It's one of those back-to-the-drawing board weeks for the Idaho Vandals.
Confident they had something to build on when they came home from their season opener at Louisiana-Monroe, the Vandals instead find themselves picking up the pieces after a nasty lesson delivered by Western Michigan on Saturday in the Kibbie Dome. Coach Paul Petrino dissected the 45-33 loss on Tuesday and looked ahead to another venture into the Mid-American Conference at Ohio University.
The link below will take you to more about the Vandals.
Nothing too complicated about what the Vandals are working on this week in practice, Petrino said.
"Tackling, No. 1," he said. "We've just got to tackle better, and we can't have blown assignments on defense."
Contrary to popular belief, the Vandals actually forced Western Michigan to punt a couple of times. But Idaho also was scorched by several big plays -- touchdowns that covered 61, 31, 57 and 39 yards, and four more of 22 yards or longer. Sometimes the Broncos simply ran through tackles, other times Idaho defenders weren't badly out of position.
"We probably tackle and hit more than a lot of (teams) during the week," said Petrino, promising that would be the case again this week "making sure you run full speed, take good pursuit angles and when you're there, you run through it and make a tackle. I'm not sure it's so much technique as making sure we go make the play."
He did note that "there are some guys stepping up. Marc (Millan) has been playing good. The first game, Jordan Grabski didn't play very good but he came back the second game. We'd played a lot better through fall camp. Now we've got to go do it when it matters."
There has to be little alarm about this statistic: Idaho has surrendered 393 rushing yards in its two games, an average of 4.9 a carry. That's twice the Vandals' per-play average on the ground.
On other matters:
-- Petrino said that backup offensive linemen Kato Fawkes and Jeff Travillion, both junior college transfers, may be lost for the season due to what he called "freak accidents," without elaborating.
-- The Vandals' offensive line depth may be further tested if guard Jordan Rose can't go. The freshman from Freeman High School was wearing a walking boot after an early injury against WMU, though Petrino was hoping to get him back -- midweek at the earliest, next week at the latest. "He has a chance because of his toughness," Petrino said. "One thing about Jordan -- I know he's going to do anything he has to to get out there. If there's any possible way, he'll be out there playing."
-- Apparently, the Broncos celebrated their victory a little too hard. As reported by the UI Argonaut, there was some damage done to the visitors' locker room and Vandals athletic director Rob Spear said WMU is resolving the issue by paying for repairs and additional custodial work.
Here's video from Petrino's weekly news conference: