First year head coach Robb Akey has always enjoyed a good challenge. Akey's
first challenge as head coach of the Idaho Vandals is to take his team into the
hostile Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and face the Trojans of USC.
Akey is trying to become the first visiting coach to beat the Trojans in the Coliseum in 34 games. Unfortunately, for Akey, his team is facing the most talented team in college football and is a 44.5 point underdog.
Before becoming the head coach at Idaho in December, Robb Akey served as the defensive coordinator at Washington State. Akey was hired as defensive line coach at Washington State by Mike Price in 1999. In 2003, Akey was promoted to defensive coordinator. Akey is a fiery coach that will bring an attacking scheme to the Vandals defense.
Offensive coordinator Steve Axman is another familiar face to USC fans. Axman has had several stints as an assistant coach in the Pac-10 conference. Axman has coached at Washington and was the offensive coordinator at UCLA in 2003.
On offense, much of the Vandals success will rely on the development of
redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Enderle. Not only is starting quarterback
Nathan Enderle inexperienced, but so is the Vandals receiving corps. Max Komar
is the Vandals leading returning receiver with just 17 catches last year.
First year offensive coordinator Steve Axman will try to establish a balanced attack and improve on the Vandals offense that averaged just 16.9 points per game in 2006.
Fortunately, the Vandals have four returning starters on the offensive line and some experience at running back. Early in the season look for the Vandals to rely heavily on the running game while Enderle and the passing game get game experience.
On defense the Vandals will switch from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4. The switch
to the 3-4 will allow the Vandals to maximize the strength of their defense
which is their veteran group of linebackers.
At linebacker, the Vandals are led by David Vobora and Jo Artis Ratti. Vobora led the Vandals with 134 tackles last year and was recently added to the Lombardi Award watchlist.
While the Vandals have a very solid group of linebackers, the lack of depth on the defensive line and inconsistent play in the secondary were real problem areas for the Vandals defense that gave up over 400 points in 2006.
New head coach Robb Akey and defensive coordinator Mark Criner's main focus is to bring stability to a defensive unit that surrendered 57 touchdowns last year. Robb Akey will implement his attacking defensive scheme that he used at Washington State.
Look for the Vandals to field a more aggressive defense in 2007.
The Vandals have an above-average kicking game. Tino Amancio was 12-for-17 on field goal attempts last year and starting punter TJ Conley averaged 39.4 yards per punt.
Head Coach: Robb Akey
Conference: Western Athletic Conference
Location: Moscow, Idaho
2006 Record: 4-8(6th in WAC)
Sept.1st at USC
Sept.8th Cal Poly
Sept.15th at Washington St.
Sept.22nd N. Illinois
Oct.6th at San Jose St.
Oct.13th Fresno St.
Oct.20th at New Mexico St.
Oct.27th at Nevada
Nov.3rd Louisiana Tech
Nov.17th at Boise St.
Nov.24th Utah St.
QB - Nathan Enderle(6-5, 223, RS Fr.)
RB - Deonte Jackson(5-8, 181, RS Fr.)
LT - Kris Anderson(6-3, 299, Jr.)
LG - Mike Lupati(6-6, 330, Jr.)
C - Adam Korby( 6-3, 292, Jr.)
RG - Adam Juratovac(6-3, 297, So.)
RT - Billy Bates(6-5, 271, Jr.)
TE - Rolly Lumbala(6-2, 241, Sr.)
WR - Lee Smith(6-0, 193, Jr.)
WR - Max Komar(5-10, 196, So.)
WR - Eric Greenwood(6-6, 196, Fr.)
DT - Marcus Pedro(6-1, 270, Jr.)
NT - Jonah Sataraka(6-2, 243, RS Fr.)
DE - Aaron Lavarias(6-3, 244, RS Fr.)
LB - Ben Alexander(6-1, 224, Jr.)
LB - Brandon Ogletree(6-3, 224, Jr.)
LB - Jo Artis Ratti(6-1, 220, Sr.)
LB - David Vobora(6-1, 240, Sr.)
FS - Chris Smith(5-9, 179, Sr.)
SS - Shiloh Keo(5-10, 175, So.)
CB - Breyon Williams(5-9, 183, Jr.)
CB - Stanley Franks(5-11, 167, Sr.)
K - Tino Amancio(5-9, 215, Jr.)
P - T.J. Conley(6-3, 216, Jr.)
PR - Shiloh Keo(5-10, 175, So.)
KR - Stanley Franks(5-11, 167, Sr.) Shiloh Keo(5-10, 175, So.)