QB Eagle to a Duck: How do EWU Fans Feel?

Game Experience 8, SDakota, 14, KC (1)

Vernon Adams, Jr.’s transferring to Oregon has generated a tremendous reaction among Oregon fans, but it has to be difficult for the fans of Eastern Washington University. Or does it?

from Video

Vernon Adams’s stats were burning at Eastern Washington University.

While on a trip through Eastern Washington for other purposes, I decided to see how the residents felt about Vernon Adams, Jr. I made a survey form asking for general information about the responder, then had a choice of 5 options to choose from: “On a scale of 1-5, how do you feel about having Vernon Adams, Jr. transfer from Eastern Washington University to play football at the University of Oregon, this year?

1-I hate it! He shouldn’t have been allowed to play anywhere but EWU.

2-I don’t like it, but I guess the rules allow him to do it.

3-I don’t have an opinion – either for or against.

4- I’ll miss having him at EWU, but understand why he’s transferring.

5-I am excited about this opportunity for Vernon! I think it speaks well about the EWU program! Good luck, Vernon!”

There was also a place for positive comments at the bottom.

I first spoke with people in Ritzville about my survey. One man predicted that I’d find a lot of angry people in Cheney. I was also told that there are a “lot of Oregon Duck fans in Ritzville.” That doesn’t surprise me — we’re everywhere!

Author at Roos Field

Carol Cure

Author at Roos Field.

Next, I traveled 46 miles east to Cheney, home of the Eastern Washington University Eagles. I had my picture snapped at Roos Field, their red football field, then searched for people to interview. It was a cold, rainy Spring Break day. I located an EWU worker, who answered my survey. He chose #4 and wrote, “Good kid, should be able to do what he wants.” (With him, though, was a man who worked for the athletic department who felt he must decline to participate in the survey.)

Since I couldn’t talk to people on the rainy street, I went to Baldy’s, the student cafeteria where I asked several people to answer my survey. Three of them chose #2, but one of those wrote, “Good luck, Bud” at the bottom.

Vernon Adams looks into his future

from Video

Vernon Adams looks into his future.

Two young men chose #5. One wrote, “Great player who has done a lot for Eastern Washington. He should be a great fit for Oregon.” The other one wrote, “University of Oregon is a good school with good education opportunities. This move also could increase his visibility to NFL teams.”

I spoke with those two students about the similarities between Marcus Mariota’s situation and Vernon’s. Both quarterbacks started as redshirt freshmen and gave three solid years of performance to their respective schools. After graduating, they had/will have one year of eligibility left. I’m going to miss Marcus, but I feel it’s time for him to “get on with his life.” They agreed they feel the same way about Vernon.

Right now, Vernon is a “lone duck” working out by himself in Cheney. But June will come and he’ll be able to take his delayed migration south to be part of the team. Eagles don’t fly in formations, like ducks do. I think Vernon’s flying to Eugene will be the beginning of him leading a V- formation for his new flock. He has certainly soared as an eagle, let’s hope he can do the same as a duck. We certainly do love our Ducks!

We’ll just have to wait until September 5th, when the two schools face off for their first game of the season, to see if this is a good move for Vernon. It’s also the first time the teams have played each other. (How ironic is that?) I like all of our U of O quarterbacks, but I’ve got to say — I’m pulling for you, Vernon!

Top photo credit: Kevin Cline 

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Cheryl Hudson

Cheryl Hudson

After playing cymbals in the TCU marching band for three football seasons, Cheryl (Editor) transferred back to her home state – Oregon, and graduated from OCE (now Western Oregon University). She attended the second Civil War game played in Autzen stadium with her U of O student sister, which unfortunately, the Beavers won. Cheryl married Hank, whom she met at TCU, when he finished a 4 year stint in the Navy. They returned to his home state, so he could finish college at the University of Nebraska during NU’s glory days of the 1970s. Moving back to Portland in 1976, the Hudsons got in on the fervor surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers’ 1977 Championship season. Cheryl is a rabid Duck football fan, but will root for TCU, Nebraska, and the OSU Beavers when they aren't playing the Ducks. She and Hank have a son, a daughter, and three grandsons. They have resided in La Grande, Oregon, since 1982.

  • Cody

    Cheryl,

    I grew up in Cheney and still consider it home. Having Vernon transfer is a little weird for me because I’m a huge fan of both teams.

    That said, I would select #5 of your survey and further say that I find Coach Baldwin’s behavior despicable. When Vernon decided to transfer, Baldwin could have said, “This is fantastic for our program here in Cheney. While we are very sad to lose a phenomenal athlete and leader, the fact that Vernon has this opportunity is a testament to our ability to cultivate talent. If you are a high school athlete who isn’t getting the attention you deserve, come play for us and we’ll make you the best football player you can be.”

    But Baldwin didn’t do that. He threw a fit instead. What he needs to realize is that, for top programs, star players leave early for the draft all the time (I recognize that isn’t a perfectly analogous situation, but it’s the same principle). EWU got some great years from Vernon. They should be proud and thankful. Star players leaving early is part of how college football works. If Baldwin can’t handle that, he should consider coaching high school athletics.

    As someone who has been rooting for EWU longer than Baldwin has been around, I’m embarrassed for our program. And I’ll be rooting for Vernon and the Ducks in the first game of the season.

    • hokieduck

      well said. Too bad you aren’t PR for Baldwin as your statement would have made the most of a difficult situation for EWU’s program instead of pretty much making the worst out of it.

      As for Vernon, I do not think it is in any way a lock for him to come in and run the Ducks’ offense this season. Mahalak is extremely talented and has had a year to learn the system. If I had to bet, sight unseen, I would bet on him winning the position war.

      • Cody

        Thank you for your kind words.

        I agree that Vernon is not a lock. But I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t start. I talked with Mahalak’s father after the Rose Bowl and I certainly hope MM is a starter in the future. That said, I have a lot of faith in Vernon’s abilities and I think he’s the Ducks’ best bet to take them back to the Championship next season.