Defense proving its potential at first scrimmage


Anna Mills

EWU tight ends running drills before the scrimmage

By Lelia Thatcher, Contributing Writer

Eastern’s football team has many new faces, but the impact of new defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding was on display at the team’s first spring scrimmage Saturday morning at Roos field.

The team ran 40 plays during the half hour scrimmage and the offense was held to 123 yards and just one scoring drive.

“I felt like the defense has just been hungry to really start hitting,” said sophomore cornerback Jake Hoffman.

Hoffman finished the day with a forced fumble, a tackle for loss and five additional tackles.

Also making big plays were freshman Nzuzi Webster with an interception and sophomore John Kreifels with a fumble recovery.

The defense struggled last year, but Schmedding and his 4-2-5 scheme is looking to change that. “I like it because it creates a lot more space,” said Hoffman. “[It] gives us a lot more opportunity to play fast, just like I always want.”

Jordan West, the Eagles number one quarterback heading into the spring, completed 1 of 6 passes. West was joined by quarterbacks Gage Gubrud, Conner Richardson and Reilly Hennessey. All four completed a combined 7 of 16 passes for a total of 99 yards.

“It was some struggling with the operation, all of us, I mean it’s still only the fifth practice, we definitely need to clean some stuff up and we’ll go back. We’ll look at the film and we’ll change some stuff, just get used to more, more of the plays and all that,” said West. “It was just a little rough today and we’ll clean it up.”

Gubrud was the only quarterback to move the offense significantly down the field. He completed 4 of 7 passes and rushed for a touchdown.

The rushing game was stifled as well with 48 yards on 22 carries, 24 of which were negated as a result of three sacks and two failed snaps.

“They were flying around, they were able to play with a serious speed today, which means that mentally they’ve gone into the spring ready and understanding, you know, what they need to do,” coach Baldwin said of the defense.