Offense rules day in first EWU spring scrimmage
Eastern Washington receiver Kendrick Bourne hauls in a pass at last Saturday's first spring scrimmage despite the efforts of cornerback Frank Cange. Bourne had a pair of touchdown catches as the offense rolled 30-6. They'll go at it again this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the red turf at Roos Field.
Eastern Washington head football coach Beau Baldwin seemed to evoke a little Grantland Rice when talking about his team's first football scrimmage of the year staged April 12 at Roos Field.
Rice, a noted sportswriter from the 1920s, coined that age-old axiom of "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game," to conclude his famous poem, "How you played the game."
"We don't get caught up in whether the offense or defense wins the scrimmage," Baldwin said. "We have seen both perform to an extreme level at times, but what we want to do is not to focus on the end result."
On paper that end result was 30-6 victory for the offense in which a pair of sophomore receivers, Kendrick Bourne and All-American Cooper Kupp each scored a pair of touchdowns, rolling up a 30-0 lead before freshman Moe Roberts' pick-six for 75 yards concluded the scrimmage.
Sophomore Jordan West, a backup behind All-America starter Vernon Adams, connected with Kupp on a TD pass, while Adams tossed three scoring passes, two to Bourne and one to Kupp, a one-play, 65-yard strike. Trevor Merritt also hit on a 20-yard field goal.
Adams was 10-of-12 for 139 yards. West went 6-of-8 for 99 yards while Conner Richardson connected on one of three passes for four yards. The three QBs combined for 242 yards hitting 17-of-23 passes in the 47-play morning scrimmage. Eastern added 59 yards on the ground, led by walk-on running back Reece Mahaffy from Coeur d'Alene who had 39 yards on six carries.
Kupp finished with five catches for 105 yards and Bourne three catches for 45 yards.
"I told the players to take it play by play and grade themselves," Baldwin said. "It doesn't matter if it was a touchdown or if it was a tackle for loss in the backfield, there still might be two or three players on the same side of the ball that had a good end result. But as a team we're still finding ways to get better on a specific play."
Adams was one of those. "I think the offense is in a different place with Vernon coming back after last year," Baldwin said. "He has a full season under his belt, compared to last spring when he was coming off splitting a lot of time in 2012."
Despite the one-sided look at the finish, Baldwin said the defense had its moments that impressed.
"We know there were some big plays on offense, but there were also some big plays the other way," Baldwin said. "We had a nice break-up in the end zone and obviously, a pick six near the tail end of the scrimmage."
Eastern's next scrimmage is this Saturday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m. at Roos. The annual Red-White Game takes place Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m., also at Roos.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.