Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Eastern Washington Eagles 2010 Review

2010 Record: 13-2 (7-1), Tied 1st Big Sky
2010 Playoffs: Won National Championship
2010 Schedule/Results
@ Nevada, L 49-24
Central Washington, W 35-32
Montana, W 36-27
@ Montana State, L 31-7
@ Weber State, W 35-24
Northern Arizona, W 21-14
@ Northern Colorado, W 35-28
Sacramento State, W 28-24
@ Portland State, W 50-17
Southern Utah, W 31-24
Idaho State, W 34-7
Southeast Missouri State, W 37-17
North Dakota State, W 38-31
Villanova, W 41-31
Delaware, W 20-19

397.1 yards per game

There are many transfers that come from higher profile FBS schools to FCS schools when things don't quite work out. These players often land and do great things, and rarely has a transfer made as much an impact as QB Bo Levi Mitchell when he came from SMU. Mitchell was incredible in 15 games with the Eagles, and after a bumpy start, he went on a run where everything came together. When the season was said and done, Mitchell had eclipsed the competition in the conference and had passed for 3496 yards and 37 TDs. Nobody came within 14 TD passes of Mitchell in the Big Sky. Mitchell is back in 2011, which is incredible news for the national champs.
The running game was having a dream season thanks to the legs of Taiwan Jones, a finalist for our All-Bilo RB of the Year. Jones was by far the best running back in the Big Sky, as he rushed for 1742 yards and 14 TDs, but he also led the conference in all-purpose yards with 2421 on the season. He averaged over 200 yards per game in total production. Injuries got the wheels turning, and an injury had him missing the championship game. He decided to try to save his body, so he has left a year early for the NFL. The good news is that Mario Brown, a freshman last season, got the opportunity to shine, and that's what he did in the finals. Darriell Beaumont will be back in 2011 to back him up, giving the Eagles solid depth to take the load off of Mitchell.
When your QB has a huge season, it means that the receivers benfit from that action, and benefit they did. Brandon Kaufman, a sophomore in 2010, was a beast in the passing game, having caught 76 passes for 1214 yards and 15 TDs. Nicholas Edwards, also a sophomore, was a very nice compliment with 57 catches for 614 yards and 7 TDs. Greg Hurd will be the third receiver returning who was only a sophomore, having caught 32 passes for 374 yards. Tyler Hart will be the 4th receiver, as a senior in 2011. Zack Gehring was only a freshman in 2010 at TE, and is just another key to what should be an amazing offense next fall.
The Eagles lose a couple of key linemen from the magical 2010 run, but 12 linemen in all return in 2011, and 6 linemen have been recruited. Depth should not be a problem.


3 of the 4 best D Linemen will return in 2011, including Renard Williams, who collected 16 TFLs in 2010. Tyler Jolley, who collected 10 TFLs on the season, will be the lone departure on the line. Anthony Larry played huge as a freshman, and Jerry Ceja was a sophomore. Both were nice compliments to the abilities of Williams. David Gaylord should step into the rotation on a bigger level, as he collected 6 tackles behind the line as a part time player in 2010.
It will be very difficult to replace the productivity of JC Sherritt, who collected 11.73 tackles per game over 15 games. Sherritt should more than find work on Sundays next fall. Zach Johnson, who had just under 9, will be a senior, and should be able to pick up some of the pace as the primary playmaker up front. Tyler Washburn recorded 5.73 tackles per game, and was just a sophomore. More will be asked of him coming up in 2011, as he will be the #2 backer. Paul Ena will compete for Sherritt's open slot.
There will be some depth issues in the secondary as well in 2011. 40% of the group is gone that played solid minutes. Matt Johnson will be the biggest loss, as he collected 5 picks in 2010, but moves on due to graduation. Jesse Hoffman leaves as well, but was not the biggest playmaker in America. There will be many opportunities for young players, but the Eagles were young in most places in 2010 and parlayed that into the title.

Mike Jarrett was not at his best in 2010 as the PK. Johnson only connected on 10 of 19 FGs, and so should be pushed somewhat in spring ball. Expect him to come into the fall as the starter, but these numbers need to get better, obviously, for him to hold onto the job. Cameron Zuber avergaed just over 40 yards per punt in 2010, but that was only good enought to rank 5th out of 9 punters in the conference that saw regular time. Zuber will be gone, so there will be open competition in the spring.
Both primary kick returners will be gone in Jesse Hoffman and Taiwan Jones. Hoffman returned 3 kicks for TDs on the season, so that's a huge blow.


The Eagles were an unlikely champion in 2010, one that nobody really saw coming. They won't be as stealthy to make their return run in 2011, but the talent is there to make that run. If HC Beau Baldwin can work some magic at LB and in the secondary, look for EWU to run with Montana and Montana State again. The Eagles should very much remain on the radar with Bo Levi Mitchell at the QB helm.

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