MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho has gone from billing tonight’s conclusion to spring football camp as the Silver and Gold game to the Silver and Gold scrimmage.
That’s because – except for more fans at the Kibbie Dome – it won’t look different than the first two scrimmages of spring. Tonight, like the last few weeks, coach Robb Akey is more concerned with which players emerge than how the offense performs against the defense.
“I’m excited to see who’s going to show up and makes some plays …” said Akey of the 6 p.m. spring finale, repeating one of his go-to lines of camp.
The Vandals had so many question marks and injuries entering spring that Akey and his staff knew not all of the issues could be resolved by this point. Sure enough, UI hasn’t named a starting quarterback (it’s a tossup between Taylor Davis and Dominique Blackman) and only two of five starting offensive line spots are locked down.
But Akey likes how the offense has “soaked in” a new system under the guidance of offensive coordinator Jason Gesser. He’s also been pleased with how an experienced, mostly injury-free defense has come together.
“Now, if I had a disappointment about the spring, it would be that it’s not 15 practices longer and we got too many guys hurt,” Akey said.
Running back James Baker and backup tight ends Justin Podrabsky and Jared Klingenberg were injured last week and will miss tonight. Five offensive linemen have also missed parts or all of spring, and only Jordan Johnson could be back for the final scrimmage.
Idaho has also been without top receiver Justin Veltung, who’s still recovering from a turf toe injury that sidelined him last season.
Through the injuries, a few surprises have emerged. Cody Elenz, a year removed from high school, has shown promise as a potential starter at left tackle. Middle linebacker Sua Tuala has been the most consistent player of the spring, Akey said. Trey Williams has stood out among a deep safety crop.
At QB, Blackman and Davis have split time with the first unit all spring, and “there hasn’t been a whole lot of separation at this point in time,” the coach said.
“Now I’d love to see both of them come out and light it up (tonight),” Akey noted. “… I’m looking to see something clean and consistent from those guys.”