It was déjà vu for Scott Linehan.
More than 30 years ago, former Idaho coach Dennis Erickson recruited him to join the Vandals. The story came full circle in 2013, when Idaho quarterbacks coach Bryce Erickson, Dennis’ son, recruited Scott’s son and current starting quarterback Matt Linehan to Idaho.
“It’s actually a funny story,” Bryce Erickson said “When I went into Matt’s home … Scott Linehan said. ‘This is really weird. Not too long ago your dad was in my house telling me no you’re not going to Boise State, you’re going to Idaho … Now you’re in my house telling my son you want him to go to Idaho.'”
For Matt, the decision was easy. The redshirt freshman quarterback gets to follow in his father’s footsteps, play in the same stadium and even wear the same number 10 on his uniform.
“It’s been exciting, there’s not a lot of situations like this,” Matt Linehan said. “I’m really close with my dad. It’s been pretty special to me, and I think it’s very special to him.”
After redshirting last season, Linehan competed with sophomore Chad Chalich for the role of starting quarterback. Even though the two were competing against each other, it appeared Chalich’s No. 1 one fan was Linehan.
When Chalich connected for a long touchdown pass, it was Linehan who celebrated the most. Sometimes the 6-foot-3 quarterback could be seen sprinting down the sideline while pumping his fist in excitement for his fellow quarterback.
Neither won the job outright when fall camp ended. Before the first game at Louisiana-Monroe, Idaho coach Paul Petrino anticipated that both quarterbacks would play.
Linehan received the first opportunity and hasn’t looked back since.
On Idaho’s first possession, and his first collegiate action, Linehan led the offense on a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive.
Senior offensive lineman Mike Marboe said the young quarterback is confidant and is already a team leader.
“He’s playing awesome,” Marboe said. “He’s stepping up, making plays all over the place. We try to help him as much as we can, but sometimes he saves us if we have a bad play.”
Two games into his collegiate career, Linehan has passed for 686 yards and six touchdowns. Bryce Erickson said the sky is the limit for his young quarterback.
He said Linehan has made tremendous improvement in the short time he’s been with the program.
“He has a natural sense of the game of football,” Erickson said. “Obviously that’s due to his heritage and coming from a football family.”
Erickson said Linehan takes preparation seriously, which is usually the toughest transition from high school to college football.
Linehan’s father coached wide receivers at Idaho in 1989-90, and is currently the passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s too early for Linehan to predict how his Vandal career will play out, but the Orchard Lake, Michigan, native said he’s still learning and just wants to focus on the next play.
“I’d like to be recognized as a person who was a good player and person on and off the field,” Linehan said. “I think right now, my main concern is focusing on the task at hand.”