March 15, 2012

blm update.

With one pro day already completed, and another scheduled for April 4th, I wanted to give a quick update on former QB Bo Levi Mitchell. Aside from his Eastern pro day which the numbers were not released, Bo Levi also showcased his abilities in front of Canadian Football League teams, and left us with this tweet:

If it wasn't for 140 character limit, he probably would have revealed team.
As far as what team it is that contacted him, we still do not know, but the "decision to make post SMU [second pro day]" is most likely whether or not he wants to try and chase every college players lifelong dream of playing in the NFL.

One thing that is certain, Bo Levi's playing career is not over, and he will get the opportunity to keep playing a game for a living.

March 10, 2012

march madness bracket challenge.

Alright people with Sunday being the day that everyone gets seeded, I figured we should have a little bit of fun between us Eagles/Big Sky fans. I have created a Bracket Pool on CBSSports that I would love to see all the Eastern fans join. Time to find out who is the smartest  luckiest one among us!

Here is a link to the pool: http://goeags.mayhem.cbssports.com/e  and the password is goeags. Would love to see a bunch of you join, and invite your friends, as it is always for fun to compete against large groups of people!

Just don't get too upset when I come out on top!

judging success: jim hayford's first season.

With the 2011-2012 basketball season now complete for our Eastern Eagles, now seems like as good as any to take a look at the year Eastern had, and judge the success of D-III turned D-I head coach Jim Hayford.

But before I tell you what kind of success I believe Hayford had, how about a quick summary of the season...

Coming into the 2011 season, there was no doubt that the Hayford was left with some talented players who would have the opportunity to accomplish something this season. But even with a lot of those same players here a year before, Eastern was able to go just 10-20, and come up short of their goal of making the Big Sky Tournament. With the absence of Glen Dean, one of the largest questions coming in was who would replace him as the teams go to scorer?

That question got quickly answered when Jim Hayford's first recruit, Collin Chiverton, came out and scored 25 points against both Gonzaga, as well as Oregon. While Chiverton was the leading scorer for the out of conference portion of the season, we quickly found out during conference play that Cliff Colimon was one of the most explosive scorers in the Big Sky, as he became the teams MVP, and the first Eagle to be named First Team All-Big Sky in years.

Hayford led the team to one of their best out of conference record in recent times, finishing at 7-9, getting what is only the teams third ever win at the University of Idaho, and almost stealing games at both Gonzaga and Oregon. Heading into December, and Big Sky Conference play, excitement around the team was as high as it has been in a while, and people were starting to talk about what would be possible during Big Sky play.

Although Eastern was not able to capture any wins against their marquee match-ups, they did find success against those same teams, something that we all hoped would carry over into Big Sky play. Unfortunately that was not the case. Flirting with the .500 mark in conference play throughout the back half the season, Eastern was not able to get a conference win against any of the teams that finished top 3 (0-6 against Montana, Weber State, and Portland State) in the Big Sky Conference, but were still able to finish in 4th place, with an 8-8 record. We all know how it ended, winning an impressive three games in 10 days against Idaho State to advance into the quarterfinals before getting bounced out by Big Sky champion Montana.

So how should Eastern fans feel about this season? Was moving a coach from D-III to D-I a good idea? Here is how I feel about it:

Although this season may not have been what we all expected/wanted after an unexpected strong start, this was definitely a season of improvement, and one that I feel we should all look upon with happiness and promise for what next season could be.

Just by simply looking at the numbers (which you all know I love yo do,) you can see that Hayford's team improved in just about every major category, and improved five games over the 2010-2011 squad in what is probably the most important category, winning. Even in losses, Eastern was competitive in just about every game they had this season, losing many heartbreakers, including one from a calling a time out that they did not have to call.


2010 2011
Wins 10 15
PPG 67.4 72.7
FG % 40.80% 41.20%
3PT % 36.90% 35.70%
FT % 66.30% 70.90%
Reb/Gm. 34.4 34.1
Ast/Gm. 11.9 12.2
Stl/Gm. 5.8 7.1
Blk/Gm. 4 3.5


But you cannot base everything that Hayford has done on the numbers, Hayford has already done great things off the court, the place that many people believe he excels as a coach. After surrounding himself with a coaching staff that is built for success, Hayford also has done work on the recruiting trail. Bringing in Collin Chiverton as his first ever recruit, Chiv received Big Sky Newcomer of the Year while even playing hurt for the majority of the season. But Hayford also has helped himself for next year with five committed players, four of which are coming in from both Australia, and Germany, a strategy that has proven successful for programs like Gonzaga and Saint Mary's. 

But not everything Hayford did was successful this year, as the only categories Eastern led the nation in were personal fouls per game, and disqualifications. Fouling played a big factor in games, causing Eastern to play without our big men many times, as well as handing our opponents countless free throws (okay 639, but that is countless for some of us.) Also at times it seemed that Eastern struggled in the using of their timeouts, as many times late in games Hayford would find himself without any to call when needed. The team was also unable to get Laron Griffin going until the end of the year, but when they finally found ways to get him involved, it proved to be extremely successful. 

To me, the goods have more than counterbalanced the bads, and I am excited for what next season could be, with Weber State and Montana once again projected to be the favorites, but Eastern with a shot to mess up both of their dance plans.

The only place I have to judge Hayford's public opinion on is the EWU Forums, in which his stock rose and fell faster than the NYSE for the majority of the season. There were a few times in which everyone was questioning the jump that Hayford made, but with the dust all settled it now seems that everyone is fine with the way the season went, and are excited for the direction the program is heading. 

What are your opinions on Hayford's first season in Cheney? Success, failure, too soon to tell? Chime in below. 

March 9, 2012

reese court improvements.

Here it is, the first much needed improvement being made to Reese Court this offseason:

Click on the picture to read the original post.
Posted on March 9th, by "ewuticketoffice" the first improvement will be seating for the fans that do make the trip to Cheney for the basketball games. The poster talks about "black chairback seats," but is not clear on whether or not the seats will extend around the entire ground level, or just be placed on the bench side of the arena. One thing is for certain, Hayford's recruiting efforts are already making a difference, and I am looking forward for what else may be in store as the post title is "First new addition to Reese Court." As more information comes out, I will be sure to pass it on to everyone.

With bleachers behind the baskets, that will undoubtly be many students favorite place to sit, and could possibly provide Eastern with what could be an actual home court advantage. Wouldn't it be great to see Reese Court turn back into this?


Here is a link to the forums for those who aren't already on them, come join in on the converation: EWU Forums

Also, tomorrow morning I will recap Hayford's first season as EWU Head Coach, and give my take on the success I believe he had. 

What do you think of the improvements being made to Reese Court? What else would you like to see done?

March 8, 2012

padron transfer.

As many of you have probably already seen or read, Eastern is receiving a transfer at the quarterback position, that will look to compete for the starting job from the minute he steps on campus. The former SMU quarterback has announced his transfer as he departs the Dallas area for Cheney. No, you aren't reading a story from 2009, and Eastern has not added yet another Bo, Beau, or Bowe to the roster. Instead the Eagles are looking at their second SMU QB transfer in Kyle Padron, and hopefully a smoother transition then what was originally expected after Bo Levi Mitchell's departure from Eastern. In case you were lost in the fields behind Roos Field for a few years, Kyle Padron was the player that replaced Bo Levi at SMU after he lost his job against the Cougs.

Kyle Padron will be competing with returning junior Anthony Vitto, as well as incoming freshman Bowe Merrin who is holding the advantage in the name department. But if public opinion is any way to judge this early spring race, Kyle Padron is already taking the snap against Idaho on September 1st. Expectations for Padron may be higher than normal as he is following directly behind the footsteps of National Champion and Walter Payton winner Bo Levi, whose success here at Eastern is an obvious selling point into bringing Padron to EWU as well. But the biggest selling point for KP appears to be winning, and he wants to do it the same way as his predecessor, on the grand stage. Padron has made it known via twitter (@kpadron2) that winning a national championship is his main goal.

Padron was no slouch while at SMU, throwing for over 3,800 yards in his sophomore season, before suffering am injury that left him sidelined after only the third game of the season. With his backup finding success in the offense, Padron found himself sitting in the same spot as his still friend Bo Levi Mitchell, and took Mitchell's advice in coming to EWU. Only playing in three games in 2011 will allow Padron to count that season as a medical red shirt season, granting him the same two years of eligibility that Mitchell had in Cheney. Transferring from the FBS level to the FCS level also allows a player the opportunity to play right away, instead of the typical one year that must be sat out.

One thing is for certain, 176 days away from kickoff, and people are already starting to get excited about this upcoming season, and the possibilities that come with it.

absence.

Please excuse the absence from the blogging scene for the past month, I'm still a student here at Eastern, so my time is stretched thin, and I couldn't find the time or interest to get into the posts even when I sat down to write them, but believe me, I have been keeping up with Eastern athletics, and am excited to get back into the blogging game. Welcome back, and hope you enjoy.

-Brandon

February 1, 2012

signing day.

Alright, now that the dust has settled, here is a look at what the Eagles did on signing day:

With the biggest weakness on the team coming with a lack in depth in the secondary, Eastern did a good job addressing that up for the upcoming season, signing six defensive backs, four of which are safeties. With 20 recruits coming in, 12 of them are from the state of California.

Here are a look at the newest Eagles:

Quarterback:

Bowe Merrin
| 6'2" | 190 lbs. | St. Mary's High School (Stockton, CA) |
So at first it seemed to be a coincidence, but now it seems like Beau Baldwin really does prefer people that are named Bo, Beau, Bowe or any form of it. But hey, why stop what is working, right? Bowe comes into Eastern without a lot of experience in high school, starting in only his senior year, but showed enough to impress college coaches as he was also recruited by schools like Boise State, and WSU. He threw for over 1,100 yards in his senior year, even while missing a few games with a collarbone injury that is not a concern of the Eastern coaching staff.
“He has a little bit of everything at that position... He has a good head on his shoulders and has moxie – he carries himself well. He has a good, live arm where he can make every throw. He’s athletic in terms of moving and sliding in the pocket.” Beau Baldwin  on Merrin