College Football Preview: The 2015 Idaho Vandals
Idaho Vandals Preview
2014 Record: 1-10
Paul Petrino looks to get the Idaho Vandals back to respectability in his second season as head coach.
Overview: Going strictly by the numbers the Idaho Vandals 1-10 record says they weren’t very good. However the play on the field was better then their record says with the Vandals putting up a fight in several defeats. Of course the fans won’t be happy with another season of ‘we were better then our record’, and Paul Petrino knows that.
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Offense: Freshman quarterback Matt Linehan showed flashes of potential with 2,534 yards on 58.4% but his mistakes were many and costly with eleven scores and 18 interceptions. Linehan lost his two top targets that accounted for over 2,100 yards but the cupboard is not bare as Dezmon Epps comes back from suspension and caught 77 balls for 971 yards (2013) and is the immediate #1. Epps and Jacob Sannon will give their QB decent targets so the receiving corps will be fine. Elijhaa Penny led the running game (138-590) and will see more of a workload with Jerrel Brown taking 569 yards to graduation while Aaron Duckworth and Matt Donaldson fight for carries behind Penny. The O-Line has four back with starting experience and plenty of size.
Defense: The Vandals really struggled in pass defense and just struggled against the run but when allowing 37 points there are problems everywhere. Three players are back on the defensive line with Quinton Bradley being the most notable with 9.5 TFL and six sacks. The unit does have plenty of size so perhaps the run ‘D’ will benefit from some big bodies coming in. Four of the top five linebackers return with leading tackler Marc Millan posting 83 stops and 14.5 TFL. The secondary gets back two players with significant playing time but this was a unit that allowed yards in bunches and I see some new faces getting a chance to prove themselves.
Special Teams: Punter Austin Rehkow has a monster leg with an incredible 47.8 yard average on 44 boots although he was just 2-9 on FG of 40+ yards and 11-19 overall. Jayshawn Jordan and David Ungerer will handle kick and punt returns respectively.
Outlook: There is talk that Idaho might be Bowl eligible in 2015 but even though I believe they are much better then they were several years ago the quarterback position is still green and the defense needs to improve further. The Vandals could win 3-4 games which would be a great accomplishment.