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Idaho Vandals: Questions Entering Lewiston Scrimmage

The Vandals have some areas to fill this spring. Who will step up and have a breakout season?

Idaho v USC Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

In case you didn’t know, the Idaho Vandals are having their first scrimmage this Friday at Bengal Stadium in Lewiston, Idaho at 5:30 p.m., local time.

This is exciting for a few reasons.

1. Friday night football, under the lights!

2. It’s one of the first times that we will get to see the Vandals play this spring.

3. We will get to see how the Vandals look at some areas of concern this year. Specifically at tight end, on the offensive line, and at the kicking and punting positions.

Offensive Line

The Vandals had one of the best offensive lines in the Sun Belt in 2016, thanks to a lot of experience from its seniors. 2017 will provide a different narrative, however, as the Vandals lose three of their starting five from last year, including center Steven Matlock.

The two returning offensive lineman are sophomore left guard Noah Johnson and senior right tackle Jordan Rose, who should be able to lock down their positions and teach the new players a thing or two. Newcomer Zion Dixon has made an early impression on coach Petrino, per IdahoStatesman.com:

Petrino knows there is some shuffling to be done. “There’s definitely some really good players that we lost. (But) I’ve really been happy with (redshirt sophomore guard) Zion Dixon,’’ he said.

Petrino has kept his eye on the offensive line and has made many comments about how hard they have worked to get better this spring. Matt Linehan has said that he is still getting used to some of the new guys up front, which is something to keep an eye on through the spring and into fall camp. You can see his comments on the offensive line at the end of this article.

Receivers

The Vandals lost a lot of talent at the receiver position as TE Deon Watson, WR Callen Hightower, breakout star WR Jordan Frysinger and TE Buck Cowan were all lost to graduation. Losing four of your top five receivers from a year ago is definitely cause for concern, but losing Buck Cowan might be the most concerning as he was one of the best players on the Vandals offense and one of the best TEs in Division I last year.

Idaho v Washington
Who will step up to replace TE Buck Cowan this fall?
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Idaho does return some production from last year, as seniors Alfonso Onunwar (403 yards, TD), Jacob Sannon (303 yards, two TDs), and Reuben Mwehla (166 yards) all return to #RaisetheBar (Idaho’s 2017 slogan).

Losing four of your top five pass catchers from a year ago is certainly concerning, so keep a watchful eye on how this group progresses this spring and fall.

Kicking

Vandals fans all know that Austin Rehkow graduated this past spring, leaving the kicking and punting duties open to new blood. Rehkow, the kicker for the past four years, will take his chances in the NFL Draft. We did a draft profile on him earlier this week.

It seems as though Cade Coffey will take over both punting and kicking duties for the Vandals this fall. All the best to you Coffey, those are some big shoes to fill!

More Spring Football News

If you are craving more news on how things are going in Moscow this spring, here are some various links to help satisfy you. The second link is pretty cool, as it profiles Paul Petrino and his son Mason and what its like to play on the team your dad coaches.

http://www.govandals.com/news/2017/4/8/football-first-scrimmage-a-good-one.aspx

http://www.govandals.com/news/2017/4/11/football-paul-and-mason-petrino.aspx

http://www.govandals.com/news/2017/4/14/football-two-thirds-of-the-way-through-spring-ball.aspx