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  • Writer's pictureMark Warren

Idaho’s new offense shows promise at spring game

Quarterback Jack Layne on the run | Photo by James Taurman-Aldrich

Moscow, ID – After a disappointing loss to UAlbany in the FCS playoffs that ended the Vandal's season and a plethora of stars leaving the team for the NFL draft and NCAA transfer portal, Idaho had a lot of questions going into spring football.

These questions were answered Friday evening at Idaho’s spring game. The first team, dawning black, beat the second and third team, dawning white, in a 35-21 expected victory.

At the start of the game, the white team was given 14 points. After back-to-back three-and-outs from the black and white teams respectively, redshirt sophomore quarterback Jack Layne ran into the end zone to give the black team their first points of the game.

The white team’s offense stalled out again giving Layne the chance to tie the game up. Layne did just that, throwing an eight-yard touchdown to redshirt freshman tight end, Mason Mini. The black team's defense put pressure on the quarterback as they did all game and forced another punt.

Inside two minutes, Layne was able to find redshirt junior running back Elisha Cummings who ran into the end zone to give the black team a 21-14 lead going into halftime.

When the two teams took the field again, sophomore linebacker Jaxton Eck, son of head coach Jason Eck, intercepted redshirt freshman quarterback Hogan Carmichael and ran it back into the endzone for a pick-six.

“I like the way he’s responded.” Jason Eck said about Jaxton. “I think the way he has played in the second half of the spring; he made a jump.”

The white team then put their first and only scored points on the board with a 31-yard touchdown from redshirt freshman wide receiver Seth Shook to cut the lead to 28-21 for the black team.

The final score came from the black team as redshirt freshman quarterback Jack Wagner, who started the game as the quarterback for the white team then switched at halftime, threw a deep ball for redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jordan Dwyer who came down with it to make it 35-21.

“We were waiting for that one,” Dwyer said about his touchdown catch. “[Wagner] let it go and I just saw the ball in the air and had to go get it.”

Dwyer is becoming the top wide receiver for Idaho, a spot previously filled by Hayden Hatten and Jermaine Jackson, both of whom declared for the NFL draft. Dwyer said that he has taken a lot from both Hatten and Jackson, but he is both excited and ready to step up.

Head coach Jason Eck said that it was a good day of spring ball. He was most encouraged that there were no injuries on either side. He was very impressed with both the first-team offense and defense. Eck talked about how much redshirt freshman linebacker Zach Johnson has stood out.

“He’s just got a natural knack for rushing the passer,” Eck said.

One of the big questions coming out of last year was about the quarterback position. With their star quarterback, Gevani McCoy, transferring to Oregon State, there was an opening for Jack Layne, who had started two games for the Vandals prior.

“I’ve loved playing with Jack over the two years we’ve been here,” Dwyer said. “We’ve always had a connection playing with the two, but we’ve really built on that this year.”

Jason Eck also gave praise to Layne saying he knows the offense very well. Eck talked about the speed at which Layne can go through his reads, and how that is conducive for more check-downs and short plays.

“He does a great job of operating the offense,” Eck said. “I thought it was smooth.”

Idaho will kick off their 2024 season on Aug. 31 against the University of Oregon in Eugene.


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