On Tuesday, Idaho had its first full practice since losing 40-6 at North Texas on Saturday. Much of the Vandals' focus was cleaning up self-inflicted mistakes -- small and large -- that marred Paul Petrino's head-coaching debut. And to help the team get ready for a second straight road game, Petrino brought in around a dozen members of the band to play music and be rowdy during practice in the Kibbie Dome. They were successful on both fronts.
We've got a few practice notes to pass along as the Vandals prep to play at Wyoming on Saturday (1 p.m., ROOT Sports).
The Vandals practiced for about two hours, with special teams an emphasis early in practice and at the end. The Vandals went through kickoff and punt return scenarios (both coverage units struggled Saturday), while place-kicker Austin Rehkow wrapped up practice with a solid showing kicking increasingly lengthier field goals.
Here are other notes from Tuesday:
- Offensive tackle Cody Elenz, who left early Saturday with an apparent knee injury, sat out Tuesday. He was wearing a brace on his left knee and walking gingerly on the sideline. Petrino declined to comment on Elenz, saying his rule is to only talk about players who practice. Redshirt freshman Calvin White replaced Elenz in the game last week and at practice Tuesday. Center Mike Marboe went through the full practice and appeared fine after also getting injured Saturday.
- Marboe said this when assessing the offensive line's play: "It wasn’t our best performance but we’ll get better. We had a pretty good day today as a group. And we’ve just got to improve each week. We had some mental errors and a couple guys went down. ... Pretty easy fixes for us and we’re going to have a good rest of the year."
- Trey Wiliams didn't get the start last week at free safety, but he's listed atop the depth chart at that position for Week 2, ahead of true freshman Jordan Grabski.
- The Vandals took 64 players to North Texas, and half of them -- 32 -- had never played in an FBS game before Saturday. After mentioning that tidbit, Petrino said: "That’s not making excuse, but a couple of them played like it (was their first game)." The Vandals have eight true or redshirt freshman on their two-deep depth chart this week, six of whom are on offense.
- Many of the Vandals' defensive starters were in the game till the end at North Texas. Petrino said he thought most of the team "fought most of the game, but not hard enough. And that’s unacceptable."
- During one stretch of practice when receivers dropped a few passes and quarterbacks Chad Chalich and Josh McCain were struggling, Petrino turned to the offense and yelled, "Do something right, quarterbacks."
- Wyoming plays at War Memorial Stadium, which sits at 7,220 feet -- the highest evelation for an NCAA Division I stadium. How are the Vandals preparing for playing at such high elevation? "You don’t talk about," Petrino said. "You don’t worry about. In my opinion, I think you just go play. I coached at Utah State, it was the same thing. Some teams came in and worried about it and it was a big advantage to us. But some teams didn’t worry about it and I don’t think it was any advantage."
- More Petrino on the altitude: "There are things that are called controllables and uncontrollables. The controllables, you worry about. The uncontrollables, you don’t worry about. And that’s the weather, the altitude, the refs, the fans -- those are things you can’t control. But you can control your preparation, your effort, your attitude. That’s the stuff you worry about."
- Petrino on Wyoming QB Brett Smith: "Very, very talented quarterback. I watched him more again today right before practice. Makes you not sleep very much, to be honest with you. He’s got a big-time arm. He can make all the throws. He can run. They’ve got some good tough receivers. Defensively, they run pretty well. ... I think we’ve got to run the ball against them and we’ve got to stop their quarterback. That’s not a big secret -- he’s their big stud and he can really play. So we better hit him. Get in his face or make him uncomfortable. If he’s not uncomfortable, it’s going to be a long night."
Wyoming safety Marqueston Huff registered 18 tackles in a 37-34 loss at Nebraska last week, tied for the most in the nation. Said UI offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich, "He’s really active. When a guy makes 18 tackles in a game, you notice him showing up a lot, because there’s some times if he didn’t show up and make the tackle, they’re going to go (for big) yards. So he’s really an effective tackler. He certainly jumps out at you. ... He cleans up mistakes, which is what great safeties do. You know, he played corner last year, so he’s got cover skills and he can run and obviously showed he can tackle too. So a very good player."