It’s another busy day for the Eastern Washington football team here in Frisco, Texas. That means another crazy day for us, but I honestly wouldn’t want it any other way.
The Eagles and Blue Hens started with the Champions Luncheon this afternoon. That included both coaches addressing the crowd, highlight videos of both teams, and a special guest speaker scheduled (we left before I could find out who it was). The two teams then came back to Pizza Hut Park for a final walkthrough and press conferences. The walkthrough was the last chance for both squads to clean things up before tomorrow's big game.
Eastern Washington then wrapped up the day with The Sports Network FCS Awards Banquet. That's where Eastern Washington linebacker J.C. Sherritt accepted the Buck Buchanan Award. We actually found out that he won the award earlier in the day an awards press conference. The Buck Buchanan Award goes to the top defensive player in the FCS every season. Sherritt was the runner-up last year, but he made it over the hump this season. I'm sure his 158 total tackles this year have something to do with it. Head coach Beau Baldwin told us that he was very excited for J.C. because he's not only a great player, but a great person as well. I can attest to that as well. Sherritt was a lot of fun to be around over the last few years (even dating back to Pullman High School).
We’re going to stepped away from the team a little bit today. We went on a search for Eastern Washington fans hanging out in Dallas and/or Frisco. We didn't even have to leave the friendly confines of Pizza Hut Park to find what we were looking for. More and more Eastern fans appear to be rolling into Texas. I honestly thought we’d spend more time in Dallas than we have, but Frisco isn’t as close to the metropolis as I thought it would be. It’s a decent 30+ mile drive. We had live shots in the big city this morning, but that’s the first time we touched foot in Dallas since our flight landed in the Lone Star State. I think we’ll have some time to adventure around tomorrow (that's my hope at least). I'll tweet plenty of pictures (follow me @TLKREM2) if that's the case.
We actually haven’t had much time to do anything in Texas, but work (we put in a good 16+ hour day yesterday and we're on track for the same thing today). That’s how these trips usually work (I’m OK with that though). That means don't have a chance to eat very often either. I try to avoid fast food restaurants as much as I can on these trips, but sometimes you can’t help it (we get done when everything else is closed). I finally had a chance to get some real food last night, so I grabbed some authentic Texas barbecue at a place called Rudy’s in Frisco. It looks like a dive, but it’s the place everyone (even people we talked to from Dallas) recommended. It didn’t knock my socks off, but it was pretty darn good. I wouldn't be surprised if that's where we end up tonight as well.
I forgot to mention this in Wednesday’s blog (click here to read Tuesday’s blog): I love how loose the Eastern football team is. They’re playing for the school’s first ever national championship, but it seems like there’s no pressure at all. The players were laughing and joking around all day yesterday (especially at the elementary school assembly). I wouldn’t have guessed that they were getting ready for the biggest game of their careers. They looked like college kids having fun on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, they know “this is a business trip” (I heard that over and over again during interviews yesterday), but they’re not afraid to have a little fun with the process.
Taiwan Jones is not going to play on Friday. He didn’t even look anywhere near practicing on Wednesday and he was on the sidelines again today. The poor kid is really bummed out that he won't be fighting with his team tomorrow. Jones broke his foot in Eastern’s quarterfinal win against North Dakota State (he had surgery a few days later). He's off his crutches, but he's still limping around on his walking boot. The running duties are going to fall on freshman Mario Brown and junior Dariell Beaumonte. Brown ran for 104 yards as Jones’ replacement in the semifinal win against Villanova.
That’s all I have for right now. I'll post previews of tomorrow's game either tonight or tomorrow morning. Don't forget that we'll also