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2014 College Football Preview

Previews and schedule for the fall college football season.

Pirates story lines

About the only thing not changing about Whitworth football this season is that the Pirates will continue to play home games at the Pine Bowl. New coach Rod Sandberg, who is taking over after 19 years of John Tully, has brought in a new 3-4 defensive scheme. He also hired former Shadle Park coach Alan Stanfield to bring a pass-first, quick-strike offense.

Changing direction

A week before Whitworth players arrived, new head coach Rod Sandberg invited all of his assistants and their wives over for dinner. He gave the wives a Pirate coffee mug and a note, which thanked them in advance for the impact on their lives from taking their husbands away for the next several months.

Story lines

Spreading the wealth Last year, the Eagles got 2,924 of their 5,247 receiving yards (or 55.7 percent) from just two players: the graduated Ashton Clark (1,233 yards and 10 touchdowns) and All-American Cooper Kupp (1,691 yards and 21 TDs). Assuming Kupp, now a redshirt sophomore, gets more attention this year from opposing defenses, it will be up to others to pick up the slack. That includes senior Cory Mitchell (47 catches, 699 yards last year) and junior Shaq Hill (38 catches, 790 yards), plus veteran Blair Bomber – all of whom can expect to line up in Eastern’s four-receiver sets.

Cougars story lines

Returning to a bowl game Last season the Cougars made it through one of the nation’s toughest schedules to end a decade-long bowl drought. They’ll have to do it again if they want to follow that drought by building a streak.

Vandals story lines

A conference home at last The Idaho Vandals were FBS vagabonds last season, playing a 12-game independent schedule that was heavy on money games (Florida State, Ole Miss, Washington State) and far-flung trips. This year, Idaho’s travel is still intense – but at least they have a conference home in the NCAA’s top division.

Like father, like son

MOSCOW, Idaho – Their job was to stay at the bus station and wait. Paul and Bobby Petrino, with a $1.25 from their dad in their pockets, would park themselves at the pinball machines and keep an eye out for the right bus. They didn’t mind the work.