Nathan Enderle (now third-string with Chicago Bears) was a top-five QB in America by Mel Kiper Jr. last summer, and there was a ton of optimism going into the season.
However, he dropped significantly from his junior to senior seasons in completion percentage, passing TD’s and yards.
He finished in the top five in all of those categories, but as Hawk Harrelson would say, “He Gone.”
The new starter this season will be Brian Reader as he more of an accurate QB though he does not have nearly as strong of an arm, at least thus far.
Three OL starters return, and they should give plenty of time for Reader to pick apart the defense. Also, this squad picks up a former primetime prospect with former Arizona State Sun Devil Ryan Bass who is now expected to run bonkers in WAC play.
Moscow, Idaho better get to know this kid because he may be the best pro prospect since Green Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones played.
Bass has solid speed at 5’9", 207 and is the lone playmaker on offense outside of WR Armauni Johnson (6’4", 198). Bass was once a prized recruit out of high school and never got to see much of the field while he was in Tempe.
Many alluded to his attitude and work ethic which was certainly questioned out west in Pitch Fork land. Many never thought much of him after he was passed up on the depth chart by Cameron Marshall.
Bass will not have much competition in 2011 at Idaho, so if he can mature a bit and understand how Vandal football works with coach Robb Akey, things will be fine and dandy.
This total offense without Bass was 55th in the nation last year averaging 386 YPG, which is not too shabby for Vandal standards though they need to improve now with Boise State no longer being a part of the WAC.
Top safety Shiloh Keo is gone, but back is nearly the entire LB corp. Robert Siavii and Tre’Shawn Robinson were the top two tacklers a season ago who combined for over 150 tackles. The secondary was getting lit up like a Christmas tree early and often last season.
They were 87th in America allowing 231 YPG, and I am not sure they will be that much better even without Kellen Moore on the schedule.
Moore toyed with the Vandals as he threw for three TD’s and 214 yards in just three quarters of play in their 52-14 victory at the Kibbie Dome.
Despite only holding 16,000 fans the Vandals are a respectable 117-64-1 since 1975 at the noisy Kibbie Dome!
The schedule gods did not do any favors as they have to travel to College Station against the Aggies and to Charlottesville against a much improved Virginia squad that is now in year two under Mike London.
If the Vandals had those teams in the Kibbie Dome (don’t laugh) then I would give Idaho a punchers chance at making their third ever bowl appearance (became FBS program in 1997).
I am looking for the Vandals to fall just short of a bowl bid, but I do think they will be just one or two upsets away from being back to a bowl.
Predicted Finish: 4-8, 2-5
Predicted Bowl: None
Predicted order of finish in WAC: Sixth