Hard Facts: Camp sets up at Eastern Oregon

By Paul Harder, The Observer October 10, 2008 03:12 pm

Sorry it say it, but the smell of death lingered out from the football coach’s office last season at EOU.

A 1-10 season continually dumped fuel on the putrid fire.

What has Tim Camp brought to the program in the first half of his debut season at head coach — a lot of fresh air.

Anyone who’s gone to an EOU home game this year can see it. Better yet, they can feel it.

Camp may be the most energetic football coach on this side of the Rocky Mountains. Which by coincidence is where the teams they play snuggle up against.

Just watch Camp during a game — heck maybe the whole game — and you’ll see.

You’ll see the fist-pump. After a big play it could be a 1-2 combo that would make Tae Bo’s Billy Blanks happy.

My favorite — the Brandi Chastani knee slide after a Kirk Miller 82-yard touchdown pass against Rocky Mountain. Although, he didn’t flip his polo shirt over his head. That could be next week.

The Mountaineers just completed the first half of the season, and are 2-3.

Against MSU-Northern the Mountaineers played even with a  top-25 team on the road through three quarters before falling.

The loss to Montana-Western came on the final play of the game. Don’t forget the Mountaineers executed the two-minute drill to take the lead before eventually falling.

Then came Carroll. The No. 1 team in NAIA, and winners of five of the last six national titles.

EOU showed some moxy there too. Fighting to come back after trailing, and holding the lead for a short time.

Sure, point to the second half. The Saints dominated. But that’s what great teams do. And EOU is on the path of becoming a good team — maybe great we’ll see.

First teams hang around for a half against powerhouses ... i.e. Carroll College. Then they get close through three quarters and eventually they pull one out.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are football programs. But Camp’s crew is on the right track.

In part to its coach. The Mountaineers are taking on his identity.

Nothing showed that better than the game against Carroll.

Afterwards the atmosphere was different. The Mountaineers were actually upset they lost. I don’t remember the last time I saw that.

In the locker room Camp went to seemingly every player for a little talk and hug.

Players didn’t leave the Quinn Coliseum. No one talked about the night ahead. They genuinely looked disappointed.

The Frontier Conference has taken notice — the Saints’ announcers couldn’t stop singing the praises of quarterback Chris Ware.

The Carroll players took notice, and will probably practice a little more intensely the week before EOU travels to Helena, Mont.

But hopefully the Mountaineer fans have taken notice. This isn’t the same team. They don’t lay down when good teams come to town.

They don’t fill the police blotter during the week. They help the community in many ways.

Plus, they play pretty good football too.

Granted Camp’s level of success isn’t a 5-5 or 6-5 season. He aspires for more. Which makes his team want more.

Who knows where EOU will finish, but its going to keep getting better. And now it smells a little better around Quinn Coliseum.