IDAHO VANDALS FOOTBALL PREVIEW:
The University of Idaho Vandals football team has enjoyed plenty of highs and lows over the past several years, but the 2011 team never seemed to pull it together. Head coach Robb Akey's squad put together a 2-10 record overall and a 1-9 record in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and finished last in the division overall. The Vandals know that they need to improve on both sides of the ball to climb the standings and possibly secure a bowl berth, and this might be the year to do it. After losing football powerhouse Boise State, as well as other stiff competition over the years, the Vandals have a good shot to make the next move to WAC supremacy.
One of the biggest questions entering the season for the Vandals is the quarterback position, where juniors Taylor Davis and Dominique Blackman are vying for the starting job. Talented wideouts like Mike Scott and Marsel Posey's experience could be vital in helping the quarterbacks transition to the offense quickly. For one of the two to have success, the Vandals will have to improve significantly on their ground game to help open up the pass game. Senior Ryan Bass received minimal carries during 2011, but he and James Baker will be expected to carry the load at tailback. While the team will have a few veterans on the offensive front like guard A.J. Jones and tackle Brady Lisoski, a handful of underclassmen will be in starting spots during opening weekend.
The defense looks to be a bright spot for the Vandals heading into 2012, led by senior linebackers Su'a Tuala, Conrad Scheidt and Homer Mauga. The secondary should receive a boost from the return of senior free safety Gary Walker, while Aaron Grymes has returned to man the No.1 corner spot. Finally, the Vandals' defensive line will enjoy the massive presence of Jesse Davis at nose tackle, while Benson Mayowa and Maxx Forde could be the opening day starters at defensive end.
For the Vandals to get back to the top of the WAC and possibly earn a bowl bid, they will have to make their non-conference games count. The first few weeks of the season against Eastern Washington, Bowling Green and the University of Wyoming are must-wins, before the team starts to hit tougher teams on their schedule like North Carolina and Brigham Young. The Vandals certainly have a lot of potential, and it will be interesting to see if they can make a run in the WAC this year.
IDAHO VANDALS TEAM FACTS:
Location: Moscow, Idaho
Stadium: Kibbie Dome
Rivals: Washington State Cougars, Boise State Broncos
Mascot: Joe Vandal
Notable Alumni: Yo Murphy, Mark Schlereth, Wayne Walker
Notable Bowl Games:
Idaho Vandals Basketball tickets
Idaho Vandals Bowl Game tickets