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 

😉

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.