2009 Idaho Vandals Football Preview
2008 Record: (2-10, 1-7)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Robb Akey (3-21 at Idaho, 3-21 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Axman
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Criner
Other Key Returnees: TE Peter Bjorvik, WR Preston Davis, LB JoJo Dickson, G Mike Iupati, S Jeromy Jones, S Shiloh Keo, DE Aaron Lavarias, CB Kenneth Patten, LB Robert Siavii, OT Bryce Sinclair
Key Losses: LB Justin Allen, K Tino Amancio, G Kris Anderson, OT Billy Bates, P T.J. Conley, LB Jonathan Faraimo, C Adam Korby, DE Taylor Rust, DE Josh Shaw, TE Eddie Williams
Year one of the Coach Rob Akey era saw Idaho win one game, and that was against Cal Poly…a good FCS team, but this is a team that wants to try and compete with Boise State and Fresno State in the Western Athletic Conference. In the second year, the Vandals doubled their win total and even beat an FBS team in New Mexico State. At this pace, Idaho will win three games this year and that is not a bad bet to place.
Coach Akey is bringing in more talented players. Despite the return of seven offensive starters and nine defensive starters, there will be fierce competition for starting positions when the newcomers show up in the fall. At the least, Idaho will have a lot more depth than they had one year ago and that will make a big difference. The offense has some potential with quarterback Nathan Enderle and running back Deonte’ Jackson. Enderle, a 6-5 junior, will be entering his third year as the teams starting signal caller. His numbers are not that great, but experience is never a bad thing. Eddie Williams was Enderle’s safety outlet and now he is gone and Enderle needs to find a few new receivers. Like Enderle, Jackson has been starting since his freshman campaign. His sophomore year was not quite as prolific as his rookie campaign, but Jackson is an experienced back who might have to carry the offense at times.
The defense was pretty darn bad in 2008. The secondary does deserve some credit for ranking 7 th in the conference in pass defense. The Vandals tallied less than one sack per game and the opposition had all day to pick apart the secondary. However, in most situations the opposition would have no need to pass against Idaho and could just run their way to victory. But that is not to say there are not some talented players in the secondary. Strong safety Shiloh Keo won the team’s Most Valuable Player award last year and will be a leader of this year’s team. Fellow safety Virdell Larkins is back after leading the team in tackles last year and corners Isaac Butts and Kenneth Patten can only get better with a year of experience under their belt. But no matter how good the secondary plays, it will not matter if the front seven cannot stop the run and get pressure on the quarterback.
The Bottom Line for the Vandals:
Idaho still has a lot of work to be done and even in a less than superb WAC, the Vandals will still have trouble winning more than a game or two. Coach Akey seems to have the program moving in the right direction. However, it is very slowly moving in that direction.
By Joel Welser
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