Kyle Perry represents the kind of well-rounded student-athlete a state school like the University of Idaho gets when its recruiting is on its game. He is not merely a Vandal, but an Idaho Vandal, a product of his state.
Four days after a breakthrough game, a pair of practitioners of a fundamental football art were still lifted by their performance as the Idaho Vandals concluded a workout on a late afternoon that finally felt like football weather this week.
The Vandals’ potent rushing recalled Idaho’s waning days in the Sunbelt Conference when the league’s leading rusher and lightning bolt Aaron Duckworth and hard-hitting Isaiah Saunders lined up in Idaho’s backfield two years ago.
It was a painful lesson, but in their return to the Big Sky Conference a year ago, the Idaho Vandals learned there is no such thing as extraneous turf. It all has to be defended. It can all be exploited on offense.
From now on, Idaho will be into a regular-season routine of preparing for upcoming opponents, beginning with Penn State Aug. 31. But as the team leaves behind running endless reps of the same plays every day, punctuated with several scrimmages, head coach Paul Petrino came away from that grinding exercise feeling he has something to work with.
But, in the early sessions of preseason camp, veteran receivers Jeff Cotton and Cutrell Haywood have played lights-out, and the secondary, of late, has begun to rise to the challenge. From whatever angle it is viewed, Idaho’s glass might really be half full.
Two seasons ago, Dylan Thigpen was a breakout star in Idaho spring football. Every practice he pressed the defense. In a notable run in a scrimmage, he cleared a gap in the middle of the line and outran pursuers for a 67-yard touchdown.