MOSCOW, Idaho – The offense had the upper hand Tuesday in the first scrimmage of the fall for the University of Idaho football team during a camp that began with a litany of questions about the offense. While there are not concrete answers to the questions, there certainly appeared to be plenty of options during the two-hour session at the Kibbie Dome.
“I am happy to see the production we saw out of the offense today,” coach Robb Akey said after watching the Vandals score nine touchdowns – primarily via the pass, and four field goals. “That was a great thing. There was a lot of excitement. There were some good plays being made from different position groups, which I thought was a good thing. You can include that offensive line in there, too, now.”
While a starter has not been determined, there was promise among the quarterbacks. While Dominique Blackman and Taylor Davis have garnered most of the attention as they battle for the No. 1 position, Akey and offensive coordinator Jason Gesser were complimentary of the efforts of journeyman Logan Bushnell and freshmen Chad Chalich and Austin DeCoud as well.
“Both of those guys threw some touchdowns,” Akey said of Blackman and Davis, “and both of those guys got the ball out of there pretty good.”
Blackman finished with 16 completions in 21 attempts with four touchdowns for 181 yards, while Davis was six of 14 with one TD and 75 yards. Chalich teamed with high school classmate Deon Watson for a 17-yard TD as he completed four of five passes for 88 yards. Bushnell (10-of-13 for 39) and DeCoud (two-of-four for 34) also threw one touchdown each.
The receiver corps has expanded since last spring. With veteran Mike Scott providing a sure target as well as leadership, a young group is emerging with the likes of Roman Runner, Najee Lovett, Robert Hatchett and Jahrie Level displaying a knack for being where they need to be when they need to be there – and having the speed and elusiveness to make the most of the opportunity. Scott was the yardage leader with five catches for 85 yards with Lovett collecting six catches for 59. Runner had four for 55 and Level had four for 42 with Hatchett pulling in five for 25.
Out of the backfield, transfer James Baker was steady, while redshirt freshman Justin Parkins from Moscow opened eyes with his tenacity and ruggedness. Baker scored on a two-yard run and totaled 50 yards on eight carries, while Parkins had 23 on seven.
Kicker Trey Farquhar continued to prove he is one of the nation’s best and one of the best in school history with field goals of 38, 41, 48 and 49 and a near-miss from 55 yards (it fell just shy of the crossbar).
Of course, the successes of the offense meant speed bumps for the defense.
“They got the defense’s attention today,” Akey said. “I do think we have a strong defense, but there’s no doubt the offense got the upper hand today.
“I’ve seen our defense perform a lot better in previous practices, so hopefully this will get their attention to get after it.”