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Sports >  Idaho football

Tyrese Dedmon, Jalen Hoover provide experience to Idaho’s defensive backfield

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 28, 2021

By Peter Harriman For The Spokesman-Review

MOSCOW, Idaho – After the euphoria of wins and disappointment of losses fade, relationships are what endure.

“Even if I don’t like him, I’ve got to deal with him forever.” Idaho strong safety Tyrese Dedmon said jokingly of defensive backfield teammate Jalen Hoover.

Dedmon and Hoover are the old hands in Idaho’s secondary, among the last players who hearken back to the Vandals’ Sunbelt Conference days in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, before Idaho returned to the Football Championship Subdivision and the Big Sky Conference in 2018.

Roommates, friends, teammates. In the long view, playing at Idaho worked out well for Dedmon and Hoover. Each took advantage of an extra season of eligibility afforded by the NCAA following the COVID-19 spring season of FCS football.

They completed undergraduate degrees, and while they are winding up their Vandals careers, Dedmon is working on a master’s degree in public administration and Hoover is enrolled in a master’s program in architecture.

Hoover took a peek at the transfer portal following the spring season, investigating the possibility of playing a final season near his native Mississippi, where his family could attend games. But he eventually decided to stay.

“I love being here,” Hoover said. “There are so many opportunities. I don’t know where I would be if coach ‘P’ (Paul Petrino) and (defensive coordinator Mike) coach Breske hadn’t found me in Mississippi.”

Like Dedmon, Hoover began his career at Idaho as a safety. But his play took off when he switched to more natural positions, cornerback and nickel back. Through six games this season, Dedmon has 31 tackles and an interception. Hoover, who was slowed by an injury and missed Idaho’s game against Eastern Washington, has 11 tackles on the season, including one for a 5-yard loss. Following the spring season, both were second-team All-Big Sky performers.

What has eluded them at Idaho, however, is a winning season. With four games remaining, the Vandals (2-5, 1-3 Big Sky) have to run the table to finish above .500.

“Just winning out, loving each other as the days go by for the last four weeks,” Hoover said of what remains of their careers.

“We want it to be an unforgettable season,” Dedmon said. “Our record may not be what we had planned. But that’s life.

“After this, life really sets in.”

Against Northern Arizona on Saturday, Dedmon, Hoover and the Vandals can reverse the course of a pair of recent losses to ranked opponents EWU and Montana. The Lumberjacks (3-4, 2-2) opened the year in fine style, beating Arizona of the Pac-12, but they have since slipped and are coming off a 44-0 rout against Sacramento State.

NAU is talented but young, according to Dedmon. As a result, they are not overly complicated in their schemes.

NAU quarterback R.J. Martinez has thrown for 1,218 yards and nine touchdowns this year, with only two interceptions. Martinez was particularly adept in wins against Southern Utah, when he threw for 417 yards and five touchdowns, and Idaho State, with 369 yards passing and three scores.

Petrino points to NAU’s big running back, Kevin Daniels, who has thrown around his 225 pounds against defenses for 586 yards rushing yards and a touchdown, highlighted by a 229-yard effort against Southern Utah.

“The people who have had success against them do a good job of staying in front of the chains,” Petrino said. “We’ve got to do a good job on third down.”

Idaho may have one of its top two quarterbacks returning against NAU. Mike Beaudry and C.J. Jordan were vying to be the starter through the Vandals’ first three games.

Jordan got the nod but was injured early in the conference-opening loss against UC Davis and has not played since. Beaudry took over and led the Vandals to a homecoming win against Portland State, but he also injured a shoulder late in that game.

Against EWU and Montana, Idaho went with the tandem of Zach Borisch and Gevani McCoy.

Beaudry, however, has been back at practice this week.

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