Just another payday?

It's been eight years since <!--Default NodeId For Idaho is 419,2003--><A HREF=http://idaho.TheInsiders.com>Idaho</A> stepped from the Big Sky conference to join the now defunct Big West conference, which ceased operations in 2000. To keep their 1-A status, the Vandals had to scramble for a conference home, and in 2001 they found a willing taker in the newly-formed Sun Belt conference.

Idaho (0-3) at #19 Washington (1-1)
Saturday, September 20 - 12:35 PM (PDT) – No live TV
Husky Stadium – Seattle, WA
Series All-time: Washington leads, 32-2-2
Last Meeting: September 28, 2002 - Washington 41, Idaho 27
Line: Washington by 26

Tom Cable
(Getty Images)
Certainly, the 16,000-seat Kibbie Dome is a plenty tough place to play for opposing teams. But to generate the kind of revenue Division 1-A programs require to stay competitive, smaller conference schools have to hit the road and play larger schools.

For the most part, it means less home games and a pile of non-conference losses. Coming into this Saturday, the Sun Belt conference sports a combined 4-20 non-conference record – with only one of those wins coming against a major conference, a North Texas 52-14 thrashing of lowly Baylor.

But for playing the part of the foil, it means a lucrative payday, something Idaho head coach Tom Cable has come to understand. Cable, who in his fourth season is 8-29 overall and currently on a seven-game losing streak, welcomes the harvest that visits to big-time stadiums can reap. "It can be difficult financially," acknowledges Cable, mired in a mud-caked battle for Division 1-A footing. "That's why we're in Seattle this week – it's more money for our pockets, for scholarships and facilities."

Keith Gilbertson
Husky coach Keith Gilbertson sees a big change over his old days as the Vandals head man – and feels somewhat for his friend and former assistant. "We didn't play the schedule that Tom is now forced to play," Gilbertson says. "We'd play one, maybe two 1-A teams per year. But nothing like the schedule they try to play now."

"It was a prime 1-AA job when I was there. But it's a way different job now – a much more difficult job."

Washington will be Idaho's eleventh PAC-10 foe in the last four years – the Vandals have won but one of those games, a memorable win in 2000 over Washington State. It is Idaho's fourth visit to Husky Stadium in four years. And the streaks are well-known – the Vandals haven't defeated Washington on the gridiron in 98 years. Later on, they must contend with an upcoming, three-game, month-long road trip with stops at Louisiana-Lafayette, Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe.

But Cable isn't backing down on any travel challenges. "We've done this sort of thing before," Cable asserts, "so it really comes down to playing as well as we can. This will be a big task for us - Our whole thing will be to go out and catch the ball, run the ball, have some balance."

"We want to give ourselves a shot at winning it in the fourth quarter."

And getting that paycheck, to boot.

One thing is certain, however. Whether or not Cable gets a fifth season at his alma mater – he is on the final year of his original contract and has yet to be offered an extension - he doesn't have to worry about visiting Husky Stadium next year.

Idaho isn't scheduled to play in Seattle again until 2005.

TEAM STATS:  5.0 points, 291.0 yards (93.3 rush, 197.7 pass),  

RUSHING:     Malfred Shaw 56-222-0 TD (4.0) 
             Zach Gerstner 17-68-0 TD (3.8)
PASSING:     Michael Harrington 57-121-3 (.471), 588 yards, 1 TD 
RECEIVING:   Orlando Winston 13-170-1 TD (13.1), long 27
             Bobby Bernal-Wood 10-115-0 TD (11.5), long 25
             Mike McCoy 7-96-0 TD (13.7), long 33

QB Michael Harrington
(AP/Ted S. Warren)
After five years of waiting, Mr. Harrington will finally throw a pass in Husky Stadium.

No, not Oregon Joey, who due to some adroit scheduling, never enjoyed the pleasure. His younger brother Michael, who beat out Brian Lindgren during fall camp, gets the fourth start of his young career. Harrington has had some growing pains; some of his own doing, and some courtesy of dropped balls – a point emphasized by coach Cable. "If we just go out and catch the ball, the kid'll light up the scoreboard," says Cable about his young sophomore. Echoes Harrington, "I can't worry about drops. I just have to put it in their hands." Even with six flat drops, Harrington hit on 25-for-50 against Boise State, spreading the wealth among ten receivers.

Harrington has a go-to guy in flanker Orlando Winston. The senior from Garfield has 995 receiving yards on his career – including seven grabs for 96 last year in Husky Stadium. Winston recorded Idaho's first touchdown of the season last week, to go with five receptions. JuCo transfer Bobby Bernal-Wood has been one of the "hands" culprits, though the Seattle-Tyee graduate caught 40 passes for 700 yards in eight games at Butte College a year ago. Louisiana RS-freshman Wendell Octave caught his first passes of the season a week ago, and senior tight end Mike McCoy is off to a big start filling in for Luke Smith-Anderson, who after spending 2002 in rehab from a pre-season ACL tear, grimly lost a second-straight season after tearing his other knee in the first quarter against WSU.

TB/HB Malfred Shaw
Senior tailback Malfred Shaw won't fool anybody with his speed, but he'll stick his nose in there and grind. The Sacramento native ran for 38 yards last year against Washington at six yards a clip. Senior Zach Gerstner has 12 touchdowns in his four-year Vandal career, and is dangerous catching it out of the backfield. Junior fullback Brian Yarno – yes, John's son – fills in for Keith Greer, who at this writing still recovers at Harborview Hospital from clotting complications following surgery to repair a broken leg suffered in the season opener against Washington State.

The line has good experience in two-year captain Jake Scott, who starts his 36th-straight game at tackle, and Matt Martinez, who is a good bet for post-season accolades at center. Martinez appears on both the Outland and Rimington lists. Senior guard Jason Cobb is also a three-year starter. Federal Way RS-freshman Nate VanderPol mans the important left tackle spot.

GAME OUTLOOK: Zero points, five points, ten points – the very picture of baby steps. Idaho averages 4.0 yards per snap, and their longest scrimmage play covered 33 yards. They feature a power running look – and they could try to muscle it up here to keep in striking distance (and keep the Husky offense off the field). Washington has been prone to lose QB contain – look for the pocket to move around some in play-action.

TEAM STATS:     19.0 points, 372.7 yards (211.0 rush, 161.7 pass)

TACKLES/TFL:    Chad Pool 22/1.0 
                Mike Anderson 21/0.0    
                Brian Howard 19/4.0

PASSES DEF/INT: Daryl Murphy 4/1
                Patrick Libey 1/0 
                Chad Pool 1/0 

SACKS:          Brandon Kania 1.0
                Chad Kodama 1.0
                Kody Kraus 1.0

DT Brian Howard
Giving up almost 100 yards per game less than a year ago, Idaho is making big strides on defense. After registering a minus-14 in turnovers last season, the Vandals are even after three games, and they rank 22nd nationally in pass efficiency defense. However, they have been prone to the big run, and rank 106th in rushing defense.

Seniors Brian Howard and Kody Kraus anchor an experienced Idaho front. Howard, from Kent-Meridian, had five sacks a year ago and has 22 tackles-for-loss in his career; while Kraus has a pair of sacks in his two seasons. Sophomore nose tackle Kelly Talavou recorded his first sack last week against the Broncos, and junior defensive end Brandon Kania sacked Cody Pickett twice a year ago.

LB Mike Anderson
Senior outside linebacker Chad Kodama led the Vandals with 11 tackles last year against Washington, and has a pair of sacks this year. Sophomore Mike Anderson has 21 stops on the season, and has forced two fumbles. Senior co-captain Patrick Libey is as sure a tackler as they come, with 182 stops during his four-year career.

True freshman Chad Pool was thrown into the starting lineup two weeks ago against Eastern, and the 5-9 safety now leads the team in tackles with 22. Senior Robert Ortega is the biggest hitter in the backfield, but has been slowed by an ankle injury and has missed the last two games, opening the door for Pool. Senior safety Darryl Murphy owns the Vandals' lone interception, and 6-1 senior Rod Bryant will be called upon to try and harness Reggie Williams.

GAME OUTLOOK: The Vandals surprised last week in keeping Boise State record-setter Ryan Dinwiddie at bay – and they did it at the line of scrimmage. They don't have a lot of team speed, however, so keeping the play in front of them will be of utmost importance. Washington's biggest advantage lies in their outside speed, so if Pickett's pecs aren't barking too loudly, don't be surprised if they go over-the-top early before settling on the ground.

PLACEKICKING:  Mike Barrow 1-2 FG (long 21), 1-1 XP
               Brian Pope  1-4 FG (long 45), 0-0 XP
PUNTING:       Ryan Downes 17-40.5 (long 52), .118 inside the 20
KICK RETURNS:  Matt Miller 6-27.0 (long 64), 0 TD
               Cedric Thompson 2-22.5 (long 36), 0 TD
PUNT RETURNS:  Cedric Thompson 9-6.7 (long 19), 0 TD

Ryan Downes
RS-Freshman Mike Barrow took the place-kicking job a week ago from a struggling Brian Pope, and hit his first-ever game effort, though later he pushed a 44-yard effort just before halftime. Senior punter Ryan Downes is one of Idaho's better special-teams weapons, putting better than thirty percent of his efforts inside the 20 a year ago, and his 40.5-yard season mark is also his career average.

PR Cedric Thompson
(AP/Kevin German)
JuCo transfer Matt Miller leads the Sun Belt conference in kick-return average, and Boise State chose not to kick to him. Senior Cedric Thompson broke off a 55-yard punt return last year. Idaho has yet to put hand-to-ball, while they've had a pair of field goals blocked.

GAME OUTLOOK:The Vandals have allowed a 16.2-yard punt return average – is this the week that Charles Frederick breaks one? Washington worked hard during the bye week on their return game.

How do we match-up against the IDAHO Vandals ?
Category IDAHO Vandals UW HuskiesNational LeaderPac-10 Leader
93.33 99 NA 101 94 9 MICH 307.33 ORE 198.67
197.67 70 NA 275 27 3 NCST 383.67 STAN 293
291 98 NA 376 63 7 BGRN 575.33 ORE 482.67
5 116 NA 23.5 72 8 FLOR 53.67 ORE 40.33
211 106 NA 113.5 35 7 STAN 9 STAN 9
Pass Eff.
109.77 38 NA 108.17 37 6 SDSU 63.02 STAN 71.54
372.67 76 NA 314.5 39 5 NEB 208 UCLA 264
19 49 NA 20.5 56 7 MICH 3.33 UCLA 9.5
32.88 91 NA 37.58 40 8 UCF 52.13 USC 48.31
6.2 88 NA 8 73 6 ARMY 33 ASU 15.3
23.36 41 NA 17 103 9 TAMU 48.4 STAN 31
0 59 NA 0.5 43 5 TOL 2.67 USC 2
161.67 22 NA 201 51 3 HOUS 79 UCLA 186.5
Source: NCAA.org

KIBBLES AND BITS: The Vandal coaches and players plan on visiting Keith Greer at Harborview on Friday, though coach Cable warns, "You can't take the whole football team up at once" . . . Supposedly, Washington and Idaho will meet just once more in this decade (2005, potentially the 100-year anniversary of Idaho's last win over UW). There are still open dates available in 2008 and 2009. It wouldn't surprise if the Vandals were granted one of those dates, since the Huskies have their road non-conference opponents already lined up . . . Of course you knew that coach Gilbertson is Idaho's all-time winningest head coach in terms of winning percentage (28-9 over three years, for a .757 mark). His graduate assistant those last two years was one Tom Cable, who would also follow Gilbertson on to California. Husky line coach Dan Cozzetto was also a member of Gilby's Idaho staff . . . And don't fault the Bears for thinking about an early hibernation. By the time the Huskies and Vandals kick off Washington's third game of the year, California will be finishing up the fifth of their brutal 13-game season in Champaign, Illinois. Their bye doesn't arrive until October 11. And what of Cal's cross-town rivals? Stanford plays its' second game of the season Saturday at BYU . . . Perhaps the media guide knows something that we don't. It lists Idaho with 17 returning starters on offense, and 19 on defense. Shouldn't that mean some sort of penalty? . . . The Idaho regents must have surely been disappointed at the 2,000 or so Kibbie Dome empty seats that welcomed their fiercest in-state rivals last Saturday . . . Though UCLA and Illinois rugby'd their way through four quarters of three-field goal football, anyone notice how hard Manuel White was running it? His rebirth gives PAC-10 coordinators another headache. But with a six-point outburst against the vaunted Illini, one wonders what's in store for Karl Dorrell's powder blues in Norman, Oklahoma this week . . . How low has Arizona fallen? They are 25-point underdogs this week to Purdue, a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team . . .

Dawgman.com Top Stories