Sports

Ashley finds safety

UI junior has shuffled from spot to spot

MOSCOW, Idaho – Quin Ashley has been in the Idaho football program for nearly four years, and each new season seems to bring with it a different role for the versatile Texan.

Well, actually three new roles if you consider 2008, when Ashley danced between free safety, quarterback and wide receiver.

But after redshirting a year ago, Ashley finally is locked into the safety spot – although he still leaves the door open for a cameo appearance at a higher-profile position.

“If they want to put me in at quarterback (to play) the Wildcat, I’m more than happy to do that, too,” he said. “But I’m a safety right now.”

Ashley made a splash Saturday in the Vandals’ first scrimmage of the spring by breaking on a Nathan Enderle pass for a nice interception. The pick near the red zone thwarted a promising drive by the UI offense, which failed to cash in most of the morning.

Ashley is still in learning mode after switching full time to defense. But having success like the speedy 5-foot-11 junior did Saturday only helps speed up the process, secondary coach Patrick Libey said.

“It’s encouraging for him to start to making those plays and starting building that confidence,” Libey said. “He’s kind of (been) juggled around. The guy’s played quarterback, the guy’s played receiver, punt returner, kickoff returner. He’s been all over the place.

“And now that he’s finally feeling at home and learning the system and not having to rely on other people to make the calls, he can start making the calls and start taking a leadership role out there and contribute.”

The Paris, Texas, product was recruited as an athlete and moved to free safety his freshman year. But an injury derailed Ashley’s progress, and the coaches put him at QB in the middle of the 2007 season.

He started twice at quarterback that year before jumping back to defense in 2008.

Now, finally entrenched at safety, Ashley feels settled.

“I feel like a football player,” he said. “(I) basically feel comfortable anywhere as an athlete. If you know the game, you should really be able to play any position. That’s the way I look at it.”

Davis tears ACL

Wide receiver Preston Davis, who caught the game-winning two-point conversion in last year’s Humanitarian Bowl, sustained a torn ACL in practice this week and will have surgery sometime later this month.

Davis’ rehabilitation of the knee injury could extend into the start of the season, coach Robb Akey said.

“It’s going to be a while,” Akey said. “He’s going to get that repaired. He’s going to have to rehab it and that’s going to put into the beginning of the season.”

Tailback/returner Kama Bailey, also on crutches during Saturday’s scrimmage, had his knee scoped this week after an MRI. Akey said he’s waiting to hear if Bailey could return by the end of spring practice.

Notes

The Vandals’ offense mustered only three touchdowns during the 90-minute scrimmage. Backup QB Brian Reader threw for two scores while Enderle went 15 of 24 for 163 yards. Armauni Johnson, a transfer wideout, was a bright spot with two grabs for 39 yards and a TD. … Akey said roles have yet to be defined with the new-look offensive line, though the starting five continues to be Matt Cleveland, Guy Reynolds, Clell Hasenbank, Sam Tupua, and Tyrone Novikoff. Tevita Halaholo will be in the mix at guard when he returns from a hand injury, perhaps by next week.



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