Posted on April 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM
MOSCOW, Idaho – Paul Petrino said his vision of an ideal scrimmage was neither side dominating. That’s what he had Saturday in the Idaho Vandals’ first spring battle between the offense and defense.
“Overall,” he said, “for a first scrimmage, I was happy. With that many touchdowns, you’d probably have to say the offense (was the winner), but there were times when the defense got after them pretty good.”
He saw more than just improvement in Xs and Os during the 190-play session.
“There were a lot of things that seemed a lot better,” he said. “There was a better attitude, better environment. Everybody played hard.”
The offense wound up tallying 20 touchdowns in the scrimmage that initially was dominated by the defense. Once the offense started to click, Petrino said he liked the response of the defense when he challenged the unit.
“I liked it when I went over there and challenged the defense,” said Petrino, noting the successive three-and-outs that followed. “There were a lot of defensive guys flying around, hitting, playing with great effort.”
Eight players tallied double-digit tackle efforts with newcomer Irving Steele and returners Russell Siavii, Jayshawn Jordan and Eric Tuipulotu totaling 13 each. Broc Westlake had 12, Bradley Njoku had 11, and Jordan Grabski and Marc Millan had 10 each. Defensive end Quinton Bradley proved he is back at full strength with four tackles for loss. Siavii and Jordan intercepted two passes each.
Josh McCain, the Vandals’ quarterback-turned-receiver, caught eight passes for 218 yards and five touchdowns, while Deon Watson and Dezmon Epps both had 11 catches with Watson covering 199 yards and Epps 147.
That was part of an air assault the included 96 passes with 62 completions for 878 yards between the two players – sophomore Chad Chalich and redshirt freshman Matt Linehan, battling for the starting nod. Chalich was 22 of 34 for 395, and Linehan went 40 of 62 for 484 yards. Each was intercepted twice.
The run game, which netted 341 yards, was led by senior Jerrel Brown with 22 carries for 106 yards with sophomore Richard Montgomery carrying 17 times for 65 yards.
“You see a lot of skill on offense that can make big plays,” Petrino said. “There are little groups on both sides that have to improve.”