MOSCOW — The Vandals, who feature former Sandpoint standouts Carlos Collado and Kyle Perry, went back to shells for Tuesday’s practice, but the intensity stayed high as the team continues to work in preparation for opening day on Aug. 31.
The running game was a primary focus for the Idaho offense in 2016, with standouts Isaiah Saunders and Aaron Duckworth carrying the brunt of the load. Both are back for their senior seasons and are poised for excellent years.
“All of us are starting to get into a rhythm with things,” Duckworth said. “We had our first day in pads the other day and we’re looking good, getting better every day.”
“We’re looking really good,” said Saunders. “Everybody’s starting to look good. We’re looking good as a whole right now.”
With two senior running backs, the battle for playing time is going to be fierce. But both just want to do whatever is asked to help the team.
“Whenever I get in, make plays,” Saunders said. “That’s ultimately the goal, whatever I can do to help the team win.”
“Whatever I can do to help the team win and get another bowl ring,” said Duckworth. “It’s my senior year so I’m just trying to do whatever I can for the team.”
Running backs coach Jason Shumaker cited the overall depth and hard work of his group heading into the season.
“Doing well, the guys have been working hard,” Shumaker said. “Isaiah Saunders is coming back for another great year and we’re really looking forward to him. Aaron Duckworth has done a terrific job. Then we have a couple of young guys in Dylan Thigpen and Roshaun Johnson that are doing an outstanding job working and getting better. Really excited about the group.”
The team will continue to practice this week, leading up to the Vandals’ first scrimmage on Saturday.