Latest from The Spokesman-Review
For a while Saturday night, the Idaho Vandals were college football's Team Deja Vu.
After seeing their season opener at Florida delayed, suspended and finally canceled after massive lightning strikes and rain, the Vandals nearly had it happen again at Round 2, their Sun Belt Conference opener at Louisiana Monroe. Following a Warhawks touchdown to broke a 7-7 tie with 3:32 left in the first quarter, officials waved a halt to the action because of lightning. But at least when the game started up again at 6:49 p.m. PDT — after a 2 hour, 6 minute delay — it went the distance.
Alas for the Vandals, they didn't make it to the finish line first, falling 38-31 on Centarius Donald's 1-yard plunge with nine seconds to play.
For more on the Vandals, the link will take you to the jump.
They're known as body-bag games in the college football trade. A pummeling for a paycheck. But now the Idaho Vandals will get the paycheck without having to endure the pummeling.
For more on the termination of the Idaho-Florida game, follow the link to the jump.
Say, maybe the Idaho Vandals and Florida Gators can play each other on Xbox 360.
It may come to that. Another day passed with no resolution on whether the two teams' game — washed out by rain and lightning last Saturday — will be played on another date this season, or whether the Vandals will get the $975,000 payday they were counting on for their trouble.
For more on the Vandals, follow the link.
The University of Idaho's football season will have to a wait a week.
With The Swamp turned into an actual swamp and the playing field deemed unsafe, the Vandals' date with the University of Florida was “terminated” after two extended lightning delays in Gainesville Saturday night. The terminology was later amended to “suspended” in a statement issued by Florida.
So will the game ever get played? Follow the link for more on the Vandals.
What everyone else in college football calls “body bag games” are something entirely different to guys like Richard Montgomery and Jacob Sannon.
Of course, there isn't an underdog out there who thinks he's auditioning to be a victim.
Click on the link for more on the Vandals.
Call it resolution or call it compromise, but the big question dogging the Idaho Vandals into the first week of the college football season — who's the quarterback? — has been answered.
It's both of them.
More on the Vandals below.
We posted Paul Petrino's comments earlier. Below is our recap of Idaho's second fall scrimmage, with special focus on the muddied quarterback battle between Chad Chalich and Matt Linehan.
Also, a personal note: Today was my last covering the Vandals for the Spokesman-Review as a correspondent. After six years, I'm leaving to focus on my full-time job and my young family. It's been a privilege writing for the S-R, and I'm sure you'll be in good hands with my replacement. Thanks for reading and following along on this blog. You can find my story on Paul Petrino for the paper's season preview next week.
Paul Petrino went easy on his players Saturday morning, at least compared to what they're used to. Idaho scrimmaged just over 120 plays — instead of their customary 150-plus plays — over the course of about two hours in the Kibbie Dome.
Petrino's full comments to the media are below.
Idaho completed its second two-a-day of the week on Wednesday, and coach Paul Petrino was again happy with what he saw. In fact, he said the Vandals' morning practice session “might have been the best practice we've had since I've been here.”
The second-year coach was also in a good mood because a certain 346-pound defensive tackle has officially joined the team. Read on for more on that, and other notes from Moscow.
Videos courtesy of Idaho media relations.
The Vandals practiced outside Monday morning in the smoke-clogged air, then worked for about two hours at the Kibbie Dome. After the first two-practice day of fall camp, Idaho coach Paul Petrino was happy with how his team went about its work. “I thought we had great fire in the second practice,” he said. “You always do in the first one. Thought they came out in the second practice and worked really hard, and I was really happy.”
Petrino was also pleased with his quarterbacks' performance. Read on.
The full pads didn't go on as planned Thursday night, but Idaho still had a lively practice under the lights on its Sprinturf field adjacent to the Kibbie Dome. We have a full report from Day 4 after the jump.
The Idaho men's basketball team will make its return to the Big Sky Conference on New Year's Day against Idaho State. But before that, its schedule includes games against Boise State at CenturyLink Arena in Boise (on Nov. 25) and at Washington State (Dec. 3).
The Vandals, coming off a 16-18 season, announced their schedule on Wednesday. They open the season at home on Nov. 14 against Eastern Oregon — the first of five home nonconference games. They also host South Dakota State, Northern Kentucky, UC Davis, and Walla Walla. The schedule includes two out-of-conference home-and-homes — somewhat unusual in college basketball. They play at Northern Kentucky on Dec. 22 after hosting NKU on Nov. 29, and they play at South Dakota State on Dec. 13 after hosting SDSU on Nov. 17.
UI's full schedule is here. Last week coach Don Verlin announced his final signing of the 2014 class — Nahshon George, a 6-foot-9 JC transfer from Shoreline Community College.
The first day of Idaho fall camp went deep into Monday evening, and we're done filing our story. We've got an assortment of notes and quotes after Day 1 below the link. Read on.
The Idaho Vandals start fall camp tomorrow with a 6 p.m. practice. We've got a preview of camp, including the burning questions that UI needs to answer, and a boatload notes on players coming and going.
Read all of it below.
Paul Petrino got a taste of the Sun Belt football media day last summer after Idaho accepted an invite to the New Orleans-based conference. But on Tuesday, with the Vandals an official football-only member of the Sun Belt, Petrino and the rest of the UI contingent traveled to the Superdome for a more full-fledged media day experience.
Petrino was joined by center Mike Marboe and defensive end Maxx Forde in New Orleans to talk to the media. Check out below for some comments from Petrino on the dismissed Dezmon Epps, what he expects in 2014 and more. You can also watch an interview with Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson here. Benson referenced the addition of Idaho and New Mexico State — two of the four new teams in the conference — as a way to get to 12 teams so the SBC could have a conference title game. But it fell short of that goal and wound up with 11 football-playing members for 2014.
Read on for quotes from Petrino.
Center Mike Marboe and punter Austin Rehkow were named to the Sun Belt's first-team preseason all-conference team, while defensive end Maxx Forde was a second-round selection. The three Vandals were named Monday, the day before the Sun Belt's media day in New Orleans.
Marboe and Forde are seniors. Rehkow, a Spokane product, is a true sophomore who led the nation in punting average last year.
Sun Belt coaches picked Idaho to finish ninth in the 11-team conference over the weekend. Unanimous league favorite UL Lafayette had five players named to the first-team offense, including preseason offensive player of the year Terrance Broadway, the Rajun Cajuns' quarterback.
Arkansas State, picked second, put four players on the first-team defense, headlined by preseason defensive player of the year Qushaun Lee.
New Mexico State — voted last in the coaches' poll — had no all-conference selections.
Dezmon Epps, who was dismissed from the Idaho football team on Sunday for a violation of team rules, was charged in Moscow with misdemeanor petty theft after allegedly stealing $37.72 in groceries from WinCo Foods.
The former Idaho wide receiver pled not guilty on Monday in Latah County District Court and posted a $300 cash bond. He's scheduled for a pretrial hearing on July 29.
Epps was already on probation after pleading guilty and serving a one-day sentence for a DUI in April.
Read more details below the link.
Dezmon Epps, Idaho's most productive wide receiver last year, has been booted from the team for a violation of team rules, coach Paul Petrino announced this afternoon. He was arrested in April on suspicion of driving under the influence. In June, he was sentenced to one day in jail and two years' probation after pleading guilty.
Epps was one of the two fastest players on the Idaho roster last year, along with running back Richard Montgomery, and one of the best skill players the Vandals have had in recent years.
For our full story, read on.
In its first year back in the Sun Belt Conference since 2004, the Idaho football team has been tabbed to finish ninth out of 11 teams by the league's coaches. The preseason poll, released Saturday afternoon, had the Vandals just ahead of Georgia State and fellow newcomer New Mexico State. The three bottom teams were separated by a mere four points in the poll.
Louisiana Lafayette was the unanimous pick to win the league after garnering all 11 first-place votes. The coaches voted Arkansas State second, followed by South Alabama and Troy.
The Vandals open the season on Aug. 30 at Florida. The following Saturday, Sept. 6, they travel to face UL Monroe in their first Sun Belt game. Each Sun Belt team plays eight conference games, and this season Idaho misses UL Lafayette and Georgia State.
UI went 1-11 last year in Paul Petrino's first season as head coach.
Preseason Sun Belt coaches poll
1. UL Lafayette 121 (11)
2. Arkansas State 102
3. South Alabama 98
4. Troy 84
5. UL Monroe 78
6. Texas State 70
7. Appalachian State 47
8. Georgia Southern 44
9. Idaho 29
10. Georgia State 27
11. New Mexico State 26
The University of Idaho announced on Wednesday that it has hired Charley Molnar as wide receivers coach — a move that was first reported in early June by CoachingSearch.com. Molnar, the former head coach at UMass and offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, takes over receiving coaching duties from Vandals offensive coordinator Kris Cinkovich.
“Getting Charley to join our staff was a home run for us,” Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. “He has been one of the best offensive minds in college football. He is a great teacher of technique and details of his position.”
Molnar's hiring was prompted by the departure of offensive line coach Jon Carvin after spring camp. Instead of bring in an outside offensive line coach, Petrino moved Cinkovich from receivers coach to O-line coach (in addition to his role as offensive coordinator and assistant head coach).
In other news, Idaho center Mike Marboe was added to the Rimington Award watch list. The award is given to the nation's top center. Marboe has started 36 consecutive games — the fourth-most among active offensive linemen — entering his redshirt senior season for the Vandals.
Idaho kicker/punter Austin Rehkow was also one of 25 punters named to the Ray Guy Award watch list. Rehkow received All-America honors last years as a freshman after averaging 47.8 yards per punt and booting 34 punts of at least 50 yards.