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'It’s gotta be a lift by multiple people': EWU heads into season without Barriere

As the Eastern Washington Eagles prep for the 2022 campaign, they do so without quarterback Eric Barriere, the reigning Walter Payton Award winner.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The 2022 Big Sky Kickoff was held in Spokane at the Davenport Grand on Monday. 

As the Eastern Washington Eagles prep for the 2022 campaign, they do so without quarterback Eric Barriere, the reigning Walter Payton Award winner.  

“It’s not going to be a one position, one person lift. It’s gotta be a lift by multiple people,” said head coach Aaron Best. “We’re gonna have to all have a hand in it. We’re all going to have to put some weight on our back and be able to carry each other until we get up to speed.”

“I think that a lot of guys on the team, you know, we’re up for the challenge and we’re glad it’s like this. That’s just gonna bring the best out of us,” said redshirt junior wide receiver Freddie Roberson.

Heading into fall camp, there will be a quarterback battle. Right now, redshirt senior Gunner Talkington has the upper hand to be QB one.

“His intent, after Eric was going to leave us after the 2021 fall, was the opportunity to compete for the starting job. He’s done that and done that well. So, he’ll go into camp as the one,” said Best. “Gunner’s aware of the things everybody else is aware of. He just needs to be the best version of himself, the best player he can be.”

“We have three, four great QB’s back there, so going into fall camp it’s just going to a a real good QB battle,” said Roberson. “All them guys, they do have different flavors in their game and they do bring something good.”

With the offense not having as much stability heading into this season as recent years, the defense may have to play a bigger role. 

It's something the unit is ready for.

“Honestly, I think the defense is going to make a big statement this year,” said redshirt senior defensive back Anthony Smith. “We’ve got a lot of seniority coming back and experience. I feel like that’s going to play a big factor in us getting the offense back the ball. So they’re able to produce how they’re going to produce. I feel like this year with the experience we got coming back the defense is going to make a statement and Eastern is going to be known not only for the offense, but defense too.”

Eastern Washington finds itself in the middle of the Big Sky preseason polls. Both the coaches and media polls predict the Eagles to finish in 6th place this season.

 The Eagles open the season on Saturday, September 3rd against Tennessee State at Roos Field.

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