Courtesy of Eastern Washington Athetics
For obvious reason, Beau liked what he saw out of Bo and â€œBeau.â€
Easternâ€™s offense rolled up 427 passing yards and 106 on the ground as Eastern Washington University wrapped up its second full week of spring football practices with a 79-play scrimmage Saturday (April 17) at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash. Eastern returns to Woodward Field next Saturday (April 24) for the annual Red-White Game at 2 p.m.
Transfer quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 15-of-21 passes for 202 yards, including a pair of touchdown strikes to sophomore Nicholas Edwards. Junior Darriell Beaumonte led the running game with five rushes for 58 yards, including a bone-crushing 29 yard run, a week after the player nicknamed â€œBeauâ€ rushed for 98 yards in EWUâ€™s first scrimmage of the spring.
â€œWe operated a little bit better on offense than we did the week before,â€ said third-year head coach Beau Baldwin. â€œWe moved the ball a little bit better, got into a better rhythm and played a little faster.â€
Easternâ€™s other two quarterbacks who played were also impressive. Junior Nick Gauthier was 12-of-19 for 91 yards and freshman redshirt Anthony Vitto was 7-of-10 for 134 yards and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Greg Herd. A sophomore who lettered as a true freshman last season, Herd also had a 30-yard completion from Vitto and finished with four catches for 80 yards. Edwards finished with three grabs for 48 yards.
Freshman redshirt running back Daniel Johnson added 63 yards from scrimmage -- 30 on eight rushes and another 33 on six receptions. Despite a pair of interceptions, including one on a shovel pass by Mitchell that was picked-off by sophomore Evan Cook, Baldwin was impressed by the way the offense cleaned-up mistakes from the previous week. Eastern fumbled three times (losing one) and had a pair of interceptions in last weekâ€™s 57-play scrimmage.
â€œWe still turned it over too many times, but we definitely took care of the football better from a fumble standpoint,â€ Baldwin said. â€œOne of the interceptions Iâ€™ll put on myself as much as anything -- we tried a little shovel pass. We got better in (the turnover) area but weâ€™re still not where we need to be.â€
Sophomore linebacker Tyler Washburn led the defense with nine tackles, and recently converted quarterback Jeff Minnerly had seven from his safety position. Sophomore safety Erich Armstrong had five tackles and a pair of passes broken up, and freshman redshirt linebacker J.C. Agen added five tackles after getting eight last week.
Sophomore Jerry Ceja had two of the teamâ€™s three sacks, with the other one recorded by Levi Reynolds. The other interception was by walk-on Shane Stagg.
â€œDefensively weâ€™re flying around,â€ said Baldwin of a defense that did not have available several returning starters who were out with injuries or taking the scrimmage off. â€œWeâ€™re still looking for depth and weâ€™re finding guys. When we watch film, weâ€™ll probably see some of those players stepping up and making plays. We have a lot of twos and threes who will work their way on our travel squad and maybe starting. Thatâ€™s a neat thing on both sides of the ball.â€
Baldwin came away impressed by the teamâ€™s quarterback play, including Mitchell. He came to Eastern this spring from Southern Methodist University where he started all 19 of the games he played.
â€œHeâ€™s playing really well, especially for a player who has only been here nine practices,â€ said Baldwin. â€œEverybody sees the physical tools -- they are there. He can fling the ball around, and not only that, he can put touch on the ball and put it in spots. Heâ€™s making a few mental mistakes, but there arenâ€™t as many as you usually get from somebody who just got here -- thatâ€™s what has impressed me the most about him.
â€œNick and Anthony are the next two guys getting a lot of reps and theyâ€™ll continue to battle,â€ Baldwin added of the five-player battle at quarterback as EWU seeks to replace two-time Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year Matt Nichols. â€œThose three players will probably get the majority of snaps through the rest of the spring and weâ€™ll go from there. I want to go into the summer with a starter. I think itâ€™s good for the team to know that.â€
Baldwin also came away impressed by the progress this week of Minnerly, a 2008 graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., who moved to safety on Tuesday (April 13). The sophomore hasnâ€™t played defense since his freshman year in high school.
â€œLast week when I did watch film of him and see the things he was doing, I was very impressed with him for a player who hasnâ€™t played defense for a long time,â€ Baldwin explained. â€œI think he was more nervous about it than some of the coaches. I was impressed, but I wasnâ€™t shocked -- I was impressed how quickly he got out there and knew where to go, and made an interception in practice. We have to huddle more when Jeff is out there because he knows every play. Iâ€™m very happy with his progress and the move we made with Jeff.â€