Scouting Florida’s 2020 opponents: Game 1 — Eastern Washington

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Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Editor’s note: While we have no idea when college football will start, we are bringing you a look at each of the 12 opponents Florida has scheduled to play this fall.

Today: Eastern Washington.

When: Sept. 5, TBD.

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

Last year: The Eagles were coming off an appearance in the FCS Championship Game and expectations were high for 2019. But injuries (including having two players shot after trying to break up a bar fight) set Eastern back and the final record was 7-5 despite winning all five home games. Another issue was that head coach Aaron Best had to replace both coordinators.

Outlook for 2020: Expectations won’t be as high in 2020, but the Eagles should be a much improved team, especially on defense after giving up 34.6 points per game last year. The big question will be the line of scrimmages where the offensive line lost four of five starters (sound familiar Gator fans?) and defensive line because of depth issues. Eastern Washington is another team hurt by having no spring practice.

Best offensive player: Quarterback Eric Barriere is a handful for opposing defenses. Not only can he take off and run (558 rushing yards and eight TDs), the redshirt senior has become an effective passer (3,712 yards, 31 TDs, 4 interceptions).

Best defensive player: Chris Ojoh is one of those linebackers who could play up at the FBS level. He has a motor that never stops and, at 220 pounds, has the physicality to get off blocks. 

Fun fact: Eastern Washington has never played an SEC school. The game was scheduled when Jim McElwain was the Florida coach because it is his alma mater.

Quote: “I think this is going to be a pretty good team. I know the players are really excited about coming down to Florida to see what SEC football is all about.” — Larry Weir, play-by-man announcer for EWU.