Vandal 2-Deeps to Start Camp

This how I view the 2-deep if the season started today instead of training camp. This was put together with things we have heard from folks close to program, things Coach Petrino said at media days and a bit of the eye test from last year.

The Offense

QB

Seems like somethings in life are certain. As a Vandal fan QB competition is one of those things. Sometimes its good, sometimes it is bad. Last season was first time since 2017 season we didn’t have a QB Competition. Beaudry was the pen in starter. Coach Petrino has been open this year senior Mike Beaudry and Freshman Caleb “CJ” Jordan will compete again.

We have seen

Linehan beat out Challich

Linehan beat out Luton

Petrino beat out Richardson x 2

Who wins now?

CJ Jordan
SeasonGPCMPATTINTYDSTDLong%AVG/PAVG/G
2020-21116270183023.596.8183.0
SeasonGPATTYDSTDLongAVG/AAVG/G
2020-21114380192.738.0

Mike Beaudry
SeasonGPCMPATTINTYDSTDLong%AVG/PAVG/G
2020-214731223794349.606.5198.5
SeasonGPATTYDSTDLongAVG/AAVG/G
2020-21425971163.924.3

The main thing for this position is finally having “the guy” and that guy staying healthy.

I would be remise, as a noted Nikhil Nayar fanboy to not say, “Don’t Sleep on Nayar!”

FB

Logan Kendall, no question. Guy is All-Big Sky and possibly All-American. If he goes down the name to know is most likely Trase Letexier a transfer from Montana that can play some Tightend as well.

RB

The myth, the man, the make Calin Criner breakdance, Aundre Carter has found himself back on the official roster. A happy site for many Vandals. I gave him the nod at starter. There is a lot to consider here though. We don’t know how fit he stayed while away and if he lost a step. I will give him benefit of the doubt right now.

It wont matter much as we really have so many solid options to carry the rock. Sophomore Nick Romano continues to impress, Redshirt Junior Roshaun Johnson has ability to close out a game, incoming freshman Elisha Cummings shows promise and should see some snaps, Redshirt Freshman Kiahn Martinez could have breakout year and what most of you are here for Redshirt Sophomore Zach Borisch is back in the RB room.

Though I expect Borisch to be a bit of Taysom Hill type. Just get him ball, whether it is RB, QB, TE, WR or KR, the guy is a W E A P O N.

WR

It is odd to say we are stacked at a position, when our offense has been anemic at best at times. But we have had a lot of new talent come in. Picking this position is a crap shoot. For instance I have Cutrell Haywood listed as a 2. That probably wont be the case, this group is just going to be a heavy rotation.

The coaches seems very high on the transfer in of Michael Graves from American River CC, Mekhi Stevenson from UNLV and Terez Traynor from Western Kentucky.

Jermaine Jackson our speedster from College of Mateo that went out after only a few very promising plays to start the season should be back.

Then you have All-Big Sky Hayden Hatten returning. Also, Some younger guys that show promise Beachem, McCormick, Puffer and Noil.

You could get dizzy keeping track of who is on the field at this position group.

OL

I am gonna be honest here, and shame on me. I am 5-foot-5 and the furthest thing from an offensive lineman. I know zero of the dudes in the trenches. I was a running back/linebacker in my youth and a cornerback in reality in high school.

Here’s what I know about the offensive line: Mathew Faupusa, Darius Archie and Logan Floyd were my picks last year and are my picks again this year.

I would expect Harwood to utilize the free year of eligibility and 4 game redshirt as he is the future. But if Chad Bagwell is healthy, I think this is his position to lose.

The real battle is at the LT spot. we have a few options to work through like, Carnahan, Transfer Straly and some younger guys like Abe Christensen, Eldride and Guzik.

Petrino spoke highly of Jory Dotts as being a mean son of a gun. I expect him to get reps with the free eligibility.

The 3-4 Defense

DL

Rinse and repeat from the spring. Rufai, Crawford and Kim should be the guys. But we will have a rotation here utilizing guys like Nate Degraw and Noah Elliss.

Malakai will be interesting to watch as well.

LB

Lets address the ELLISS in the room…. Okay, bad pun. That is the only bad thing about this section. Look losing Christina Elliss to the NFL is obviously a loss. But it is no secret, JUNIOR Tre “8 ball” Walker is larger than life right now. Tre Walkers accolades read:

2019 HERO Sports All-American Sophomore, 2nd Team All Big Sky

2020 Spring: 4 (Hero, STATS, AP, Phil Steele) 1st All-American honors, AFCS 2nd team All-American, 10th in Buck Buchanan award, 1st team All-Big Sky

2021 preseason: Big Sky defensive player of the year, Hero Sports Top Linebacker in country, Buck Buchanan watchlist, multiple 1st team All-American honors.

Starting the 5th paragraph, Tre Walker has been in all five. However, he is not alone. remind Christian Elliss struggled with injury a bit last year. Which allowed guys like Sully Shannon, Derek Tommasini, Hogan Hatten to really get a run. In fact the latter is where I’m the most worried to have left off the 2-deep. Hatten played in all 6 games last year. This group should really be a 3 deep.

Leo Tamba will “back-up” Tre, But in his time her, Leo has played in 88.88% of the games. He is slept on by even die hard vandals.

Tanner Brooks will be a Redshirt Freshman this season. When he showed up in 2019, Tanner was 6-4 224lbs. He is now 274lb. Want a name poised to explode off the page? #14 Tanner Brooks will have an impact shortly. Maybe I jumped the gun putting him in 2-deep over Hatten this season, But Christ all-might, he pops off depth chart at you.

Fa’avae Fa’avae may have “under preformed” by expectations i put on him last season. That said joining a program in middle of pandemic, playing in all six games and having a Root Sports player of the week game with 18 tackles vs SUU. I feel safe to say he was still highly productive and will take another step forward.

Akanno spent most of the spring trying to shake the rust from 2019 season. He showed flashes of his old self. We know that old self, is a potential All-American.

Look coach Petrino love Tommasini. I truly think that is the guy that will step into that lineup. But guys like Shannon, Hatten and Coleman will probably get looks.

The Back End

We got athletes. Safety vs Corner is a feeling for me.

Yes, we had a terrible secondary last season. Some of that is talent, some of this is the Big Sky conference is an air-out league.

Though we were bad Im still giving the incumbents their jobs back to start camp. Hoover and Dedmon are leaders in the locker room.

This could be my bias. I want Zamajay to be the savior of this secondary. I want another Keo. I am a Seahawks fan. Nothing is more fun than a lights out secondary. Zamajay Duncan is one of our highest recruits ever! I tampered my expectations and put him in the nickle spot for year uno.

Transfer are key to turn this group around short term. We brought in Jeremiah Salaam from Kent State. And yes Kent State might lose to half the Big Sky, why do you think he bounced? He played in 21 games in two season and we need experience. Also, balls.

Another transfer KJ Jarrel looks positioned to win the SS spot. The Sun Devil transfer has a very high ceiling and seems to be quick to the ball. One of those athletes I mentioned at the top, athlete, could easily play corner as well.

Parker and Jones could also make some noise.

*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer 

😉

Goal To Go: Northern Colorado

Welcome to 1st & goal. A new series where I will give my 4 things to watch, know or expect for the Vandals upcoming game and a score prediction.

1st Down – Road Woes

Social media off, newspapers shredded and flip phones closed. We did it, we upset the #11 team in the country last week in the Kibbie Dome. But that was last week. Idaho won at home where you have won 7 out of 8 since rejoining the FCS ranks. This week is different you are on the road where you are 0 out of 8 since rejoining FCS.

On paper, hell yeah Idaho should win. But the game isn’t played on paper, as Idaho should know from last week. We’ve only been close in 2 road games (Montana State & Wyoming). We have no reason to think we can win any games on the road. Until we actually do.

This is a potential trap game, which is weird for Idaho to say. Northern Colorado averages around 3000-4000 people at their games, the field is grass, noon kickoff and its our 2nd of 3 games at high altitude.

It will be spooky, lets just get out of Greeley with a win, please.

2nd Down- Mason Petrino

It needs to be said Mason Petrino had a great game last week. Arguably a top three performance for him. How much of that was Mason? How much was a lack of an Eastern Washington’s game plan? Was it the fear Cotton, Johnson, Carter & Haywood caused opening up opportunities? Does it matter?

I think Mason not having to even peak over his repaired shoulder added some swagger and confidence. He seemed to play loose and with something to prove.

I like the sassy Mason. He gave it to the refs, he gave it to the media, he gave it to early 2000’s technology. Now let’s see him sass of the Bears defense

I wont crown him king or eat crow on any of my previous statements after just one game. Good thing he has 8 OR MORE tries to prove me wrong!

3rd Down- Linebacker Reload

Idaho has been lucky to have had some studs at Linebacker on just about every team. The 2017 & 2018 teams though seemed to be the best. An NFL caliber guy like Kaden Ellis, athletic nerd Ed Hall & turncoat Tony Lashley.

This unit now, is as stacked as it has ever been. Possibly, the scariest part is their age. #8 Tre Walker, true sophomore. #1 Christian Ellis, true junior. #7 Charles “chuck” Akanno, redshirt junior. #24 Sully Shannon, true freshman.

Charles Akanno is coming off an FCS Stats Defensive player of the week nod. Would not be surprise if he or another linebacker mate win it again.

4th Down –Beware of Sleeping Offense

Northern Colorado may be playing possum. They have two of the best offensive weapons in all of the Big Sky, in QB Jacob Knipp and RB Milo Hall.

Jacob Knipp was in the same recruiting class as Matt Linehan. In his age, comes experience. The 6’4 Coloradoan burst onto the scene in 2015 after taking over 4 weeks into his redshirt freshman season. He broke a ton of freshman records and stood out in a deep QB conference. He has been slow to start this year, even getting taken out late against Washington State. Its possible maybe he has peaked, but even so, he seems primed for a vintage game. Hopefully not this week against Idaho.

Milo Hall is a workhorse. He transferred to the Bears from Wyoming. He was not just a role player or scout team guy either. He started 4 games for the pokes his redshirt sophomore year. He has soft hands and contributes in the passing attack. The instant you think that he is a speed back at 5’8, he will drop a shoulder and truck you! Idaho comparison would be Aaron Duckworth.

Luckily we have those linebackers….

Touchdown!

Chris: Northern Colorado 24 Idaho 20

TJ: Idaho 29 Northern Colorado 19

Brian: Idaho 31 Northern Colorado 13

Alex Boatman: Idaho 24 Northern Colorado 13