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EWU sports live chat transcript (Sept. 29)

Jim: Hello, Eagle fans: let's talk Eastern football!.

Guest5490 (guest): 3-1 I guess the schedule was just about right

Jim: Warm-up question: who out there seriously predicted that the Eagles would be 3-1 after September?

Jim: I had it 2-2, possibly 1-3. Guest5490 (guest): I think most hoped for 2-2

KHatch_Brecek: I thought we would do 2-2, so I am pleased!

Guest9738 (guest): Even as we were beating the Cougs I still thought 2-2 would be a blessing.

Jim: I think everyone is pleasantly surprised by the performance of Gubrud and the O-line. But what else?

KHatch_Brecek: DEFENSE!!!!!!

GoEags88: Our defense for sure.

Jim: Three INTs were a huge confidence-booster after getting none in the first three games. This week the Davis coach credited the EWU D-line pressure for the improvement.

Guest9738 (guest): Secondary. I think everyone there has held their own.

Jim: For sure - I'm impressed by the tackling - very solid since the beginning of the season.

Guest5490 (guest): Who is UC Davis most like UNI?

Jim: Well, they like to run the ball and stop the run. Strong front seven but not a lot of team speed. And their QB isn't a threat to run like Aaron Bailey of UNI.

Jim: To answer the question: yes, UNI.

GoEags88: We seem to be getting more pressure on 3rd downs

Jim: Ebukam in particular had a great first four games. It's interesting, but during conference calls, when I ask opposing coaches about what scares them about Eastern's defense, they usually mention Ebukam.

Guest9738 (guest): And getting off the field on third down. Might not be a coincidence.

Jim: Since halftime of the UNI game, opponents are about 30 percent on third-down conversions. That’s amazing, especially when you recall the end of last year. Of course, they're also doing a good job of tackling on first-down running plays - opponents are facing a lot of 2nd-and-8s.

Guest5490 (guest): Running Backs (freshman) are a great surprise.

Jim: The future looks good at RB. Custer in particular got a lot of carries - not many yards, but he's a good breakaway threat.

Guest5490 (guest): I have to go early. Thanks Jim. 42-14

GoEags88: Aside from Luuga, does the UCD offense have any other threats?

Jim: Yes, their top receiver Keelan Doss, has 24 catches for 348 yards. Baldwin said on Tuesday that Davis is spreading the field more this year.

Jim: That may be through necessity, as they had to play two FBS schools (Oregon and Wyoming).

Guest9738 (guest): I know he's a little on the small side, but I am still surprised we were able to snag Custer

Jim: Yes, he was a three-star recruit. Great speed, as we saw on the KO return vs. UNI. I predict he will be the lightning and Tamarick Pierce the thunder in upcoming seasons.

Guest9738 (guest): Don't forget Talley

Jim: Small chat audience today ... are fans overconfident or just exhaling after four tough games?

Guest9738 (guest): Maybe a bit of both.

KHatch_Brecek: Ha ha, could be the exhaling?

GoEags88: Is Talley redshirting?

Jim: So far.

Jim: Barring injury to another RB, I'm sure Talley redshirts this year.

Jim: Speaking of overconfidence, the Eagles have a relatively easy next four weeks: home against Davis (picked last in the Sky) and UNC (picked 10th), then a bye followed by a trip to Montana State (picked 7th).

Guest9738 (guest): Upset possibilities? Line is at EWU -22

Jim: My point exactly: EWU is heavily favored this week. Davis' defense is solid against the run, not so much against the pass.Aggie QB is inconsistent so far and definitely not a running threat.

Guest9738 (guest): I think after last season, there is not a lot of overconfidence in the room.

GoEags88: Just hope we don't look past any of them.

Jim: Remember, it took a last-second FG to win at Northern Colorado last year - just sayin'

KHatch_Brecek: What did you think of Gage's performance?

Jim: That was my biggest question after the UNI game: how would Gubrud respond?

Jim: Obviously, very well - 479 yards total offense in the Skydome, a week after struggling in windy conditions a week earlier.

KHatch_Brecek: Can't complain when the sophomore QB, whose only started 4 games is racking up that kind of yardage, right?

Jim: That begs the question: How will Gubrud handle the next bad-weather game. Still some questions about his arm strength.

Guest9738 (guest): That's a good question. Was it the weather or was he just having a bad game?

Jim: A little of both, but some of those passes were fluttering vs. UNI.

GoEags88: Windy conditions could be his kryptonite with his finesse style of passing.

Jim: That's the worry, Eagle fans. He thrives in the short passing game, and UNI took that away. When he went deep, he was missing the mark. - again in poor weather.

Guest5536 (guest): And the weather is questionable this weekend

Jim: Yep - 62 and partly cloudy, although that's an improvement from what I saw earlier this week.

KHatch_Brecek: I still haven't been able to get an answer on this, what happened to Cookus? And who hit him?

Jim: Confession: I totally missed that until I saw the backup come in. Early in the fourth quarter, Cookus suffered a shoulder injury (he's questionable this week). And I'm not sure who hit him -can't tell from the box score: According to the play-by-play, Cookus' last play was an incomplete on third down - no mention of a tackler, which means it happened as he released the ball.

KHatch_Brecek: I've only read a shoulder injury, and out for sure this weekend.

Jim: Out - wow, that's tough for a team that was predicted to win the Sky and now is 1-3 and without their best player.

KHatch_Brecek: I read that on Twitter, not sure on the source, though. So, maybe I'm wrong. Let's hope, that would be a huge blow.

Guest9738 (guest): He got hit hard. I’m not surprised he's hurt. How did Kupp's shoulder hold up do we know? Obviously finished the game and had a nice day, but it did look like he was a little cautious.

Jim: Kupp said on Tuesday that he's doing great - he also gave a shoutout to the trainers.

GoEags88: Jim, what are your thoughts on the CP-North Dakota game? Who comes out on top?

Jim: I think Poly has a letdown on the road after that thriller over Montana.

KHatch_Brecek: Is CP that good, or did Montana just have an "off" day with some key turnovers?

Jim: Turnovers, and they couldn't handle the triple-option game.


Guest9738 (guest): Great news on the shoulder! Two big games in the Sky this week. Looking forward to seeing how the CP-UND game and the UM-SUU game turn out.

Jim: Look for the Griz to rebound big time: even in defeat, their QB had an incredible game last week at Cal Poly.

Jim: Speaking of which, the Griz come to Cheney on Oct. 29. Anyone out there NOT expecting EWU to be 6-1 going into that game?

Guest9738 (guest): Worse than 6-1 would be a big disappointment at this point.

KHatch_Brecek: Agree 9738.

Guest5536 (guest): Why does Root Sports pick up a game like EWU v UC when there are clearly better games out there?

Jim: It's complicated. When Root started broadcasting Big Sky games, every broadcast included UM or MSU. Other schools complained.

Jim: The four games for EWU is the most ever, by the way.

KHatch_Brecek: MSU has the most, I don't get it. Who wants to watch that train wreck??

Jim: I don't pretend to understand TB programming.

Guest9738 (guest): Poly - UND would make zero sense for ROOT and what Jim said about Montana.

Jim:  OK,10 minutes left before I get back to my feature story on a player who started his EWU career on defense but now has 6 TD catches and he's a captain on special teams. Guesses?

Guest5536 (guest): Hill?

Jim: Incorrect

GoEags88: Wimberley?

Jim: Very good! He's also a senior captain. He has a great story to tell - wake up and read it in Friday's Spokesman-Review!

Jim: OK, score predictions for EWU vs. UC Davis. ...

KHatch_Brecek: 52-6

Jim: I don't believe this will be close, but maybe closer than that, KHatch-Brecek!

Guest9738 (guest): I got EWU 42 UCD 21

Guest5536 (guest): 42-14 good guys

KHatch_Brecek: Defense is going to be lights out, thus the 6

GoEags88: 38-14 EWU

Guest5536 (guest): We need a confidence-building blowout game

Jim: I say 42-24 - It would be higher, but Davis has a knack for grinding it out and keeping the other offense off the field.

Jim: Of course, 24 would be a season-low for the EWU defense.

Guest9738 (guest): Thanks as always for the great Eagle coverage. Looking forward to hearing about Wimberly's travels.

Guest5536 (guest): Does Gage play the entire game?

Jim: You'd like to think that Hennessey gets in for this one. (guest): West gets reps this week. Bold prediction.

Jim: Very bold prediction!

KHatch_Brecek: Thanks for the coverage, Jim. We appreciate it!GO EAGS!

GoEags88: Thanks Jim!

Guest5536 (guest): Thanks for the work, Jim

Jim: And thank you, everyone - see you at the game and again at next week's chat!


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

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