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UI’s first scrimmage mostly a success

I never know what I'm going to learn from Robb Akey. After Wednesday's scrimmage, the Idaho football coach introduced me to a term I had never heard before. “I think we got a war daddy in (Michael) Cosgrove,” Akey said. “The ol’ cave man, he’s pretty doggone good.”

What exactly is a war daddy? Check out this Slate.com article for a good summary.

And keep reading for news and notes from Moscow after Idaho's first scrimmage of fall camp.


*****

My story from the scrimmage focused on the strides made by the offense since spring camp, and the progress that still needs to be made. You can read it here. Stats from the scrimmage are here.

The biggest news, clearly, was Justin Veltung's turf toe injury. He had an X-ray right after practice, and an MRI is possible too, Akey said, if the X-ray is inconclusive. Could this be a long-term issue for the Vandals' top playmaker? Akey's response was basically that any injury can potentially have long-term consequences, but this one could be particularly damaging since Veltung relies so much on his athletic ability.

“Turf toe can be a pain in the butt for a skill player — or a pain in the foot,” Akey said.

Regardless of the extent of Veltung's injury, the good news is that Idaho has a deeper receiver group than perhaps it thought it would. Armauni Johnson and Preston Davis are right with Veltung at the top of the depth chart, and two new faces — Maurice Trotter and Mike Scott — have also emerged.

Trotter and Scott are both junior college transfers who walked on just as camp was starting. Scott, from Foothill College in California, had a 33-yard touchdown grab in the scrimmage and Trotter had two receptions.

“We’re trying to turn up the heat at receiver and get some guys in there,” Akey said. “I’ve seen both of those kids make plays.”

Said offensive coordinator Steve Axman, “There’s two kids who have some speed. Trotter has some exceptional speed. And so we feel now that we have a better stockpile of wide receivers because as much as we throw the ball, you just can’t have three when you’re using three-wide receiver sets. You’ve got to have full sets.”

Coincidentally, Scott and Idaho QB Brian Reader squared off against each other in high school. In a California playoff game, Reader and Palma High succumbed in four overtimes to Palo Alto High, where Scott attended school. “He was on the team that ended my career,” Reader said.

Here are some other items of note:

  • The way things are shaping up, the Vandals could have several “war daddies” on the defensive line. There's Cosgrove, a senior Akey almost always refers to now as the cave man, and five others along the D-line that Idaho's fifth-year coach is excited about. That includes redshirt freshman Maxx Forde, who got reps with the first unit late in the scrimmage. “I think Maxx Forde is going to play some good football for us this year. I really do.” Akey also mentioned Jesse Davis, Karel Kearney, Dontae Scott and Quayshawne Buckley, all of whom are expected to play along the interior.
  • Benson Mayowa was back as a starting defensive end after he missed the first part of camp. Andre Ferguson is behind him, while Chuck Smith, Vince Keener, and Forde are also there.
  • Beyond Reader at QB, the depth chart looks set. Taylor Davis is locked in at No. 2 and Logan Bushnell is third. Justin Podrabsky also saw some time Wednesday. Akey has been impressed with Davis' athleticism and scramble ability. “I like what I’ve seen from Taylor. There were times where some quarterbacks are going to be dead to rights out there and he got himself out and going. … He’s got a great ability to get out of pressure and get out the ball out there. I saw those things from him today.”
  • At cornerback, the starters look to be Aaron Grymes and Matthew Harvey. Kenneth Patten and Tracy Carter have been running with the second team. Meanwhile, true freshman corner Dion Bass — who looks more physically mature than most freshmen — had an impressive open-field tackle during the scrimmage.
  • Jahu Coleman, a defensive back/kick returner from Glacier Peak High in Seattle, is enrolled at Idaho and plans on joining the team in the next two weeks. Coleman, who was on the sideline during the scrimmage, spent last year at Montana-Western in Dillon. He quickly became disenchanted there, and decided to transfer. He trained with Forde in Seattle and spent part of the summer in Moscow playing with the Vandals during 7-on-7 scrimmages, he said.
      

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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