Complete notes package.
MOSCOW, Idaho – Thursday can’t come soon enough for the Idaho Vandals as they excitedly await the 2012 opener against Eastern Washington University in a game scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Kibbie Dome.
“We’ve done a lot of great work,” Akey said. “We’re very prepared. We’re doing a lot of polishing now.
“I’m excited to see the way our guys have approached the last several days. They’re anxious as can be to play a game. As we shifted the focus to an opponent, I could really see the excitement our team has.”
The Vandals will debut a new-look offense under the director of first-year coordinator Jason Gesser, who adds run-game coordinator Gordy Shaw (offensive line) and pass-game coordinator Mike Levenseller (receivers) to Wayne Moses (running backs) and Al Pupunu (tight ends) to his side of the staff.
The defense not only has a veteran staff returning under coordinator Mark Criner, who counts on Torey Hunter, Eti Ena and Patrick Libey around him, but a host of experienced players as well.
“I’m excited to see these guys play and compete,” Akey said.
Eastern Washington, the FCS champion in 2010, is coming off a 5-6 season but has enough twists in its story line to keep the Vandals’ on guard.
“They’ve got our attention,” Akey said. “They’re a good football team and we have a good football team to go against them.”
The Vandals are coming off a 2-10 season, while the Eagles were 6-5 in 2011. The Vandals were picked fourth in the WAC preseason media poll and fifth in the WAC preseason coaches poll. Eastern Washington was projected by both coaches and media to finish second in the Big Sky Conference. The Eagles are ranked 12th in The Sports Network preseason FCB poll and 15th in the FCS coaches poll.
Robb Akey is in his sixth season as head coach at Idaho. After rebuilding in his first two seasons, his 2009 team won the Humanitarian Bowl and his 2010 team was on the verge of repeating as a bowl team. He is a graduate of Weber State University and coached for his alma mater (1988-94) as well as Northern Arizona University (1995-98) and Washington State University (1999-2006) before taking over at Idaho in his first head coaching job. He is 19-43 with the Vandals.
Beau Baldwin has been the head coach at Eastern Washington since 2008 when he led the Eagles to a 6-5 record. Two years later, they won the FCS Championship with a 13-2 record. As a head coach at EWU, Baldwin is 33-16, while overall he is 43-19 after posting a 10-3 mark at Central Washington in 2007. He is a graduate of Central Washington.
Idaho leads the series, which first was played in 1942, 15-5. The last time the two teams met was in 2003, when the Eagles left the Kibbie Dome with an 8-5 victory. Idaho’s most recent victory was in the second-to-last game played between the two (1999) when the Vandals won 48-21 at Cheney.
The game will be on ESPN3, which is ESPN’s always-on station that provides content directly to computers. Access can be found by either going through the main ESPN website or by typing in WatchESPN in your search engine.
Tom Morris (play by play) and Evan Ellis (analysis) again are calling the gameday action with KZFN (FM 106.1) as the flagship of the statewide, 14-station network. A complete list of stations is on page 3.
Idaho’s captains for the 2012 season are receiver Mike Scott (senior; Palo Alto, Calif.), cornerback Aaron Grymes (senior; Seattle, Wash), and punter Bobby Cowan (senior; Vancouver, Wash.).
Tickets are available at www.GoVandals.com or by calling 208-885-6466.