[Vandal] Expectations High For Idaho QB Beaudry
robiegruss at aol.com
robiegruss at aol.com
Sat Feb 6 07:13:14 PST 2021
>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoSaturday, February 6, 2021
Expectations High For Idaho QB Beaudry
UConn transfer to be starter for Vandals’ opener
By Colton Clark
Mike Beaudry already is drawing praise for his veteran leadership, knowledge of the game and physical capacities when he’s in the pocket.
The first-year University of Idaho quarterback hasn’t suited up yet for the Vandals, but his coach and teammates are convinced from what they’ve seen at practice.
“He’s experienced and he can lead us to where we want to go, which is a championship,” senior safety and team captain Tyrese Dedmon said earlier this week.
Beaudry, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound graduate transfer out of UConn, was the third Vandal to be mentioned when coach Paul Petrino was asked which offensive players have assumed leading roles during spring camp — he came right after receiver Cutrell Haywood and tackle Logan Floyd, proven two-year starters.
“He’s shown a lot,” Floyd added of Beaudry. “He’s really confident — confident in the process, confident in what we’re doing. I feel like that’s just what we needed to get going. I feel that’s the most important thing coming in.”
The Orlando, Fla., product has ample reps under his belt, which is good news for Idaho, considering it lost two-year starter Mason Petrino to graduation after last season.
Beaudry led upstart program West Florida to a Division II national championship appearance as a redshirt freshman in 2017 before missing all but one game the next year with a foot injury. He then joined the Huskies in 2019.
He played in five games at UConn, throwing for 503 yards, a touchdown and two picks on 53-of-83 passing.
Beaudry’s experience would be more plentiful had he not been sidelined at West Florida in 2015 and 2016 by a fibula injury. He also was off-and-on with UConn in 2019 because of an undisclosed injury.
But Petrino sees a ton of promise in the wily, burly Beaudry, who was named Idaho’s starter last week.
“He’s got a really good arm. He’s very accurate,” Petrino said. “He’s smart. Football’s very important to him. He puts a lot of time into it. Our quarterback has to do a lot in the run game — what runs we get to ... and protection-wise.“He’s just put a lot of time into it and really studied hard and worked at it. I think he has a chance to have a really good year.”
The realities of the upcoming spring season, which will commence amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Feb. 27 at home against Eastern Washington, are not lost on Petrino. The eighth-year coach noted each signal-caller will prepare like a starter.
Dual-threat freshman CJ Jordan and sophomore Nikhil Nayar “have to be ready” because “somebody could miss a game because of (coronavirus).”
Petrino spotlighted Jordan’s potential.
“He has a bright, bright future here and is going to do a lot of good things,” Petrino said of the (Vancouver, Wash.) Union High School product who is 6-3, 190 pounds. “CJ’s very talented, can really snap his wrist and throw the ball, and can run.”
Only two players are locked into spots for an offensive line that saw four key pieces depart last year. Floyd, a 6-4, 310-pound junior, will take over at strong tackle after playing center most of last season. He earned a Phil Steele freshman All-America nod for his work at that post in 2018.
“I think he’s going to be one of the main leaders of the team, period,” Petrino said of Floyd.
Sierra College (Calif.) transfer Chad Bagwell (6-5, 300) will be inserted at center, Petrino said.
“He’s super tough,” Floyd called Bagwell. “He’s grinding through practice, getting all the calls down. He’s taking that leadership role on the O-line. Coming in last spring, he’s really taken a step up, and being really vocal.”Several guards are vying for starting nods. Junior Matt Faupusa, a 15-game starter, is “kinda in the lead” alongside sophomore Riley Straly, a JC transfer from two years back. True freshman Nate Azzopardi is in the mix as well.
Azzopardi shares an alma mater — Junipero Serra High School (Calif.) — with NFL legend Tom Brady.
Junior Darius Archie, a three-game starter last season, will contend too when he exits the school’s COVID-19 protocol.
Sophomore Sumner, Wash., native Seth Carnahan (6-7, 295) and true freshman Elijah Sanchez, from California, are battling for quick tackle.
In the past five years, the Vandals have started four rookies on their O-line.
Idaho’s secondary will undergo a makeover after losing a bulk of its contributors to either graduation or transfers. Dedmon will reprise his role at safety, while sophomore Boise State transfer Mujeeb Rufai, Seattleite sophomore Jaxon Woodward and true freshman Tommy McCormick will fight it out for reps beside him.
Fourth-year starter Jalen Hoover will direct an untested group of cornerbacks.
“You’ve got a lot of competition for the other positions,” Petrino said.
Petrino listed these players as probable contributors: L.A. Valley College transfer Awan Parker, freshman Floridian Arnell Walker, longtime Vandal Tevin Duke and Division I bounce-backs Joshua Jones (UTSA) and Marcus Harris (Oregon State).
“Everybody’s looking really good,” Dedmon said of the DBs, a position group that has struggled to settle in during recent seasons. “I’m satisfied with what we got.”An expected starter this year, Montana grad transfer cornerback Dareon Nash, went unmentioned, oddly.
Without question, the linebacker position is loaded. Manning the strong side and middle, respectively, are All-American candidates in Christian Elliss and Tre Walker. Charles Akanno was one of the Football Championship Subdivision’s top edge-rushers before sustaining a season-ending ankle injury in 2019.
“Those are three of the better players we’ve had around here for a long time,” Petrino said.
Petrino expects Washington State transfer Fa’avae Fa’avae to provide the linebacking corps a fourth star.
Team captain Rahsaan Crawford, Post Falls native Nate DeGraw, Kayode Rufai, Jonah Kim, Noah Elliss, Cam Townsend and Leonick Tamba all are tested returners on the line.
“Our front seven’s gonna be really good,” Petrino said.
Crawford, Idaho’s unquestionable vocal leader, recently made the switch from jersey No. 55 to 0, becoming the first Vandal to sport it.
“I love it. I gotta get used to calling him ‘Big 0,’” Dedmon said. “He goes hard every play. He deserves the 0.”
Petrino has high hopes for lightning-quick San Mateo (Calif.) transfer slot receiver Jermaine Jackson. New Mexico transfer Elijah Lilly will return kicks and add another speed/elusiveness element for the pass-catchers.
Freshman linebacker Derek Tommasini, from Boise, should also see some snaps.
But Petrino said Jackson and Fa’avae will supply the most major impact among newcomers.
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