2009 Idaho Preview - Offense
Idaho OG Mike Iupati
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Idaho Vandal Offense
Preview 2009 - Offense
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What you need to know:
The offense was a major flop last year
considering just about everyone was back. The hope will be for
the massive line to be able to do more for the running game
early on in games and for the passing game to be better and more
efficient. Nathan Enderle has two years under his belt as the
starting quarterback, and now he has to cut down on his
interceptions and has to do more to keep the chains moving. The
receiving corps needs a No. 1 target, but it has several decent
veterans for Enderle to work with. Deonte Jackson and Princeton
McCarty are two of the quickest backs in the WAC, and with Troy
Vital as a strong No. 3, the Vandals have an explosive,
experienced trio to carry the offense. Now they need the line to
be able to open up some holes.
Passing: Nathan Enderle
184-339, 2,077 yds, 20 TD, 17 INT
Rushing: Deonte Jackson
161 carries, 696 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Preston Davis
27 catches, 296 yds, 3 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Deonte Jackson
Player who has to step up and become a star: Junior WR
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore OT Matt Cleveland
Best pro prospect: Senior OG Mike Iupati
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jackson, 2) Iupati, 3)
Strength of the offense:
Running back, Line Size
Weakness of the offense: Consistent Production,
No. 1 Wide Receiver
Junior Nathan Enderle
took over the starting job in a surprise move a few years ago
and was fine at times, but he has had problems with
interceptions throwing 35 over the last two seasons. At 6-5 and
223 pounds he has good size and a nice arm that can put the ball
anywhere on the field, but he needs to be more consistent. He
completed 54% of his throws for 2,077 yards with 20 touchdowns
and 17 picks last year, highlighted by a 334-yard, three
touchdown day in a loss to Western Michigan. He's not a running
threat, so if he's not keeping things moving through the air,
the offense sputters.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Brian
Reader is a promising 6-3, 220-pound JUCO transfer who
threw for 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns for Monterey Peninsula
JC. Great on the move, he can throw the ball accurately out of
the pocket as well as in. While he's the clear No. 2 going into
the fall, he's just good enough to potentially get an honest
shot at the starting job if Enderle struggles.
freshman Taylor Davis will purely be an
emergency option, but he's the future. A star recruit out of
Arizona, the 6-3, 191-pounder is polished and has a live arm. He
only came through with one big year in high school and is still
progressing as a player, but he's a good one to get excited
Watch Out For ... Reader. Enderle has 22 games under
his belt and is the veteran the team relies on, but if he's not
coming up with wins, the coaching staff will have to make a
change to try to get something going. Reader is ready.
Strength: Arms. Enderle is a big bomber who can
chuck the ball deep when needed. If he can find a few deep
threats who can step up, he should come up with bigger numbers.
Reader has a live arm.
Weakness: Interceptions. As a team, Idaho threw 20
last year and Enderle has only gone without an interception in
four career games. Not only does he throw picks, but he throws
multiple interceptions with nine games last year and 14 over the
last two seasons with two or more.
Outlook: Enderle and the Idaho passing game will
never be efficient and there will always be a slew of
interceptions, but there has to be more production in
high-scoring games. The passing game has to keep up, or at least
come up with numbers when things are getting out of hand. Reader
will see time and Davis might be too good to keep off the field.
Junior Deonte Jackson
carried the offense two years ago, rushing for 1,175 yards and
seven touchdowns, but he was part of a rotation last year to
keep him fresh and he came up with just 696 yards and three
scores. While he ran for four 100-yard games in 2007, had a
214-yarder, and a 99-yard day, he only had two 100-yard games
last season and didn't have one in the final nine games. The
5-8, 191-pound cousin of NFL star, Steven Jackson, is fast,
tough, and good enough to get more work again. The coaching
staff will try to keep him healthy with a rotation, but
he'll get more work.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore
Princeton McCarty has shown off good flash and decent
production when he got his chances averaging 6.2 yards per carry
rushing for 480 yards and three touchdowns in a rotation with
Jackson. He also caught nine passes for 60 yards, but wasn't
able to break off any big plays. He's only 5-8 and 174 pounds,
but he has 4.32 speed and can cut on a dime. He's not going to
be a workhorse, but he has home run hitting potential being used
in a variety of ways.
While Jackson and McCarty are the
quick speedsters, sophomore Troy Vital is the
pounder. He's not huge at 6-0 and 207 pounds, but he's a
physical between-the-tackles runner who ran for 210 yards and a
touchdown highlighted by a 48-yard day against Fresno State.
He's not a plow-horse, he's a tremendous athlete who was a Texas
high school track star as a hurdler and a long jumper.
Watch Out For ... even more of a rotation. Jackson is
the team's No. 1 back without question, but the coaching staff
doesn't want him to break down as the season goes on. McCarty
and Vital are capable backs who can be every bit as productive
as long as they don't have to carry the entire load.
Strength: Speed. McCarty can fly, Vital has
track-star wheels, and Jackson is dangerous whenever he's in the
open field. If the line can provide the holes, this bunch will
make things happen.
Weakness: The line. It's been awful over the last
few years and the passing game hasn't opened things up. Defenses
have been able to load up against the talented backs. Staying in
games is also a problem. The team gets down so much that it has
to abandon the ground game.
Outlook: The running backs are one of the team's
biggest strengths with three good runners who can all make
things happen with their speed and athleticism. Jackson is one
of the WAC's best weapons, but he's not going to be asked to do
everything to carry the offense for a full season. The three
backs will likely combine for 1,500 yards.
Arguably the team's biggest
loss is at the H-Back spot where Eddie Williams led the team
with 54 catches for 687 yards and six touchdowns, 6-4, 211-pound
junior Daniel Hardy will get the first look
after catching nine passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns
highlighted by an 81-yard score against Boise State. More of a
big wide receiver than a tight end, he's not going to do much
6-6, 205-pound junior Eric Greenwood
started four games at the outside X position and saw
time in every game but one but only finished with eight catches
for 72 yards and a score. While he has the speed to be a
deep threat, he can also be used as an H-Back and use his size
to make things happen on the inside.
Preston Davis had a nice first season finishing second
on the team with 27 catches for 296 yards and three scores. He
ended up starting nine times at the Z position and should grow
into the job with excellent speed and quickness to go along with
his experience. One of the team's top recruits last year, he was
a star defensive end as well as a receiver; he's a tough 6-1 and
At the S position will be Max Komar,
a senior who led the team two years ago with 30 catches for 445
yards and four scores. He was a good deep threat from the slot.
At 5-10 and 202 pounds he's not huge, but he's tough finishing
third on the team with 26 catches for 298 yards. He's as
reliable a target as the team has.
The team doesn't
always use a tight end, but senior Peter Bjorvik
is a veteran who caught five passes for 37 yards and a
score after catching 17 passes for 255 yards. The 6-4,
245-pounder is a good athlete with decent hands, but his job
will mostly be about blocking and to take the attention from the
Projected Top Reserves:
Maurice Shaw is one of the team's faster players, but
he hasn't been used enough as a deep threat. He came up with a
77-yard touchdown play and averaged 14.1 yards per catch on 11
grabs, but he wasn't consistent playing in just eight games. Can
he do it for a full season? That remains to be seen playing
behind Greenwood at the X.
Junior Quin Ashley
was a dangerous option at quarterback last season using
his athleticism to run for 35 yards in his limited time but he
missed on all three of his passes and threw a pick. He has been
moved around working at safety as well as quarterback. Now he'll
be a full-time wide receiver playing behind Komar at the S. At
5-11 and 199 pounds he has good size and great quickness. He
only caught three passes last year, but they went for 51 yards.
Watch Out For ... Greenwood. He hasn't set the world
on fire and he struggled last year, but his hands are too good
and he's too big to not be a major factor.
Strength: Veterans. The corps might lose Williams,
but most of the top players are back. Experience has to count
for something to improve the overall efficiency of the passing
Weakness: A No. 1 target. Williams was everything
for the passing game catching 54 of the 200 completed passes.
There should be plenty of spreading around of the ball, but the
Vandals need one guy to scare a secondary. That could be Davis.
Outlook: The receiving corps has veterans and it
has several options for Nathan Enderle to work with, but it
needs to be more explosive and it needs to be far more
consistent. It'll be a good corps, but it needs to be great for
the offense to keep up with the better WAC teams.
The line needs blockers who can
produce, and Mike Iupati is one. He was never quite
right last year after overcoming a shoulder problem, and he had problems
with his knee this offseason, but if he's healthy, he's a blaster of a
run blocker at left guard with 20 starts under his belt. At 6-6 and 330
pounds he has excellent size and NFL potential.
Ready to break
out at left tackle is Matt Cleveland, a 6-4, 310-pound
sophomore who had a great spring and should be a better all-around
option than last year's starter, Billy Bates. While he still needs some
time and seasoning, he's a good pass protector with tremendous upside.
Moving from guard to center, to take over for Adam Korby, is
senior Irv Stevens. The 6-3, 274-pounder started three
times at right guard but was undersized for the position. He's a good
athlete who'll be good on the move, but he has to prove he can play for
more than a few games.
Senior Adam Juratovac was
supposed to step up and become a starter going into last year, but he
ended up becoming a key backup. Now the 6-3, 299-pounder will take over
at right guard, for now, but he could move around and play anywhere on
the line. He might be too valuable as a versatile backup to end up
starting, especially with other options ready to take over.
327-pound senior Bryce Sinclair started seven times
last year at right tackle but now the job is all his. It took a few
years for him to figure out what he was doing, after coming to Idaho as
an unpolished big body, and while he's not quick against the better pass
rushers, he's a wall to get around.
Projected Top Reserves: Massive JUCO transfer
Tevita Halaholo might not be a starter right away, but
he could be too good to keep out of a guard spot. He'll likely push
Juratovac out of a spot at some point with 6-5, 358-pound size and
phenomenal strength. No one will push him around.
size at center is Guy Reynolds, a 6-3, 331-pound
redshirt freshman who started out his career at Arkansas before
transferring. He's not going to be great on the move, but he should grow
into a tremendous run blocker with a little time and a spot to fit in.
He'll start out at center but could end up at guard where he can use his
Watch Out For ... Iupati. With his size and his
strength, he could be the anchor of a front line that needs to be strong
for the ground game. He could turn out to see time in an NFL camp after
being drafted on the second day.
Strength: Size. This is a big, big line
that few will be able to push. Not only does the starting five average
well over 300 pounds, but the reserves are just as large.
Weakness: Production. Yes, this is a big group,
but the Vandals haven't been able to keep the quarterbacks upright in
years and should struggle once again. Last year's line was more talented
and it wasn't able to do much of anything right.
Outlook: A massive disappointment last year, this
was supposed to be among the WAC's best lines and it struggled from the
start. Injuries were a problem and there was never any consistency
thanks to a starting lineup that seemed to change every week. There's
size and there needs to be more done for the ground game and a lot more
done in pass protection.