Jumped on the Big Sky coaches conference call today to listen to Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin, but since I’m a Montana grad, I also like to hear what’s going on around the league. And with Mike Kramer back in the conference with Idaho State, it was going to be entertaining.
Obviously there has been discussion about Eastern Washington quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s interview with Dave “Softy” Mahler on 950 KJR yesterday. Mitchell talked about playing FCS teams when he was with SMU and how teams can’t help but overlook them at times.
Toward the end of the interview, he was asked for a prediction.
“EWU fans show up, they scream loud and they get to watch their boys another game,” he said.
It’s far from bulletin board material or Chad Ochocinco territory.
Here’s what Baldwin had to say:
“I certainly don’t want a quarterback who gives a prediction that he thinks we are going to lose the game,” Baldwin said. “That’s the way I look at it. I’ve said to people too. It’s no disrespect to anyone. I think the Huskies are a tremendous football team. I think the coaching staff has done a tremendous job.”
“But in terms of my quarterback, I hope to God he thinks and he feels we are going to win this ball game. I wouldn’t want anything different. Now sometimes you get caught in your 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, well, no, we are going over there with the mindset that we are going to win, and that’s what I want everyone else on that bus thinking.”
Montana coach and former Oregon and WSU assistant Robin Pflugrad called the UW-Eastern game very “interesting.”
“With Eastern’s quarterback, boy, I hate to predict anything, but he’s a really good player, and I know the other team doesn’t have a very experienced quarterback , and that can be a big deal in the opening game.”
Pflugrad said Eastern had a shot this weekend.
“I do. You know I have some Cougar in me as you know. And I know some of the Husky coaches real well and I know they will be prepared. I think they are going to have a great year this year. However, Coach Baldwin is a tremendous coach. I think they have a tremendous staff. They’ve done a great job recruiting all through the state and supplementing with the East Bay of California, they have some tremendous players. They have experience. They have an experienced quarterback that’s been in big venues. I don’t count them out of that game at all.”
“I also think (Montana State) that will be very an interesting game at Utah. I really don’t know if Utah is quite as strong as they’ve been. But I know Montana State will be very strong. They played Washington State down to the wire. And I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened down in Salt Lake City.”
Other quotes from Baldwin …
On the Puget Sound being a base of his recruiting…
“It’s very important. I think any time you get a chance to play up a level, you get to play a Pac 12 team or whoever it might be, it adds some extra exposure to your team, especially from a recruiting standpoint in that area. So you add to the fact that this it’s an in-state team, Pac-12 team, it’s an area we recruit heavily, it just intensifies that fact in terms of just kids picking up the paper, kids seeing the game on Root Sports, kids seeing the highlights on the local news station, it all adds to that in terms of recruiting.
On wide receiver Nick Edwards, who hails from Foss High School in Tacoma and the other recievers.
The three that started in our last couple games were all sophomores in Nick, Greg Herd and Brandon Kaufman. They still feel like they have a lot of growth and they have a lot things they can get better at and improvements they can make.
I talked about guys being mature and guys handling situations and Nick’s at the top of that list. Nick carries himself in a way – he basically prepares in the offseason, prepares at practice, prepares in film like he’s a professional.
They truly approach the offseason with the idea, “we are going do a lot of little things, like film study, extra work, things to get better,” even coming off a good year as a corps.
Talked a little with Kramer about Anthony Boyles, who came to UW as a four-star receiving recruit and ended up never seeing the field and even trying a position switch.
Kramer was fairly critical of Tyrone Willingham’s staff for the handling of Boyles early on and killing his confidence as a player. He said Boyles never really learned the basics of how to play receiver under that regime.
As for the position switch, Kramer wasn’t critical of Steve Sarkisian’s staff doing that.
But he did say, that ISU was basically having to teach Boyles the basics of being a college wide receiver.
I will have the complete quotes a little later.
Also keeping with the former Husky theme, Portland State coach Nigel Burton said running back Willie Griffin is dinged up and will be a game-time decision for the opener, but he believes Griffin will be a major part of their offense this season.
“He’s doing a nice job, he’s just kind of been plagued by injuries since he’s been here,” Burton said. “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.”