Less than four days now until the Idaho Vandals debut at New Mexico State (5 p.m. Pacific on Saturday), and things are pretty much settled as far as the depth chart, starters, etc. I talked to a few members of the team after this evening's practice -- read on for a few notes and quotes.
One of the few position battles still lingering is at middle linebacker. Spokane product Paul Senescall is listed No. 1 on the depth chart and sophomore Tre'Shawn Robinson is No. 2. But expect to see a lot of both of them come Saturday. "We’ve both been working really hard this fall camp and all through spring," Senescall said Tuesday. "I think now I’m going to be the starter, but either way we’re both going to get a lot of playing time. We’re going to get our jobs done."
Senescall has a bit more experience (and durability perhaps) than Robinson, but this looks to a be a position of strength. Senescall is practicing with a hefty cast on his right hand; he banged up his thumb early in camp but said it shouldn't be a problem. In case of injuries, coach Robb Akey indicated Monday that JoJo Dickson could fill in at MLB.
MORE PRAISE FOR SCHEIDT
Like everyone I've spoken with the past few weeks, Senescall is very high on true freshman Conrad Scheidt. The Hawaii native is listed as the No. 2 strongside linebacker behind Dickson, another Hawaiian. "As a freshmen he’s really developed," Senescall said. "He’s pretty physical. Mentally, he’s handled the calls, which you don’t really see too much as a linebacker. I know what it was like to come in as a freshman and I was overwhelmed. He’s been able to handle a lot of things pretty well. He’s going to play for us; he’s a good football player."
Senescall is also expecting a contribution from junior-college transfer Korey Toomer. "He’s a real big, physical football player. Flies to the ball. And both those guys (Toomer and Scheidt) are going to make a big impact on our defense."
HARVEY A PLEASANT LATE ADDITION
Less than two weeks ago, Matthew Harvey wasn't even in Moscow. Now he's listed on the two-deep depth chart.
The 5-9, 160-pound cornerbacker from Florida attended junior college in Iowa, where one of his coaches had a relationship with the Idaho coaching staff. Akey said they had their sights on Harvey for next year's recruting class but the sophomore wanted to get a jump on FBS football, so he contacted Idaho.
"He showed about two weeks ago. It’s a good addition," Akey said. "It really is, especially at a position (where) there’s an opportunity and a need."
Harvey, known for his blazing speed, is listed with Eric Hunter behind Isaac Butts at one cornerback. He could potentially help in the return game as well.
AGGIES MORE BALANCED UNDER WALKER
Akey expects to see close to a 50-50 run-pass balance with New Mexico State. Last year, the Aggies under Hal Mumme were almost exclusively a passing team.
"Well, they’re going to have another dimension to their offense," Akey said. "I think they only ran the football in the past because there’s a league rule that says you have to run every once in a while. They’re going to be more balanced."