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2011 College Football Preview: Idaho Vandals

2010 Record: (6-7, 3-5 in WAC)

Head Coach: Robb Akey (17-33 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2009 Season Humanitarian Bowl: beat Bowling Green 43-42


9/1: Bowling Green (2009 result: won 43-42)

9/10: North Dakota (2010 result: won 45-0)

9/17: at Texas A&M

9/24: Fresno State (2010 result: lost 23-20)

10/1: at Virginia

10/8: Louisiana Tech (2010 result: lost 48-35)

10/15: at New Mexico

10/29: Hawaii (2010 result: lost 45-10)

11/5: at San Jose State (2010 result: won 26-23 in OT)

11/12: at BYU

11/19: Utah State (2010 result: won 28-6)

12/3: at Nevada (2009 result: lost 70-45)

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 26.6 ppg (6th in WAC, 60th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 89.85 yds/game (8th in WAC, 118th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 296.9 yds/game (3rd in WAC, 10th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 386.8 yds/game (5th in WAC, 55th in Nation)

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 28.3 ppg (4th in WAC, 70th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 188.92 yds/game (7th in WAC, 95th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 231.4 yds/game (4th in WAC, 87th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 420.3 yds/game (5th in WAC, 95th in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +0.15 per game (4th in WAC, 47th in Nation)

Penalties: 67.4 yds/game (last in WAC, 110th in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 5

Defense: 8

Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: QB Brian Reader, Sr (42 of 71 for 568 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT)

Rushing: RB Princeton McCarty, Sr (89 for 380, 3 TD)

Receiving: RB Kama Bailey, Sr (31 rec for 326 yds, 2 TD)

Tackles: LB Robert Siavii, Sr (91)

Sacks: LB Robert Siavii, Sr; DT Michael Cosgrove, Sr (3.5)

Interceptions: CB Aaron Grymes, Jr; S Gary Walker, Jr (2)

When Robb Akey took over the Idaho Vandals in 2007 they were on a streak of 7 consecutive losing seasons. Akey's campaign didn't start out too well as his first two teams combined to go 3-21. In 2009, the Vandals saw a dramatic turnaround as they finished 8-5 and went to a bowl game for the first time since 1998. After tasting that success the Vandals had a two game set-back last year that included a loss to 3-9 Colorado State. We caught up with Nick Jezierny of The Idaho Statesmen to find out the outlook for the 2011 Vandals. You can follow Nick on Twitter @nickjezierny.

Idaho had a 2-game downturn last year as they went from 8-5 in 2009 to 6-7 in 2010. What were the primary reasons that the team took a step back after taking a step forward in 2009?

The team lost 4 starting offensive linemen from that 2009 team and their top running back. The line couldn’t run block and struggled in pass protection.

Rob Akey is 17-33 in his first four seasons (but 13-12 in his last two). What are his strengths as a coach and what does he need to do better to get Idaho to the next level?

His strengths are his passion and his ability to relate to his players. He needs to continue to recruit better athletes, as he has each year, and keep continuity in his coaching staff.

For those that don't follow the Vandals that closely...tell us a little about the best players on this team.

Receiver Justin Veltung is a speedster and a threat to score every time he touches the ball. Had eight TDs last season. Linebacker Robert Siavii is a ballhawk and was the team’s leading tackler a year ago. He was hurt in spring ball and his status is up in the air for his senior season. He could redshirt. Punter Bobby Cowan (45.1 yards per punt) led the WAC in punting. He’s a junior.

Who are some newcomers that can come in and immediately help this year?

DT Ryan Edwards (freshman)
RB Ryan Bass (transfer from Arizona State)
CB Dion Bass (freshman, younger brother of Ryan)
DT Aaron Lazaro (JC transfer)

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games for Idaho this year?

Bowling Green. Chance to open with a win
Fresno State. WAC home game and conference opener.
@Nevada. Vandals haven’t beaten Wolf Pack since joining the WAC in 2005.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

Bowl eligibility is a successful season. Idaho, with two BCS opponents for the first time in the Akey era, will contend for that. My guess: 7-5 or 6-6.

Next Preview: Eastern Michigan

2011 Team Previews

C-USA- Houston

MAC- Buffalo, Central Michigan, Temple

MWC- UNLV, Wyoming

Sun Belt- FAU, North Texas


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