 (guest): The team doesn't let you ride their charters?

Jim: Yes, I'm on the charters, but they leave almost immediately after the game.

Guest5375 (guest): 42-41 EAGS

Jim: A close one!

GoEags88: 38-20 EWU

KHB_GoEags: CP 37, EWU 52

Guest5379 (guest): 62-21 Eags

David C. Edwards: 5375 ...that's too close for my blood

Casey (guest): I think our defense gets some turnovers (Bruce will get a pick) and keeps them under 30. EWU 45-24

Jim: D is forcing the picks with great pressure from Ebukam and Co.

Guest5379 (guest): Gubrud has another ~500+ yardage day and shows is performance (which many QBs would love to have)was just pedestrian...

Casey (guest): Yes. Rushed passes lead to ducks. Fettig snagged one last week.

Jim: Isn't it amazing that 500 yards from Gubrud doesn't raise eyebrows anymore!

David C. Edwards: NCAA FCS website has our game as the one to watch this week

Jim: Of course.

Guest5375 (guest): I am always surprised by Gage's numbers. During the game it never seems that great. After Game it like 'He did it again"

Jim: Still waiting on the NCAA ... then back to my feature on the shortest starter for EWU. Guesses?

Guest5375 (guest): Jabari Wilson?

GoEags88: Custer

Casey (guest): My man Alcobendas

Guest1296 (guest): V A

Jim: None of the above!

Guest5375 (guest): Jim Allen?

Casey (guest): I was kidding

Jim Hey I'm 5-10! And a quarter!

Casey (guest): Gotta be one of the DBs. Gamboa

Jim: Nope, but he's a defender ... got his first start vs.No. Iowa

Jim: Great personality too!

David C. Edwards: ESPNU...get off your FBS horse

Jim: Agreed!

Jim: I like FBS less all the time (maybe because my Ducks are so awful this year!

GoEags88: Njoku?

Jim: Bingo!

Jim: Look for that in Friday's paper!

Casey (guest): Or maybe because the polls are absurd! I could rant all day about the way the rankings work in FBS.

Jim: Yes they are. Husky fans should be torqued that they're No. 5 in the playoff rankings

David C. Edwards: Enough of the Washington stuff ...we all know who is the best team in Washington State

Jim: Can't go much longer, right??

Guest5375 (guest): Thought on the Fordham game?

Jim: I want to go to New York, but it's all about me, you know!

Casey (guest): I don't think Husky fans should be upset. Louisville has a better claim than A&M.The Huskies, like Sam Houston State, are unbeaten against NOBODY. They win out and they will be fine.

Jim: Pro-SEC bias

Casey (guest): The committee? I am not. I HATE the SEC. The football is ugly and they beat up on each other. Beating other middling teams doesn't make you good. Bama the exception.

Guest5375 (guest): I think Best Bill could do? Scheduling is getting harder and harder for us

Jim: In Chaves' defense, it's very hard to schedule non-conference FCS teams.

Casey (guest): Bill and the staff do a great job getting tough games.

Jim: Would you say that if EWU had started out 0-3?

Casey (guest): It is pretty costly to go to Fargo or NIU. Going further away only costs more.

David C. Edwards: Uggghh lost my feed for ESPNU

Casey (guest): I would Jim. It only makes you better to play tougher competition. When your aspirations are national titles you don't need cupcakes.

Jim: Cupcakes make you fat,not hungry!

Casey (guest): This team has those aspirations. Win the league first of course, but winning the league won't be enough for this team.

Guest5375 (guest): Unfortunately, not as many teams in the West and who want to play EWU anymore.

Guest1296 (guest): Don't need mergers row either

Casey (guest): Is Saturday's game streaming somewhere? I don't believe its on root is it?

Jim: Watch BigSkyTV

Casey (guest): Sweet! I have the app. That will work

Guest1296 (guest): What time

Casey (guest): I'm not waiting for the ESPNU deal. It will be fun to discuss next week. I gotta run though. Have a great weekend!Thank Jim and Go Eags!!!

KHB_GoEags: 6:05pm kick off

Jim: Agreed, we've gone 80 minutes and I have to get back to work.

Jim: Next week, guys!



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

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