BOISE -- The Paul Petrino-era is set to start when the Idaho football program opens up fall camp in Moscow on Monday.
Looking to right the ship of a team coming off a 1-11 season, he has his priorities. Among them...
Identifying a starting quarterback.
"It's important because what you do on offense is about what the quarterback can do best," Petrino said Thursday night at the Vandals' annual scholarship fundraiser in Boise.
Petrino began the installation of his offense during spring camp. Senior-to-be Taylor Davis saw significant reps undercenter, but it was redshirt freshman Chad Chalich that emerged as the clear-cut favorite.
"If we played a game today, Chad would be our starter," Petrino said.
The Coeur d'Alene High alumnus completed 94-of-162 pass attempts for 1,280 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions throughout Idaho's four spring scrimmages. He posted a 137.8 quarterback efficiency rating, a category in which Vandal quarterbacks combined to rank 108th in the NCAA in 2012.
But that doesn't Petrino will just hand him the keys to the offense. Afterall, Chalich redshirted last season and has yet to see action in a regular season game.
"There will definitely be an open competition throughout all of fall camp," Petrino said with a noticable intensity. "Whoever gives us the best chance to go win will be our starter."
Junior college transfer Josh McCain figures to join the competition on Monday, as will true freshman Matt Linehan, the son of Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
"Everybody knows the name 'Linehan,' Petrino said. "Matt's going to be a great player some day. He's a little skinny right now. He needs to put on a little bit of weight, but he can really throw it and understands the game very well."
"McCain is a guy we recruited that is a very talented player," Petrino mentioned, before adding, "I think any time you recruit junior college guys, you recruit them to have a chance to play (right away)."
So while Petrino waits for the completition to play out, there are two things he says he is currently certain of. He like his options and knows each of them will make the next one better.
"When we can get that kind of competition at every single position, that's when you give yourself the chance to be real special," Petrino explained. "Then they push each other everday in practice."
"There's always competition. There always will be."