Monday, August 30, 2010
WAC 2010-Idaho Vandals
2009 Record: 8-5 (4-4)
Head Coach: Robb Akey (4th season, 11-26)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Axman (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Criner (4th season)
2009 Bowl Game: Humanitarian Bowl, defeated Bowling Green 43-42
Offense: The Vandals boast one of the best QBs that nobody has ever heard of in Nathan Enderle. America finally got a dose of him when Idaho went on a nice season opening run that led to the first bowl bid in years. The Idaho passing attack racked up 286.7 yards per game with Enderle pulling the trigger. The main issue with the Idaho offense will be on the line, where only 1 starter comes back to the fray. That will hurt, and if the new group does not come together quickly, it will be very hard for Enderle to repeat his feats of 2009. Maurice Shaw and Eric Greenwood return at WR to give Enderle some familiar targets, as does TE Daniel Hardy. Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson will share the load at TB, and both have experience.
Defense: The good news is that 10 starters come back. The bad news is that this unit sucked last season. The Vandals ranked 107th in total D last year, and it was what led the Vandals to drop 4 of their last 5 games before the bowl. In those losses, the Vandals gave up 70, 31,63, and 52 points respectively, and also gave up 34 in a win over Louisiana Tech and 42 in a shootout with Bowling Green in the bowl. This cannot repeat this season, as it will be much harder to sneak up on people. The secondary is the worst part having given up 278.1 yards per game through the air. CBs Isaac Burts and Kenneth Patten return as does SS Shiloh Keo.
Special Teams: Trey Farquhar is back at PK, but needs to develop a better consistency. He did hit a 54 yarder last season. Bobby Cowan returns at punter.
Wins: 9/2 North Dakota, 10/23 New Mexico State, 11/20 @ Utah State, 12/4 San Jose State
Toss Up Games: 9/18 UNLV, 9/25 @ Colorado State, 10/2 @ Western Michigan, 10/16 @ Louisiana Tech, 10/30 @ Hawaii
Losses: 9/11 @ Nebraska, 11/6 Nevada, 11/12 Boise State, 11/27 @ Fresno State
The wins are all easy. The toss box contains many mysteries. Idaho won't sneak up on anyone like they did last season. Nobody saw them coming and now they have targets on them. Every game is winnable in the toss box, it just depends on how much the Vandals want it. They can win 9...or they can lose 9.
Outlook: Vague...There are issues with line being so thin. The defense is a mess, but with a year of experience, can that change? Nobody will give Idaho a hall pass to victory, so they had better be ready. It was nice to see the Vandals back in a bowl, even if it was at the home of nasty drunken miscreants in Boise....