HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Eastern Washington.
EASTERN WASHINGTON (7-4 IN 2017)
Big Sky (EWU was 3rd in 2017)
COACH: Aaron Best – 2nd year (7-4 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 34.5 ppg. (14th in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 33.4 ppg. (104th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: The motivated return to the top of the FCS began for EWU on Nov. 19, 2017. That was when the Eagles got snubbed from the playoffs while teams in weaker conferences got in because of one or two more wins. This was a team coming off a semifinal appearance in 2016. It was also Aaron Best's first season as head coach. EWU began to pick up steam as adjustments were made after a slow start and the Eagles won seven of its last nine games. Without being able to show that improvement in the playoffs, they hope it carries over to 2018. And there's a good chance that will happen with a majority of the starters back. Quarterback Gage Gubrud leads a high-powered offense with an improved run game with the likes of running back Antoine Custer Jr. and the entire offensive line back. The defense continues to be a work in progress, but the Eagles should be healthier and stronger on that side of the ball.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Eagles win the Big Sky, earn a high playoff seed and return to Frisco for a shot at the national title. They have the experience, talent and motivation to do so.
TOP RETURNEE: QB Gage Gubrud (Preseason All-American)
THE NEXT BEST: C Spencer Blackburn (2nd-team All-Conference); RB Antoine Custer Jr. (776 yards, 10 TDs) WR Nsimba Webster (2nd-leading receiver); S Mitch Fettig (leading tackler with 92), DT Jay-Tee Tiuli (returning from injury, 2016 First Team All-Conference)
TOP NEWCOMER: DB Dean Sise (Navy transfer, played in four games last season as a true freshman)
DID YOU KNOW?: Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports Radio and Fox Sports 1 went to EWU.
THE QUOTE: "We have something burning in our belly from last fall and we have to remember what’s that’s like, regardless if we’re ranked or unranked in preseason polls.” — Head Coach Aaron Best told The Spokesman-Review
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #ProtectTheRed
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @EWUFootball
— EWU Football (@EWUFootball) June 21, 2018