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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 18, 2011 at 1:09 PM

An early look at Eastern Washington

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In more proof that time goes fast and all that, we’re now just 16 days away from the season opener on Sept. 3 against Eastern Washington. Which means it’s a good time to begin taking a little look at the Eagles.

Helpfully in that regard, the EWU sports info staff sent out this press release today updating the Eagles’ training camp so far (that’s Eastern QB Bo Levi Mitchell pictured in an AP photo).

Also on that site, you can find a season outlook and their media guide.

You can also read this season preview from The Spokesman-Review.

I also had a chance recently to ask a few questions of Steve Bergum, who covers the Eagles for the Review. Here are the questions and his answers about the Eagle.

1, Obviously, EWU is the defending FCS champion. Can you give a general overview of the team and if it has a chance to be as good this season?

A: The Eagles lost only six players who started last year’s title game against Delaware, so there aren’t many holes to fill. The biggest will be on defense, where they must find a replacements for Buchanan Award winner and strong-side linebacker J.C. Sherritt and cornerbacks Jesse Hoffman and Dante Calcote. Only right guard Nikolai Myers and Matt Martin, a part-time starter at tight end, will be missing from the offense. The decision of running back sensation Taiwan Jones to leave a year early for the NFL is a big blow, but the Eags found a way to win all three of the games Jones missed because of injuries — including the last two playoff games. Still, Eastern played so many close games and dug itself out of so many deep holes — thanks in many cases to some fortunate bounces and instant replay rulings — that it seems unlikely the Eagles will be a dominant team this fall, even in the Big Sky Conference. But, hey, I didn’t give them a chance when they were trailing Delaware 19-0, and look what they did.

2, Sounds like the passing attack could again be really strong, correct?

A: With Bo Levi Mitchell back at quarterback, along with his entire stable of receivers, look for the big passing numbers to continue. Mitchell has a gun, and junior wideout Brandon Kaufman, a 6-foot-5, 205-pounder, should be playing at the FBS level. Mitchell’s biggest problem last year was his inconsistency. He threw several of the worst interceptions imaginable, but never seemed to let them shake his confidence. And if he goes down with an injury, all bets are off.

3, Who is in line to replace Taiwan Jones, and is former Husky Demitrius Bronson in that mix?

A: Sophomore Mario Brown started the three games Jones missed and did a solid job, rushing for 341 yards and a touchdown on 100 carries as a true freshman. Brown is quick, but lacks Jones’ startling speed and breakaway capability. Bronson certainly played his way into the mix during spring ball, but will probably share backup duties with senior Darriell Beaumonte.

4, Finally, this is the first time UW has played an FCS team. What kind of realistic hopes do you think EWU will bring into the game?

A: The Eagles probably figure they are catching UW at a good time, with the Huskies having to break in a new quarterback, and will expect to not only play well, but win. I can’t see anyone on Eastern’s roster being intimidated, and I’m sure a few of the West Siders who thought they were good enough to play at UW, will draw some extra motivation from any perceived snub.

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