Last year, Josh McCain was the Idaho Vandals’ go-to receiver.
This season it will probably be senior Dezmon Epps, but sophomore David Ungerer from Pullman should get his opportunities to make plays in the passing game, especially when opposing defenses are locked in on Epps.
“It’s great because especially as the season goes along I think teams are going to see how dangerous (Epps) is and eventually want to double him and when that happens (Sannon), (Hightower), myself will have one-on-one matchups,” Ungerer said. “That’s what a great player does. He helps his teammates get better and in better situations to succeed so his versatility and his ability to make plays helps all of us.”
“He’s a better football player now than he was even at the end of the spring,” wide receivers coach Charley Molnar said. “Night and day difference. He really committed himself to being the very best that he can be and it really shows out there on the practice field.”
The Vandals will open their season against Ohio Sept. 3 at the Kibbie Dome, a game that Ungerer is looking forward to.
“We can’t wait, especially for this Ohio game,” Ungerer said. “We’ve been talking about it since the end of last season. It’s finally about that time so everyone’s ready to suit up on September 3.”
Idaho usually doesn’t play Thursday night games, so it will be a change for the players.
“I think it’s going to be really cool playing on Thursday, one of the first games of the year at night time in the Kibbie Dome,” Ungerer said. “I think it’s going to be awesome and we’re just really looking forward to finally being able to show people what we’ve been working on in the last year.”
With fall camp over, Ungerer said he saw improvement in receivers blocking from the beginning of camp to the end.
“I think we’ve seen a lot of progress, especially in blocking,” Ungerer said. “We had a hard time with blocking early in the fall camp. Everybody’s starting to commit to it and take pride in it so we’re really improving there. Understanding the scheme and our offensive playbook, everybody’s starting to get it really well. A lot of young guys needed help with coach Molnar in the middle of practice, but they’re starting to get on their own.”
When watching the Idaho receivers, certain things stand out — one of those things is a lack of size. Epps, Ungerer, Sannon and Hightower are all listed below six feet, but Ungerer said that technique is more important than size.
“I don’t think the size is going to matter,” Ungerer said. “It’s really all about technique. If you can get off the line against a press corner, know what route you’re supposed to be running and get out of your breaks, it don’t really matter how big you are, just it’s all about technique and if you’re open.”
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett