MOSCOW, Idaho – All the talk has been about the quarterbacks during the University of Idaho's fall football camp. Thursday afternoon in the Vandals' final scrimmage before the season begins in earnest, it was the running backs who garnered the attention.
Senior Ryan Bass and redshirt freshman Todd Handley powered a running game that hasn't been the featured attraction until Thursday with 68 yards each in an effort that netted 174. Take out the quarterback sacks, and the running backs covered 221 yards. Bass showed the rugged durability needed in the middle, while Handley, once again, had some razzle, dazzle and elusiveness in a 55-yard scoring run.
"We made some big plays in the running game," said coach Robb Akey, whose team has two more practices (Friday 7 p.m. and Saturday 2:30 p.m.) before school begins Monday. "I saw holes offensively I liked. We got some big runs out of them – some I thought might have been bigger but that's because the defense got things shut down."
But, if he sees something good on one side, there other side might not necessarily meet his expectations.
"I'd like to have seen our defense be a bit more stingy," Akey said. "It wasn't terrible but it needs to be stronger."
There were some defensive highlights with defensive tackle Dontae Scott intercepting a pass and returning it 36 yards and Karel Kearney collecting two of the unit's five sacks. All told, there were eight tackles for loss along with four pass breakups.
Senior Robert Siavii led the defensive effort with six tackles, while Trey Williams, Solomon Dixon, Thaad Thompson and Gary Walker recording four each.
"We have grown a lot during camp," Akey said. "There's a lot of positive but we have a lot of ground to cover."
The Vandals open the 2012 campaign Thursday, Aug. 30, against Eastern Washington at the Kibbie Dome. Kickoff is 6 p.m.