Focused on Homecoming

Senior captain and starting free safety <b>Simeon Stewart</b> and the rest of the Vandal football team look to regroup this week as Idaho takes on Arkansas State on the Palouse for Homecoming this Saturday at Martin Stadium. Its a rare home game this season for these road warriors, and the last Sun Belt Conference home game ever for Idaho.

MOSCOW - Coach Nick Holt was impressed by the effort his Vandals put forth against Troy on the road last weekend, but a sudden rash of turnovers -- perhaps caused by people trying too hard to make big plays -- proved to be too much to overcome against the Trojans.

"Our kids played a lot harder than they did against Middle Tennessee," Holt said. "In fact, we played a lot better for the most part against Troy than we did 2 weeks ago. However, as you well know we had 7 turnovers, and I don't care who we play. We lose if we give up the ball 7 times."

Surprised by the Vandals' inability to hold onto the football, Holt felt it may have been a result of players trying too hard to make something good happen. "It's really uncharacteristic of us. We've been really good in the turnover ratio. We said from the get-go that we've been +4, +5 throughout the year, and then all of a sudden we have this catastrophe. Why is it? I think that some of the kids are trying too hard. The quarterbacks are seeing stuff, trying to make plays. Sometimes they're getting hit...just a bunch of things happened."

The Vandals had a lot of praise for the Trojans, "My hat's off to Troy," said Holt. "They're very well coached. Their kids played hard. They didn't talk trash. We lost to a good football team on Saturday, but we didn't help ourselves out."

"Who played well? I thought defensively our two corners played outstanding football. Our two freshman safeties played really well -- Jevon Butler and Daniel Dykes did a nice job. On offense I thought late in the game when we put our 2 freshmen receivers in they played very well, really hard, and did a nice job. At times, Mike Harrington played well. Antwaun Sherman, the kid who returned the kickoff a couple of weeks ago, he was ready to play and we put him back at running back where his natural position is, and he ended up playing in the 4th quarter and had some nice carries. You'll see him more at running back."

The Vandals suffered some bumps and bruises against Troy, but Holt is hopeful they will be at close to full strength for their final home game. "We got banged up a little but nothing major, some high ankle sprains which happen sometimes on that turf, he said. "Sometimes this happens when you don't have a bye. That's 12 straight weeks of football, and you don't have a week where you can kinda catch your breath and get all these guys back. You don't give 'em any time off, and when you don't have a lot of depth to begin with and you're young, the season starts to wear on us."

Holt refused to use that as an excuse for the Vandal's record. "That's just the way the ball bounces this year. I don't mind playing 12 games, but you need a bye in there just to catch your breath. Really it's good for our assistants, too, to catch their breath. I gave them a couple of hours off last night to go trick-or-treating with their kids," he joked.

Looking at the Arkansas State Indians, "What do we do from here? Arkansas State's a good football team. I know you might get tired of hearing that, but they beat Troy in a close game. They dominated Troy here about 3 weeks ago; so we've got our work cut out."

"We need everybody there to support us. I think you'll see our kids play hard. They haven't given up. They're going to do a good job, and we'll be ready to play. We just cannot turn over the football here on Saturday afternoon."

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