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Matt Linehan returns in fine form in Idaho Vandals’ first scrimmage

Veteran quarterback Matt Linehan prepares for a new season during Idaho Vandal football practice Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 at the University of Idaho. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Veteran quarterback Matt Linehan prepares for a new season during Idaho Vandal football practice Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 at the University of Idaho. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

MOSCOW, Idaho – Starting quarterback Matt Linehan, who missed practices last week with an undisclosed medical problem that sent him to the hospital, was in good form on Sunday in the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

“I thought Matt played really well,” head coach Paul Petrino said. “I thought Matt was on fire. He was hitting people’s hands, playing really good. I thought our receivers were pretty darn good. I thought our defensive line played really good.”

Linehan took a majority of the offensive snaps but sophomore Mason Petrino, who stepped in for Linehan with the No. 1 offense during the senior’s absence, still had a busy day. He lined up as a wideout with Linehan as the passer and also took snaps at quarterback.

Aaron Duckworth and Isaiah Saunders shared an even number of carries at running back. Alfonso Onunwor and Jacob Sannon were two of the top targets downfield for the quarterbacks.

“I feel like our offense is running at a good pace right now,” Linehan said. “I think we are running at a good tempo. A lot of guys are stepping up. We are starting to see guys form into their positions. We look good.”

The defensive line was quick off the ball and into the offensive backfield, forcing the quarterbacks to scramble out of the pocket on occasion.

“The defense was great up front,” Coach Petrino said. “I think Aikeem Coleman is playing unbelievable. I think D.J. Henderson and Arie Anderson make those three guys very hard to block. Charles Akanno is doing good things at the end and our three linebackers, Kaden Elliss, Ed Hall and Tony Lashley, are just really good football players.”

“They are fast,” Linehan said of the defense. “They are the fastest defense we have had since we got here. I think that shows out there on the field. They close in on balls. They break hard. They are in the backfield. They are just fast.”

The Vandals have another scrimmage Saturday.

The Vandals host Sacramento State on Aug. 31 to open the season.

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