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2008 Idaho Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Apr 25, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Idaho Vandal Offense

Idaho Vandals

Preview 2008 - Offense

- 2008 Idaho Preview | 2008 Idaho Offense  
- 2008 Idaho Defense | 2008 Idaho Depth Chart  
- 2007 CFN Idaho Preview | 2006 CFN Idaho Preview 

What you need to know:
Plenty of experience returns with 10 starters back from an inconsistent, ineffective attack. The running game should be great with Deonte Jackson leading a group of speedsters behind a veteran, talented line. There are at least two starters up front, LT Kris Anderson and C Adam Korby, who'll earn all-star honors and others who'll be close. The problem is an inefficient passing game that needs to better accuracy from second-tear quarterback Nathan Enderle and more from a rising receiving corps. There might not be enough talent to outshoot the top attacks, but there's enough experience and upside to be more productive.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Nathan Enderle
132-298, 1,787 yds, 10 TD, 18 INT
Rushing: Deonte Jackson
240 carries, 1,175 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Max Komar
30catches, 445 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore RB Deonte Jackson
Player who has to step up and become a star: Sophomore QB Nathan Enderle
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman RB Princeton McCarthy
Best pro prospect: Senior OT Mike Anderson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jackson, 2)
C Adam Korby, 3) Anderson
Strength of the offense: Running back, line
Weakness of the offense:
Efficient passing game, No. 1 receiver

Quarterbacks

Projected Starter
:
In one of the bigger surprises in spring ball last year, sophomore Nathan Enderle took over the job from Brian Nooy and went on to complete 44% of his passes for 1,787 yards and ten touchdowns with 18 interceptions in ten games, missing a few when he got hurt. No, the 6-5, 223-pounder didn't set the world on fire, but he did show off a big-time arm and tremendous upside, particularly with a 423-yard day in a loss to Northern Illinois. The picks are the problem. He had five games with three or more interceptions including a five-pick day against Hawaii. Since he's not a running threat, if he's not accurate, he's not doing the offense much good.

Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Quin Ashley was given every shot to win the job this spring, and while he was fine, and gave Enderle a push, he's still the No. 2 man. At only 5-11 and 192 pounds, he's more of a runner, finishing fourth on the team with 111 yards while completing just eight of 22 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown with an interception. The former defensive back has the athleticism Enderle is missing.

Watch Out For ... Ashley to see more time this year. Even if Enderle is better and even if he's tightening up, Ashley will still see more action to provide a different look and to get his athleticism on the field.
Strength: Competency. Neither Enderle nor Ashley will be a threat for All-WAC honors, but each looked good enough this off-season to start. There are options for the coaching staff to play around with.
Weakness: Throwing the ball. Yeah, Enderle might have been more polished and more accurate this spring, but he has to be a LOT better. The Idaho quarterbacks, including Nooy, combined to complete a miserable 45% of their throws with 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
Outlook: There will be more mistakes to work through and wild inconsistencies, but the hope is for the Enderle and Ashley to grow into the job, and into their roles, as the offense improves around them. They're not going to be expected to blow up, but they need to cut down on the rookie mistakes and be a positive force for the offense.
Rating: 5

Running Backs

Projected Starter
:
Would there have been any offense without Deonte Jackson? The sophomore, and cousin of NFL star, Steven Jackson, was the star of the 2006 recruiting class and played like an all-star last season earning second-team All-WAC honors with 1,175 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, while catching 17 passes for 153 yards. While he's only 5-8 and 181 pounds, he's tough, fast, and can be a workhorse carrying the ball 20 or more times in seven games. His production dipped late in the year once everyone through the kitchen sink at the Vandal running game, but he still finished with five 100-yard games along with a 99-yard day against USC and a 94-yard outing against San Jose State.

Projected Top Reserves: While there's no question Jackson is the star of the offense, 5-8, 165-pound redshirt freshman Princeton McCarthy showed off good flash and excellent potential this off-season. With 4.32 wheels and cut-on-a-dime quickness, he has the ability to be used in a variety of ways to add even more zip to the running game when Jackson isn't in.

5-9, 199-pound redshirt freshman Corey White isn't exactly a banger, but he's one of the team's bigger backs and he should be a pounder. A good recruit, he was a tremendously productive high school star in Las Vegas who has just enough talent to see a few meaningful carries here and there.

Watch Out For ... the redshirt freshmen. Junior Devon Sturdivant, now two years removed from a torn ACL, will get a little work as a power runner, but the new faces in the rotation, McCarthy and White, will combine to take the pressure off Jackson.
Strength: Speed. White is fast, but not a blazer. Jackson has excellent speed, and McCarthy is a bolt of lightning. These three should hit more home runs, which is a much considering the longest from from scrimmage was just 37 yards.
Weakness: Power. Jackson is tough between the tackles, but he's hardly a move-the-pile pounder. The top three options average 5-8 high and around 180 pounds.
Outlook: This was supposed to be a strength last year, and it was. It just didn't happen the way things were planned with Jayson Bird, Brian Flowers and Rolly Lumbala expected to shine. Instead it was Jackson who became a superstar to work the entire team around. McCarthy is a more than capable second option, while White has promise and potential.
Rating: 7

Receivers

Projected Starters
:
Not splashy, but relatively consistent, junior Max Komar led the team in receiving with 30 catches for 445 yards and four touchdowns averaging 14.8 yards per grab. At 5-10 and 185 pounds, he's not huge, but he's a good slot receiver who can be moved around where needed. He has just enough speed to get deep on a regular basis.

The team's No. 2 target was senior Eddie Williams, an H-Back who's used more like a second tight end than a fullback. The 6-1, 249-pounder is the team's most talented receiver and will be used far more after a great off-season and after finishing second on the team with 29 catches for 363 yards and two touchdowns. He can be a field stretcher, but he's at his best as an outlet man.

6-2, 188-pound Maurice Shaw is a very fast, very promising deep threat who averaged 12 yards per catch with 23 grabs for 276 yards and two touchdowns. He disappeared earl in the season and late, but he had a good true freshman season and is expected to grow into a more dangerous weapon.

Back at tight end is junior Peter Bjorvik, a decent 6-4, 259-pound blocker who has good athleticism and decent hands averaging 15 yards per catch with 17 grabs for 255 yards with two touchdowns. While he can be used as an outlet receiver, his job will be to hit people and occupy linebackers on pass plays.


Projected Top Reserves: Former walk-on Lee Smith turned into the team's third leading receiver last season catching 25 passes for 365 yards and a touchdown. A good deep threat, even though he's not a blazer, he can work on the outside behind Shaw or as a reliable slot man. At 6-0 and 183 pounds, he's not a small target and he can be physical.

While Williams is the team's best receiver, 6-6, 196-pound H-Back Eric Greenwood might be second. The sophomore had a good spring and should be used in a variety of ways while Williams owns the second tight end/fourth receiver slot after catching three passes for 32 yards with a touchdown. A gym rat sort of a player who'll work his tail off, he should be a number one target sooner than later.

Preston Davis was one of the team's top recruits and should be strong enough to play right away. The 6-1, 189-pounder was a high school defensive end as well as a receiver, and with his great athleticism and toughness, he can fill in at any spot.

5-10, 165-pound sophomore Steve Brown came up with a nice first season catching ten passes for 91 yards. A quick speedster who's more suited for the outside than in, he can play in a slot role where he can use his quickness to make plays on the move. 

Working behind Bjorvik will once again be Jim Reuber, a 6-3, 254-pound senior who came in from the JUCO ranks and became a blocker and special teamer. He has the hands to be a receiver, but he'll fall way behind in the pecking order of targets.

Watch Out For ... more production. The quarterback play was shaky and most of the top targets were just getting their feet wet. Now there should be more big plays and fewer mistakes.
Strength: Veterans. This is still a young corps, but the top six receivers (if you include Deonte Jackson) are back.
Weakness: Anyone who'll scare a defense. There are plenty of good prospects and some experienced players, but there isn't any one guy who'll keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Outlook: A problem going into last season, the receiving corps turned out to be decent, but hardly anything special. There are several decent mid-range to deep threats who'll make a few big plays here and there, but consistency will be the key. Getting help from the quarterbacks would be nice.
Rating: 5

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
:
The line only has to find one replacement, and that's at right guard for Marcis Fennell. While Fennell was decent, he missed the last half of the year hurt and Adam Juratovac was able to step in and produce. Able to play either tackle or guard, the 6-3, 297-pound junior ended up being a key replacement and now will take over the right guard spot with two years of experience under his belt.

The star of the line is 6-3, 299-pound senior Kris Anderson who returns at left tackle after earning second-team All-WAC honors. A smart, tough blocker who can play either tackle spot, and could even move to guard if needed. A top pass blocker and the one the running game works behind, he could get a look from the NFL types.

Next to Anderson will once again be Mike Iupati, a 6-6, 330-pound senior who has issues with a shoulder problem, but he's a big, good veteran who should be the team's strongest pure run blocker. He could become an all-star at left guard.

Back at center is 6-2, 292-pound senior Adam Korby with 35 straight starts under his belt. It's debatable whether or not the second-team All-WAC performer is the best player up front, it could be Anderson, but Korby's the anchor and is the leader. He's athletic for his size and is a tough, durable rock who should only be better.

6-5, 271-pound senior Billy Bates appeared to be on his way to a big career after a good freshman season, but he has been just average. A star recruit who has the talent to be a major player at right tackle, he has good speed and the feet to be a stronger pass protector.

Projected Top Reserves: Junior Bryce Sinclair is a 6-5, 345-pound behemoth of a left tackle who stepped in and started when needed. Still very raw, he's a big body who can move the pile for the running game and might be better suited for guard, but he's a decent veteran to count on.

6-7, 254-pound sophomore Kellen Beam has been a scout teamer so far, but he has the quickness and athleticism to be a decent tackle behind Bates. Mainly a bulked up tight end, he should help out he pass protection.

Irvin Stevens III wasn't used too much, but he has good promise and should see more time at center. Not big at 6-3 and 267 pounds, he's a great athlete who has been great for the scout team. Now he'll work to be the starter next year when Korby is gone.

Watch Out For ... Anderson or Korby to earn first-team all-star honors. They're good, they're experienced, and they'll come up with just enough big games to earn more recognition.
Strength: Experience. Fennell is the only one gone off the two deep. Now the experience has to translate into more production.
Weakness: Pass protection. The line has struggled to keep the quarterbacks upright for a few years, and while the skill players were at fault, too, the line didn't do enough to give the passers time.
Outlook: With just about everyone back, a few all-stars, and enough promising depth to overcome an injury here and there, this should be a nice front five that could be one of the surprises of the WAC season. It's not going to dominate a good defensive line, but it'll more than hold its own against just about everyone and should shock a few defenses that won't take the Vandals seriously. The left side, and Korby, are as good as any in the WAC.
Rating:
6.5