[Vandal] Idaho Hopes To Answer Questions In Opener

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Sat Sep 4 08:10:02 PDT 2021

>From The Lewiston TribuneLewiston, IdahoSaturday, September 4, 2021
Idaho Hopes To Answer Questions In Opener
Spots on depth chart up for grabs heading into Game 1
By Stephan Wiebe
MOSCOW — At several positions on the depth chart, the Idaho football players will be competing against each other as much as they are against Simon Fraser.
The Vandals kick off their season against the NCAA Division II team from Canada at 1 p.m. today in the Kibbie Dome in the first “normal” fall game in almost two years.
“I’m just really excited,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “They’ve worked extremely hard this fall camp and we’ve kind of got two big goals going into this first game: No. 1, be very disciplined, play the game it’s supposed to be played, (and No. 2) don’t hurt ourselves, no pre-snap penalties.”
Simon Fraser — the only school from Canada competing in the NCAA — is one big question mark going into kickoff. The team from Burnaby, British Columbia, is weaning in a new coaching staff and will be playing its first game since 2019, when it went 1-9. Simon Fraser — which is undergoing a nickname change — did not have a spring season like Idaho.
The team is a big ­contrast to Idaho’s next opponent — the No. 10 Indiana Hoosiers of the Football Bowl Subdivision, who the Vandals will play Sept. 11 in Bloomington, Ind.
“I think you’ve got to go out and play as hard as you can every single week and not take anybody for granted ’cause crazy things happen out there in college football,” Petrino said. “Is it definitely a different level of (competition) between Simon Fraser and a top 10 team in the country in Division I? Yes, but I think you just go out and play who’s on your schedule each week and worry about what’s right in front of you.”
Several starting spots still are up for grabs. Petrino’s plan is to evaluate the positions through the team’s first three games in hopes of finalizing the depth chart in time for UC Davis on Oct. 2 — the start of Big Sky Conference play.
None of the position battles are bigger than at quarterback, where super senior Mike Beaudry and freshman CJ Jordan are expected to split snaps early on.
At 6-foot-5 and 248 pounds, Beaudry is more of a pro-style quarterback and by far the most experienced. The former UConn transfer played the most in the spring, completing 59.4 percent of his passes for 794 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.Jordan (6-3, 209) is a speedster who has shown a knack for hitting targets on the run. He threw three touchdown passes in Idaho’s open scrimmage Aug. 21.
The third member of the quarterback bunch is shifty sophomore Zach Borisch 6-0, 187), who will have his own package on game days.“All three are going to play,” Petrino said. “CJ and Mike will probably play evenly and Zach will have a package, and that’s how it’s going to happen all three games.”
The secondary is Idaho’s other position group with several spots up for grabs. Outside of fifth-year starters Tyrese Dedmon at strong safety and Jalen Hoover at cornerback and nickel, it’s a fight for the other starting jobs.
Names expected to see the field in the secondary include sophomore Sean McCormick, freshman Tommy McCormick, freshman Marcus Harris, sophomore Jaxon Woodward, freshman Colbey Nosworthy and juniors KJ Jarrell, Awan Parker and Josh Jones. That’s a lot of guys dueling for three spots.
Petrino said Idaho’s base defense will be a 4-3 with four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs. But the Vandals also will experiment with nickel and dime packages to get more speed on the field. Hoover and Sean McCormick will play the nickel position.
“I think that’s something that can really help us, especially going into Big Sky play,” Petrino said. “Guys will have to prepare for both 4-down and 3-down (linemen).”
As for the players? They’re just ready to finally play someone else.
“I think the camp was huge,” junior fullback Logan Kendall said. “I think we got a lot better as a team, got a lot closer, and we’ve got some new guys that stepped up and we’re fired up.”
NOTES — Receiver Cutrell Haywood has missed much of fall camp and likely won’t play against Simon Fraser to be “fair to the other guys.” … Tackle Abe Christensen is a go after suffering an apparent injury in Wednesday’s practice. The freshman transfer from NC State only missed two days and will rotate at UI’s tackle spots with sophomore Seth Carnahan and freshman Elijah Sanchez.
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