When a team has as many position battles as the Vandals do, it’s good to give the players as many opportunities as possible — and that’s just what Idaho coach Paul Petrino has done.
In the 2013 season, Idaho averaged 80.8 plays per game. In the first two scrimmages of the spring the Vandals have ran a total of 360 plays.
Here are some notes from scrimmage No. 2:
– The offense continues to impress, putting up big numbers while at it, scoring 11 touchdowns and adding 1,219 yards on the day.
– The offensive line made strides. While still inconsistent, it provided the quarterbacks with better protection and opened some good lanes for the running backs. I’d say they won the day against a very good defensive line — but it was close.
– While the running backs had some good blocking, they also did a very good job of making the first defender miss. There were no stats for yards after contact, but if there was, I imagine it would be a big number.
– Jerrel Brown impressed not only running the ball, but catching, too. He had two receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown.
– The quarterbacks limited their mistakes compared to the first scrimmage. Matt Linehan threw the only interception on the day. Linehan also threw 20 more passes than Chalich, with 52 and 32 respectively. Linehan appears to taking the leadership role on this team. After a play where running back Isaiah Saunders fumbled the ball, Linehan was the first one over to support Saunders.
– Chalich’s play of the day came on a 65-yard dime to Richard Montgomery for a touchdown. And of all people who was celebrating the most it was his competition, Linehan.
– Quayshawne Buckley hasn’t missed a beat. Along with his one sack and one tackle-for-loss, he was constantly getting pressure on the quarterback.
– Safety and Nickelback Bradley Njoku provided the hit of the day on tight end Justin Podrabsky. On a play-action bootleg, Podrabsky caught a pass with what looked like plenty of room to run — Njoku closed the gap quickly and lit up the tight end.
– Missed tackles were a problem and there was often plenty of room for receivers and running backs to run after making a catch.
– According to the official statistics, Tony Lashley had the lone interception.
On the second scrimmage:
“I thought there were some great things. I thought our offense started out really, really good. They went up and down the field, scored a bunch. Then we kind of regrouped on defense, had some stops and they were playing better and making some plays. We came out in the second half, I thought the second half was pretty even. Both sides of the ball got after each other, and that’s really what you want. Overall, just walking off the field, it felt good. I thought some guys were really playing hard. You heard a lot of hitting, saw some big time plays and now we’re a lot better. Now we got two more weeks to get even more better.”
“No questions, they improved a ton. There was a couple of little things, that to everybody else you don’t really see, but there was a couple of checks and blitz checks, that were awesome. I was really happy about that.”
“I think they started slow and didn’t play very good early. Then they played really good in the middle and then they were kind of slow in the end. We still made strides, we’ve definitely improved.”
On running back competition:
“I got to watch the tape first. We’ve played Richard at a lot of receiver this week, so he’s kind of a slash. So it’s really between Jerrel and Kris. Saw them both do good things at times, so they just got to keep improving.”
On big hits:
“There were some good hits, that was awesome. There was some good hitting, guys flying around, knocking the heck out of each other — that’s what we want.”
What he says to players after fights:
“Knock it off, be smart, that’s not what you do on a football field. It’s being selfish, if it was a real game, that’s being totally selfish. That’s a penalty and you’re going to hurt the team.”
“It’s really going to come down to whoever the five best are. And whoever the five best are, will be the starters and will move them around. There’s some really good competition right now and that’s good, makes them all get better.”
Quarterback Chad Chalich:
On his shoulder:
“You know it’s good, it felt really good today. I’m still getting into the training room and getting it right. Like I said before it’s going to take time, but you know it felt good today.”
On being tackled twice:
“It’s just something that happened, you know it felt good to finally get hit again, it’s been awhile. It’s just football, you got to play through it.”
On the weapons around him:
“Just all around we have guys that can make plays … The defense just can’t go to one guy and limit that one guy, we can spread the ball around.”
“I felt like I did good. There’s still areas where I can improve, everyday I’m going to go watch film and see where I can improve.”
Running back Richard Montgomery:
On his role on offense:
“I’m just getting in to wherever I can fit in and get the ball and make a big play for the offense.”
If he thinks he’s the fastest guy on the team:
“Well, we ran 40’s and I ran a 4.2, so as of right now, I am the fastest guy on the team,” he said with a big smile.
Quarterback Matt Linehan:
On how the scrimmage went:
“I think we did a lot of good things today. Early on the o-line did a really good job and the running backs kept the momentum. The receivers made a lot of plays today, but it’s also good seeing the defense make good plays too. I think as a team we are improving each and every day. I’m really excited about where going right now and I think today was a statement about that.”
On his leadership:
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re a senior or a freshman … Both on and off the field, just be a leader by example, get these guys going when everyone is down and I think the important thing about being the leader is you got to have confidence in yourself and instill that confidence in others.”
On Josh McCain:
“Josh is one of the best athletes I have ever seen. He stepped in to the wide receiver role, seamlessly and has done a great job. He continues to impress us each and every day with what he does. I’m really excited about Josh, he’s transitioned well into his new role and I think he’s going to help us moving forward.”
On being Chalich’s biggest fan:
“It’s a team and we’re all teammates and I love when my teammates make a big play. I think when Chad makes a good throw and guys make good catches, I think we need to support them and encourage them. I think that’s something that the culture didn’t quite have last year … it’s something this year that the majority of the team has, just encouraging and supporting each other.”