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Idaho Vandals: The Preview

Oregon State and Idaho will battle tomorrow in what should be an emotional game for both coaches, players, and fans. If you know anything about what Idaho has done this season, you know that they gave Michigan State a run for their money on the road, got beat 56-10 by Washington State the next week, and last week barely snuck out a 3 point victory over Idaho State. And, you would know that they are coached by Dennis Erickson.

When Idaho has the ball: The Vandal Offense

The Idaho starting QB will be Senior Steven Wichman, a former JUCO transfer. He's got the arm, but his problem, like many other quarterbacks, is interceptions.  Last year he threw for 15 touchdowns with 18 interceptions. He's been working closely with Coach Erickson on his decision making skills, trying to cut down on picks. He's already thrown 3 in as many games, with only 1 touchdown.

Idaho has a strong rushing attack led by Jayson Bird, who broke his collarbone last year and sat out most of the season. If he stays healthy, Jayson could be the Vandals biggest threat against the Beavers. However, OSU has a solid group of linebackers, and a solid Defensive Line.

The Vandals also have a reasonable group of wide receivers. They will all get to see lots of action in Dennis Erickson's offense, with some 4-wide and 5-wide formations.

We will see if the Vandal Offensive Line is any better than it was last year, when they allowed 34 sacks. Pass protection is key for Idaho; our cornerbacks are probably the weakest part of our defense. If they can give Wichman some time to throw, they might have a better chance of making a few dents.

When Oregon State has the ball: The Vandal Defense

The Idaho defense is fast, but they don't have much size. Former Vandal coach Nick Holt was the defensive coordinator by nature, so he always brought some talent to the table. They've got some experience at Defensive Line, as their front four are either juniors or seniors. Josh Boushman is the star of the linebackers, getting 75 tackles, 10 of those for a loss, and 5 sacks last season. Jaron Williams and David Vobra will be the other two starters at Linebacker.

Idaho has a fairly strong group of DB's, but they could use a lot of help from the line with pass blocking. Cornerback Stanley Franks was converted from Wide Receiver this spring, so he is still developing his skills at corner. Free Safety Tony Taupule is a former Beaver who went to a junior college, and is now at Idaho.  Jevon Butler and Jason Martin round out the Idaho Defensive Backs.

The Vandal special team unit appears to be tough with Tino Amancio at kicker, and T.J. Conley at punter. Amancio is 4-5 on the year for field goals, with his only miss coming on a 38 yarder against Michigan State. Conley averages about 40 yards per punt, his longest at 53 yards.

Connecting the Dots:

Idaho has their backs to the wall in this game, But Oregon State needs not to get ahead of themselves. We should see some more insight into the status of our quarterbacks. Many fans say they want Canfield to start, but Moore will be tomorrow's starter. We will see what kind of damage Canfield can do if he gets a chance against the Vandals.

The Prediction:

Oregon State 42, Idaho 24

Go Beavers!

--JB--