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We’ve moved! Check out a new home for same great coverage of Idaho athletics

31 Oct

This is what a football story looks like on our new site.

For the past three years or so, this blog has been our home to get you the information about Vandal athletics you need to know. Well now the time has come that we’ve grown out of our studio apartment and need a new home.

You can now visit us at thevandalnation.com or via a redirect at uiargonaut.com/vandalnation.

The reason for this move — technical and aesthetic.

This blog is hosted by WordPress which limits us in design, file size, file type and embedding options. Basically we could put words and pictures and nothing else.

The new blog which is self-hosted allows us to completely customize our look, utilize thousands of widgets and plugs-in, bring back a live blogging platform and it plain and simple looks better.

you will also notice with the new blog a better relationship with The Argonaut. We will post daily sports stories from every sport for more content along with our usual coverage and analysis. Add on that basketball season is starting and you’ll find more content than ever on Vandal Nation over these next few months.

We want to thank you for your support of Vandal Nation over the past few years and we look forward to welcoming you to our new home. So change your bookmarks and get reading.

Sincerely,

Sean Kramer, VN Manager
Madison McCord, Web Manager
Theo Lawson, Argonaut Sports Editor
Elisa Eiguren, Argonaut Editor-in-Chief

WAC preseason polls announced, Idaho too low

24 Oct

Madison McCord | Vandal Nation
Junior forward Stephen Madison throws down a dunk before the Black and Gold Scrimmage Friday.

The preseason suspension of Idaho center Kyle Barone must have really hurt the Vandal men’s basketball team who have been picked to finish sixth and fifth in the coaches and media polls respectively.

The Vandal women’s team also slipped lower than we projected finishing fifth and sixth in the coaches and media polls respectively.

Three bright spots did arise from the polls though for the Vandals, with three players receiving all-WAC honors. For the men, Barone was picked as a first-team member in both polls after finishing last season as a second-team all-WAC selection. On the women’s team, junior forward Alyssa Charlston was a first-team selection in both polls, while sophomore guard Krissy Karr received second-team placement in both. Continue reading

News Conference —€” Gesser takes over as interim coach

22 Oct

Idaho football interim coach Jason Gesser and Athletic Director Rob Spear discuss the replacement of former coach Robb Akey, expectations for the remainder of the 2012 season and the Vandals’ coaching outlook in the future.

Idaho coach Robb Akey terminated

21 Oct

Idaho football coach Robb Akey has been terminated effective immediately and Offensive Coordinator Jason Gesser will take over as head coach on an interim basis, the athletic department announced Sunday.

“The President (Duane Nellis) and I believe it is important to make this move now so we can immediately begin the process of hiring a new coach for the 2013 season,” Athletic Director Rob Spear said. “We appreciate Coach Akey’s enthusiasm and dedication to the University of Idaho but this is the right move at this time.”

The termination comes on the heels of Akey’s 70th game as coach of the Vandals, a 70-28 loss at La. Tech. Akey is 20-50 in his five-and-a-half seasons with Idaho and 1-7 this season.

Spear said a search for Akey’s replacement will begin immediately.

News conference audio —

Rob Spear

http://www.uiargonaut.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/VN-News-Conference-—-Gesser-announced-as-interim-coach-Spear.mp3

Jason Gesser

http://www.uiargonaut.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/VN-News-Conference-—-Gesser-announced-as-interim-coach.mp3

Akey signed a contract extension in June 2010 following the Vandals’ Humanitarian Bowl victory. The extension was set to extend through 2014. Per terms of the agreement, if terminated, Akey would receive his base annual salary of $165,796.80 per year “until the terms of this agreement ends or until (Akey) obtains employment, which occurs first.”

In Akey’s third season with the Vandals, he led the team to a 8-5 record which included a Humanitarian Bowl victory, Idaho’s second ever bowl victory.

Notable players to play under Akey include San Francisco 49ers left guard Mike Iupati, Houston Texans safety Shiloh Keo and former Chicago Bears quarterback Nathan Enderle.

Idaho starting quarterback Dominique Blackman along with other Vandals took to Twitter following Akey’s termination to express their feelings.

Gesser, who has been on the Idaho staff for two seasons, spent time as a quarterback in the NFL and Canadian Football League after playing his college football at Washington State. Before coming to Idaho, Gesser coached the Eastside Catholic High School Crusaders from Sammamish, Wash., for two seasons.

OFFICIAL: 2013 football schedule

19 Oct

The following is Idaho’s football schedule for the 2013 season, per an e-mail sent from the athletic department. The final game will be against an unannounced BCS opponent.

In a conference call, athletic director Rob Spear has also announced that Idaho will join the Big Sky Conference in all other sports for the 2014-2015 season.

Vandal Football 2013

Date              Opponent                            Conference                     Location                                Series                                                First played

Aug. 31        North Texas                        Sun Belt                             Denton, Texas                  UNT leads 4-5                                            1996

Sept. 7         Wyoming                              Mountain West           Laramie, Wyo.                  Idaho leads 4-2                                        1921

Sept. 14      Northern Illinois             Mid-American               Moscow, Idaho                Tied 3-3                                                          1969

Sept. 21      Washington State          Pac-12                                Pullman, Wash.               WSU leads 69-17-3                                1894

Sept. 28      Temple                                  Big East                              Moscow, Idaho                First meeting                                                        -

Oct. 5            Fresno State                      Mountain West           Moscow, Idaho                Fresno State leads 10-4                     1946

Oct. 12         Arkansas State                 Sun Belt                             Jonesboro, Ark.                Tied 4-4                                                          1975

Oct. 19         Bye

Oct. 26         Mississippi                         SEC                                        Oxford, Miss                       First meeting                                                        -

Nov. 2           New Mexico State          Independent                 Moscow, Idaho                Idaho leads 13-5                                     1971

Nov. 9           Old Dominion                    Colonial                            Moscow, Idaho                First meeting                                                        -

Nov. 16        Bye

Nov. 23        BCS opponent TBA                                                                                                             -

Nov. 30        New Mexico State          Independent                 Las Cruces, N.M.             Idaho leads 13-5                                     1971

2013 Independent schedule: Spear likely to announce seven more

19 Oct

Athletic director Rob Spear will hold a 4:30 PM PT conference call today and will likely announce the remaining games for Idaho’s 2013 Independent schedule. In addition to the four games that have been revealed in recent months, Spear, according to Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman, will announce seven more games during the conference call.

As has been rumored, Idaho will remain in the Western Athletic Conference for Olympic sports in 2013, before transitioning to the Big Sky in 2014-2015. Spear confirmed this information with the Idaho Statesman on Friday.

The Vandals’ current 2013 football slate includes games at Wyoming (Sept. 7), vs. Northern Illinois (Sept. 14), at Washington State (Sept. 21) and at Mississippi (Oct. 26).

Contracts for these additional seven games have been signed. The Vandals will host Temple, Fresno State, New Mexico State and Old Dominion. Idaho will visit New Mexico State, Arkansas State and North Texas.

The home-and-home with New Mexico State is something the schools have been working toward since the spring.

Game recap: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3

1 Sep Philip Vukelich | Argonaut
Senior quarterback Logan Bushnell delivers a pass as he is pressured from the Eastern Washington University defensive line Thursday in the Kibbie Dome. Bushnell, Idaho’s second-string quarterback, started the game after Dominique Blackman did not play for unspecified reasons.

The words that can be used to describe Idaho’s 20-3 season-opening loss to Eastern Washington range from poor to pathetic. It was a tale of two sides of the ball for a Vandals team that was without their starting QB Dominique Blackman, which in turn led to a lack of any offense.

Here is our game overview with quotes from coach Robb Akey, QB Logan Bushnell and LB Homer Mauga. Also below the jump is stats and analysis of the game. Continue reading

President Nellis, AD Rob Spear speak on SBOE vote for independence/Big Sky

17 Aug

Update (8/17/12):

University President Duane Nellis and athletic director Rob Spear met with media members Friday afternoon after the State Board of Education vote. The actual announcement for “exploring” independence is not a surprise to anybody, it’s been anticipated for the last month now. But it is very refreshing to hear the school’s administration actually come out and say it.

Who’s got some carpet cleaner for that?

It’s also refreshing to see that Spear seemingly has the pieces in place to complete a two-year independent schedule that will allow Idaho to abide by the NCAA rules required to maintain Division-I Football Subdivision status (mainly, five home games, only one against an FCS opponent). Continue reading

Legendary “Voice of the Vandals” passes away

26 Jul

By Madison McCord

Former Idaho Vandals football and basketball broadcaster Bob Curtis passed away Wednesday at his home in Colfax. Curtis was 87.

Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations

Curtis started his career as a senior at Washington State University calling various games in Idaho, Montana and Washington. He was hired shortly after leaving WSU by Idaho to handle their play-by-play duties which he did until his retirement in 2004.

Curtis is best known for calling 540 consecutive Idaho football games including one in 2003 in which he went through a hip replacement surgery the week before. Curtis also called hundreds of basketball games for the Vandals.

Along with being a Vandal Hall of Fame member, Curtis was named the co-recepient of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame Chris Schenkel Award in 2008 and was named the Idaho Sportscaster of the Year 33 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Curtis’ name was also given to the press box in the Kibbie Dome when it was remodeled before the 2011 season.

A service to remember Curtis will be held at 10 a.m on August 3 at the Baptist Church in Colfax.

Here is how Vandals everywhere reacted to the news:

Rob Spear conference realignment teleconference

4 May

University of Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear addressed the media on Friday in a  teleconference discussing UI’s future after five WAC schools left the conference earlier in the day.

http://www.uiargonaut.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/1027.mp3

Mass exodus of WAC schools has officially begun – Idaho AD to address media today

4 May

The day of reckoning has officially arrived. The WACpocalypse is upon us – and nobody is surprised.

The Mountain West has officially added Utah State and San Jose State. Conference USA has announced the additions of La Tech and Texas-San Antonio. The Sun Belt had already made official on Wednesday their addition of Texas State.

As expected, New Mexico State and Idaho are left twiddling their thumbs and pondering their futures in big time Division I football.

There may have been hope it seems. Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman reports both NMSU and Idaho vied the Mountain West for inclusion, with New Mexico lobbying hard on behalf of NMSU.

Continue reading

WACocalypse has begun – Texas State to Sun Belt is official

2 May

Courtesy of TxStateBobcats.com

Texas State University has accepted a bid to join the Sun Belt conference in 2013-2014 the schools’ official website reported this morning.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents is also reported to be voting today on Texas-San Antonio’s bid to Conference-USA.

Both Texas State and UTSA will be joining the WAC as football members in 2012-2013, which will apparently be their only season in the conference.

Continue reading

Athletic Department mum on WAC rumors

30 Apr

Idaho Athletic Director Rob Spear declined comment to Vandal Nation Monday on rumors of WAC schools looking to leave the conference.

In the last week, news has surfaced of impending defections of Utah State and San Jose State to the Mountain West. In addition to those two schools leaving the conference, speculation is that Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio will leave the WAC for Conference USA after the 2012 season. The moves would be effective for the 2013-14 academic year.

Reports also surfaced Monday speculating that Texas State and Texas-Arlington will be joining the Sun Belt in 2013-14. Texas State and Texas-San Antonio are slated to join the WAC in 2012-13 in all sports, with Texas-Arlington, Seattle University and the University of Denver joining the conference as non-football playing schools.

Continue reading

Offense solid, defense shines in first scrimmage

1 Apr football(2) 4-2-12

Madison McCord

Argonaut

Ilya Pinchuk | Argonaut
Junior wide reciever Najee Lovett brings down a pass from quarterback Taylor Davis Saturday afternoon in the Kibbie Dome. The Vandals held their first scrimmage of the season on Saturday and coach Robb Akey said he was impressed with his squad despite a limited offensive showing.

With only five practices under their belt, the Idaho Vandal football team took the field Saturday for their first scrimmage of the spring season.
Questions coming into the game surrounding the quarterback battle, inexperienced offensive line and defensive secondary were all addressed on the field in the scrimmage, but it’s still too soon for any concrete answers.
Idaho coach Robb Akey said he was happy with how the scrimmage ended, but things can always get better.

“I think on both sides of the ball I saw some good things happening, I saw opportunity for both sides and I saw some people take advantage of that opportunity and in other cases that faded away,” Akey said.

The biggest question on fans minds coming into the spring season is who will be the Vandals’ signal caller this fall. Akey gave the first nod to junior Taylor Davis, who led the first team offense.

Akey said he would be looking to see big plays and a few fireworks in the scrimmage – he didn’t have to wait long for the opening show. In only the third play of the scrimmage, Davis found senior receiver Mike Scott for a 51-yard pass that brought the ball down to the seven yard line. Scott blew past senior cornerback Aaron Grymes on the play, but Grymes was able to recover and stop Scott from reaching the end zone. Three plays later, Davis thought he had the first touchdown of the game, finding junior tight end Taylor Elmo wide open on a broken screen play, but the score was pulled back due to a penalty. Senior kicker Trey Farquhar then missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.

Akey said he saw a lot of chances go to the wayside on both sides of the ball, especially in the red zone.

“We had red zone situations down here and defensively we had a chance to get ‘em stopped and we had a third down pass interference, and that’s a drive stop play right there.” Akey said. “In that same situation on the other side we have two touchdowns pulled off the board with two penalties, so we need some more discipline there.”

Scott said that finishing was a bit of a problem in the scrimmage, but it’s the main goal of the team for the spring season.

Continue reading

Idaho fails to advance, falls in Logan

17 Mar

 

 

It was an unbearable end to an unforgettable season for the Idaho men’s basketball team, who were thrashed by WAC opponent Utah State 76-56 in the second round of the Collegeinsiders.com Tournament Saturday in Logan.

After defeating UC Santa Barbara in Wednesday’s first round game, the Vandals experienced one of their worst shooting nights of the season, digging themselves into a hole during the first half that saw them go 27 percent from the field.

“It’s a very tough place to play, they’re very well coached,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “This game needs to be flushed down the toilet, really. I don’t think we need to focus on this game as far as our season.”

The Vandals, who went scoreless for the game’s first four and a half minutes, scored just 16 points in the first half. A Utah State team that also struggled offensively started out shooting 1-7. However, a 13-0 Aggie run followed and the hosts found themselves up 19-3 midway through the first.

Five minutes later, the Aggies scrapped together a 12-0 run to extend their lead to 24 points. Stew Morrill’s squad cruised into halftime with a 39-16 lead.

The teams traded 7-0 runs to begin the second but a Vandal comeback would prove to be too demanding a task, despite shooting a much-improved 52 percent in the second half.

Though no Idaho players scored in double digits, juniors Kyle Barone and Mansa Habeeb each poured in eight second half points to help the cause of an offensively flat Vandal side.

Aggie guard Preston Medlin tallied a career-high 32 points against the Vandals earlier this season but Idaho held the sophomore all-WAC first teamer to 50 percent from the field and 17 points this time around.

Idaho out-rebounded the Aggies 30-25 but committed 17 more turnovers. Utah State shot 49 percent from the field and was led by Brockeith Pane, who dished out 11 assists despite scoring just seven points.

For Verlin, Saturday’s result in no way reflected what Idaho achieved during the regular season.

“What this Vandal team did is they played with their heart all season long. This team did a number of unbelievable things and things you have to be proud of,” he said. “They came to work every single day, it didn’t start in the season, it started early this summer.”

The dedication and hard work paid off for a team that accomplished a number of impressive tasks this season.

For starters, the Vandals lengthened the season by winning their opening round game in the CIT Tournament, a feat they failed to achieve last season when falling to the University of San Francisco in the opening round. Their postseason appearance was the third in four years.

The Vandals posted their best WAC mark (9-5) in school history and beat every team in the process, including an away win at then undefeated Nevada.

Lastly, four of Idaho’s five starters received all-WAC honors, including each of the team’s three seniors; Deremy Geiger, Landon Tatum and Djim Bandoumel.

“Our seniors were as good as three guys as I’ve ever seen,” Verlin said. “They all did their jobs, so mainly their hard work and dedication to Vandal basketball enabled them to put together a great season.”

Verlin’s 19-win team returns two starters in Barone and sophomore Stephen Madison, while all eight of the team’s bench players will also be back.

“We’ve got to continue, we had lineups out there that we’ll play a bit next year, I like the foundation,” he said. “We have 10 guys coming back, and I think we’ve recruited well.”

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