Idaho football coach Paul Petrino feels comfortable having Matt Linehan or Jake Luton start at quarterback, and he may face a tough decision Saturday with both at his disposal.
Linehan, a sophomore, started the first four games but missed the Vandals’ last game, a 49-35 loss Oct. 3 at Arkansas State, when Luton, a redshirt freshman, stepped in. Linehan suffered an ankle injury Sept. 12 at USC that didn’t improve over the next three weeks. But on Tuesday, following Idaho’s bye week, Petrino said Linehan should play this week.
“I think he will be ready,” Petrino said.
Though he did not say how he would use the pair in Saturday’s game at Troy, Petrino noted Luton took a few more snaps than Linehan in Sunday’s practice, and “I wouldn’t think that it would ever go past 50-50 this week either way.” Luton has played in two games, completing 32-of-55 passes for 212 yards with three interceptions. Petrino has often said this fall he’d like to use Luton in certain situations. Against Arkansas State, the 6-foot-6 Luton had 26 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
“His short-yardage running ability was very good,” Petrino said. “That was something he did better than I knew. Thought he played well his first (start), thought he did a good job, had good composure.”
Linehan has completed 101-of-149 passes (67.8 percent) for 1,109 yards, but has six interceptions to five touchdowns. He Linehan started every game but one last season. The Trojans present an interesting test for whoever the quarterback is — they are 31st in pass defense (185.6 yards per game), but are tied for 118th in yards allowed per attempt (8.6).
The Vandals will continue to monitor Linehan’s progress, and likely won’t determine how he will be used until later in the week.
“We’ll see how Matt’s feeling, how he’s doing, then move on from there,” Petrino said.
NEWS AND NOTES
Senior WR Jermaine Johnson and senior S Doyin Sule have left the team, Petrino said. .... Sophomore WR David Ungerer, one of the team’s top fall camp standouts, is expected to play after suffering a foot injury in the opening quarter of the season which has kept him out since.