Fall ISU camp team shot

Idaho State football coach Rob Phenicie looks on while his team gets ready for practice on Aug. 7 at the ICCU Practice Field.

POCATELLO — The Idaho State Bengals keep hitting milestones on their march to the season.

Saturday, they had their first scrimmage of fall camp.

"The summer gets kind of long," linebacker Kennon Smith said. "You start to get really antsy, so finally getting to scrimmage today felt good. My legs are kind of tired, but other than that, it felt good to just go out there, start hitting people, get right for the season."

The afternoon session in Holt Arena was closed to media and the public, but head coach Rob Phenicie sounded reasonably happy about it afterwards.

"We had a good scrimmage, had a lot of plays today," Phenicie said. "We're still far from game-ready. I can tell you that, but 10 practices in, that's what you expect. We have to clean up a lot of stuff."

Phenicie said he was most pleasantly surprised with the depth his team showed.

For the first time in his three-year stint as head coach, the Bengals have a big enough roster to run a complete third string.

"In my four years here, we've never been able to have three deep," center Dallen Collins said. "So that was nice, we're not having to wear everybody out. The biggest thing is the young guys are able to keep learning and the old guys are able to kind of shake off the rust a little more."

That was even with some of the biggest names on the roster being held out.

According to Phenicie, safeties Adkin Aguirre and Christian McFarland, wide receivers Mitch Gueller and Michael Dean, running back Ty Flanagan and linebacker Kody Graves didn't participate, although all are healthy — "We held some guys out that don't need to take some pounding," Phenicie said.

Without observing or statistics, it's tough to tell whether Saturday's session had any impact on the quarterback race between Gunnar Amos and Matt Struck.

Phenicie said he was prepared to take the decision all the way up to the week before ISU's first game, which is Sept. 5 against Western Colorado University.

The Bengals have a day off Sunday before practicing throughout the week, with their second scrimmage of camp likely to come next weekend.