Vandals look to climb in WAC
This is the 11th in a series highlighting the teams the University of Hawaii will face this season.
Idaho coach Robb Akey said the Vandals will "look sharp" in the new uniforms they unveil Saturday at Arizona.
Coach: Robb Akey (1-11)
2007 record: 1-11, 0-8 in WAC (9th)
Hawaii series: UH leads, 7-1
But will their performance improve with their appearance?
Look for the Vandals to double, maybe even triple their win total of a year ago. They went 1-11 last year, so the math is pretty easy.
Idaho was 0-8 in the Western Athletic Conference in Akey's first season at Moscow. Some kind of climb up the standings is likely just based on the odds. But no one outside of the vicinity of the Kibbie Dome expects the Vandals to vault into the upper half of the WAC this year.
Running back Deonte Jackson is a reason for hope. The nephew of NFL star Stephen Jackson rushed for 1,175 yards as a freshman last fall, despite a high ankle sprain.
Defenses will surely key on him now, meaning the Vandals need much better production from quarterback Nathan Enderle to take off some of the pressure. He was intercepted 18 times and threw for only 10 touchdowns in 298 attempts as a freshman.
Eddie Johnson will help the offense somewhere, as either a tight end or H-back.
Sophomores Maurice Shaw and Eric Greenwood and freshman Preston Davis are promising targets for Enderle's passes, and center Adam Korby heads up an improving offensive line.
Questions abound on defense, though, with the departure of star linebacker David Vobora and shutdown corner Stanley Franks.
The defense is very young, with 16 freshmen and sophomores on the two-deep. Strong safety Shiloh Keo, a junior and team captain, will try to pull them together.
Keo is also a top-notch punt returner and the centerpiece of what could be very good special teams. Kicker Tino Amancio (14 of 18 field goals, 30 of 30 on extra points) is also one of the best in the WAC.
Tomorrow: Washington State