Jim : Hello, EWU football fans, this is Spokesman-Review beat writer Jim Allen. Please send your questions and I’ll start posting at the top of the hour.
KHB_GoEags: Do you anticipate that we will be without both Kupp and Karstetter this weekend?
Jim : Hello, KHB, my understanding is that both players are questionable for this week.
KHB_GoEags: How was the morale been this week; coming from the TTU game and the weather putting a damper on practicing on our field?
Jim : It’s hard to tell … players seemed upbeat at the indoor facility on Tuesday, but the smoke is an issue,
Guest7710 (Guest): Is Karstetter a new issue or same as last year”
KHB_GoEags: Kupp is sprained ankle from practice last week, right? And Karstetter’s injury is what?
Jim : Kupp has a high ankle sprain that kept him out of last week’s game.
Jim : I do not know the nature of Karstetter’s injury. I heard second-hand that he’s questionable, but I’m not sure.
Jim : Eastern has a new policy this year: no injury reports in its weekly press release.
KHB_GoEags: I don’t want to dwell on Saturday, but what do you feel are the reasons for the “out of character” showing we had? Heat/humidity?
Jim : Not the weather - heck, it was 10-12 degrees warmer in Cheney last week than in Lubbock, and only slightly less humid …
KHB_GoEags: It felt like a sweat box, ha ha ha.
Jim : …the offense has a serious issue in the passing game. Those tough catches that Kupp and Co. made last year were taken for granted.WRs didn’t make those last week.
Jim : Defense couldn’t sustain the pass rush and didn’t tackle well in space.
Guest7710 (Guest): Team didn’t show up after halftime. Worries me that we have a team without leaders
Jim : Quiet team captains in Gubrud, Sblendorio, Havili and Lino.Don’t judge them yet, they were elected for a reason.
Guest7710 (Guest): However I believe we will come out Saturday to defend the red
Jim : They’ll have to defend a balanced offense and a mobile QB in Easton Stick. It won’t be easy.
Jim : I was disappointed that they couldn’t put more pressure on a very immobile QB last week.
KHB_GoEags: In what ways are TTU similar to NDSU? How are they different?
Jim : Totally different offenses. NDSU runs on two-thirds of its plays, while TT was a pass-first team. Also the mobility of the QB,something EWU has struggled with in the past.
KHB_GoEags: I thought D came out firing on all cylinders, then felt when the offense couldn’t get into a rhythm, D didn’t get much of a break.
Jim : Exactly.
Jim : Play selection is a big issue this week. Last week EWU ran 36 and passed 36, much more balanced than under Baldwin - especially against FBS teams.
KHB_GoEags: I felt the run game was a bit forced, BUT was glad to see it.McPherson did well.
Jim : In 2008, Baldwin’s first game as HC, his QB Matt Nichols threw it 61 times. Eagles still lost 49-24, but I think that’s the only way EWU is going to beat an FBS team.
Jim: How is fan morale after last week? And fan expectations for the season - has that changed?
Guest7710 (Guest): Agree with KHB, take what D gives you and don’t force either run or pass. My guess was 50% was the goal.
Jim : Yes 50 percent was probably the goal, but I don’t agree that you can beat a Power-5 team with that formula.
KHB_GoEags: I’ve seen a lot of panic, but, I think of a lot of that is we have been extremely spoiled.
Jim : Yes, looking at the fan forums, the same fans who predicted a win at TT are now expecting to lose to the Bison!
Guest7710 (Guest): Panic in fans? or Team? Have not heard about in Team.Fans are Fans if you know what I mean
Jim : Fans!
Jim : And yes, I’ve always thought that “fan” is short for “fanatic,”that everything is either great or horrible and never in-between.
KHB_GoEags: I don’t expect to lose, there is a lot of talent on this team. But,if we play like we did on Saturday, then a loss is in the forecast.
Jim : I think fans are in “prove it” mode this week; that is, they want the team to show that it can rebound from adversity.
Jim : For the record, EWU has had three 0-2 starts in the last decade (in 2008, 2011 and 2015) and missed the playoffs each time - and those are the only times they’ve missed the postseason during that period.
KHB_GoEags: Right. That is tough, don’t you think? I mean how do you prepare for a team like NDSU after that showing at TTU? That’s why I was so curious about the morale.
Jim : Anyone else out there? How’s your morale?
KHB_GoEags: Have you spoken to Gage this week?
Jim : No, just after the game in Lubbock. He was very down and a class act. At least he was willing to talk - not all players were.
Guest7710 (Guest): Hey
Jim : Hey, 7710!
Jim : Sidenote: I just checked the Spokane Air Quality Index (AQI) and it just moved up to 276. That weather system is coming tonight, right?
KHB_GoEags: That’s what I have heard, tonight, and tomorrow suppose to be better.
Jim : The AQI is now 40 points HIGHER than last night. Gotta wonder about contingency plans, but every one is tight-lipped about that right now.
Guest7710 (Guest): I think the “fans” are showing bandwagon characteristics. Only 3 on the Chat with 6 viewers Hi viewers its ok join us
Jim : Nobody wants to talk when the team is losing?
KHB_GoEags: I’m sure Admin is being tight-lipped, but, in the event that weather doesn’t clear up- have you heard alternative plans?
Jim : I wrote a roundup on the weather issue, and here it is:http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/sep/06/schools-make-contingency-plans-while-hoping-smoky-/
KHB_GoEags: And travel plans for NDSU; assuming they are leaving tomorrow?
Jim : That’s right. Teams always fly the day before - except EWU next week. They will leave for New York via charter on Thursday.
Guest7710 (Guest): I know bison can run the ball, is new QB a competent thrower
Jim : For sure he’s a good thrower (17-26-257 2TD last year vs.EWU. And he isn’t new. Easton Stick subbed for half of 2015 when Carson Wentz was injured, and he became the full-time starter last year.
KHB_GoEags: Who stood out to you last week; both on offense and defense?
Jim : On defense, Terence Grady stood out. What’s even more impressive is that he was coming off a redshirt year in the middle of his college career. That move by Baldwin last year is looking like genius right now.
Guest7710 (Guest): thought he was a senior last year my bad.
Jim : No real standouts on defense, sorry.
Guest7710 (Guest): Agreed on TG. I thought the 1st few series the D line looked real good. Once QB started getting the ball out quick was when we had trouble
KHB_GoEags: Yes, that, and I think D was gassed out with lack of offense.
Jim : Let’s talk about the passing game. Should Eastern be more balanced (and risk losing its identity)?
Guest7710 (Guest): I was surprised by fundamentals ie. catch and throwing ,tackling
Jim : Good point, 7710.
KHB_GoEags: Yes and no. Yes, because it clearly has hurt us in the past, by not having control of the clock. No, because it’s our strength. Specifically Gage.
Jim : My other concern. Does this team have the ability to go downfield with consistency? I didn’t see that on Saturday. Dink, dunk and run could be the way to go, though Saturdays at Roos might become less exciting.
Jim : Just win, baby - right?
KHB_GoEags: It seemed as if we were forcing the running game (which I understand doing more of it) a it much, and we couldn’t get into a rhythm.
GoEags (Guest): I’d just like to see some consistency… EWU looked great at times, but just couldn’t finish a drive…
Jim : That’s partly due to not being able to spread the field with the deep ball.
KHB_GoEags: Lots of talent on the field, and experience. Unfortunately, a few dropped balls does take away the momentum.
Guest7710 (Guest): In the last few Semi Final losses, a balanced O may have paid off. However getting to the Semi’s has been a result of throwing the ball and speading out the field. The student-athletes we have recruited are attracted to this style of football.
Jim : Best post of the hour, 7710!
Guest7710 (Guest): My week is complete - a “star” from the Master.
Jim : That’s what’s made EWU football what it is. To win in December you have to GET to December. And exciting football begets the kind of recruits who will keep it going.
KHB_GoEags: Agreed, GoEags, consistency was lacking. Both sides.
Guest7710 (Guest): Welcome GoEags
KHB_GoEags: YES 7710, 100%!!!!
Guest7710 (Guest): Its ironic we need wind to clear out the smoke…but we have to pass the ball and score on Saturday to have any chance
Jim : That’s the other lousy deal this week. Wind on Saturday will definitely favor the Bison.
GoEags (Guest): How much has moving inside disrupted practices?
Jim : They were inside only on Tuesday. Practice on Wednesday was on grass at Moses Lake HS.
Jim : I’m not sure where they will be today (They’re can’t disclose due to NCAA rules - really!)
Jim : For sure it hurts - they will get to game day without a full practice on the Red.
Jim : The indoor facility has a tennis court-like surface, so that doesn’t help much,
GoEags (Guest): Lucky for them, they’re used to playing on the Red
Jim : Yes, and NDSU hasn’t been there since 2010. Anyone go to that epic game?
Jim : Today’s paper had this feature on that game:http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/sep/06/eastern-washington-north-dakota-state-havent-forgo/
Eastern Washington University Football
GoEags (Guest): No…. I was at the one before and after. EPIC!
Guest7710 (Guest): That was my favorite moment @ the Inferno ever “The ruling on the Field stands”
KHB_GoEags: They still talk about it, a lot of Bison fans calling this the “revenge” game.
Jim : Revenge? Didn’t they get that last year?
Guest7710 (Guest): No the officials did hahaha
KHB_GoEags: That’s what I have asked. And won 5 straight after 2010. I’ll never understand. Ha ha ha
Jim : This is quite a rivalry, considering this will be only the third meeting EVER between these schools.
GoEags (Guest): ugh, so many close plays that could’ve had us match up.
Jim : EWU didn’t hold up its end in those semifinal losses in ‘12, ‘13 and last year. “Ugh” is right.
KHB_GoEags: Right, but the times we have played them it’s been OT and a battle!!
Jim : Anybody going to predict OT this year? Let
Jim : Let’s hear some predictions!
Jim : I have to go with NDSU this week, 34-27
Guest7710 (Guest): 38-31 EWU wins on the Inferno
Jim : That’s the same score as the epic in 2010 - wouldn’t that be amazing.
GoEags (Guest): No score, but I predict a W. Sometimes you need a loss like last week to light the fire.
Jim : That fire certainly was lit last weekend.
Guest7710 (Guest): I knew you would get that
KHB_GoEags: Hey, 7710, great minds think alike! That’s the score I’m predicting as well.
KHB_GoEags: I also agree with a game like TTU, it fuels the fire (no pun) as well as the rivalry that NDSU brings.
Guest7710 (Guest): I just check weather Underground and winds are going pick up starting Friday afternoon through Saturday. Tie down the tailgate tents. On yea it always blows in Cheney
Jim : No doubt the team will be fired up. Gotta stretch the field on offense, and play disciplined defense with strong tackling in space - that will make the difference.
Guest7710 (Guest): Thanks again Jim. We will get the “Fans” here next week
Jim : That’ll do it for this week – we’ll see you again next week!
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