A sampling from the past week of entries in The Spokesman-Review blog SportsLink at spokesman.com/sportslink.
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.
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 excuses, 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.
We had a chance to speak with offensive line coach Clay McGuire after practice. Here is his assessment of the Auburn game.
“It was one of the better performances we’ve had since we’ve been here. But right now it’s just a starting point. Our focus is to get better every week and if we do that, at the end of the year we’ll be a pretty good unit.”
(On playing the starting five the whole game) “We’ve got real quality backups. At some point we are looking to get other guys in just to keep guys fresh and just give other guys looks, too. I thought our continuity was going pretty good and we had a pretty good grasp of what they were doing on the field, so I didn’t want to risk that by throwing in a sub who hadn’t seen it like the other guys had on the previous snaps.”
(On their conditioning) “I don’t think the humidity and the conditions were affecting us at all. Our strength staff did a great job this summer. Our guys were in pretty good shape. You watch college games around the country all day and there’s guys cramping left and right … and I don’t know if we had one guy cramp.”
(On the 4th-and-5 run) “This offense is designed to take what they give you, and that’s what they were giving us. I knew when he checked that play he was doing it for a reason, and that’s what he’s got to be. You can’t be scared to do something like that and I was pleased with them executing the play. They made the play and got a first down and got to move on on the drive. It was good to see that.”
After a day off I’m back on the links, and I don’t mean golf. Who has the time, what with Eastern Washington football still making news after the big win over Oregon State? Eastern has moved up two spots, to second, in the weekly FCS poll. How are the Eastern players reacting to all of this? I’ll try to find out this afternoon at practice; then we can talk about it Thursday during our weekly live chat.