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September 7, 2010

Breaking down the Idaho offense

Nebraska Opponent Offensive Scouting Report

Team: Idaho Vandals
Location: Moscow, Idaho

Colors: Silver and Vandal Gold
Enrollment: 11,730
Conference: Western Athletic (WAC)

Head Coach: Robb Akey (Weber State, 1988): 12-26 in fourth season as head coach (all at Idaho)
Offensive Coordinator: Steve Axman

2010 Record: 1-0
National Ranking: Unranked
Series Record vs. Nebraska: First Meeting

Game Time: Saturday, Sept. 11, 11:30 a.m.
Stadium: Tom Osborne Field - Memorial Stadium (81,067)
TV: FSN Pay Per View
Radio: Husker Sports Network

Signal-Caller: Senior quarterback Nathan Enderle (6-5, 233), a native of North Platte, is a member of the 2010 preseason watch lists for the Manning, Davey O'Brien and Johnny Unitas Gold Arm awards. Enderle has passed for 7,081 yards in his career after completing 24-of-37 attempts for 311 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 45-0 season-opening victory over North Dakota. He ranks fifth in school history in passing yards and needs 320 yards to move into fourth place.

On the Ground: Despite losing De'Maundray Woolridge's production (979 rushing yards and 18 TDs last year), the Vandals still returned two of their top three rushers from last season in Princeton McCarty (5-8, 192) and Deonte' Jackson (5-8, 199). To open the 2010 campaign, McCarty led the squad with 12 rushes for 89 yards and two touchdowns last week, as seven players had a carry in the walkover.

Catching the Ball: The Vandals returned three starting receivers from last year in Eric Greenwood (6-6, 233), Preston Davis (6-2, 201) and Maurice Shaw (6-3, 205). Greenwood tied for the team lead with four catches last week for 41 yards and a score in the opener. The trio was among 11 Vandals with at least one catch last week, including H-back Daniel Hardy (6-4, 242) who had 82 yards on four receptions. Junior college transfer Armauni Johnson (6-4, 194) hauled in the longest play of the day with a 54-yard scoring reception in the fourth quarter before finishing with three catches for 86 yards.

On the Line: The offensive line is in rebuilding mode after losing four starters to graduation, including guard Mike Iupati, who was a first-round NFL Draft selection (17th overall by San Francisco). Junior tackle Matt Cleveland (6-4, 311) is the only returning starter on the O-line. Opposite Cleveland, Tyrone Novikof (6-7, 318) manned the right tackle spot while Sam Tupua (6-2, 374) and Tevita Halaholo (6-5, 335) started at left and right guard, respectively. Clell Hasenbank (6-0, 287) got the nod at center.

Kicking It Around: Trey Farquhar (6-1, 180) and Bobby Cowan (6-5, 230) return as the starters at place-kicker and punter, respectively. Farquar, who was 13-of-19 on field goals last year with a long of 54 yards, hit all six PATs and connected on a 22-yard field goal in the season opener while missing a 56-yard attempt. Cowan averaged 39.4 yards on five punts against North Dakota after averaging 43.0 ypp last season.

Return Game: Defensive back Shiloh Keo returned two punts for a total of nine yards in the opener while running back Kama Bailey added one kickoff return for 15 yards.

They Said It: "I think I was sending a message. We said we were going to play as fast as we can, as hard as we can for as long as we can, and that's the whole daggone game. I didn't like the way we were playing at the end of the half. If I have to set the tempo for them, I'll set the tempo. That's the head coach's job." - Head Coach Robb Akey on why he called for an on-side kick to start the second half, which the Vandals recovered.

Notable Idaho Alumni: Idaho has had 70 players selected all-time in the NFL Draft, including guard Mike Iupati (No. 17 overall by the 49ers in 2010) and running back Ray McDonald (No. 13 overall by the Redskins in 1967). Jerry Kramer, who went on to become a five-time world champion and five-time All-NFL selection with the Green Bay Packers, also played three years (1954-57) at Idaho.

Quick hits

***With four new starters on the offensive line, the Vandals allowed four sacks in the opener against North Dakota. Idaho also had 12 penalties for 110 yards, including seven penalties on the offensive side.

***The 45-0 shutout was the first for Idaho's defense since 1997.

***Idaho finished last season with an 8-5 record, including winning the Humanitarian Bowl. The Vandals had won just three games the previous two seasons combined.

*** As a team, Idaho ranked eighth in pass efficiency, seventh in fourth-down conversion rate, ninth in total offense and 12th in passing offense in 2009.

Idaho Vandals 2010 Schedule
Sept. 4 North Dakota, W, 45-0
Sept. 11 at Nebraska, 11:30 a.m.
Sept. 18 UNLV, 9:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Colorado State, 3 p.m.
Oct. 2 at Western Michigan, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Louisiana Tech, 3 p.m.
Oct. 23 New Mexico State, 4 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Hawai'I, 10:30 p.m.
Nov. 6 Nevada, 4 p.m.
Nov. 12 Boise State, 8 p.m.
Nov. 19 at Utah State, 2 p.m.
Nov. 26 at Fresno State, 9 p.m.
Dec. 4 San Jose State, 4 p.m.



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