|First scrimmage draws praise|
MOSCOW, Idaho – Paul Petrino had a lot to like about what he saw at the University of Idaho’s first football scrimmage of the fall Saturday.
“There was execution on both sides of the ball,” he said. “Guys competed. There was hard hitting going on.”
Make that hitting, catching, throwing and running. The Vandals racked up 10 touchdowns and two field goals but that doesn’t mean the defense was without highlights. Sophomore defensive end Quinton Bradley was almost a one-man wrecking crew with four tackles for loss, which includes two sacks, in his seven-tackle day. Junior college transfer Marc Millan tallied a team-best nine tackles, while freshmen Jordan Grabski and Jack Tate each had an interception. Sophomore Solomon Dixon had three of the team’s eight pass breakups.
Countering from the offense, redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Chalich completed 14 of 27 passes for 171 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a showing of physicality that Petrino likes to see in all of his players. All told, the four quarterbacks – senior Taylor Davis, transfer Joshua McCain and freshman Matt Linehan, completed 34 of 63 attempts for 460 yards.
Leading the receivers was the fleet Dezmon Epps, who pulled in 10 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Next was redshirt freshman Deon Watson – a high school teammate of Chalich’s, who had five receptions for 79 yards and two touchdowns. All told, the quarterbacks used 13 receivers.
Petrino said he would like to see more from the running game but he was quick to note the potential is there – particularly in the form of speedy freshman Richard Montgomery, who proved as elusive as he is fast. He had 10 carries for 93 yards. The workhorse of the backfield, though, was transfer Jerrel Brown who turned in a rugged 82 yards on 25 carries. Collectively, the Vandals covered 275 yards on the ground.
“Our young class is exciting,” Petrino said. “There is a bunch of speed – fast playmakers. What’s the most exciting is they’re just a bunch of guys that like football; that enjoy coming to practice. They have a great attitude.”
While he said review of the tape will tell the full story, Petrino’s initial reaction was: “The defense kind of dominated up front and the offense probably dominated in the skill. We need to get to more 50-50.”
Double days are on tap for the Vandals when the second week of camp opens. They’ll practice at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday and Wednesday of next week, and at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with the second scrimmage set for 10 a.m. next Saturday.
Idaho opens the 2013 season at North Texas Aug. 31 with a road trip to Wyoming on Sept. 7. The Vandals’ home opener is Sept. 14 vs. Northern Illinois.