Suspended Idaho wide receiver Maurice Shaw was in pads this afternoon and practiced with the Vandals. He missed last week’s game at Louisiana Tech and his status for Saturday’s Homecoming game with New Mexico State is still in question.
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Shaw, a 6-foot-2 wideout from Ontario, Calif., took snaps in practice and appears to a part of the team — at least when it comes to practice — after being absent this time last week. On Monday, coach Robb Akey said Shaw will play again at some point this season. But Akey said the senior first needs to work out his legal issues after he was arrested on Oct. 9 for driving under the influence in Pullman.
The Vandals are moving on without starting cornerback Isaac Butts, who was dismissed from the team for undiclosed reasons. Butts was injured in an off-the-field incident before last week’s game, the Idaho Statesman reported. Without Butts, the Vandals will most likely rotate Kenny Patten, Tracy Carter and Matt Harvey at the starting corner spot opposite sophomore Aaron Grymes. Carter missed Tuesday’s practice because of the flu, and Harvey only saw limited reps. That left Shawn Tucker to take quite a few reps with the No. 1 defense.
“Those guys have got to step up,” defensive coordinator Mark Criner said. “Yeah, we lost a guy and nobody wants to lose a guy that has played a lot and was getting better and better. Butts was getting better and better and it’s unfortunate that he’s not going to be with us. But, hey, move forward and go from there.”
Criner added, “What that is, that gives us an opportunity to play other players. I think the more players that you play, the better it is. And hopefully we can stay consistent and stay healthy.”
There was also a renewed emphasis on tackling during Tuesday’s session in the Kibbie Dome. La. Tech did lots of damage after breaking through arm tackles in its 48-35 win over the Vandals. Said Criner: “We tackled poor on Saturday. I would say some of it was angles. But when you’re already in a good angle and you don’t make a tackle, that’s the frustrating part about it.”
Criner also had this interesting sidenote about the La. Tech performance after being asked about the cornerback situation: “Last Saturday, we didn’t get beat at corner. The corners played solid football. We gave up a few inside slants and things like that, but that wasn’t a problem. And tell you what, they played against some pretty good speed.”