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: 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

 

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