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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Vandals have little to say about Matt Linehan’s absence

Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan has missed three practices this week and during that time he spent at least one day in the hospital. (Young Kwak / Associated Press)
Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan has missed three practices this week and during that time he spent at least one day in the hospital. (Young Kwak / Associated Press)
By Peter Harriman For The Spokesman-Review

University of Idaho starting quarterback Matt Linehan missed a third straight day of practice Thursday with an undisclosed medical problem that had him hospitalized at Moscow’s Gritman Medical Center for Wednesday, at least.

Vandal coach Paul Petrino said medical privacy issues prevented him from commenting at length about Linehan’s situation, but Petrino was hopeful his senior starter would be back at practice by the weekend. Idaho has a scrimmage scheduled Sunday at 9 a.m in the Kibbie Dome. It is open to the public.

Linehan last practiced Monday and was not noticeably impaired, either throwing or running. In three years as Idaho’s starter, he has thrown for 8,696 yards and 46 touchdowns, and in December he led an offense that prevailed over Colorado State in a Famous Idaho Potato Bowl shootout, 61-50. He did have offseason foot surgery in 2016.

In Linehan’s absence, sophomore Mason Petrino has stepped up to work with the Vandals’ No. 1 offense.

“It’s a little different offense with Mason in there,” his father, Idaho’s coach, said. “Mason had a good practice with the ones,” Paul Petrino said after Thursday’s practice.

Idaho’s other quarterbacks are junior AJ Woodin and freshmen Colton Richardson and Dylan Lemle. Woodin had his moment Thursday. On the final play of practice he connected with Reuben Mwehla for a long touchdown and raced downfield to join the senior receiver in a celebratory hip bump.

Although the starting quarterback is out, the foundation of Idaho’s offensive line has returned. Jordan Rose, the only senior on that line, missed several days this week with an illness but was back at practice Thursday.

The Vandals also appear to be looking to the region again to replace a stellar special teams performer. After four years launching punts and field goals for Idaho, Austin Rehkow has signed as a free agent with the Buffalo Bills. Cade Coffey, a redshirt freshman from Rathdrum, has emerged from preseason camp to take on both kicking and punting duties, according to Petrino.

Another area player has left the team. Gunnar Amos, a sophomore and a former Coeur d’Alene High standout quarterback, signed with Idaho as a quarterback in 2015 but was moved to safety last spring. He has been granted his release from the Vandals and will transfer to Idaho State, where he will be eligible to play immediately.

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