Know a Foe – Week 7 – Keeping it La. Technical

18 Oct

The Idaho football program is being backed in to a cliff, and one more step back will push it all over the edge. Idaho sits at 1-6 and one more loss means Idaho will go bowl-less for a third consecutive season. The first game with backs against the wall happens to come at 5-1 Louisiana Tech, the team that lost to No. 18 Texas A&M by two points last weekend in Shreveport, La.

Though it’s not as if Idaho hasn’t had to travel long distances to face tough competition this season. This is Idaho’s fifth trip of the season to Texas or further east.

The challenge? Stopping La. Tech’s offense. Check that, the impossibility is stopping La. Tech’s offense. The Bulldogs have the number one offense in the country at 53.8 points-per-game. Their lowest scoring output was in a 44-38 win at Illinois. On top of that, La. Tech has only turned the ball over four times all season, three of them coming at Illinois.

There is a glimmer of hope, and that comes when Idaho will be on offense. La. Tech has a bottom-five defense in the country at No. 117. This is the week where Idaho can, and will have to, get its offense back on track. The running game got back on track last week at Texas State, though this will need to be the week where Idaho needs to operates its methodical offense on all-cylinders.

The most effective way to play defense against La. Tech is for Idaho’s offense to stay on the field, as cliche as it sounds. Methodical drives have been an issue for the Vandals. Both of Idaho’s touchdowns against New Mexico State were set up off of turnovers, while Idaho’s one touchdown at Texas State was set up with big plays. Idaho has struggled when its been forced to drive the length of the field and consistently convert third downs (10-28 the last two weeks).

And well, if nothing else, Idaho has little to lose this weekend.

Necessary Links

Here’s Theo Lawson’s preview in today’s issue of The Argonaut, in which he talks with cornerback Aaron Grymes and wide receiver Mike Scott about the power that is the La. Tech offense and the soft, fluffy bunny that is their defense

— Also in today’s issue of The Argonaut, I take a look at the program that La. Tech has built in Ruston and why they will continue to grow to bigger and better things — especially under the leadership of coach Sonny Dikes.

— Finally make sure to check back later for a full report of Idaho AD Rob Spear’s news conference regarding the 2013 independent schedule that is expected to be announced at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Scouting report

Here’s our video scouting report for this weekend’s match-up.

News on Idaho 2013 independence scheduling front

15 Oct

During the Vandal radio network post-game show of Idaho’s loss at Texas State, Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said Idaho currently has 11 games lined up so far the 2013 season.

New Mexico State could end up playing three consecutive years at the Kibbie Dome with the schools moving towards independence

Spear said in the interview with Tom Morris he had 12 games lined up as recently as last Friday Oct. 12, but that one school had to pull out. Spear could come out the with the schedule as soon as the next week or two when he gets the 12th game, and likely wouldn’t be announced until the scheduling contracts are actually signed.

That schedule could include a home-and-home with Arkansas State, as reported by Scout.com’s AStateNation, citing Arkansas State’s athletic director. Spear said a contract for that game has not been signed, according to the Idaho Statesman. If the AStateNation report is true, Idaho would play at Arkansas State in 2013 and at the Kibbie Dome in 2014.

Currently, the Vandals have four confirmed scheduled games for both 2013 and 2014, but have only one home game for those seasons so far. Idaho needs five home games each of those seasons to abide by NCAA rules for being an FBS football program.

Along with the home game scheduled against North Illinois in 2013, Idaho is likely to play New Mexico State and an FCS school at the Kibbie Dome, in addition to making a return trip to New Mexico State in the same year.

Idaho is allowed to schedule an FCS school to count towards its required five home games. If needed, Idaho would also be able to schedule a game at Pullman’s Martin Stadium or Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium and have that be considered one of its five home games.

We’ll have more as it comes available.

Idaho 2013 schedule:

Aug. 31 – at Ole Miss
Sep. 07 – at Wyoming
Sep. 14 – v Northern Illinois
Sep. 21 at Washington State

Not confirmed: at Arkansas State, v New Mexico State, at New Mexico State

Idaho 2014 schedule:

Aug. 30 – at Florida
Sep. 13 – v Western Michigan
Sep. 20 – at Ohio
TBA – at Northern Illinois

Not confirmed: v Arkansas State, v New Mexico State, at New Mexico State

Monday Akey-isms – 10/15 – “Consistency” is the word

15 Oct

There wasn’t a ton addressed this Monday at the news conference, following a 38-7 loss at Texas State which lacked any real storyline from the Vandal perspective. Idaho appeared to get out of the game without any injuries of note, as well. Since this was a shorter news conference than most the format for this post will change a little bit, and we’ll just jump right in to the comments from Akey.

On the game itself, it was missed opportunities and the inability to string together consistency in all three phases in the game is what Idaho coach Robb Akey lamented about Saturday’s blowout loss at Texas State. Idaho had gone in to the half down 14-7, scoring the last touchdown of the half. Texas State then scored 24 unanswered in the second half.

“It was a game of opportunity we had plenty of,” he said. “It was a one score game for a long, long period of time. That tells me we had opportunities in all three phases of the game to match the score and put ourselves up. That’s what we didn’t get done.”

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Idaho Men’s basketball tips off fall practice – Video interviews

12 Oct

Idaho Men’s basketball held its first organized team practice of the fall Friday evening on campus. We caught up with coach Don Verlin afterwards, along with G/F Mike McChristian and F Stephen Madison, both of whom figure to play large roles with the team this year.

Verlin touched a bit more on Kyle Barone, who was suspended indefinitely on Monday and was not present at practice Friday night. Verlin said  he can’t set a specific timetable on when he would return.

Forward Stephen Madison fights his way to the rim.
Courtesy | Spencer Farrin

“What Kyle has to do (to return to the program) is between him and I. Obviously I’m very disappointed in Kyle, that kind of behavior is unacceptable in our program,” Verlin said. “But he is one of our family members. We love him and we’re going to do everything we can to get him on the court as quickly as we can, when he does the things that I think are necessary for him to come back.”

Other information of note from Verlin include:

- Verlin said he’d be surprised if 6-foot-8 CC transfer Marcus Bell doesn’t lead the team in rebounding.

- Verlin said starting spots, most notably in the backcourt, haven’t been handed out yet. Those position battles should carry on throughout fall practice and scrimmages.

Here are the (mostly) raw video interviews we got tonight. Please forgive the quality on the Verlin segment, mid-term chaos didn’t have us as prepared with the technology.

 

Idaho Men’s basketball tips off fall practice

Better Know a Foe: Week 7 – Everything’s bigger in Texas (State)

11 Oct

Idaho takes to the road this week to San Marcos, Texas, home of newly minted FBS program Texas State. The Bobcats will enter the Sun Belt next year, though for now the focus is on its debut and only season in the WAC. The program has been disappointing as a whole, losing three of its last four (the one win a close one over FCS Sam Houston State).

The Bobcats came out of the gate strong ravaging the Houston Cougars in Houston, though Houston has proved not to be the team it was a year ago under Kevin Sumlin. A close game against Nevada, only to turn around and get blown out against New Mexico, leave Texas State somewhat of an anomaly.

The Idaho starting quarterback has confidence erupting from his veins. Can he turn it in to a road victory?

One thing is for sure, the match-up Saturday will be a measuring stick for both programs. Idaho coach Robb Akey is serious about Idaho’s “new” WAC season. As far as he is concerned Idaho is 1-0, undefeated towards his goal of winning the final WAC football championship.

Idaho was able to take advantage of one struggling program last week with a win over New Mexico State, albeit ugly. If Idaho wants its first road win of the season the ugly mistakes are going to have to be cleaned up. Idaho needs to learn how to string together consistency throughout a game and learn how to take hold of momentum.

Idaho pulling out a victory against New Mexico State was never in doubt by the third quarter, but failing to score a touchdown in the second half allowed the Aggies to pull within one possession with under two minutes left to go in the game. That kind of lack of killer instinct will doom Idaho in the future, as we’ve already seen in the loss to Wyoming.

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WAC adds Utah Valley, CSUB – What it means for Idaho

9 Oct

Utah Valley and Cal-State Bakersfield have accepted invitations to the Western Athletic Conference, the WAC announced this morning. The addition of the two schools is with the intention of preserving the WAC as a non-football playing conference, as the two schools do not sponsor football.

The two schools move the conference to six teams for non-football sports, joining Seattle, Denver, Idaho and New Mexico State (NMSU and Idaho have plans of taking football independent). Thanks to a two-year grace period, the WAC will still hold on to its automatic bid to NCAA Championship tournaments despite being below the required minimum of seven schools.

Despite conversations with the Big Sky, the University of Idaho will still most likely be one of those schools playing WAC olympic sports for the 2013-14 calendar. As of today Idaho has not withdrawn from the WAC, nor has the school stated intentions to withdraw from the WAC.

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Monday Akey-isms 10/8 – “Take what they give you until they give you the game”

8 Oct

It wasn’t quite ideal, it wasn’t perfect, and it surely wasn’t pretty, but dangit, it was a win.

Victory!!!

That’s about the attitude Idaho coach Robb Akey had Monday when addressing the media about Idaho’s 26-18 victory over New Mexico State Saturday at the Kibbie Dome.

“There’s so much more that we can do well. We’re going to finish things better…You’re going to continue to have the ability to grow and build,” Akey said.

New Mexico State is a pretty bad team, and they played like it. Now six games through the season the Aggies are the only team in the WAC without a victory over an FBS school, providing both Texas-San Antonio and Idaho with WAC-opener victories.

Idaho also took advantage of playing the struggling Aggies to push the ball down the field in the passing game with varying success. Idaho quarterback Dominique Blackman said after the game the plan was to open the playbook up because the team felt the North Carolina game exposed Idaho’s over-use of the short passing game.

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