TwistNHook: I'm not even sure why we are doing this roundtable? Certainly, all us Cal fans are so knowledgeable about the Eastern Washington football team that there's nothing here that we could discuss that's new. But I guess, for the sake of DC Trojan, JShufelt, and the other non-Cal fans who frequent this site, we should discuss Eastern Washington. I guess..
Avinash: Didn't CBKWit grow up there? Maybe he can tell us about it. I remember they used to be a powerhouse before Wulff left for Wazzu.
TwistNHook: At this point, it's unclear to me if CBKWit ever existed.
HydroTech: Perhaps he was just an imagination. This should be a good test of the Cal defense's ability to handle a passing offense. Three of EWU's top three WRs had more than 50 receptions last year too. So Cal can probably expect to see plenty of 3 or more WR sets. Cal's 3-3 nickel defense will probably be on the field quite a bit for this game.
EWU's QB, Matt Nichols, doesn't appear to be much of a scrambler. In eight out of their eleven games he didn't have a longest run of over 10 yards. Most games he barely scrambles enough for positive yardage to make up for his sack yardage. Against Cal's faster defense, he probably doesn't stand too much of a chance to run any where.
TwistNHook: Maybe we shouldn't mock Eastern Washington that much (leaving more mockery available for CBKWit, who may or may not exist). Afterall, they do have 3 players selected to the Big Sky Pre-season squad:
Senior wide receiver Aaron Boyce leads the trio after earning second team All-Big Sky honors as a junior and first team accolades as a sophomore when he also earned a variety of All-America honors. He is a 2005 graduate of Kentwood High School in Kent, Wash.
The other two players honored were senior offensive tackle Chris Thomas and sophomore linebacker Zach Johnson, who both earned honorable mention all-league honors a year ago. Thomas is a 2005 graduate of Sumner (Wash.) High School and Johnson graduated in 2007 from Tumwater (Wash.) High School.
Boyce finished the 2008 season with 63 catches for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns, ranking 30th in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision in receptions per game (5.7) and 28th in reception yards per game (83.4). He enters his senior season second in school history for career catches with 183, ranking only behind the school record of 253 held by Eric Kimble (2002-05). Boyce is also fourth in touchdown catches (23) and third in receiving yards (2,696).
Avinash: Surprisingly, they did fairly well in their two meetings against D-I opponents. They trailed by 11 to Texas Tech going into the 4th quarter, they lost to Colorado by only a touchdown (and were actually up by 7 with just over three minutes to go in that game before choking it away). So they do have the capability to go into a hostile environment and be competitive.
On one side, Matt Nichols threw for nearly 3300 yards in 11 games (those are pro numbers), so we should keep in mind that our main goal should be to defend the pass. From what I see, their running game is weak; no one on EWU rushed for more than 420 yards all of last season. The Jet nearly topped that in one game.
HydroTech: So Eastern Washington's QB last year, Matt Nichols, attempted 451 passes on the year. That was over 11 games. That turns out to be about 41 pass attempts a game. Taking into account that he was also sacked 18 times last year, that's another 18 pass attempts. So really, their QB was dropping back to pass 470 times over 11 games. That's about 43 pass attempts a game. That's actually quite a bit. It seems as if EWU might be a bit pass heavy.
But let's look at their running. Their starting runningback last year ran for 115 attempts on 10 games (missed one game). That's only 11 attempts a game. That's very low for a runningback. EWU's other top two rushers (what appears to be their second RB, and FB) rushed for a combined 85 attempts. If we divide 85 by 11, we get about 8. In other words, EWU is only attempting about 19 rushing attempts a game (11+8).
Cleary, EWU seems to be a pass-happy team to a ratio of about 2:1.
TwistNHook: Here are some key facts about EWU from Wikipedia:
EWU was established in 1882 by a $10,000 grant from expressman Benjamin Pierce Cheney, and originally known as Benjamin P. Cheney Academy to honor its founder. In 1889 the school was renamed to State Normal School and once again in 1937 to Eastern Washington College of Education.
Eastern's sports mascot is the Eagle, named "Swoop," and its colors are red and white. The former mascot of the school was the "Savages", which was dropped in 1973 when the student body voted to change to the Eagles.
Some notable alumni:
Now, how much more do you hate EWU knowing that Colin Cowherd came from there????
Avinash: One thing I've always wondered; does Tedford take the pedal off with lesser opponents? Most coaches are merciless when it comes to destroying the patsies so it helps their BCS rankings and impresses the voters and all that crap. I've rarely seen Tedford do that. We rarely get to 50 in such accounts. Which just makes Wazzu '08 look even worse.
TwistNHook: Didn't he run up the score against SacState a few years ago even though there were all those stories about how Coach Tedford and the SacState coach were BFFs???
Yellow Fever: Was that the Sac State game or the Portland State game?
Avinash: Portland State. Looks like we scored all 42 in the first half.
Sacramento State. Was that Desean's first TD punt return?
TwistNHook: My mistake!
Yellow Fever: Do we really need to discuss a FCS team this much? I call 63-7.
TwistNHook: As a Cal fan who was born of the red hot fires of the Holmoecaust, I think we'll squeak out a 24-21 victory. That's just how insane I am.
Avinash: That makes your Maryland prediction all the stranger.
TwistNHook: Ya, but Maryland is good. To our twisted logic(k), we are less likely to lose to a good team! Still very likely to lose, though.