2010 Idaho Preview – Offense
CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Idaho Vandal Offense
Preview 2010 - Offense
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What You Need To Know: After being a mega-disappointment two years ago, the offense found its groove last year with a shockingly efficient passing game, plenty of home runs, and excellent play from the key parts. The goal this year will be to get steady play from a line that loses Mike Iupati and three other starters, but will be very, very, very big and should push some people around. QB Nathan Enderle is starting to get a long look from the NFL types, and he should be deadly if he gets time with a dangerous receiving corps full of speed and size. The No. 1 receiver (Max Komar) and No. 1 running back (DeMaundray Woolridge) are gone, but there are more than enough veterans to pick up the slack. This might not be the ninth best offense in the nation again, but it'll blow up from time to time and it won't be out of any game with the ability to bomb its way back.
Star of the offense: Senior QB Nathan Enderle
Passing: Nathan Enderle
192-312, 2,906 yds, 22 TD, 9 INT
Rushing: Princeton McCarty
115 carries, 680 yds, 3 TD
Receiving: Daniel Hardy
39 catches, 691 yds, 3 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT Matt Cleveland
Unsung star on the rise: Junior OT Charles Wiley
Best pro prospect: Enderle
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Enderle, 2) WR Maurice Shaw, 3) TE Daniel Hardy
Strength of the offense: Big Plays, Passing Efficiency
Weakness of the offense: Line Veterans, Consistency
Projected Starter: Senior Nathan Enderle stopped throwing picks, started bombing away, and he used his two-plus years of experience, his 6-5, 227-pound size, and his excellent arm to throw for 2,906 yards and 22 touchdowns with just nine interceptions (after throwing 17 picks in 2008 and 18 in 2007). While he missed two games late with an injured rotator cuff, he returned for the season finale against Utah State and he threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns (in a loss). While he's not going to run more than two feet and he'll still have games when he gives away several picks, he's a crusty veteran who should blow up again with a great receiving corps to work with.
Projected Top Reserves: 6-3, 220-pound junior Brian Reader stepped in when needed late in the year when Nathan Enderle went down and threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State and 305 yards and a score against Boise State. While the Vandals lost both games, and he threw five picks against the Broncos, the former JUCO transfer showed he could move the offense through the air in the toughest possible situations. Better on the move than Enderle, he'll offer a different look if he's thrown into the fire.
Redshirt freshman Taylor Davis is the quarterback of the future. The 6-3, 213-pound bomber has a live arm and the polish to step in and be a factor in an emergency, and he might end up being in the hunt for the No. 2 job before the season is over. An Elite 11 camper, he's one of the greatest quarterback prospects the program has ever brought aboard.
Watch Out For … Enderle to be on the NFL scouting radar. Any time you finish fifth in the nation in passing efficiency and have 6-5, 227-pound size, the pro types will be interested. If he can keep the picks to a minimum, he'll get a long look in someone's camp next year.
Strength: Big bombers. Enderle is growing into a possible NFL draft pick, Reader is a big passer with a live arm, and David might have the biggest gun in the bunch. These three can put it all over the field.
Weakness: Pressure. Enderle is used to being beaten around a bit, but he might have even more problems this year behind a line that has to replace four starters. He needs to be even sharper with his decision making.
Outlook: "Enderle and the Idaho passing game will never be efficient." That was in the 2009 Outlook … oops. Enderle was nothing but efficient with a fantastic year as he kept the mistakes to a minimum and connected on several big plays. He's ready for a big senior season, while Reader is a more than capable backup if needed.
Unit Rating: 8
Projected Starters: There will be a good rotation of veterans to replace the loss of 980 yards and 18 touchdowns generated by DeMaundray Woolridge. 5-8, 190-pound junior Princeton McCarty is the team's leading returning rusher, tearing off 680 yards and three touchdowns last year averaging close to six yards per carry. A steady producer throughout, he came up with 125 yards against San Jose State and was solid whenever he got his chances as both a runner and a receiver, catching 11 passes for 202 yards and two scores. With 4.32 speed and cut-on-a-dime quickness, he can be a home run hitter.
Projected Top Reserves: Senior Deonte Jackson carried the offense three years ago rushing for 1,175 yards and seven scores, but his production has decreased running for 696 yards and three scores in 2008 and 387 yards and two scores last year. At 5-8 and 190 pounds, he's not all that big and he's not a workhorse, but the cousin of NFL star, Steven Jackson is fast and experienced. The coaching staff knows he can produce when needed.
5-9, 203-pound junior Kama Bailey has been a whale of a kickoff returner averaging 20.6 yards per try and setting the 2008 single season record and holding the school's all-time record for kickoff return yardage. He got a little bit of time in the backfield running for 30 yards on just five carries, and he caught five passes for 27 yards. He's a shifty, quick back who can do far more if he gets his chance.
Watch Out For … McCarty to be terrific. He might not be the scorer that Woolridge was, but he's a good veteran who should average over six yards per carry behind a huge line.
Strength: Shifty quickness. McCarty, Jackson and Bailey might not generate a ton of power, but all three can cut on a dime and all three move extremely well in the open field. They'll be used a little bit in the passing game to get them on the move with the ball in their hands.
Weakness: Size. Where's the power going to come from? All three of the backs run about 5-9 and 190 pounds, and while they're tough, they're not going to move the pile on the interior. When the line wasn't good in the past, the backs didn't produce.
Outlook: The passing game was efficient and the line was excellent last year, and the backs produced. Now, though, four starters on the line are gone as is Woolridge, the leading rusher, but the potential is there for the ground game to be fine as long as McCarty and Jackson can combine for over 1,200 yards. They're veterans who'll be good if the line comes together in a hurry.
Unit Rating: 5.5
Projected Starters: Gone is Max Komar, the team's leading receiver, from the slot, and in steps Preston Davis , the team's third leading receiver who missed most of the offseason with a knee injury. When he's right, he's one of the team's most talented offensive playmakers with 6-1, 191-pound size and excellent speed. One of the biggest recruits of 2008, the junior made 33 catches for 460 yards and a score highlighted by a four-catch, 119-yard, one touchdown day against Bowling Green in the bowl game. If he's not 100%, he'll be a key backup at both the slot and the Z.
Back as the team's best deep threat is Maurice Shaw, a 6-3, 208-pound senior at the X after averaging 20.8 yards per grab catching 32 passes for 666 yards and six scores with 183 yards and two scores against Nevada and 131 yards and two touchdowns against Utah State. He's not consistent and he'll disappear at times, but he'll have a few games when he goes ballistic.
Senior Eric Greenwood will get the first look at the Z after working most of last year at the outside X. The 6-6, 213-pound veteran is among the team's most versatile offensive playmakers able to work just about anywhere in the receiving corps, and he'll have to get back in the swing of things after disappearing late last year. If he can stay fully healthy, he should do far more than the 32 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns of last season.
Returning at tight end is the team's leading returning receiver, senior Daniel Hardy , who caught 39 passes for 391 yards and three scores. More like a big wide receiver, he doesn't do much blocking but he can stretch the field and he's physical across the middle. At 6-4 and 235 pounds, he provides matchup problems and he has become ultra-reliable on the short to midrange plays.
Projected Top Reserves: Until Preston Davis is healthy, junior Marsel Posey will play a key role in the slot. The 5-10, 172-pounder has yet to do much of anything in his career, catching three passes for 23 yards two years ago, but he's quick enough to find a role somewhere and make a few big plays if he doesn't start. He could be used as a returner.
At 6-4 and 210 pounds, JUCO transfer Armauni Johnson is a big, strong prospect working at the outside X. A nice get for the program, he has good speed to go along with his size, and while he's not being promised a starting job right away, he'll get his chances with the skill set to make him a factor early on.
One of the team's fastest players, sophomore Justin Veltung runs a 4.39 and was the 2009 Washington state high school long jump champion. At 5-11 and 180 pounds, he has good size to go along with his elite wheels but he didn't do much outside of return kicks, which he was great at, catching just one pass for ten yards. He averaged a tremendous 25 yards per kickoff return.
Watch Out For … Shaw at the X. After averaging 20.8 yards per catch last season, the senior should be deadly on the outside as the field stretcher who opens things up for everyone else. He might not be the No. 1 target, but he'll be the team's most important receiver.
Strength: A nice mixture. There's size, speed, experience, and options for growing star QB Nathan Enderle to play around with. With more speed waiting in the wings, and with good prospects on the second team, the corps has rounded out and should be fine even without …
Weakness: Max Komar. He came up with seemingly every key play with his 63 grabs for 1,052 yards and 11 scores, and while there are plenty of receivers ready to pick up the slack, there isn't a sure-thing go-to guy like Komar to count on from Day One.
Outlook: This is a deep corps with plenty of potential and explosion. After averaging a whopping 15.5 yards per catch with 28 touchdowns, the home run hitters are there and the production shouldn't drop off even with the loss of Max Komar. This might not be the best receiving corps in a league that has Boise State to deal with, but it'll be a strength.
Unit Rating: 6
Projected Starters: The lone returning starter to the offensive front is John Cleveland , a junior left tackle who started every game and grew into the job and at 6-4, 314 pounds has good size and nice feet. He missed all of 2008 hurt, but he's healthy, very strong, and has the potential to be in the mix for all-star honors.
The biggest question on the line, and on the team is who will fill in for Mike Iupati? The Outland Trophy finalist was a brute for the ground game, and now it'll be up to JUCO transfer Sam Tupua to take over. While he's not Iupati, size isn't a problem at 6-3 and 374 pounds, and he's surprisingly agile for his bulk. Able to play guard or center, he's versatile for the inside and he should be a blaster for the running attack.
Taking over at right guard will be former JUCO transfer Tevita Halaholo , a huge 6-5, 342-pound senior who spent last year as a key reserve. A former JUCO All-American, he's freakishly strong and has the ability to grow into a force for the ground attack.
A career backup, 6-1, 287-pound Clell Hasenbank will get his chance to start in the middle. The former JUCO transfer was an all-star for the College of Sikiyous both on the field and in the classroom, and now he has to show he can be a leader and the quarterback for the inexperienced front.
Just pencil in JUCO transfer Charles Wiley for the starting right tackle job. While he'll have to battle to take over, he's one of the most talented all-around blocking prospects with 6-5, 302-pound size and tremendous upside after earning all-star honors at Grossmont College in California. A good athlete for his size, he could play on the left side without a problem if needed.
Projected Top Reserves: Not looking to give up the starting right tackle job after working with the ones this spring, junior Tyrone Novikoff saw action in every game last year as a key reserve. At 6-7 and 318 pounds he has great size, but he's not great on the move and has to use his frame and his bulk to keep pass rushers at bay.
At 6-3 and 331 pounds, sophomore Guy Reynolds is a far bigger option at center than Clell Hasenbank. A backup last year, he has seen a little bit of time and has the upside to become a force if he gets time. He should grow into a whale of a run blocker at either center or guard.
Watch Out For … Wiley. It's not a given that Novikoff will be shoved aside from a left tackle job, but Wiley is the talent who could come in and immediately upgrade the line.
Strength: Size. This is a massive front wall that should lean on defensive lines on sheer bulk. The average size is over 6-3 and 323 pounds, and that only goes up if Reynolds steps in at center.
Weakness: Experience. The line wasn't always a rock last year, even with Iupati pounding away, and now it has to replace four starters. The line gave up 25 sacks.
Outlook: Even with the loss of four starters and a first round draft pick, the line should be strong for the running game on sheer bulk alone. Pass protection could be a problem and consistency will be a major issue, especially of injuries strike. Depth will be an issue throughout the first part of the year.
Unit Rating: 5
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