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First day in the books for Idaho

The Idaho Vandals were greeted to hot but agreeable weather and a small but loyal crowd for their first practice of fall. I’ve filed a story about the first day, centered on the rehab of receiver Preston Davis.

Different expectations for Vandals

The Idaho football program opens fall camp on Thursday, and it doesn’t take much to realize the Vandals have a much different outlook than a year ago at this time. That’s what eight wins and a bowl victory will do for a beleaguered program.

We’ve got a preview of fall camp for you after the link. Also included is a schedule with tentative practice times.

BSU president lambasts UI fans, Moscow

Bob Kustra, president of Boise State, told the Idaho Statesman today that he sees no need to play the the University of Idaho in Moscow — or in Boise — after the football teams meet for the last time this season before BSU moves to the Mountain West Conference. His reason for wanting to stay away from Moscow? “It’s a culture that is nasty, inebriated and civilly doesn’t give our fans the respect that any fan should expect when visiting an away team.”

Kustra’s comments come a day after Broncos coach Chris Petersen, when asked if BSU was willing to do a home-and-home series with Idaho, said, “Why would we go (to Moscow)? I don’t think our fans even like to go up there. Most of Idaho’s fans are in Boise anyway.”

UI coach Robb Akey has maintained that the 40-year rivalry should continue “the right way” — with both teams getting home games.

UPDATE: Idaho president Duane Nellis has issued this statement on the matter.

Vandals picked 4th and 6th

Just over a month away from the start of the 2010 season, the Idaho football team today was picked to finish sixth in the WAC by the league’s coaches and fourth by the media. The Vandals traded spots with Utah State in both polls. As expected, Boise State was tabbed as the favorite in both polls, though Nevada garnered a first-place vote in each.

Idaho opens Sept. 2 versus North Dakota in Moscow. The Vandals are coming off an 8-5 season.

Read more here.

State board OKs Akey’s contract

It was an eventful day for the Idaho athletic department at the Idaho State Board of Education meeting in Idaho Falls. We’ve got a story to fill in all the details on the link.

Details of Akey’s deal released

A nearly $100,000 raise — that is what’s in store for Idaho football coach Robb Akey, who negotiated a new contract with UI after the team’s most successful season in 11 years.

Keep reading for all the details of the five-year deal, which will pay Akey more than $355,000 this year if the State Board approves.

Idaho’s reaction to BSU’s move

UPDATED

We’ve got an updated story after the link on Idaho’s reaction to Boise State. Included are Rob Spear’s thoughts on playing BSU in the future.

Vandals lose 6 scholarships

UPDATED - 6:49 p.m.

The Idaho football team was docked six scholarships today by the NCAA, which released the latest Academic Progress Rate report. Read on for a short story with comments from Robb Akey and Rob Spear.

Vandals’ spring comes to close

The evening started with a video replay of former Idaho lineman Mike Iupati going 17th overall in the NFL draft. Before the 49ers plucked the left guard, the Vandals knew they were going to miss the All-American — along with three other departed seniors on the offensive line. But their absence was especially noticeable Friday in the Silver and Gold game.

Read on for my story from Moscow.

Iupati goes No. 17 to 49ers

UPDATED

Well, all those phone calls came for a reason. San Francisco called Robb Akey at least three times leading up to the NFL draft about Idaho guad Mike Iupati, and the 49ers wound up taking the Samoan with the 17th pick.

Iupati is Idaho’s highest draft pick from UI since Ray McDonald went 13th in 1967, and the first Vandal taken since Eddie Williams in 2008 (a seventh-rounder). Click below for more.

Also, a reminder: I’ll be back tomorrow night to recap the Vandals’ Silver and Gold game.

Odds and ends on Iupati, Komar

You may have seen my story on Sunday about Mike Iupati’s NFL draft prospects. I also wanted to pass along some additional comments and thoughts on one of the most decorated players in Idaho football history. Who knows where he’ll go, but one possible hint: UI coach Robb Akey said the 49ers have called him three times about Iupati. Take that for what it’s worth.

Keep reading for more on Iupati and another Vandal hoping to land in the NFL, receiver Max Komar, on the eve of the draft.

Vandals scrimmage; Iupati preps for draft

We’ve got two Idaho football-related stories to pass along. The first is a notebook I filed after the Vandals’ scrimmage heading into Friday’s Silver and Gold game. And the second is a profile of Mike Iupati, the former UI guard who looks to be a sure-fire first round pick in next week’s NFL draft.

Read on for both pieces.

Defense rules 2nd Idaho scrimmage

The Vandals completed their second of three intrasquad scrimmages today before the Silver and Gold game on April 23. I wasn’t able to make it, but read on for a report from UI.

UI’s Davis has torn ACL, Ashley adjusting

UPDATED

There were some notable names missing from the Vandals’ first spring scrimmage, including wideout Preston Davis. His start to the season is in serious jeopardy after tearing his ACL on Tuesday. Read on for more about Davis’ injury and Quin Ashley’s role at safety, plus more notes.

Idaho’s Axman enjoying new role

Enjoyed a beautiful morning/early afternoon at Idaho’s practice field to take in the Vandals’ third practice of the spring. Read on for a story that will appear in tomorrow’s S-R. 

‘Rusty’ Vandals complete 1st practice

As you might expect after three or so months off, the Vandals’ first spring session wasn’t always crisp. In fact, coach Robb Akey said Idaho could use some WD-40 to knock off all the rust. We have some more thoughts from Akey and offensive coordinator Steve Axman below after Day One of spring practice.

Vandals embark on spring practice

Idaho’s 15-day spring football regimen starts Thursday, and the Vandals’ situation is much different than a year ago at this time. Read on for my story for tomorrow’s S-R and additional quotes from Robb Akey.

Akey agrees to contract extension

The Lewiston Tribune this morning reported Idaho football coach Robb Akey has agreed in principle to a contract extension. The deal comes after prolonged negotiations. No details were given in the story. “We needed to come to an agreement on what the contract was going to be, to get it extended so that it would be a good thing so we can keep taking this thing forward,” Akey told the paper. “And we got details worked out, and we came to an agreement this week that needs to go to have their approval.”

Vandals hire tight ends coach

The reshuffling of Idaho’s football staff appears to be complete. Today coach Robb Akey announced the hiring of tight ends coach Al Pupunu, who spent the last two years at Southern Utah University. Pupunu was a longtime NFL tight end (mostly with the San Diego Chargers) before going into coaching.

He comes to UI after QB coach Jonathan Smith left to become offensive coordinator of Montana. Offensive coordinator Steve Axman is assuming Smith’s responsibilities, while Pupunu will take over coaching tight ends from Axman. You can find more below.

I’ll also be back later to give an update on the Vandal men basketball team’s encounter with New Mexico State tonight. You can follow it live here.

Vandals wallop BSU; Akey shuffles staff

All that agony caused by an excruciating overtime loss to Boise State? The Vandals erased much of it Saturday night in pasting their most ardent rival. Keep reading for more on the 79-55 win and news about Robb Akey’s coaching staff.