MOSCOW, Idaho—The Idaho football team held its first practice of fall camp Tuesday evening, officially getting the 2017 season underway.
Entering his fifth season, head coach Paul Petrino liked what he saw from his Vandals after day one.
"The first day is exciting," he said. "Guys are running around, playing hard. There was a lot of excitement. We did a bunch of really good things. Obviously, the first day there were a couple of things that were a bit sloppy, but I was very excited about seeing everybody out there. I think we have a chance to be good. We just have to keep improving every day."
Practice was high in energy as the team took to the SprinTurf outside the Kibbie Dome. Veterans Matt Linehan and Justin Rose helped lead the team on offense. The defensive side of the ball featured strong play from Kaden Elliss and Aikeem Coleman.
"For a first day it was pretty good," Linehan commented. "I thought we did a lot of good things out there. There are a lot of things we can improve on, but first day you are obviously going to have some rust to shake off."
This year's focus for the Vandals is #RaiseTheBar, working to build off of the success of the 2016 season. Idaho capped off 2016 with its first bowl win since 2009, finishing with a 9-4 record.
"Raising the bar is not just a record thing or an end of the year thing," Elliss explained. "Raising the bar is an everyday thing. I think that is something we have been doing since the summer and we are continuing to do. Everything we do whether it is extra steps to the ball, extra reps when we are lifting, everybody needs to be better than last year."
Idaho, with 15 starters returning, was picked to finish sixth by the Sun Belt Conference coaches.
The Vandals opened in shorts and helmets on Tuesday. The team will hold three more practices this week, before going full pads on Saturday.
The regular season gets started on Thursday, August 31, in the Dome against Sacramento State.