Idaho Football Looks to Build Success in Spring - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather

Idaho Football Looks to Build Success in Spring

Paul Petrino enters into his second year in charge of the Vandals football team, and his players have bought in. Paul Petrino enters into his second year in charge of the Vandals football team, and his players have bought in.

by Idaho Athletics Media Relations

Leadership, commitment, camaraderie and competition are key words for the University of Idaho football team this spring as coach Paul Petrino heads into his second season as head coach of the Vandals.

Together, they’re the foundation for success and the first of the building blocks the Vandals are putting together as spring ball 2014 begins this week. Idaho’s first practice is Friday at 4 p.m. on the SprinTurf Field east of the Kibbie Dome. Inclement weather could force a postponement of the first practice (the Vandals aren’t in the Dome because of an annual student recruitment event), which would serve only to heighten the excitement that is building for Petrino’s second season.

“The biggest thing I’m excited about,” he said as the first practice of the allotted 15 for spring neared, “is we actually have competition across the board.”

He said the battles should be particularly intense on both lines as well as among the linebackers, secondary, receivers and running backs. He expects to drill sophomore Chad Chalich and redshirt freshman Matt Linehan equally at quarterback, as last year’s backup QB, Josh McCain, makes the transition to receiver.

An influx of junior college talent to go with the development of last year’s players has generated the position-by-position competition that builds success.

“They know if they don’t perform well, the next guy is going to beat them out,” Petrino said. “What’s exciting is we have more guys who show up and work every day and compete every day. If they don’t, they won’t see the field.

“That’s how you become great.”

Petrino said that off-season conditioning also was team-building.

“We just had a team meeting a couple days ago,” he said. “We’re all in this together. We all have to come together. The more we can build relationships among each other – the stronger those relationships, the better chance you have of winning games, of fighting for each other.”

Leadership is inherent at certain positions and in certain classes but Petrino said Idaho’s leaders will be determined by the training habits and on-the-field performances. But, he added, he expects defensive end Maxx Forde, center Mike Marboe and receiver Dezmon Epps – all seniors, to step into leadership roles along with junior linebacker Marc Millan.

“We have more leaders now,” he said. “It helps that the whole team knows what to expect. Everybody that is here now knows how we’re going to grind; how we’re going to work.

“Everybody who’s here, is here. They’ve bought in.”

Practices are:

March 28, 4 p.m.

March 30, 3 p.m.

April 2, 4 p.m.

April 4, 4 p.m.

April 7, 4 p.m.

April 9, 4 p.m.

April 14, 4 p.m.

April 16, 4 p.m.

April 18, 4 p.m.

April 21, 4 p.m.

April 24, 4 p.m.

Scrimmages are:

April 5, 10 a.m.

April 11, 4 p.m.

April 19, 10 a.m.

April 25, 7:30 p.m. – Silver and Gold Scrimmage

*the spring prospectus is available online at*

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