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Sports >  Idaho football

Receiver Terez Traynor stands out during Idaho’s first day of preseason camp

Aug. 3, 2022 Updated Wed., Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:06 p.m.

Idaho receiver Terez Traynor catches a pass during the first day of preseason camp at the Kibbie Dome.  (Courtesy of Idaho Athletics)
Idaho receiver Terez Traynor catches a pass during the first day of preseason camp at the Kibbie Dome. (Courtesy of Idaho Athletics)
By Peter Harriman For The Spokesman-Review

Terez Traynor got the ax.

In a good way.

Idaho’s redshirt sophomore receiver caught 50 passes for 737 yards and three touchdowns last year and was named to the All-Big Sky Conference third team. Nonetheless, “he’s had his ups and downs,” said new Vandals’ coach Jason Eck. “We’ve got to keep him doing what he’s supposed to do.”

So, an optimistic sign on a pretty good first day of preseason football camp, according to Eck, was awarding the daily practice award, the Vandal battle ax, to Traynor.

As one of the team’s most talented players, Traynor agrees he is responsible for setting a standard for the Vandals. “I’m still learning to be a leader,” he admitted. “I’m young myself.” But he had a leader-like response to getting the ax.

“I didn’t get it just for me,” he said. “The whole receiver group gets it.”

With the Vandals not yet practicing in pads, following the ball was the best way to see any action in Idaho’s initial 2022 season workout in the Kibbie Dome. All three quarterbacks vying to start – redshirt freshman C.J. Jordan, sophomore Gevani McCoy and redshirt junior transfer from South Dakota State University J’Bore Gibbs – looked about equally competent. They made some throws. They missed some throws. But they all had completions in tight coverage, and they all could put velocity and touch on passes as deep as 40 yards. Jordan and freshman wide receiver Tommy Hauser, from Post Falls, connected on a nice pass that Jordan dropped over two defenders and that looked like his third option on the play.

Traynor said the timing between himself and all three quarterbacks reflects the work they did over the summer. “I’m with those guys every day,” he said.

Junior Hayden Hatten starred in the six-game spring season in 2021 with 43 receptions for 613 yards and three touchdowns. But he had his fall campaign cut short after four games with an injury. He missed spring practice rehabbing it. When he returned to the field Wednesday, it was as if he had never been away. A highlight of his return was making a sliding catch on a throw from Jordan.

“We didn’t get to see him on the field in the spring,” said Eck. He also noted redshirt junior Jermaine Jackson had a good first day. “We’ve got a good receiver group,” he said.

Full contact football tends to break out even with the players not in pads, and senior tight end Connor Whitney and senior cornerback Jeremiah Salaam had a couple of notable exchanges. Whitney dove to make a reception from Gibbs with Salaam on his back, and on the next play Salaam laid a shoulder into Whitney to break up a pass.

“We don’t want to lose those guys,” said Eck, less than thrilled with the contact. “They don’t hand out championship rings for fall camp.”

The year’s first practice was also an opportunity for a young player to shine. Freshman quarterback Jack Layne “really caught my eye,” said Eck. Layne played well enough with the younger group that he was promoted to get a few reps with the starters near the close of practice.

The workout gives the Vandals something to build on, said Eck. As the team gathered around him at the conclusion, he told the players, “every team in the country is excited about the first day. But it’s about who can keep stringing good practices together.”

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