2008 Idaho Vandals Football Preview
2007 Idaho Football Record: (1-11, 0-8)
2007 Bowl: none
Idaho Head Coach: Robb Akey (1-11 at Idaho, 1-11 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Axman
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Criner
Returning Leaders for Idaho:
Other Key Returnees: OT Kris Anderson, OT Billy Bates, TE Peter Bjorvik, C Adam Korby, G Mike Iupati, G Adam Juratovac, DE Taylor Rust, DE Josh Shaw, WR Maurice Shaw, WR Lee Smith, CB Breyon Williams, TE Eddie Williams
Key Losses: DE Ben Alexander, G Marcis Fennell, RB Brian Flowers, CB Stanley Franks, TE Rolly Lumbala, DT Siua Musika, LB Brandon Ogletree, LB Jo’Artis Ratti, S Chris Smith, LB David Vobora
The first year for Coach Robb Akey went about as expected at Idaho. Unfortunately the expectations were low, really low and the Vandals delivered. However, despite not beating a FBS team, Idaho showed plenty of potential. Last year the team was insanely young. This year they are just really young and slightly more experienced.
The offense returns all 11 starters and that is a good place to start. Running back Deonte Jackson rushed for 1,175 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman. With the entire line back, those numbers could get even better. And they might have to if quarterback Nathan Enderle continues to struggle. Enderle was plain bad at times, but he looks like a nice quarterback who simply struggled as a freshman. At 6-5 and with a solid arm, this year should be better. He has plenty of weapons to develop with including receivers Max Komar, Maurice Shaw and Lee Smith and tight ends Peter Bjorvik and Eddie Williams. The offense lacked the punch to out score their opponents and with a shaky defense, they need to score a lot and help out by keeping the turnovers down.
The defense was young too, but they did lose their best two players in linebacker David Vobora and corner Stanley Franks. The offense committed way too many turnovers, which is why the team gave up nearly 37 points per game and now it is time to start showing some potential. The group of linebackers also lost Brandon Ogletree and Jo’Artis Ratti and that means the Vandals will have to find some new leaders in the middle of the defense. Safety Shiloh Keo tallied 81 tackles and four interceptions last season and will anchor a young, but talented secondary. Junior college transfer Virdell Larkins had a great spring and should wrap up the safety spot opposite of Keo and corner Breyon Williams is back after starting last season. Replacing Franks is the biggest problem in the secondary and the job might fall to freshman Kenneth Patton.
The Bottom Line for the Vandals:
Changing from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme should allow the defense to get more pressure on the quarterback. Last year, due to the bevy of linebackers, the staff had little choice but to move to a 3-4. With a little more balance on the defense this year, they can finally run the scheme they want to run. If that does lead to more pressure on the quarterback, the defense might be noticeably better.
2007 Idaho Vandals Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 158.17 (51st in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 191.50 (92, 8)
Total Offense: 349.67 (87, 7)
Scoring Offense: 21.50 (95, 6)
Rushing Defense: 161.42 (66, 4)
Pass Defense: 257.25 (97, 7)
Total Defense: 418.67 (86, 6)
Scoring Defense: 36.92 (110, 9)
Turnover Margin: -.75 (104, 8)
Sacks: 1.33 (105, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.50 (85, 6)
By Joel Welser
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2008 WAC Football Preview
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