Notes and Quotes - Week 1, Spring Camp

Despite snow on the ground in Moscow, it was a busy and productive week for the Vandals as they opened spring camp inside the Kibbie Dome on Tuesday evening. From inside one of the biggest indoor practice facilities in the country, the Vandals added to their playbook and welcomed a familiar face back into the fold - wide receiver TARIQ IKHARO (6-3, 200), for his senior season.

TARIQ IKHARO
6-3, 200, Senior
Wide Receiver

Reportedly cleared officially at 4 o'clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, Tariq Ikharo made a triumphant return back to the Vandal football program that evening for spring camp. He had to leave the team a year ago to focus on academics, and he did it. He got the job done. The 6-3, 200-pound wide receiver will undoubtedly bolster Idaho's wide receiver rotation this fall, and give our quarterbacks another big, athletic target heading into fall.

ABOUT GETTING BACK INTO VANDAL GEAR: "I had to pick my grades up a bit. I called the coaches when I took care of that and asked if it was okay if I could be a part of the team again, if I could be a Vandal. They talked if over and decided they would welcome me back to the team."

WHEN DID YOU FIND THAT OUT: "I found that out in early January. I was actually a little late for school, I had to catch up on a lot of things. Email a lot of teachers and let them know that I was coming in late – so they sent me the work. It's been real tough, but it's actually working out for me."

HOW DID IT FEEL OUT THERE TONIGHT: "Man, I was tired [laughter]. I can honestly say I was tired. I've been doing a little work. They haven't been letting me actually work out with the team because they needed to put me back on the roster. So I've been going to the Rec and working out – thinking that I was really in shape – but, man there's a lot I needed to do to get back. But I mean day one was cool, it was cool. I was happy to be back out here with the team."

SO YOU HAVE ONE YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY: "Yes, I have one year left of eligibility."


NATHAN ENDERLE
6-5, 217, Sophomore
Quarterback

Sophomore quarterback Nathan Enderle was Idaho's top quarterback in 2007, and finds himself in a battle for starting duties this fall, competing against the mobile Quin Ashley out of Texas.

ABOUT THE FIRST PRACTICE: "Some new things we put in, we worked on today. I thought we did pretty well with them, so, hopefully that's a good start for us."

ABOUT WORKING ON THE FUNDAMENTALS: "Oh yeah, of course. You've got to start with all the little things you forget when you take three months off. We had to do all the little things over again, and you realize how much you really need to get back into it."

ABOUT THE QUARTERBACK BATTLE: "You've always got to fight for your position, no matter whether you're a 3-year starter or a 1-year starter, true freshman, anything. I mean, you've got to keep your position at this level."


DEONTE JACKSON
5-8, 191, Sophomore
Runningback

As a redshirt freshman last year, Deonte Jackson shattered previous freshman records at Idaho and third place spot on the Idaho all-time single-season rushing record books. The effort earned him Second Team All-WAC honors and solidified the Vandal running game for years.

ABOUT THE FIRST PRACTICE: "I think we had a pretty good practice on both sides today. Defense got after us on a couple plays, got a couple good turnovers. Saw some pretty good production, as far as our new scheme going from the shotgun – just the feel for it. As an offense, I think we adapted to it pretty well. And I think we're going to have a pretty good spring going for us. Attitudes are positive, everybody's ready to get it turned around."

ABOUT DEPTH AT RUNNINGBACK: "We've got about six guys out there now. That's pretty good. There's going to be more guys getting out of that redshirt mode and into stepping in and showing that they want to play and that they're ready to play. But I think we've got pretty good depth. We've got a couple different styles out there this year, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out."

ABOUT INJURIES AND ILLNESSES AT THE END OF LAST YEAR: "Towards the end I had a couple problems healthwise, but I'm back out here ready to go. I'm not worried about it. I'm 100% [The biggest issue was going through illnesses due to weather, more so than injuries during the season] I'm good to go, healthwise. Ankle, shoulders, neck – I feel like Popeye after a can of spinach."


SHILOH KEO
5-10, 208, Junior
Strong Safety

Anticipated to be one of the defensive leader for the Vandals in 2008, Shiloh Keo proved to be fierce competitor in all facets of the game last year. He followed up a 2006 true freshman season when he was named an Honorable Mention Freshman All-American (by The Sporting News), by earning Second Team All-WAC honors last year as both a safety AND punt returner on special teams. He set a new University of Idaho record for yards per punt return, and started every game for the Vandal defensive backfield.

ABOUT THE FIRST PRACTICE: "For a first practice, I thought it went very well. Defensively I thought it went really well. A lot of new faces, and I thought we communicated really well today. We've got a lot of young legs, and so we were all running around. I can enjoy myself when I see the whole defense doing hard work and all that stuff, so I thought we did pretty good."

ABOUT HIS HEALTH: "I feel pretty good. I just came off of being sick – I still have a bit of a cough – but other than that I feel pretty good. Offseason I worked pretty hard, got my body right, so I feel like I'm 100% ready to go."

ABOUT Virdell Larkins TODAY: "He did really well actually. Unfortunately we had a guy who went down today – Cary Jensen-Madison, he was running with the ones today. When he went down, Virdell stepped in and he ran with it. The good thing about him is he's not scared to open his mouth, he talks loud – he's another loud person on the field, and as defensive backs we need that. We're the safeties, we've got to communicate to everyone – we're the last resort. For him to come in – first practice – I thought he picked up stuff really fast and he did a good job out there today."

ABOUT THE VOCAL ASPECT OF THE DBs: "I would have to say that the DBs – we felt going in we really want to be the stronghold of the defense. If we see head downs, we want to be able to pick them up. If we have to make a big play or something, that's what we have to do. And we really feel communication is a big part of that – talking, being loud, having a good time. That's what it's all about."



PLAYER NOTES:

Big redshirt freshman Bryan Wilson (6-3, 302) out of Milpitas, California, was working with the offensive line this week. We don't know if this move is permanent, but will track the versatile athletes moves this spring. He has worked all over the trenches during his redshirt year, including a little at tightend and defensive line last fall.


One of the top ranked tightends coming out of high school in California, Kevin Small (6-3, 258) will be battling for the starting nod this fall. A big, powerful target, Small is solid blocking and catching the ball.


FIRST LOOK: Cornerback Kenneth Patten (5-9, 182) grayshirted last season, and is expected to be in the thick of the hunt for serious playing time this fall for the Vandals at corner.


FIRST LOOK: Touted defensive back Virdell Larkins (5-11, 190), one of the country's top prospects coming out of high school who originally signed with Cal, has already earned reps with the top D and will be one of the favorites to start alongside Shiloh Keo this fall.


MIDDLE LINEBACKER: Powerful athlete Jonathan Faraimo (5-11, 256), one of the strongest players on the Vandal football team (sporting a bench over 400 pounds), moves back to his original position of linebacker this spring (he played DE last year on Idaho's depleted D-Line).

Our sources indicate that the starting Vandal linebacker unit includes three sophomores - Faraimo starting at MLB, Joseph "JoJo" Dickson (6-1, 213) starting at SAM, and Texas Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year Justin Allen (5-11, 214) at WILL. The entire unit is talented but young - Faraimo, Dickson and Allen all played significantly last fall - and we anticipate serious battles all spring and fall for playing time.



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