#100 Idaho Football 2012 Preview

Idaho Vandals

2012 Overall Rank: #100
#4 WAC

Idaho College Football 2012 Preview Logo

Idaho Team Page

Despite a 2-10 overall record in 2011, Coach Robb Akey has some hope for the short-term turnaround of this program. The non-conference slate is brutal with trips to LSU, BYU and North Carolina. However, this is not the same WAC as last year. With Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada gone, the Vandals schedule looks much more manageable. The future of the program may be in question since the conference is falling apart around them, but this is a Vandals team that could actually win six games and at least be bowl eligible.

2011 Record: (2-10, 1-6)
2011 Bowl: None
Coach: Robb Akey (19-43 at Idaho, 19-43 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jason Gesser
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Criner

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Ryan Bass, RB, 175 yards
Passing: Taylor Davis, QB, 234 yards
Receiving: Mike Scott, WR, 691 yards
Tackles: Gary Walker, S, 104
Sacks: Benson Mayowa, DE, 3.0
Interceptions: Tracy Carter, CB, 1; Aaron Grymes, CB, 1; Homer Mauga, LB, 1; Bradley Njoku, S, 1

Other Key Returnees: DT QuayShawne Buckley, P Bobby Cowan, G A.J. Jones, TE Michael LaGrone, C Mike Marboe, LB Conrad Scheidt, WR/KR/PR Justin Veltung

Key Losses: S Quin Ashley, RB Kama Bailey, OT Matt Cleveland, DT Mike Cosgrove, CB Matthew Harvey, RB Princeton McCarty, OT Tyrone Novikoff, QB Brian Reader, LB Tre’Shawn Robinson, LB Korey Toomer


The defense did very little to prove that they could lead the Vandals to victory last year, but this group should be a little better. Some big playmakers are gone, most notably linebacker Tre’Shawn Robinson and his team leading 117 tackles. However, the linebacker corps should be a strength for this squad. Conrad Scheidt is back after ranking third on the team with 93 tackles. Joining him will likely be senior Homer Mauga and Robert Siavii. Mauga only started two games last season, but he was very productive and has the ability to drop back into coverage. Saivii led Idaho in tackles in 2010 and is back from a knee injury. If he stays healthy, he could again lead the Vandals in tackles. The front line is not too intimidating, but they are pretty solid. Benson Mayowa can get into the backfield and QuayShawne Buckley is a capable run stopper. The secondary has a star in free safety Gary Walker and the coaching staff believes the influx in competition and experience will help out the rest of the secondary.

The offense was not good last year and there is little reason to believe they will be any better this year. Quarterback Brian Reader is gone, leaving a battle between Taylor Davis and Dominique Blackman that could last well into the fall. New offensive coordinator Jason Gesser has his work cut out. Even if the quarterback position works out, there are plenty of other problems on offense. The offensive line lost a lot of talent, most notably left tackle Matt Cleveland, and the rest of the line has had trouble staying healthy and forming any sort of chemistry. Even if the new quarterback finds time to throw the ball, they will need to find more targets than just returning leading receiver Mike Scott. Tight end Michael LaGrone is a capable pass catcher and a nice target in the red zone, but somebody has to stretch the field. That player could be return specialist Justin Veltung. Junior college transfer Najee Lovet should be in the mix as well. In the backfield Ryan Bass is expected to get a majority of the carries after playing in just seven games last year. Junior college transfer James Baker should push Bass for carries and those two will most likely split playing time.

The Bottom Line:
Idaho is trying to build for what was an offensive orientated offense by boosting their passing attack, but for now if the Vandals are going to win games, they will likely be relatively low scoring. That makes special teams all the more important and the Vandals have some quality players who will do the little things. Besides Veltung returning kicks and punts, the Vandals have one of the best punters in the league in Bobby Cowan. It may not seem like an important asset, but Cowan will make a big difference in some games this season. The quality kicking game of Trey Farquhar will not hurt either. If the offense or the defense are struggling, Idaho may have to rely on special teams more than they would prefer.

Projected Bowl: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 113.25 (102nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 188.25 (88, 7)
Total Offense: 301.50 (111, 8)
Scoring Offense: 20.25 (107, 8)
Rushing Defense: 158.58 (65, 5)
Pass Defense: 278.25 (111, 8)
Total Defense: 436.83 (101, 7)
Scoring Defense: 33.25 (98, 6)
Turnover Margin: -.58 (99, 6)
Sacks: 1.42 (94, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (84, 6)