Every once in a while, an interview produces content that doesn’t quite make it into print, but is still good enough to be read. This was the case with my interview with Detroit Lions offensive coordinator and ex-Vandal Scott Linehan on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Linehan’s son, Matt Linehan, signed his letter of intent and will play quarterback for the Idaho Vandals.
The elder Linehan was a quarterback for UI from 1982-85 and had two stints as an assistant coach. He eventually climbed the ladder and was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2006-08.
Lewiston Tribune: How do you know UI coach Paul Petrino and what do you think of him?
Scott Linehan: I worked with Paul’s older brother Bobby my first year I coached at Idaho – actually the first two years in ’89 and ’90. I left and then came back to Idaho. Bobby had left and we had a job opening, so we hired Paul to come in when I was with (then-coach) John L. Smith in 1992. I worked with Paul for two years at Idaho in ’92 and ’93 and at the University of Louisville in 1999, so I’ve crossed paths with him a couple times.
He’s a great coach. It’s a real fortunate scenario for the University of Idaho to hire Paul because I think he’s a great coach. More importantly, he’s a guy who knows how to build a program. He’s done it. He’s the son of a coach and (after) working with his older brother Bobby, who’s an accomplished coach at all levels, it was Paul’s time to be a head coach.
It was a no-brainer for us to be lucky enough to have our son play for him because he’s a great coach, he’s a great developer of quarterbacks and he’s a great offensive mind. We couldn’t ask for a better scenario.
LT: How excited is Matt to play for a coach that has an offensive reputation like Petrino’s?
SL: I know Matt’s very excited. Basically, it was Matt’s decision. He had some options that were (available closer to home in Michigan). We had no inclination as to where he would go, it was just more important that he went somewhere where it was a great situation. When Paul was hired at Idaho, we were really, really excited when they had called and were interested in (Matt) because I know a lot about the system they run.
I just really believe in (Petrino’s) ability to coach offensive football and quarterbacks in general. I don’t know exactly what Matt asked him, but I know Matt was very excited about that scenario. Then he took his visit and said it felt like home when he went there.
LT: Were there other schools looking at Matt as well?
SL: Yeah, Matt was recruited by quite a few of the Michigan schools. I’m not going to name them, but there were quite a few that wanted him to stay here in state. There were a couple opportunities that he was going to visit out of state, but when we figured out coach Petrino and his staff were going to be (in Idaho), that was his number one priority. He set up that trip and went there. He immediately found a connection there and felt like it was the best place for him. We were very excited when we found out that’s where he wanted to go.
LT: Is Matt nervous about living three time zones away from home?
SL: No, Matt would be the first person to tell you that he was born in Seattle. He’s the son of a coach – it’s a little like how military families move around, but our roots are (on the Palouse).