MOSCOW, Idaho – It was easy for Paul Petrino to pinpoint the positives of Saturday’s University of Idaho football scrimmage. There was the hard-hitting, flying-around defense and the rugged, resilient running of Kris Olugbode and Jerrel Brown.
It was equally easy for him to find plenty for the Vandals to fine tune as they hit the midpoint of spring drills. There were seven fumbles and three interceptions were thrown.
All told, there were 13 touchdowns – but, and the upside here is defensive improvement from the first scrimmage, is three were by the defense. Newcomer Eric Tuipulotu ran a fumble back 61 yards. Veterans Christian Whitehead and Solomon Dixon also scored for the defense with Whitehead going 66 yards with a fumble recovery and Dixon covering 48 yards on a pass interception.
“The defense made some big strides from last week,” Petrino said. “The most exciting thing was there were guys flying around; there was some good hitting going on. There were some big-time hits.”
Dixon also was the leading tackler with 12, while Matt Willis had 11 and Robert Siavii had nine.
Despite the foibles of the offense, there were bright spots – particularly in the running of junior college transfers Olugbode and Brown. Olugbode carried the ball 38 times for 204 yards and four touchdowns, while Brown added 177 on 29 carries – three of which were touchdowns.
“They are two of the most impressive guys on the field,” Petrino said. “They’re like energizer bunnies – they just go and go and go and keep trying hard and keep making plays. They are probably the two biggest studs on the team.”
The quarterbacks were a collective 37 of 76 with redshirt freshman Chad Chalich connecting on 22 of 45 for 252 yards and one TD – but with three interceptions. Senior Taylor Davis went 15-of-31 for 229 yards and one TD.
Maurice Trotter pulled in nine passes for 176 yards and one TD with Jahrie Level scoring the other touchdown, while catching six passes for 74 yards. Eleven players caught at least one pass. It is the interceptions and fumbles, though, that were glaring.
“I thought they played a lot better last week and really made strides during the week,” said Petrino of the offense. “But, again, when you watch it on tape, it’s never as good or as bad as you think.”