Scouting Report: Idaho Vandals

Idaho plays their second consecutive game against a Pac-10 opponent. The Vandals hope to fare better against Arizona than they did against Washington State.

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Idaho is coming off of a decent season, finishing just one game under .500. While the record wasn't impressive, their offense was. The Vandals had the eighth best offense in the nation in 2000, scoring 29.2 ppg while racking up 453 yards a contest.

"I'd rather finish eighth in scoring," said Head Coach Tom Cable. "I think we've got to score more points."

The Vandals will have to contend with an Arizona defense which limited San Diego State to only 201 yards of total offense.

The quarterback position is in good hands with John Welsh returning. In 2000 Welsh threw for over 3100 yards and connected on 22 touchdowns. Welsh may take some solace in knowing that several Arizona pass rushers are banged up, including Fata Avegalio who is out for several weeks. The bad news for the Vandals is that Arizona still sacked Aztec quarterbacks four times last week.

In addition to a good quarterback, Idaho has two number-one tailbacks. Zach Gerstner was the No. 2 tailback behind Willie Alderson last year and gained 304 yards and scored 4 TDs as a redshirt freshman. Anthony Tenner was the starter in 1999 but broke his hand last August and missed the 2000 campaign.

One weakness for the Vandals is on the offensive line where only one starter returns. Jake Scott is now the only experienced player on the offensive line and will be counted on for leadership of the new group.

They only return five players but that could be a good thing. The defense struggled a year ago, yielding 34.3 points and almost 438 yards per game. They gave up 36-ponts against the Cougars in their first contest of the 2001 season.

The strength of the Vandals' defense is the d-line. They return a handful of players, including a couple of starters. Will Beck and Ryan Knowles are key to the defense's success. Knowles led the club in quarterback sacks while Beck finished fifth in tackles a year ago.

Two safeties have moved to linebacker, which shows how thin the group is. Brad Rice and Jordan Kramer finished third and fourth in tackles last season, but despite their success in the defensive backfield they are now linebackers.

The defensive backfield is in transition as well. With Rice and Kramer moving to linebacker, the Vandals were forced to move some corner backs to the position and recruit corners to add depth at the position. Tims Sams is one of the converted corners and much is expected of him. Duval Seamster remained at corner and should be their best cover guy.

OUTLOOK: The Vandals struggled on all sides of the ball in a 36-7 loss to Washington State. The Cougars snapped a two-game losing streak to the Vandals in impressive fashion. The Cougars, who aren't a defensive powerhouse, stifled the vaunted Vandal defense and there is no reason to think that Arizona won't be able to do the same.

The Wildcats look to improve upon last week's 23-10 win over San Diego State. The Cats handled the Aztecs fairly easily and Idaho isn't as good as San Diego State. The Wildcats should make John Mackovic's home debut a sweet one.

ARIZONA 31, Idaho 10

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