MOSCOW — All eyes will be on the quarterback position tonight when the Idaho Vandals wrap up spring ball with their annual Silver and Gold game.
Redshirt freshman NathanEnderle will continue to work with the No. 1 offense. Junior-college transfer Luke Tracy is the second-stringer, while senior Brian Nooy is third. Chris Joseph is the fourth quarterback.
"At this point in time, he's the lead dog and has done a nice job of competing," coach Robb Akey said. "All of those kids have all done a good job of competing. Nathan appears to be further ahead at this point in time."
Enderle said the competition was beneficial to all the quarterbacks.
"Having a competition like that always pushes everyone to play better, and I think it brought a lot of us to a level where we've never played before," he said.
Now he's eager to perform in front of a Kibbie Dome crowd.
"I'm excited to show the Vandal fans our new offense and all of the new stuff we've put in," Enderle said. "They can get a look at the new face of the Vandals. I'm pretty confident about what we can do out there."
Offensive coordinator Steve Axman said Enderle's work in game situations is what sets him apart.
"He's a smart kid who has good football sense," Axman said. "We're excited about his progress."
As for the scrimmage itself, Akey and his staff have given the format a makeover after spending most of the spring overhauling the offensive, defensive and special teams schemes.
Instead of a traditional spring game in which the roster is divided into silver and gold teams, Akey is treating tonight as just another scrimmage. He'll put the first-team offense against the first-team defense and also let the second-stringers go head to head. No score will be kept.
"If we split these guys into two teams, we're not going to get the best work done," Akey said. "We want to get better at playing football. We're still looking for a full outfit of ones on both sides of the ball, and they're not getting tested if we're not putting our best against our best."
Players who have participated in previous Silver and Gold games enjoyed the old format, but they understand the new format is what will best help the Vandals prepare for their season-opening game Sept. 1 at Southern Cal.
"We've split up in the past and it was fine," linebacker DavidVobora said. "But I like this way. It's one extra practice where we'll be playing with the same unit we've been practicing. It'll help guys get focused and stay locked in."
And just because no score is being kept, Akey doesn't think it will diminish the competition. The scrimmage is open to the public and will give many players their first chance to perform in the Kibbie Dome in front of an audience.
"I want to see how some of these guys respond to that," Akey said. "I want to see them compete, play hard and finish plays. I'm not concerned with mistakes. We can fix mistakes. I want our guys to play hard and play physical, and I want to see guys make plays."