College Football Preview: The 2014 Idaho Vandals
The Idaho Vandals look to make an impact as first year member in the Sun Belt.
2014 College Football Preview
The Idaho Vandals look to an influx of JUCO transfers to kick start the 2014 season and make an impact in the Sun Belt.
Overview: Idaho spent 2013 as an Independent and managed a two point win over Temple as the lone bright spot. Bobby Petrino is looking for a quick fix to the Vandals woes by bringing in some JUCO transfers to hopefully mix with the returning talent to give the progam a boost.
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Offense: Chad Chalich showed some potential in 2013 with both his arms and legs but injury ended his season halfway through. Chalich completed 61% of his throws for 1,238 yards and ran for another 400 which was second highest on the team despite missing extensive time. Leading rusher James Baker takes 600 yards with him and this is an area where a JUCO signee will be asked to step in along with returnees Richard Montgomery and Jerrel Brown. Dezmon Epps (77-971) is very good in the receiving game although the Vandals need other options (JUCO's?). The O-Line gets four starters back and should show improvement in pass protection and the rushing attack with C Mike Marboe the star of the group.
Defense: Idaho did give up plenty of points but the defensive line did provide some punch with Maxx Ford leading this group with 49.5 tackles. Quayshawne Buckley takes a team high 15 TFL and 6.5 sacks to graduation but overall six of the top eight are back. Marc Millan leads the linebacking crew with a team high 76 tackles in 2013 while the unit gets back four of the top five. FS Bradley Njoku and CB Jayshawn Jordan combined for 143.5 stops a year ago to lead a thin secondary that wasn't good at defending the pass.
Special Teams: Punter Austin Rehkow was simply amazing with a 47.8 yard average on 75 boots although his 10-17 performance on FG's was below average. Montgomery and Epps are the primary KR and PR.
Outlook: Winning football and Idaho haven't been mentioned in the same sentence all too often so this team won't suddenly come in to the Sun Belt and start winning. Much of what happens depends on whether the JUCO's have an immediate impact and if they do a four win (or so) season might be the ceiling.