The Idaho football team spent three hours inside the Kibbie Dome on Saturday morning and early afternoon. Most of that time was dedicated to the first scrimmage of spring, which spanned roughly 190 plays. We've posted the full comments from coach Paul Petrino after the scrimmage.
Photo of quarterbacks Chad Chalich and Matt Linehan (10) courtesy of the University of Idaho.
You know, there was a bunch of great things. I thought the defense came out in that very first scripted blitz pickup and really did some nice things and got after them. … There were a lot of big plays (for the offense). At times too many big plays. But I liked it when I challenged the defense at one point: ‘Hey, we need to get the ball back. You’ve got to have two series in a row where we get a stop.’ And we got two three-and-outs right in a row.
We’re night-and-day better. We’ve just got to keep getting better. You see a lot of skill on offense that can make bit plays. Obviously, you saw some guys make some great plays. Both quarterbacks are light years ahead of how we were playing last year at this time at this position. We still need to grow and get better in the offensive front. And then our defensive guys flying around and hitting, playing with great effort.
Overall, first scrimmage, I was happy. And we’ll go watch the scrimmage, and sometimes you’re not as happy or not as sad when you watch it on tape.
Did one side of ball win?
Kind of went back and forth, you know. I would say with that many touchdowns, you’d probably have to say the offense. But then there were times when the defense got after them pretty good. I thought both of them played better. More so than the whole side of the ball, I think there are little groups on each side of the ball that really have to improve.
Did either QB pull ahead?
I’ve got to watch it on tape to say that. But I know they’re both understanding the offense, both playing way better, both just way, way, way far ahead of where we were at the end of last year — not even where we were last year at this time.
Thoughts on Josh McCain at WR?
It’s special. It’s exciting. You know what he can do, he can just play the ball up in the air so well. Whether’s it’s a little underthrown in the air or a deep ball in the air, he has great natural skills. Makes me kind of look like a big, dumb whatever you would call it for not playing him there last year, you know what I mean?
Run game ahead of last year?
Yeah. At times, at times. To be honest with you, sometimes with the run game sometimes I need to watch it on tape better. But there were a lot of things that seemed a lot better. It’s just a better attitude and a better environment. And everybody plays hard. No one was like, ‘oh’ when I said halftime after 110 plays, where last year they all thought they were going to be done. They just knew that was going to be the case. So it was good. We got a lot of hitting. A lot of plays to grade.
How many plays did you run?
I think it was 190.
Extend it at all?
No. I might have given a couple extra snaps to the 2s again because I forgot about them a little in the middle and spent it on the 1s. It was about where we wanted.
Any RB take the lead?
No. I would like them. They all did good things at times, and then they all have to improve on things at times. But I wouldn’t say any of them just stood out. I will tell you who I wouldn’t say is a surprise but is playing good is the youngster, Isaiah Saunders. He’s still got five years to play here. Just a grayshirt. But man, he’s smooth. Really smooth. He can see things and cut.
I think Kris (Olugbode), Jerrel (Brown) and Rich (Montgomery) all did some good things. And they’ve all got to improve on some things.
Thoughts on Robert Asencio?
I like him. I mean, what a great kid. I love having him around. He’s got good effort, great spirit, great passion. And he’s (come) a long ways in just five practices. Just got keep working with him and keep trying to get him better. He’s done a lot of special things.
Has he picked up how to play WR?
Yeah, you know. For a guy who’s never played the game before, he’s done some decent things.
Is the hope to use Asencio at the goal line?
Well, that’s one of them. But the other one is we had a 6-6 receiver at Louisville named Mario Urrutia, and no one could cover him on fades. Anywhere on the field just because he was so big and he would just block them off with his body. So eventually if he’s playing, I like it to be anywhere on the field, running fades, slants, crossing routes. But it’s kind of easier for him to learn down here (at the goal line) at first. But if can just do that, that would be great.
Thoughts on secondary?
They need to keep improving, but they are things that are going better. There are things that are definitely improving. One of the picks would have been a sack. Quarterbacks got to take care of the ball and not throw those. Jordan Grabski had a couple great days of practice. He got dinged up a little bit. … I thought Bradley Njoku has been doing a real good job at nickel, so that’s been nice.