What To Know About Quarterbacks In June

For the third consecutive year Idaho has a QB Competition coming into fall camp. With the recent announcement broke by Colton Clark of the Lewiston Tribune, that Lewiston’s Colton Richardson will not be returning to the team this fall. The competition now seems even more open than before.

With Colton out, Idaho will carry five”ish” quarterbacks into fall camp. I would also not be surprised to see a late addition added to bolster some depth via the transfer portal.

 

Expect to Start:

Mike Beaudry: R-Senior

Mike has spent his collegiate career bouncing around a few times, Idaho will be his 3rd stop.  The early indications were it was going to be Mike or Colton behind center in 2020. With Colton out it appears Mike is the leader in the clubhouse to take over the reins.

Being a senior expect him to be an important voice in the locker room. Not being able to work with the team in spring could make the comradery slower to develop.

Mike knows what it takes to step in and compete. He took Western Florida to the D2 National title game as a sophomore. He has the big game experience which should play well into the trend of Idaho last season . Who seemed to show up for all the big games.

He is coming in as a grad transfer from UConn who plays in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) which is widely regarded as the top group of five conference in the FBS. He won the starting job at UConn before suffering an injury early in the season that led to more of a dual QB system after.

He seems to be exactly what Idaho will need in 2020. A leader who can step in on a young offense with some experience and help them take the next step forward. Helping coach and push both Nayar & Jordan to be at even higher level come 2021.

Compete to Start:

Nikhil Nayar: R-Sophomore

After national signing day in February it looked like Nayar may have been a victim of the added depth Idaho has assembled in past two seasons, and would have been a long shot to start. Not necessarily based on talent, but based on getting reps. Between a returning redshirt junior, high profile true freshman and a FBS grad transfer, snaps would have been hard to get. With Colton no longer on the roster you would image Nikhil will be the beneficiary of most of those snaps.

In a year where Spring and Summer ball has been nonexistent it gives him a major leg up as this is his 3rd year in system where the others have only had playbook for a few months. They also have not had opportunity to practice with the team where Nayar has.

From everything we have heard Nayar has the talent to be QB1. But, in previous seasons seemed to lack consistency and confidence the coaching staff was looking for to put him in a serious starting position. You know what helps with consistency and confidence? Getting reps at practice, which he will be getting this year. Now Nayar just needs to capitalize.

Nayar is the sleeper pick to win the job. He has the Skills, Size and IQ. If he puts it together don’t be surprised if he blows this competition out of the water.

Caleb “CJ” Jordan: Freshman

Maybe the most hyped QB to join Idaho since Dominique Blackman, will have a lot of weight on his shoulder and maybe unfair expectations. To some he is already being viewed as the savior of Vandal football. Jordan was considered by Hero Sports to be the #2 QB prospect in the FCS. The 3 star out of Vancouver Washington (Greater Portland Area) had offers to many FBS schools including some in the power five such as Louisville. He is worthy of the hype. Idaho should be tactical with this decision. Throwing him to the wolves may not be the best idea, especially with a shortened off-season.

A major believe is if CJ had not suffered a season ending meniscus tear during his senior season. He would be playing for a Pac 12 or Big 12 type of school. The talent is there. If you follow CJ on Twitter, he has been working his tail off to get back on the field stronger than ever. Just because he can play, doesn’t necessarily mean he should.

With a Grad transfer appearing to be the favorite, it means Idaho will likely have a 4th straight year of competition coming in 2021. Giving Jordan a year to continue to rehab, learn the playbook, get in the weight room with coach Scharnhorst and build those relationships with his teammates.

Don’t forget with current NCAA rules he is allowed to play in 4 games during 2020 season and still be a redshirt freshman in 2021. In 2021 we would also have returning weapons Haywood, Hatten, Lee, Carter, Romano and others we will learn about this year.

This all being said, if he shows up and is the clear-cut favorite. You start him. After all he is a coaches kid, and Coach Petrino loves coaches kids.

Likely Depth

Nathan Cisco: R-Freshman

A guy who has gone a bit under the radar. Coming into fall camp Cisco looks to have fallen into the position I had originally pegged Nayar in Being a victim of our depth. Cisco is young and is still learning the offense. 2019’s competition saw Richardson and Petrino receive the majority of the snaps with Nayar getting some snaps here and there. Expect Cisco to take that role in 2020.

It may be a hard year for Cisco and will test his mental fortitude. As unfortunately I do not think 2020 will be the year for him.

I have little doubt he will takes snaps in a live game in his future. But to happen in 2020 he would need to have taken a large leap forward in the off-season or injury issues.

Good news for Cisco is he is young and has years left in his career. His first 2 seasons will not define his career.

Scout Team

Carter Friesz : R-Freshman

A fan favorite in Moscow Carter will have a lot of people pulling for him. The last time we took a player whose dad had quite the name recognition in Moscow at the Quarterback position it worked out alright. Like Carter Friesz, Matt Linehan was under recruited for football but Idaho gave them a chance. Matt took that opportunity and never looked back.

Could Carter do the same?

Zach Borisch : Redshirt Sophomore

Former Washington player of the year arrived on campus with some expectations on his shoulders. He has since disappeared to many casual fans. The hardcore fans know he has received a greyshirt, redshirt and a position move to the other side of the ball.

Given his Judo background it appear to make sense that he would be tasked with taking people to the ground, instead of avoiding it.

That being said he did appear in a post by QB coach Charlie Molnar over the spring in a Zoom Meeting with the other QBs. He may get a run at QB this fall. His high school production lends you to believe he could take the reins and do something special with them.

But until we get confirmation, he will be running with the QBs full time this fall, it is easier to see him running some scout team or special packages, than a true starter.

Conclusion

This is how I view the competition and its competitors as we come into July. By September 4th Cisco could be starting and Borisch backing him up. Nobody really knows until we get these men back in pads and see how they look at full speed.

One thing is for sure, Vandal fans should be thrilled with the level of talent it appears this QB room has from top to bottom. That will only improve more in 2021 as Colton Richardson returns along with everyone else on this list not named Beaudry.

Going to be a promising next couple of years.

Goal To Go: Central Washington Edition – Idaho Football Four Things To Watch

Welcome to “And Goal To Go. A new series where I will give my 4 things to watch, know or expect for the Vandals upcoming game and a score prediction.

The mighty Vandals return home for their home opener. They will be facing D-II Central Washington under first year head coach Chris Fisk.

First Down & Goal

Central Washington is a question mark at the quarterback position. The Wildcats have a new head coach, a new quarterback coach in Kelly Bills and only one player back with any significant time. The quarterback position in Ellensburg consist of three returning player and three true freshman.  Nothing we’ve found says Central has named a starter, but they do have some guys who can play. My three projected quarterbacks we should expect to see are:

Most likely to Start: Branden Miles

He is a 6-foot-3 Transfer following Coach Bills from Weber State. He saw some time on Weber State’s back-to-back Big Sky Championship teams

Second-most snaps: Tai-John Mizutani

Mizutani hails from Honolulu. He is fourth all-time on the islands for passing yards in a career and a game. Yes, that same state which has produced QBs like Marcus Mariota, Tua & Taulia Tagovailoa and Milton McKenzie.

The other guy: Christian Moore

The returning 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore had 10 appearance last year for the Wildcats as the backup.

Second Down & Goal

Is our revamped secondary as bad as it looked vs Penn State, or were we just playing a top 15 FBS team that is just that good? We have one of the Big Sky’s leading pass defenders in senior Llyod Hightower, a Cotton Bowl contributing transfer Davontae Ginwright from Western Michigan, and Tyrese Dedmond has another year of experience. One of our last Potato bowl contributors in senior Sedrick Thomas. Plus, added depth in junior college signee Satchel Escalante. As I mentioned in first down, they are facing a rather inexperienced group of QBs from a D-II school. We should see improvement from the Vandals here.

Third Down & Goal

We hope our secondary is revamped and that our defensive line is reloaded. We have had so many great defensive linemen in past few seasons such as Maxx Forde, Benson Mayowa, Aikeem Coleman, Quinton Bradley, DJ Henderson and so on. Kayode Rufai and gang looked good against Penn State early. Then, well, they never got off the field. This game should help build some momentum as Kayode, Kim, Akanno and both of the Elliss’ should live in the backfield against this inferior offensive line.

Fourth down & Goal

A quarterback competition. We’ve kept hearing about a competition at the spot going all the way back to last season. But, the snap tallies tell a very different story. Mason Petrino had 275 more pass attempts than Colton Richardson last season. Richardson battled injuries, to be fair, but even before the injury it was obvious who was going to be taking more snaps. We also learned Mason had a separated shoulder all season which makes you wonder why he was even playing. Mason threw the ball 17 times last week, more than Richardson’s nine attempts. Let’s just please make this an actual competition and give both QBs a fair shake and see who comes out on top.

Touchdown!

Chris: Idaho 54 Central Washington 6

TJ: Idaho 27 Central Washington 17

Brian: Idaho 42 Central Washington 28

Sean: Idaho 41 Central Washington 17

Marten: Idaho 49 Central Washington 13

Signing day 2017: Vandals will bring quarterback controversy into the Big Sky in 2018

With every small step Paul Petrino has taken since our Potato Bowl triumph, I think ever so slightly there might be a chance he actually stays to see this thing out to the Big Sky when Idaho enters the conference in 2018.

Logically, it doesn’t make sense. A man who’s spent nearly 20 years at the FBS level, with a cup of coffee in the NFL, won’t see that body of work go to waste to become a head coach in the Big Sky. It’s a level where you have to win three national championships just to get a second interview at Wyoming.

Beau Baldwin, architect of two wins against Pac-12 schools, a national championship and a handful of Final Four appearances at Eastern Washington, was rejected by Oregon State and Nevada. He settled on being the offensive coordinator at Cal this season.

This realistically leaves me wondering if Paul Petrino has signed his last class at the University of Idaho.

If indeed Paulie is bidding us farewell soon then he has left us the greatest gift of all: Stability at quarterback.

We have one more season of Matt Linehan. It should be a beautiful season. He could be the best quarterback in the Sun Belt Conference, he could be getting ogled over by NFL scouts and he should leave the University of Idaho with a winning record over his last three seasons (13-11 over the last two). We could also win a bowl game. Again. That’d be dope.

We’re going to miss him when he’s gone. We missed Nathan Enderle when he left in 2010 after two seasons of 14-12 ball. We went four seasons with quarterback instability after he left, winning five games in those four seasons. This quarterback transition has the potential to be especially chaotic considering the conference change, scholarship slashing and the expectation to immediately compete to win Big Sky Conference championships.

This is probably why Paul Petrino felt compelled to sign two quarterbacks plus a state champion from Washington who might be able to take some snaps, too.

Los Angeles’ Dylan Lemle and Lewiston’s Colton Richardson signed letters of intent at Idaho. Both have the potential of starting playoff games at the Kibbie Dome and leading Big Sky title pushes.

Zach Borisch of Kamiakan High School, the 3A state champion in Washington, also signed on. He will probably redshirt and explore playing time at other positions.

These guys will join current sophomores Gunnar Amos and Mason Petrino. Amos will see snaps at safety and Mason Petrino will explore playing time at receiver, along with still working with the quarterbacks.

First, I’ll discuss Richardson.

I’ll make it no secret I think he is Idaho’s quarterback of the future. This may also be biased. I’ve covered Colton and I’ve seen what he can do.

His strength is his arm, and his current best Petrino-offense comparison is Jake Luton. Colton Richardson can make any throw in Paul Petrino’s playbook. He’s got touch to go with his arm strength and played in a high school offense that allowed him show off his arm and learn a pass-heavy offense.

He’ll get shit for being fat. He’s currently listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds. He’s been in worse shape than that during his high school career.

He doesn’t play fat. He rarely sits stone-footed in the pocket. He shuffles his feet, he knows how to roll out to extend plays and can take off and run with it if he needs to. This reminds of Jake Luton’s ability to run the read-option on the goal line. But I think Richardson is more light on his feet than Luton was.

//www.hudl.com/embed/video/3/4261861/57ff133d11fa806ec45b3e6e

His weaknesses is that his high school offense wasn’t incredibly complex and the level of competition in North Idaho is fairly bad. He didn’t necessarily back up his results when it came to the state playoffs. The ability to redshirt and get reps during Get Better Sunday practices will be where Richardson earns his first points in the 2018 competition.

It’s honestly incredible Richardson wasn’t more highly recruited. I’m told he was offered a roster spot on Washington State as a walk-on. This is akin to Chad Chalich, who tore up the 5A Inland Empire League and only garnered enough interest to get a walk-on spot at Boise State.

Coeur d’Alene’s Colson Yankoff, who will graduate in 2018, has four Pac-12 offers. He and Richardson could link up in 2020 if Yankoff chooses Washington State.

Speaking of Chalich – Petrino’s first starting quarterback at Idaho and who ended up transferring to Montana when Matt Linehan inevitably took the job – that brings me to Lemle.

Chalich is probably Lemle’s best Petrino-offense comparison.

Lemle, who spurned offers from Utah, Boston College and maybe Tennessee, likely chose Idaho because the Vandals were the only school to guarantee him an opportunity at quarterback the entire way.

It’s also why Gunnar Amos and Kareem Coles, now at Duquesne, also chose the Vandals during the recruiting process.

Lemle ran a shotgun-based passing offense with option elements. It reminded me of what Idaho’s offense looked like with Chalich, minus the part where Chalich wasn’t allowed to slide out of bounds thusly leading to his murder every other play.

Idaho lists him at 6-2, 190 pounds. For comparison, Matt Linehan came in at 6-3, 215 pounds during his recruiting process.

I was impressed with the breadth of passing plays in Lemle’s highlight video, from play-action throws down the field, quick receiver screens or slant routes over the middle. Accuracy seemed like it was hit or miss (since I only got the highlights), deep passes he hit were because of wide open receivers, throws over the middle seemed pushed and the throwing motion took a while to wind up.

//www.hudl.com/embed/video/3/3226136/57c2282bdfe29954184c3f90

What could get him on the field quickly is his ability to run the option attack and his ability to gain yards with his feet, if that’s the direction the offense heads.

The more I look at Lemle’s tape the more I think he obviously has what it takes to be a stellar quarterback in the Big Sky. Which, that’s the important qualifier here.

We have to judge players a little differently now than if we were staying FBS. Portland State beat Washington State and made the FCS Playoffs with Alex Kuresa – hardly a passer, but good with his feet.

Bryan Schor won the national championship with James Madison throwing for 3,000 yards on 73 percent completion, while also rushing for 720 yards and 10 touchdowns. And, well, you all already know about that Carson Wentz kid from North Dakota State. He’s as pro style as it gets.

You can win a plethora of ways in the Big Sky and Petrino has given us multiple routes to finding Linehan’s heir apparent.

Of course, we have to keep an eye on factors such as …. who is the head coach in 2018? Will any FBS transfer quarterbacks become available to come in and play right away? Who else will we sign next year? What even is the existential meaning of life?

But as of right now, the competition starts as soon as both these guys get on campus.