During the Big Sky conference Wednesday morning, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin talked about Saturday’s game at Washington.
Here’s the transcript.
(Opening comments and thoughts on facing UW coach Chris Petersen) “We’re familiar because how well the job he did at Boise. He was amazing and I don’t see anything different now that he’s at UDub and with his staff as well. We all know that. It’s not just a head-coach deal, it’s your whole staff. We know we’re going to be up for it. You can already see it in that first game how well they’re coached and in terms of what type of challenges they’re going to bring from that standpoint. On the other side of it when you’re talking about the players, you’re talking about in my opinion – sometimes you can look at a Pac-12 team and say yeah maybe they’re a little down here and not quite to the Pac-12 level – but I don’t see that in any area of their team. They have incredible speed on offense. Their O-line has great size and defensively they definitely have all-league players at each level in terms of their defensive line. Their backers no question is as athletic as we’ve ever played against. And then their secondary is really strong with one standout in No. 21 (Marcus Peters). So they’re a tough challenge both physically in what they bring and also from a standpoint of structure and coaching. They’ll bring something special there as well. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but our guys are excited about it there’s no question. Like I heard (Sacramento State coach Jody Sears) talk about it, if you don’t guys in your locker room that aren’t excited by this type of challenge, then the right guys aren’t in your program. So the guys are that way for sure.”
(On Quincy Forte not playing last week) “Quincy had a foot sprain so we held him out. You’re looking at the season as a marathon too. It’s a long season. We wanted to be smart about what we did with him. He got a lot done and we expect him to be back playing this week. I think he is kinda one of the unsung guys in our offense there’s no question about it. A lot of attention goes to (Cooper Krup) and the receiving corps and obviously (Vernon Adams Jr.), but aspects of our offensive line has steadily improved (to help) a guy like Quincy Forte. He adds a different dynamic. People forget that he was darn near seven yards a carry and 1,300 yards last year. He caught a ton of balls out of the backfield. Probably does play with as big a motor as any guy on this team. Maybe as any guy as I’ve coached. He’s that impressive. When he’s on special teams, whatever he’s doing, it is full go, full tilt. He brings a lot to our offense both statistically and helping us win and just an attitude at practice and everywhere else he goes.”
(On 30-27 loss at UW in 2011 giving EWU confidence) “We haven’t really talked about that experience. Because we’ve gotten to play these types of games year after year, we’ve had a few guys who were involved in that game, but for the most part a lot of those guys are gone unless they were playing as very young players. Their are some. You have to look more at the more recent games. In 2012 battling with WSU we came up a little short in going to get that win. Last year obviously putting together a great game at Oregon State against a very good Oregon State team. I think it’s a culmination of just consistency, being able to just be in these type of games. Added to that being in some big Big Sky games and some playoff games. That helps you to understand once you get past the 70,000 fans or whatever it is, and once you get past the label of the Pac-12 that yeah they’re a little bigger, a little faster and a little stronger. They’re obviously well coached. But it’s still their 11 versus our 11 and this is what we’re going to do to have success on this particular play and move on to the next one. So yeah there’s a little bit of confidence, but I think it’s a plethora of experience and it’s not just the 2011 game.”
(On EWU players perhaps wanting to play for UW and using that as motivation) “Yeah. I think it’s just human nature and I don’t really have to talk about it much. It’s human nature that they have that little chip on their shoulder. There’s that feeling like maybe they were a notch below being recruited by a Pac-12 team like the University of Washington and WSU. So yeah, you’re going to have that when you play a team that you grow up watching. Especially our team. Seventy percent of our team is from the state of Washington so yeah that’s naturally there without me having to say it. And it’s human nature and I like it that the guys feel that way.”
(On what’s changed at UW under Petersen) “It’s hard to say after one game and you’re also talking about one game in which they played a different quarterback then we’re going see. So I think for us, it’s still a bit of a mystery. Obviously they lost some big-play guys in their tight end and (Bishop Sankey) the running back, but their speed at receiver has not been diminished at all. I think anyone who saw the Hawaii game saw that. I know it’s probably a little bit more sporadic than they would have liked. They would have liked it to be more consistent, but it’s Game 1. That happens a lot in Game 1 or any time early in the year. But you can see that they can score from anywhere on the field because of their athleticism and speed. I think we’ll learn more about their offense and what they’re doing when they have their quarterback back this week against us and we’ll just have to be ready to adjust and follow our rules and not get too concerned with guessing exactly what tempo they’re going to play or what they’re going to get in and out of and react to it and make in-game adjustments.”
(On which UW offensive players concern him) “No. 1 (John Ross III) and No. 4 (Jaydon Mickens). You saw Ross get after it pretty well. They’re fast. They really are. Obviously getting to see the quarterback from last year (Cyler Miles) in limited action he definitely – you didn’t necessarily see him make a ton of throws yet not because he can’t but because he only got to see limited action. But you could see when plays break down or when things are a little bit off, he can make something happen. That’s one of the toughest things on any defense. He’s a guy. It may not be fun for us to watch, but I know it’s going to be fun for fans to watch him play the quarterback position because he can make things happen. He’s athletic and he can throw it. We haven’t had as much data to truly see a lot of stuff there, but the speed in those receiver positions – they got a couple of guys that can run right up there. Playing (Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks) last year, he was the fastest guy that we had played and I think that proved to be the case later on when he ran at the combine. But if these guys are behind him, then it isn’t by much that’s for sure. They can run. We’re going to have our hands full that way.”