HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Idaho.
IDAHO (4-8 IN 2017)
Big Sky (Idaho was in the Sun Belt in 2017)
COACH: Paul Petrino – 6th year (19-41 record)
2017 OFFENSE: 20.9 ppg. (T110th in FBS)
2017 DEFENSE: 25.8 ppg. (56th in FBS)
SUM IT UP: The Vandals are probably the most intriguing team in the FCS this season. They are making the rare move down to the FCS from the FBS. Now, their 4-8 record may not indicate this team is going to come in and dominate. But then again, Idaho brings a team full of FBS talent. You can lean whichever way, but it is tough to gauge just how well the Vandals are going to compete with the top teams in the Big Sky and FCS. The one comparison last year is they defeated Sacramento State 28-6. Sac State finished 7-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Sky. This team has major question marks on offense, losing its experienced quarterback, 1,000-yard back and top two receivers from last year. The defense should be solid overall despite losing last season's top tackler Tony Lashley after he transferred to Boise State. Idaho plays a full BSC schedule with two FBS teams and a D2 team in the nonconference.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: The Vandals immediately compete for a Big Sky title and earn a seed in the FCS playoffs. This is a team that took its lumps last year, but also convincingly defeated one of the top BSC teams. Idaho should be a factor in the FCS.
TOP RETURNEE: LB Kaden Elliss (2nd Team All-Sun Belt)
THE NEXT BEST: OL Noah Johnson (2nd Team All-Sun Belt); P Cade Coffey (2nd Team All-Sun Belt); LB Ed Hall (78 tackles); WR David Ungerer (432 yard receiving, 6 TDs ); RB Isaiah Saunders (506 yards)
TOP NEWCOMER: DE Aarron Boatright (Won 2017 NJCAA National Championship at East Mississippi CC, 5 sacks and 6.5 TFLs )
DID YOU KNOW?: Idaho won nine Big Sky championships ranging from 1965 to 1992 when it was a Division 1-AA team.
THE QUOTE: “We used to always joke, ‘First one to 50 wins.’ You know, that’s how the league was back then and it really hasn't changed a whole lot.” — Head Coach Paul Petrino said on the Big Sky
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #GoVandals
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @VandalFootball