Linehan leads Silver team to blowout victory
Throughout the spring, Idaho coach Paul Petrino said he wanted more consistency from his quarterback — which is exactly what he got Friday at the Silver and Gold Game.
Sophomore quarterback Matt Linehan was near perfect for the final spring session, as he completed 22-of-24 passes for 467 yards and six touchdowns while leading the Silver team to a 77-21 victory over the Gold team.
“He had a great day,” Petrino said of Linehan. “He was on fire. I don’t know if he missed any throws, if he missed any. Just I thought he played really well.”
In the crowd watching Linehan’s impressive performance was his father, Scott Linehan — a former Vandal quarterback and current Dallas Cowboy offensive coordinator.
“He got a chance to see me play,” Linehan said. “My dad doesn’t get a chance to see me play very often and that’s always a great thing for me.”
Linehan said his father offered some advice before the game.
“He told me ‘Just go out there and play, be yourself, be confident in your ability and instill that confidence in others and continue to make plays on the field,'” Linehan said.
Dezmon Epps helped Linehan make those plays his father called for. The senior wide receiver caught 10 passes for 240 yards and four touchdowns. He had twice as many receptions as the next best receivers.
Linehan said he’s starting to believe Epps might just be open every play.
“I might have to go with what he says,” Linehan said of Epps always telling him that he’s open. “With him on our team last year, you know probably a couple games go our way, just with his energy and his fight alone.”
Linehan said the two of them have not only connected on the field, but have a great relationship off the field as well.
“Just a kid I can bring in and watch film together,” Linehan said. “He always wants to do extra, always wants the ball in his hands, all that stuff, and I love that about him.”
After Epps’ performances throughout spring, Petrino said the receiver should put up big numbers this season.
“If we keep playing the way we’re playing, there won’t be many people in our conference who can cover Dez,” Petrino said.
Part of the reason for the lopsided score was due to the first-team offense and defense playing alongside each other on the Silver team.
Petrino said he wanted his first-team players to get used to playing on the same team for once.
“We’ve gone ones against ones all camp,” Petrino said. “I just wanted them to come together and be on the same team for one time so that they’re used to fighting together.”
Senior defensive end Quinton Bradley said he was pleased with how the first-team defense performed.
“It’s kind of hard to say, because it was 76-21, but the first team did great,” he said. “We shouldn’t have given up 21 points. The second team, I just think they had little holes here and there. They couldn’t get right, but we’ll get all that fixed soon.”
With the spring officially in the books, players now get time to focus on finals and then will have a brief break in the summer before returning for fall camp. The 2015 season opens Thursday Sept. 3 against Ohio in the Kibbie Dome.
Korbin McDonald can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @KorbinMcD_VN