Idaho Vandals Open Fall Camp - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Idaho Vandals Open Fall Camp

Idaho Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho – Coach Paul Petrino and his players had the same thoughts after the University of Idaho Vandals opened fall camp 2015 – there has been tremendous progress made since Petrino took over three years ago when these players were practically kids.

“When he first came here,” senior defensive end Quinton Bradley said, “it was hard. It was real hard. Now everyone on the team is locked in and ready to go. Everybody’s getting better. You can’t come out here and not get better. You go too fast, too hard, too long to not get better.”

Petrino, too, like what he say during the Wednesday evening session.

“It was just a good first day,” Petrino said. “To be honest with you, I was real excited.”

What Petrino and his staff have as they head into their third season is true competition across the board. While sophomore Matt Linehan has the experience as the starter, redshirt freshman Jake Luton continues to push him. Dezmon Epps is back among a deep receiving corps, while Deon Watson and Trent Cowan added push at tight end with their moves from receiver. Elijhaa Penny impresses and running back with Aaron Duckworth providing a different look when it’s his turn to carry the ball.

Across both fronts there is starting experience and size – and players pushing for their chance to for a starting nod. Similarly there is experience and depth and linebacker with a host of players battling for the four positions in the revamped 3-4 defense. The area with the most to be decided is the secondary where a handful of veterans is being challenged by a fistful of newcomers.

“It’s a competition every day,” Linehan said after Wednesday’s practice. “That’s just college football.”

Depth and experience are the basis for his optimism but so, too, are the development of camaraderie and confidence.

“You see depth that are good quality players so there a lot of competition,” Petrino said. “I thought I saw a lot of good things on both sides of the ball.”

Linehan said he has noticed a transformation in the locker room.

“This is the strongest locker room,” he said. “There are great leaders; great people. The more we get to know each other, the more that bond is going to continue to grow.”

Receiver David Ungerer, a sophomore, noticed a big difference in just one year.

"This year we're a lot more confident," he said. "I feel like we can really accomplish some big things this year."

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