Previewing 2009 San Diego State Opponents: Idaho Vandals

Idaho is well to be nice not any good last year they were 2-10 and one of those was against FCS in-state opponent Idaho State.  A few good things, and I reiterated few, is the starting quarterback is Nathan Enderle who is returning for his third year under center.

Hope is for Idaho is that Enderle can improve off of his 54 completion percentage which jumped ten percent from 2007-2008.  This could be difficult to improve off of is that the Vandals lose their three of their top five wide receivers from last year.

Scoring points was at a premium last year as the Vandals finished 8th in the WAC by only be able to muster just under 20 points per game.

The running game does have hope with Deonte’ Jackson returning his 696 yards, and if Idaho can stay in games Jackson has the chance to breakout and get to 1,000 yards. The other running back who will contribute heavily is Princeton McCartey who was just under 500 yards.  That said Idaho needs to replace three starters from the offensive line, so space may be limited for any back trying to gain yards.

Another concern with an inexperienced offensive line is having them be able to protect the quarterback, because the odds are that Idaho will not be good this year and will be playing from behind.  All that means is that the Vandals will be throwing the ball a lot to get back into games in which they trail.

Their returning leaders from 2008 are listed below, and as one can see they are so-so.

Passing Com% Yards TD INT
Nathan Enderle 54.3 2,007 20 17
Rushing Carries Yards Yards Per Carry TD
Deonte’ Jackson 161 696 4.3 3
Princeton McCarty 77 480 6.2 3
Receiving Catches Yards Yards Per Catch TD
Max Komar 26 298 11.5 0
Preston Davis 27 296 11.0 3
Deonte Jackson 16 111 6.9 0

The defensive bright spots are few and far between, but their best unit is the secondary lead by strong safety Shiloh Keo who should be all-WAC when the year ends.  This unit better be improved because Idaho gave up 262 yards per game in the air, because opposing quarterbacks will pass to whoever Shiloh Keo is not covering.

That porous pass defense directly translated to a scoring defense that was last in the WAC, and 118th nationally while giving up 42.8 points per game.  Turnover margin is a key factor to how good, or in this case bad, a team is and Idaho was — to no surprise — near the bottom of the NCAA’s with a minus thirteen.

That margin is hard to repeat and Phil Steele is a staunch believer that teams with a bad turnover margin have the best chance to improve in their following season.  In theory the Vandals should be improved, but there is no escaping the bottom of the WAC in 2009.

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