Coach Robb Akey made the final addition to his staff yesterday bringing on experienced running backs coach Wayne Moses. Moses coached last year at UCLA and has had stops with the St. Louis Rams, Stanford, USC, Washington and California.
“Coach Akey and I go way back in terms of recruiting against eachother. I have a lot of respect for who he is as a coach, so when this opportunity came up I was excited about it,” he said of the opportunity.
Idaho is a bit of a different environment than what Moses has been used to, but having played and coached at Washington he has familiarity with the pacific Northwest. He doesn’t seem to think there will be much of a difference being at a smaller school.
“It’s football. Field is 100-yards long, we run the power play here the same we ran it in the Pac-12,” he said.
Oh, and President Duane Nellis was at practice today. That was neat.
As for day two of practice, we know everybody wants to know about the quarterback battle so we’ll get right in to it along with other notes from the offensive side of the ball.
- Dominique Blackman ran with the starters today, but that is something that shouldn’t be read in to very much. Akey said he was going to give both him and Taylor Davis an opportunity to work with different offensive players through different situations. Davis should run with the starters some time this weekend.
- Davis was the more consistent of the QBs during practice No. 2 but Blackman had enough really impressive throws to keep either one from standing out very much. But, again, a lot of this really doesn’t mean much at all until coaches get a chance to evaluate the quarterbacks in pads during scrimmages.
- As far as the running back position goes, as Idaho looks to replace production lost with Princeton McCarty and Kama Bailey, JUCO transfer James Baker ran with the starters today and looked really impressive. The 6-2, 225 pound back is a physical downhill runner with a little bit of burst and looks like he could add an element to Idaho’s running game that didn’t exist last season. There was no sighting of Ryan Bass, we weren’t able to find out why.
- On the wide receiver front Justin Veltung seemed to be moving around pretty well coming off of his foot injury. Mike Scott was abusing Aaron Grymes during 1-on-1s. But a kid to keep your eye on is No. 19 Jahri Level, who was out there making plays all practice.
- The first-team offensive line was really young. Two redshirt freshman manned the left side of the line, Cody Elenz at LT and Dallas Sandberg at LG. Mike Marboe and AJ Jones were at C and RG respectively, as expected. Junior Nick Van Rotz ran at RT with the ones. The second-team offensive line had an episode where they were drawn off for false starts by the defense twice in a row during offense v. defense drills. Gesser was very animated afterwards, with words that we cannot print here on this family friendly blog.
For the defensive side of the ball we had a chance to meet with defensive coordinator Mark Criner and linebacker Rob Siavii.
Siavii said his leg feels really good and that he’s 100-percent right now. Said it feels great to be out there.
“It’s been a year and it’s been boring just watching. It’s exciting to play the game,” he said.
With Korey Toomer and Tre’Shawn Robinson graduated, Siavii acknowledged that he is taking a leadership role with some of the younger front seven players. He said that he looked up to JoJo Dickson and Robinson when he was a younger player and that he is embracing the “older brother” role this season. And speaking of being an older brother, Siavii isn’t taking it easy on his little brother Russell, a freshman linebacker this fall.
“We’re a family and all that, but there’s traditions here. You gotta go through everything, freshman gotta do their singing, their little rituals, he doesn’t get a ticket.”
As for Criner’s comments and some defensive depth charts:
- Criner said Tracey Carter, who is out with an injury right now, will be the starter opposite Aaron Grymes at corner. Solomon Dixon, who ran with the starters today, is a “close second.” On the safety front, Gary Walker and Trey Williams are slated to start back there. Criner said that Dixon and safety Thaad Thompson will be seen a lot in nickel packages.
- He expressed confidence in the linebacking core despite the loss of Toomer and Robinson. The starters during drills rotated some but it was mainly Conrad Scheidt, Siavii and Homer Mauga. Siavii was all over the field making plays during pass defense drills. Look for JUCO transfer Mathew Willis to get a lot of looks at the middle linebacker spot as well.
- Starting D-Line from LE to RE appeared to be Vince Keener, Quayshawne Buckley, Jesse Davis and Maxx Forde.
Before we end this post, here are some videos from the first fall practice yesterday that we couldn’t get out to you last night due to some technical difficulties.