Rehkow has two big shoes to fill for Idaho football team

The freshman will likely handle both kicking and punting duties.



    Redshirt freshman quarterback Chad Chalich went 17-of-20 for 325 yards in Idaho’s scrimmage Friday.

    Chalich has combined to throw for 739 yards while completing 36-of-40 passes in Idaho’s past two scrimmages.

    Overall, the Vandals’ offense put up more than 700 yards for the second time in a row.

    “We did some nice things today,” coach Paul Petrino said. “It looked like we had some nice runs. We had some play-action passes.”

    True freshman running back Richard Montgomery ran for 112 yards, while senior James Baker added 85.

    Defensively, junior Maxx Forde had eight total tackles (seven solo), and sophomore Ryan Edwards tallied two sacks.

    “It was good work all the way around,” Petrino said.

MOSCOW — One of the few bright spots during the Idaho Vandals’ 1-11 season last year was the play of its special teams.

Punter Bobby Cowan shattered just about every school record he could get his hands (or foot) on, while kicker Trey Farquhar was one of the best long-distance guys in the nation. However, that chapter of Idaho football is long gone and the next group of specialists is here.

Even with the stellar performance of Farquhar last year, the Vandals were one of the worst teams in college football when it came to putting points of the board. Both sides of the ball look completely different this year, and while the Vandals are optimistic that new coach Paul Petrino will get them in the end zone more frequently, it’s likely they will need to attempt a lot of field goals during the course of the season. When that happens, Idaho will be relying on freshman kicker Austin Rehkow.

Rehkow experienced his 10 minutes of fame last year while playing at Spokane’s Central Valley High, when he booted a 67-yard field goal to send a game into overtime. The kick, which set a state record, landed him on the front page of and made it onto ESPN’s Sportscenter.

Of course, one sensational kick doesn’t guarantee success for the rest of someone’s career. In fall camp, Rehkow has struggled with accuracy. Even extra points, which need to be routine for every offense, have been an adventure for the Vandals.

In the case of an emergency, freshman kicker Ryan Bordner might be called upon to attempt a field goal or kickoff, but so far Rehkow has received most of the reps as kicker.

Rehkow will most likely be seeing time as a punter as well this year, as the Vandals do not have a true punter on their roster. Petrino said Tuesday that freshman defensive lineman Will Schmidt could be used as a punter if needed, but for now he’s planning on using Rehkow for both.

“He’s doing a great job punting, he can send the ball really deep,” junior receiver Dezmon Epps said. “As a returner, you want to get under the ball but he kicks it far enough to make you go backwards a lot of the time, make you trip over yourself if you’re not careful.”

Epps will be one of Idaho’s primary kick returners this year along with freshman running back Richard Montgomery, senior receiver Najee Lovett and possibly sophomore cornerback Solomon Dixon.

All four players have breakaway speed and good hands, but Montgomery might be the most dangerous of them all.

“Richard and I have some races over in the gym over the summer and he got me three or four times,” Epps said. “It’s close, but he’s a bit faster than me. … Richard and Najee, they’re my boys and they do just as much work as me, so I’m not scared to let them step up and return kicks either. I know they can do it just as well as I could.”

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