[Vandal] Big Bruiser Back At Idaho

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Sat Aug 7 10:51:14 PDT 2021

>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoFriday, August 7, 2021
Big Bruiser Back At Idaho
Aundre Carter headlines additions to Vandal football roster
By Colton Clark
MOSCOW — Several experienced transfers stick out on Idaho’s football roster, which was updated Thursday. Their potential here isn’t yet known, but considering their Division I backgrounds, Vandal fans have reason to be optimistic.
The most notable addition isn’t one of them, however — that distinction belongs to a player who’s already a familiar face to followers of the program.
Running back Aundre Carter has worked his way back on the team after spending a year away for unspecified reasons.
The 5-foot-10, 250-pound bruiser led Idaho in rushing during his redshirt freshman season in 2019, bursting onto the scene as a budding star in the Big Sky.
Carter, a former Class 5A Florida Mr. Football runner-up, is more elusive than his power-back frame might suggest. But he mostly bulldozed his way to a team-high 615 yards on 113 carries (5.44 yards per try) as a freshman, adding a Vandal-best seven rushing scores. That, despite being hampered by various lower-body injuries.
He’ll presumably compete for the starting nod when fall camp opens at 6:30 p.m. today on the Moscow campus’ recently renovated East Practice Field.
Fellow big-bodied ballcarrier Roshaun Johnson and Idahoan Nick Romano, mostly an outside runner, will vie for reps. Dylan Thigpen, a reserve for the past two seasons, elected to end his career after the shortened spring campaign, which the Vandals finished 2-4.
Carter had been left off the Vandals’ roster in fall 2020, and the school declined to offer up more information than that. Photos of the sophomore training in Florida later surfaced on Twitter, and according to a source with knowledge of the situation, Carter had been planning on making a comeback all along.
The Vandals bolstered their offense elsewhere too, inking two former FBS receivers in Mekhi Stevenson (UNLV) and Terez Traynor (Western Kentucky).
A 6-foot, 190-pound senior from San Diego, Stevenson reeled in 54 catches for 599 yards and six touchdowns across 36 games in three seasons for the Rebels.
Traynor posted 36 yards on four grabs in 2020, his second season with the Hilltoppers. The sophomore from Louisville, Ky., is listed at 6-4, 212 pounds.
Ninth-year Idaho coach Paul Petrino said the new receivers “look the part” at the Big Sky’s media day this past week in Spokane. He expects Idaho’s receivers room to take a sizable step forward this season.
Idaho augmented its secondary as well — a necessary development. The Vandals have had troubles with lapses in the defensive backfield since dropping down to the Football Championship Subdivision in 2018.
Junior Floridian Jeremiah Salaam (5-11, 166 pounds) should contend for a starting cornerback spot after appearing in 21 games for FBS Kent State. Junior safety K.J. Jarrell (6-1, 180) was a special-teamer and reserve at Arizona State in 2019.
Idaho brought in its next punter in Caleb Lightbourn, a senior who started for Oregon State in 2020 and averaged 40.2 yards per kick. The Washougal, Wash., native played at Nebraska before that.
Tight end/fullback Trase LeTexier (6-3, 250) comes to Moscow after four seasons at conference rival Montana. He was expected to compete for a starting role before the Grizzlies opted out of the spring season.
LeTexier is engaged to Petrino’s daughter, former UM softball player Anne Mari Petrino.
Other things to keep an eye on:
The quarterback competition
It’s a position that never seems to be settled at Idaho.
Petrino said it’ll be a four-man battle between graduate Mike Beaudry, freshman CJ Jordan, sophomore Zach Borisch and sophomore Nikhil Nayar. The coach expects a starter to emerge from the pack by Idaho’s Big Sky opener Oct. 2 at UC Davis.
Beaudry has the leg up — as far as experience goes. The stout UConn transfer showed off a big arm in the spring, but his accuracy was off-and-on.
Everyone had a moment or two last season, when Idaho’s roster often was limited by COVID-19.
Jordan exhibited ball-carrying craftiness and advanced decision-making in Week 3 against Southern Utah before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Borisch, usually a special-teamer and reserve running back, shined when he was thrust into action at Eastern Washington in Week 5, ripping off 205 rushing yards.
Nayar led the Vandals to a last-minute victory against the Thunderbirds, but couldn’t sustain the solid play in a sloppy loss the next week at Idaho State.
The development of a young secondary and offensive line
The O-line was greatly impacted by the coronavirus in the spring, and at one point started all freshmen. Idaho surrendered 12 sacks.On the plus side, the youngsters are more experienced now.
There’s still a question as to whether touted juco transfer center Chad Bagwell will be recovered from a Week 1 leg injury.A new offensive line coach in Nick Gilbert might have his hands full.
Rookies were common in the secondary too, and breakdowns — leaving receivers unguarded for chunk gains — were more frequent than the Vandals would have liked.
Fifth-year corner Jalen Hoover and third-year starting safety Tyrese Dedmon will be locked in for roles. Besides them, the depth chart is a little up in the air.
Montana transfer corner Dareon Nash, who opted out of the spring season, no longer is listed on the roster. He didn’t play a game as a Vandal.
Otherwise, Idaho’s defensive front appears shored up, with a veteran line and an impressive corps of linebackers led by All-American Tre Walker, who was named Thursday to the Buck Buchanan Award watch list, which recognizes the top FCS defender.
Depth in the receiving corps
Hayden Hatten broke out as a first-team All-Big Sky pick in the spring, racking up 613 yards and three scores on 43 receptions — many of the acrobatic sort. Cutrell Haywood has been a steady presence since 2018.
The two aforementioned FBS transfers will take pressure off the duo, and it’ll be interesting to see how effective they are at camp.
Petrino had high hopes for speedy juco transfer Jermaine Jackson before he went down for the year with a leg injury in Week 1. Jackson probably won’t be ready to go until later in the season, Petrino noted.
Who leads the offense?
Idaho hasn’t named an offensive coordinator to replace Kris Cinkovich, who retired in April after eight years in that post. More information in that regard should be available today.
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