SPECIAL COVERAGE

Vandals football

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Reports: UI hires Cinkovich as offensive coordinator

Kris Cinkovich, formerly the wide receivers coach at Arkansas and UNLV, has been hired as Idaho's offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, according to multiple reports. Cinkovich coached last season at Arkansas with Paul Petrino, the Vandals' new coach, and played at Carroll College with Bobby Petrino, Paul's brother. His teams at Carroll were coached by Bob Petrino Sr. He also spent two years as a player at Spokane Falls Community College (1979-1980).

Cinkovich was named one of the nation's top 50 recruiters by 247Sports.com in February. He spent three seasons with the Razorbacks after six seasons at UNLV. This is his first coordinator job. He led Las Vegas High to a state title in 2003.

This past season Cinkovich made $214,800 at Arkansas. In 2011, Idaho paid offensive coordinator Steve Axman $130,000. The salary for Jason Gesser, who replaced Axman for one season, was never disclosed.

Cinkovich's reported hiring means the Vandals have let go receivers coach Mike Levenseller, who spent one season in Moscow after being dismissed after a long coaching career at Washington State.

Idaho announces hiring of Lee, Anderson

Ronnie Lee, a former Washington State defensive back and Idaho assistant, is the Vandals' new defensive coordinator and secondary coach. In a release from UI, coach Paul Petrino said Lee was at the top of his list for the job. “For me, I hit the jackpot and got the guy I wanted,” Petrino said.

More on the Lee hiring can be found here. UI also announced the hiring of linebackers coach Mike Anderson, a former Vandals linebacker and graduate assistant

For a roundup of unofficial UI staff additions, see here.

Petrino’s staff at Idaho starting to form

UPDATED: 5:15 p.m.

Paul Petrino's a busy man. The new Idaho football coach has completed at least part of his staff, with names of new assistants trickling in. We've got the latest updates below. Read on.

A coach’s son takes over at Idaho

Paul Petrino is from a coaching family. He remembers breaking down game film with his father as a boy. And he and his brother, Bobby, would watch tape for eight hours at a time in the offseason while together at Arkansas. Yes, Petrino is a coach's son, and now he has another title he's always wanted: head coach. 

Petrino was introduced Monday as the new face of the Idaho football program. He had lots to say, and we've got lots of details to pass along below. You can also find an early version of our story for the paper.

Petrino accepts offer to become UI coach

Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino has accepted an offer to become the next Idaho football coach, the Spokesman-Review has confirmed.

UI has scheduled a news conference for tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at the Litehouse Center in the Kibbie Dome.

CoachingSearch.com was the first to report the hire.

Petrino replaces Robb Akey, who was fired on Oct. 21 after five-plus seasons. The Vandals went 1-11 this year and have had one winning season since 2000.

In addition to running the offense and coaching quarterbacks at Arkansas, Petrino has previously coached at Illinois, Louisville and with the Atlanta Falcons, among other stops. The Butte, Mont., native was an offensive and special teams assistant at Idaho from 1992-1994. He's the brother of former Arkansas and Falcons coach Bobby Petrino.

Idaho narrowed down a large list of candidates to five finalists last week. Petrino interviewed for the job on Thursday, according to a source. The other finalists were Wyoming defensive coordinator and former UI coach Chris Tormey, Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett, San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren and UI interim coach Jason Gesser.

The Vandals will compete as a Football Bowl Subdivision independent next year after the WAC dissolved as a football league. Petrino becomes the sixth UI head coach since the school became an FBS (then NCAA Division 1-A) program in 1996.

Nellis: UI could have new coach in 2 days

Idaho president Duane Nellis told The Spokesman-Review on Saturday evening the Vandals should have a new football coach early next week.

UI was set to interview Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino on Thursday and Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett on Friday, according to a source. Petrino and Bennett were finalists for the job, along with Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey, Idaho interim coach Jason Gesser and San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren.

Tormey and Lindgren reportedly met with Idaho earlier in the week. Gesser said Wednesday he was going to intervew again, but it's unknown if that interview took place.

All five finalists have coached or played — or done both — at Idaho.

Paul Petrino, Blaine Bennett to interview at Idaho

We now know the five finalists for the Idaho job. Arkansas offensive coordinator Paul Petrino and Central Washington coach Blaine Bennett will interview at UI over the next two days, The Spokesman-Review has learned.

Our story is below.

Gilbertson says he talked with Idaho AD

Former Idaho coach Keith Gilbertson said Tuesday evening he talked with Idaho athletic director Rob Spear earlier this month, but he's not a candidate for the Vandals' vacant job. He would have considered taking the position, however, if Idaho had decided to move to the Big Sky.

We've got more from Gilbertson and our full story below. 

Gesser still in the mix for Idaho job

Jason Gesser told The Spokesman-Review this afternoon that he'll interview for the permanent head coaching job, though the date for the interview has yet to be determined. The Vandals' interim coach said he's been told by athletic director Rob Spear he's still in the mix for the full-time gig, which apparently makes him of the five finalists. UI was set to interview Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey and San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren today.

Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman told the Casper Star-Tribune that he spoke with Spear about Tormey on Monday, and that Spear hopes to name a new coach by mid-next week.

Gesser, 33, reiterated his desire to stay at Idaho as an assistant if he's not hired for the head job. “I got my family invested here, I’ve got myself invested here,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of interest in this program, and I want to be apart of it, whether it be the head guy, a coordinator, quarterbacks coach, whatever it may be.”

As for now, Gesser and UI staff are in full recruiting mode. He leaves tomorrow to visit recruits, while the rest of the coaching staff is either reviewing recruiting tape or currently on visits, he said.

Lindgren, Tormey to interview for UI job

Five candidates have emerged as finalists to become the head football coach at Idaho, and two of those coaches — Wyoming defensive coordinator Chris Tormey and San Jose State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren — will interview with UI on Tuesday. FootballScoop.com reported that Tormey, Idaho's coach from 1995 to 1999, “remains a strong candidate” for the job. The coaching site also said Lindgren, the former UI quarterback, will meet with Idaho. The Spokesman-Review confirmed Lindgren is set to interview for the open position. 

While athletic director Rob Spear's comments after UI's season-ending loss to Utah State suggested that interim coach Jason Gesser is out of the mix, Gesser said he will interview again this week, according to the Associated Press. That perhaps means Gesser is one of the five finalists.

Idaho ends year 1-11; five finalists for head job

After Idaho's 45-9 loss at Utah State this afternoon, athletic director Rob Spear said five finalists have been named for the vacant head coaching position. Spear said an announcement would not come tomorrow, but he wants to move “as quickly as possible.”

We've got more from Spear after the jump.

Vandals’ long season ends today

The Idaho basketball team was up six early in the second half before succumbing to unbeaten — and perhaps soon-to-be ranked — New Mexico at The Pit last night. On the football field, meanwhile, the Vandals face an even bigger challenge at No. 25 Utah State (our preview is here). Kickoff is 12:05 PST, and as soon as the game ends, you can bet speculation about the next Idaho head coach will go into overdrive. We'll have updates here on the blog and on Twitter: @SR_JoshWright.

Report: Choate to interview for Idaho job

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear will interview Washington State linebackers coach Jeff Choate on Sunday for the head coaching job, FootballScoop.com reported. In September, Choate — an Idaho native and former Boise State assistant — criticized UI for playing BCS opponents “for a paycheck” and suggested the Vandals should drop down to the FCS level.

Idaho interim coach Jason Gesser said Saturday that he expects to get an interview for the full-time job. But is Spear really considering Gesser for the position? Gesser's comments on that are below.

Turnovers doom Vandals in home finale

Jason Gesser couldn't have been more to the point in his post-game news conference after the Vandals' 34-27 loss to UTSA. “If we didn’t turn the ball over, we would have won that game very easily.” Except there were plenty of other self-inflicted Idaho mistakes that led to its 10th loss of the year.

We've got our story and notes below.

Gesser speaks about future at Idaho

On his first day as Idaho's interim football coach, Jason Gesser said he wanted to run the program for years to come. But if the Vandals choose to hire someone else, Gesser still wants to stay in Moscow “in the worst way,” he told The Spokesman-Review for a story that ran today.

We have some bonus material below, as well as a look at Gesser's chance to land the permanent job.

UPDATE: FootballScoop.com reports that Rob Spear plans to speak with Gesser, Wyoming defensive coordinator and former UI coach Chris Tormey, Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh, Montana State coach Rob Ash, and several others.

Idaho steamrolled at BYU; Spear gives coaching search update

Even if Idaho had played mistake-free football, it would have had a tough time hanging with heavily favored BYU. As it was, the Vandals committed five turnovers and never posed a serious threat in a 52-13 loss in chilly Provo, Utah.

Idaho, 1-9, hosts UT San Antonio next week on senior day before finishing the year at Utah State. We've got more details below, including an update on the Vandals' coaching search from athletic director Rob Spear.

Bushnell to start for UI; Farquhar feted

Idaho interim head coach Jason Gesser said Monday that Logan Bushnell, who started last week, will again be under center when the Vandals play at BYU Saturday night. Backup Taylor Davis will play for a “series or two” in the first half, Gesser said. Both QBs need more game-time reps, Gesser said, to be more consistent.

Meanwhile, Idaho senior Trey Farquhar was one of 20 kickers honored as Lou Groza Award semifinalists. The award honors the nation's top kicker. Farquhar is 12-of-15 on field goals this year and is the active career leader in the FBS on field goals of 50 yards or longer. “He’s consistent,” Gesser said. “He continues to work to try to perfect his craft every single day. To see him being recognized, that’s awesome. He deserves it very much so.”

Vandals fall apart late in loss to SJSU

Jason Gesser won't look back fondly at his debut as Idaho football coach. The Vandals never fully capitalized on an assortment of San Jose State miscues — including three first-quarter turnovers — and lost steam late in the third quarter of a 42-13 loss. SJSU scored the last 28 points after Idaho drew within 14-13.

My story and notes are after the jump.

Gesser: Bushnell will start at QB, share reps with Davis

Idaho interim football coach Jason Gesser said that Logan Bushnell will start at quarterback Saturday versus San Jose State and will share reps — during practice and in the game — with backup Taylor Davis. Bushnell and Davis have been pushed up the depth chart after the dismissal of starting QB Dominique Blackman for a violation of team rules.

As we reported Saturday night, Blackman and linebacker Conrad Scheidt were kicked off the team after failing drug tests. Gesser would not specify why Blackman was booted, but said the violation had occurred more than once. Tight end Taylor Elmo was also suspended for violating athletic department policy.

“The whole situation the last week has been not easy,” said Gesser, who replaced the fired Robb Akey on Oct. 21. Earlier, he started his call on the WAC coaches teleconference with this: “It’s been crazy. Seven days have felt like a month for me right now with everything going on.”

We have more from Gesser below.

UI confirms Blackman, Scheidt off team

The University of Idaho on Sunday confirmed a Spokesman-Review report that starting quarterback Dominique Blackman and linebacker Conrad Scheidt have been dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules.

Junior tight end Taylor Elmo also has been suspended for violating athletic department policy, UI said in a release.

Sources told The Spokesman-Review that Blackman was booted after failing his third drug test late last week, with the Vandals on a bye. Scheidt, a senior starter before getting hurt, also failed a drug test, sources said.

Elmo was suspended for posting a Twitter message critical of athletic director Rob Spear shortly after coach Robb Akey was fired last week. Spear said Saturday night that Elmo could return this year.