[Vandal] ‘Separation Saturday’

robiegruss at aol.com robiegruss at aol.com
Sun Apr 10 07:46:11 PDT 2022


>From The Lewiston Tribune
Lewiston, Idaho
Sunday, April 10, 2022

‘Separation Saturday’

Defense shines early, offense late in Idaho’s first scrimmage of spring

By Stephan Wiebe

MOSCOW  The setting for Idaho’s first scrimmage of the Jason Eck era had the feel of a late
November game rather than a spring practice Saturday at the Kibbie Dome’s outdoor practice
field.

Gusty winds and the occasional snowflakes weren’t enough to keep a collection of fans and
out-of-town recruits from watching the Vandal offense and defense duke it out in the first
game-like scenario of spring camp.

 It was good to have people around here, we’ve got some recruits here today, so it was a good
atmosphere,  said Eck, the first-year coach.  Guys were flying around. 

Offensive coordinator Luke Schleusner earlier in the week dubbed the scrimmage -- Separation
Saturday -- a time for players to make their first real case for spots on the depth chart.

The defense, in particular, was flying around for the first half of the hour-long scrimmage, but
the offense picked it up in the latter portion.

The first-team defense forced three-and-outs on three of the first four drives against three different
quarterbacks.

The steady pass rushes and run stops were enough to earn junior defensive end Devante Keys
the Battle Axe Competitor of the Day. Keys, a junior college transfer from Kilgore College,
racked up several tackles, including a sack of quarterback CJ Jordan in the red zone (quarterbacks
were no-contact players, so officials whistled those plays dead after the would-be tackle).

 I was really impressed by our No. 1 defense in particular,  Eck said.  I thought they came out
and set the tone early. And I also liked how they finished in the red zone. They held the offense
to two field goals in the red zone at the end, so I thought they did a nice job. 

The defensive domination continued through the first 10 drives with more sacks by defensive end
Leo Tamba and linebacker Fa’avae Fa’avae and no double-digit completions by quarterbacks
Jordan, Zach Borisch, Gevani McCoy and Macloud Crowton.

But the offense finally broke through on the 11th drive when Jordan found a streaking Terez
Traynor for a 43-yard gain to the 2-yard line that set up a short Elisha Cummings touchdown run.

The scrimmage was the first game-like situation for Jordan since the sophomore injured his
shoulder in Week 4 in the 2021 season. Traynor also has missed some spring practices, including
Thursday’s with an illness.

 Definitely had to get back into the rhythm of things since I haven’t been out there since the UC
Davis game of last season,  Jordan said.  It felt good getting out there, getting a rhythm and just
trying to find that offensive flow and keep going. 

The other three quarterbacks eventually found some success too.

Borisch, a fifth-year junior and eldest of the group, hit some dump-off passes and rushed for
some big gains on scrambles and designed runs.

True sophomore Gevani McCoy put together the longest sustained drive (most drives started
around midfield), dinking and dunking his way to the 10 with the help of running back Aundre
Carter. From the 10, McCoy hit sophomore tight end Alex Moore in tight coverage in the back
of the end zone for a touchdown.

Crowton, another sophomore, had a 4-yard touchdown pass to junior running back Nick Romano,
who finished with a team-high two touchdowns on the day, the other a 1-yard rush.

Eck said he had hoped to also see true freshman quarterback Tyler Webb, but he missed the
scrimmage with the flu.

 All the guys did a good job moving it,  Eck said.

Jordan played with the first-team offense and received the most reps at the position.

While his pass to Traynor was the play of the scrimmage, he also had a near-interception that was
dropped by Marcus Harris. He looked a bit uncomfortable with the defensive pressure early but
settled in as the scrimmage progressed.

 We still got some things to work on, myself personally and the offense as a whole,  Jordan said.
 So looking to tighten those things up through watching film and get back out there in practice. 
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