For the first time since the end of spring practice we were able to catch up with Idaho coach Paul Petrino to talk about fall football practice, slated to begin on Monday August 5.
We’ll just get right into it with the important personnel tidbits:
– Quarterback Chad Chalich is No. 1 on the depth chart coming out of spring, but it will be an open competition with Josh McCain and Taylor Davis. There is no timeline for making a decision, Petrino said, he’s going to let the process play out.
– Jesse Davis will remain on the offensive line, playing right tackle. Petrino said he doesn’t expect Jordan Johnson to be able to play in the fall with his back, but that it’s not 100-percent confirmed yet.
– All of the recruiting class of 2013 has been cleared and will be present in the fall. Dezmon Epps wasn’t able to participate in summer conditioning but he will be enrolling. No decisions have been made on redshirts, Petrino said he expects most of them to come in and compete for starting time. Though he noted O-Linemen Nick Edenfield and Brett Thompson along with QB Matt Linehan as the most likely redshirt candidates.
– Freshman Austin Rehkow will come in and handle punting AND kicking duties right off the bat. Petrino said Rehkow is very excited about the prospect of handling both duties at the same time. Though freshmen Will Schmidt and Trent Cowan will also be in the punting picture at times during the fall. That’s a situation that will have to play itself out.
– Defensive lineman Quayshawne Buckley is indeed back with the football team after being dismissed from the team back in February.
– Linebacker Broc Westlake is healthy and ready to participate in the fall.
– Petrino confirmed Jahrie Level’s departure from the program, but didn’t cite a reason. In terms of depth at the position Petrino name dropped Maurice Trotter, Najee Lovett, Roman Runner and Marquan Major as guys he thinks will step up to the occasion.
Fall practice begins on Monday, Aug. 5 with the first scrimmage coming on Saturday, Aug. 10.
Also a quick note on the video board — The old board has moved to the west wall and is operational. The new video board should be finished with advertisement panels and all by the end of the week. New basketball scoreboards have also been installed.
(Full audio from the Paul Petrino press conference)
Here are some of the other comments from Paul Petrino this afternoon at the Kibbie Dome:
Full comments on the quarterbacks: “I think out of spring ball Chad came out as the leading quarterback. He’ll start out as the guy people got to beat out. I think Taylor Davis continued to improve and got better as spring went on.”
“Anytime you recruit a JC guy (in Josh McCain) you recruit him with a chance to start, so it’ll just be a competition, so we’ll find out. I think Matt Linehan will be a good quarterback for us here in the future, he’ll probably redshirt. It’s a good situation when you have a couple guys you think will be real good players, it’ll be a competition throughout.”
On if Josh McCain is a better fit for the read-option than Chalich: “I don’t know if it fits him better, I haven’t seen him do it yet. He didn’t necessarily do that in junior college, you just saw him run around and make all kinds of plays. Until you see him do it, you’re not really sure. That’s actually something Chad did real well, it was actually one of his strengths.”
On his sense of the excitement level over the season: “We’re really excited. One of the biggest things from day one we wanted to build is just having a love for the game, just having a passion for the game. I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world, I get to do something that I love….I try to surround to surround myself with coaches that are that way and have that rub off on the players. It’s how much excitement there is on day 14, that’s when we have to keep the excitement, keep the passion.”
On adding two coaches over the summer: “I have, I’ve been around it before. I’m real excited, I think they’re great young coaches…I just think we made two good hires, sometimes you’re nervous about something like that but I think the hires we made will help us greatly.”
On expectations in 2013: “Every game that we’re in we’re going to compete to out-hit, out-hustle and out-punish the opponent. Every team when they walk off the field and they’ve played us, they’re going to be sore, they had to compete the whole game…We’re going to believe we’re going to win, work hard, keep fighting through it. There’s probably going to be a couple games this season where we take some lumps, but you get up and you fight again. Kind of like they say in Montana, if you never had your butt kicked you probably don’t fight very much.”
On his redshirting philosophy with freshmen: “Really when we recruit them, we tell every one of them we expect them to come in play and then they work harder in the off-season. I don’t tell any of them they’re going to redshirt because then they don’t work as hard. Then we decide through fall camp who’s physically and mentally ready to go. ..”
“We’ve told them all to be ready to play…The way it is now where you can pay for summer school and they can be here all summer and work out, a lot more kids can play as true freshmen. Our first year at Arkansas we had 16 true freshmen play…(then) as you build and build and you’re able to redshirt more.”
On the importance of being at Sun Belt media days earlier in the month: “It was good to see the excitement of the league. Anytime the conference office is in the Superdome, you have a chance to bowl games, championship games there. For recruiting, to get around. I know a lot of those coaches anyway, but it was good to be around them and get a feel for them. I think that’s one of our biggest long-term goals, get better everyday, get better everyday, and when we step into that league next year battle for that championship.”