The wishbone formation isn’t as popular as it used to be. But the Wofford Terriers love to run it, so the Idaho Vandal football team prepared for it in practice this week and in spring practices and fall camp.
The Vandals play Wofford at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Kibbie Dome.
Idaho coach Paul Petrino said the wishbone is a unique offense and three days isn’t enough time to prepare for it.
“The biggest thing that you got to make sure you do is get them off the field so that we get the ball on offense,” Petrino said. “That’s probably the biggest worry. They just hold onto the ball. That’s their best defense is running the ball.”
Wofford, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, is an FCS school that plays in the Southern Conference. The Terriers lost to then-No. 12 Clemson in their season opener but then rebounded and beat Tennessee Tech.
Petrino said it’s been a while since he’s coached against a rushing attack like Wofford’s.
He said his dad was an option coach so Petrino said he has probably been around the wishbone as much as any other offense.
“You just got to do a great job of assignment football and if you don’t do your assignment then you give yourself a chance to give up the big play,” Petrino said. “The D-Line’s got to make sure they know exactly what gap they have. Everybody’s got to know by the look, who has the dive, who has the quarterback, who has the pitch? So it really makes all 11 guys play assignment football.”
Idaho (0-2) is coming off a 59-9 loss Saturday at then-No. 8 Southern California.
Petrino didn’t play senior wide receiver Dezmon Epps against USC as punishment for the alleged shoplifting incident at the VandalStore. But Petrino said Epps will play this week.
Even though the VandalStore incident happened before the Vandals opened their season at home against Ohio, Epps still played in the opener.
Petrino said he didn’t play Epps in the USC game because not playing in the USC game hurt Epps more than not playing in the Ohio game.
“Growing up in California that’s the game he dreamed about playing in,” Petrino said. “He wanted to be in that coliseum so that was the game that was hardest on him.”
With Epps out and sophomore receiver David Ungerer also out against USC with an injury he sustained against Ohio, junior receiver Jacob Sannon stepped up.
Sannon caught nine passes for 79 yards against the Trojans. Petrino said Sannon played his best game as a Vandal against USC but he also got “nicked up” and is day-to-day with his injury.
Even though Idaho lost by 50 points to the Trojans, the Vandals played a clean game and didn’t really beat themselves.
The Vandals didn’t turn the ball over and only gave up one sack.
“(Sophomore offensive lineman) Jordan Rose played the best game he’s played since he’s been here,” Petrino said. “With Jordan, if you had to give out a guy that played the best on the team it would be Jordan Rose probably one and (junior center) Steve Matlock two.”
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @CabezaGarrett
Photo by: Megan Gospe