Archive | August, 2010

One last warmup

21 Aug

Kicker Trey Farquhar once again got a workout on the field goal unit, as the Idaho Vandals’ defense showed renewed aggression and once again gained the upper hand in scrimmage action this afternoon. Linebacker Robert Siavii grabbed a pick and forced a fumble, one of several first-team Idaho defenders to make big plays during the scrimmage.

“That’s why the good Lord created defense: get the ball back without giving up any points and bang up as many people on the way as you can,” coach Robb Akey said.

Closing out fall camp with 90 minutes of action in the newly-daylit Kibbie Dome, Akey said he was pleased with the development of his team throughout the preseason workouts. Now, he and the Vandals will turn their attention to game preparation — as the season opener at home against North Dakota is in just two weeks.

“I thought it was a good scrimmage and I was happy with it. Our defense is playing its tail off right now,” Akey said. “Now it’s time to tighten things up and get this season kicked off.”

The most noteworthy announcement: Akey has set Idaho’s starting offensive line. The Vandals will initially go with Matt Cleveland at LT, Sam Tupua at LG, Clell Hasenbank at C, Tevita Halaholo at RG, Tyrone Novikoff at RT.

“I expect those five to be our five. They’ve earned themselves the opportunity,” Akey said. “We’ve gained good ground in the last few practices and there was good protection out there today. They’re coming together.”

Akey also talked about the recent pro successes of several Idaho alumni — including offensive lineman Adam Juratovac, who helped the Spokane Shock win their first ArenaBowl championship last night in Spokane. Juratovac was part of an offensive line that didn’t give up a sack all night, and he’ll return to Moscow to enter law school at the University of Idaho next week.

“If you want a chance to be on the national stage, go to the next level and get your degree, you can make that happen at the University of Idaho,” Akey said. “These guys are proving it.”

More on the scrimmage, plus a video interview with senior quarterback Nate Enderle, after the jump.

Continue reading

Blasphemous Rumours: Reactions to the WACsplosion

19 Aug

With two weeks to go before college football kicks off, the sudden disintegration of the Western Athletic Conference has woken up sportswriters and bloggers from their fall camp reverie. We’ve got a compilation of the best (and bizarrest) writing on the WACsplosion.

  • Sam Wasson’s has a great rundown of this morning’s press conference with Karl Benson.
  • San Jose State is left in limbo, Jon Wilner writes in the Mercury News. Join the club, says Louisiana Tech — most damningly, the Bulldogs’ AD all but invites his program to be poached by another conference, preferably C-USA. Stephen Tsai of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser says Hawaii should quit the WAC and go independent.
  • The Fresno Bee’s Dan Lyght and Bryant-Jon Anteola have a whole slew of stories on the Bulldogs’ jump to the MWC.

    Benson talks much, delivers little in WACsplosion presser

    19 Aug

    With the defections of Fresno State and Nevada to the Mountain West Conference effective in 2012, the future of the Western Athletic Conference is now in doubt — no matter how much WAC commish Karl Benson might try to deny it.

    In an 80-minute marathon teleconference this morning, Benson spun like a top, talking about the “selfish” betrayal of the Bulldogs and the Wolf Pack on the eve of what could have been the conference’s grandest coup: recapturing BYU.

    Yes, the WAC will get $10 million in buyout money and no, the latest defectors can’t leave for two years.

    But the words WAC fans most needed to hear — solid commitments from new members — were conspicuously missing. Lots of what-ifs, possibilities and conversations, with Benson mentioning teams from Texas to California as being potentially interested in joining.

    Unfortunately, the WAC can’t afford what-ifs, possibilities and conversations right now. The conference, and its six remaining members, need fresh blood to remain a viable league. If new members aren’t found by 2012, and the WAC drops to six teams for even a single season, we’re essentially talking about a dead league walking.

    Already Benson admitted that Louisiana Tech is looking to bolt for Conference USA. Who else is thinking about finding an escape hatch? More to the point, who isn’t looking for an escape hatch at this point?

    Imagine one of those ticking 24 clocks. Benson and the six WAC presidents realistically have only a few months to find a savior or two. Otherwise, it’s going to be every man for himself and the Western Athletic Conference will join the Pacific Coast Conference, the Metro Conference and the Southwest Conference, among others, in the annals of NCAA history.

    For the Vandals’ part, we’ll have more thoughts after athletic director Rob Spear talks at 2 p.m. Pacific. The upshot? Idaho is in a horrible situation, yet there’s really no better alternative. It’s either ride out the WAC storm, go down with the ship or limp back to the Big Sky and FCS. If anyone has a better idea, let me know.

    Nerves, mistakes, early goals down Idaho

    14 Aug

    Nerves, miscues and early-season rust combined into a perfect storm for the University of Idaho Vandal women’s soccer team as they fell to cross-border rival Washington State 5-1.

    The game was the first for the reconstructed squad, which lost three impactful players to graduation last year.

    The first game is always tough, Idaho head coach Pete Showler said, and the nerves showed through in the first half of the match.

    Facing an opponent ranked 21st in the nation didn’t help.

    “It’s our first game fully together,” said Idaho sophomore Amber Pimley, who tallied Idaho’s lone goal. “With WSU being the team they are — and they are a great team — I thought we did a great job.”

    Despite returning eight starters, including two star defenders, the Vandals gave ground early to a pressing WSU attack, which tallied three goals in the first twenty minutes of the game.

    “It was certainly a game of two halves,” Showler said. “We were certainly shell-shocked and on the back-foot for a little while.”

    WSU put full pressure on the Idaho defense, forcing them to commit sloppy plays and drawing a penalty kick four minutes into the game. With Idaho goalkeeper Liz Boyden hung out to dry, WSU’s Micaela Castain placed an accurate strike to the top left post past Boyden for the first goal of the game.

    “To give a penalty (kick) away in the fourth minute of the game –it’s tough,” Showler said. “The keeper has no chance and they (WSU) finished that with a plum.”

    WSU’s full-out assault on Boyden continued, with Castain beating Boyden again with a drive to the left post seven minutes later. WSU added a third insurance goal in the 18th minute.

    Idaho had only one scoring opportunity in the first half, a golden chance by Megan Lopez, whose shot overpowered WSU goalkeeper Meghan Berlingo but fell short of the goal line before being swept away to safety.

    “We didn’t step up to the tackles and everything was backfoot,” Showler said of the first half. “We talked at half-time and figured things out.”

    With strong defensive play, along with a feisty physicality, Idaho engineered several rushes culminating in Pimley’s goal on a free kick.

    A rally seemed in the works, but WSU proved the No. 21 ranking wasn’t for show by clamping down and netting two insurance goals, including Castain’s third goal of the game, on Idaho’s Caroline Towles, who replaced Boyden at the start of the second half.

    While disappointed with the results and the first half, Showler stressed the Vandals can take away many positives from facing a team like WSU.

    “For thirty-five minutes, we actually competed well,” Showler said. “They (WSU) are No. 21 in the nation for a reason, and we are not going to face teams of that quality week in and week out.”

    One problem still plaguing Idaho is its inability to stop late-game goals.

    “It’s disappointing to concede those latter two goals,” Showler said. “Disappointing, but not the end of the world — we have a lot of young players out there.”

    With several players still out with injuries, the Vandals will use the upcoming week to recover as they prepare for the season opener at University of California Irvine. The Vandals play the first seven games of the season on the road.

    Sunny day on the turf

    12 Aug

    Robb Akey fired up his troops this morning for an early practice, one of two on today’s slate. While I arrived late to the party, we did see Eric Greenwood running some deep routes and a great batch of goal-line blocking drills. With Mike Iupati in the NFL and several other senior linemen gone, up-front play will be a key to watch as fall camp progresses.

    Summer’s nearly over, and we’ll be back soon

    10 Aug

    RICHMOND, Calif. — It’s that time again, and the gridiron is beginning to warm up. So too, then, is Vandal Nation.

    We’ve been on hiatus since the end of college sports earlier this year, but rest assured, we’re not down for the count. I’ll be back in Moscow later this week with updates from the opening weeks of Idaho football camp. Stay tuned!