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The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

August 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Some notes from the Big Sky

You’re not going to see that headline on here very often. But I hopped on the conference call for Big Sky coaches today and heard a few things worth passing along. …

— Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin was asked about the confidence being espoused by his quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, who when asked by KJR-AM’s Dave “Softy” Mahler this week to make a prediction on the game, predicted a win for the Eagles, saying: “EWU fans show up, they scream loud and they get to watch their boys another game.” It’s clip the station has taken to playing quite a bit the last few days.

As Baldwin said today, however, it’s hard to expect his quarterback to say much of anything else, especially when asked specifically to make a prediction: “I would say that I certainly don’t want a quarterback who gives a prediction that he thinks we are going to lose the game. That’s the way I look at it. I’ve said that to people, too, and that’s no disrespect to anyone. I think the Huskies are a tremendous football team and that coaching staff has done an amazing job — the growth they made through the season says a lot about their character and their coaching and those guys. In terms of watching a whole season’s worth of last year’s film, the improvement was awesome and the effort level was awesome. So I say all that first.

“But in terms of my quarterback, I hope to God he thinks and he feels like we are going to win this ballgame. I wouldn’t want anything different. Now sometimes you get caught in your quote, unquote choice of words, or people want to bait you into some questions. But the bottom line is, if he said we are just going over there to have some fun and play a football game, no, we are going over there with the mindset that we are going to win and that’s what I want everyone on that bus thinking.”

— Count Montana coach Robin Pflugrad as one who thinks the Eagles can pull it off. Asked on the call if there were any Big Sky teams he thought had a chance to win against a Pac-12 team this weekend, he said: “Oh yeah, Eastern Washington. I have some Cougar in me (he was an assistant at WSU under Mike Price and Bill Doba), as you know, and I know the Husky coaches real well, and I think they’ll have a great season in Seattle. However, coach Baldwin is a tremendous coach, and I think they have a tremendous staff at Eastern. They have experience, an experienced quarterback who’s been in big venues, and I do not count them out of that game at all.” He also said that the “I know the other team (UW) doesn’t have a very experienced quarterback, and that can be a big deal in the opening game.” (He also mentioned Montana State as having a chance against Utah.)

— Idaho State coach Mike Kramer was asked about the progress of former UW receiver Anthony Boyles, who is now a junior for the Bengals — who open Saturday at Washington State. Said Kramer: “Anthony’s been slowed, really. He was a storied receiver out of Los Angeles, went to the UW but grayshirted. When he went there in the spring, he really wasn’t trained well. They didn’t do a good job of training him as a wideout. They ended up moving him to corner, but his passion to play the sport was as a receiver . . . essentially, he’s being trained for the first time as a college wideout.” Kramer’s reference was to Boyles’ first spring at UW in 2008, under the coaching staff of Tyrone Willingham.

Asked to elaborate on that statement, he said: “He really didn’t get a chance to play college receiver like a college receiver needs. They asked him to move to corner.” He also mentioned that Boyles earned his degree at UW and was “academically way ahead” when he came to ISU.

— Finally, Portland State coach Nigel Burton — a former UW player from 1996-98 — was asked about the progress of former Husky running back Willie Griffin. He said Griffin has been battlling some nagging injuries but that: “He’s doing a nice job, he’s just kind of been plagued by injuries since he’s been here. He’s a great kid who really busted his rump for us last year. He played through some stuff especially early in the season that caught up with him last season. We are definitely looking for him to bring a little power and maturity to our offense throughout the season.”

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