Vandals football

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Idaho falls apart in second half

If Idaho's season wasn't slipping away before tonight, it certainly is now. The Vandals were poleaxed by Texas-San Antonio in the final 20 minutes of a 74-56 loss. It was another unsightly loss for UI — its fifth in six games — and suddenly the Vandals are in danger of falling into seventh place in the WAC and the play-in round of the conference tournament in two weeks.

We've got all the details below, including coach Don Verlin questioning his team's heart and effort.

Petrino on QBs, developing players

National signing day has come and gone, but below we revisit what first-year Idaho coach Paul Petrino had to say about developing players in general and quarterbacks in particular.

Read on for his revealing comments, and what they mean for the Vandals.

Vandal signing day updates

Idaho's letter of intents started rolling in early this morning. Check below to see a list of players who have signed with the Vandals. We'll keep this updated throughout the day, leading up to Paul Petrino's news conference at 1:15 p.m.

Vandals manhandled late by Utah State

After a miserable start, the Vandals went blow-for-blow with Utah State tonight. That is, until midway through the second half when the depleted Aggies pulled away for a 77-67 win at Cowan Spectrum. The bottom line: “I thought we battled for some of the game. I didn’t think we battled all the game,” coach Don Verlin said. “And what you’ve got to do to beat Utah State is battle every possession.”

Verlin has coached with and against Stew Morrill enough to know what it takes to hang with the Aggies, but he admitted afterward that “I got my butt outcoached tonight.” You can read more in our game story below.

Barone’s huge game carries Idaho

Kyle Barone is making a strong case for WAC player of the year honors. He followed a 27-point, 16-rebound effort on Thursday with 25 points and 16 rebounds tonight in a 74-70 win over UTSA. He also made the biggest play of the night when he found Mike McChristian in the corner for a huge 3-pointer with a minute left. 

That key assist late in the game? It came with Barone 10-for-10 from the field. He didn't take another shot the rest of night and set a school record for the best shooting performance from the field, eclipsing the 9-for-9 efforts from Tanoris Shepherd in 2002 and Phil Hopson in 1982.

In two games this week, Barone went 18-for-20 with 14 straight shots made. We have our game story below.

Idaho legend Anderson dies at 82

Wayne Anderson, a former player, coach, and assistant athletic director at Idaho and charter member of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame, died Wednesday at the age of 82. We have more below on the Spokane native's passing.

Linehan’s son commits to Idaho

We have news on a new Idaho football commitment and a Vandals offensive lineman in legal trouble. Both stories are below.

Vandals add former USC walk-on QB

A week ago Idaho football coach Paul Petrino said the Vandals weren't likely to add a junior-college quarterback who would compete in spring camp. But that changed this past weekend, when the Vandals signed former USC preferred walk-on Anthony Neyer. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound junior-to-be spent last year as a backup at Pierce College in Los Angeles.

“Anthony has great talent,” Petrino said. “He throws a nice ball with a great release. We are very excited to have him join the team in January and compete for the quarterback job.”

More on Neyer below.

Petrino complete staff, talks recruiting

Idaho football coach Paul Petrino has been on the job for 16 days. In that time, he's assembled his coaching staff and had 13 recruits verbally commit. We've got a transcript of what he said in an afternoon teleconference below.

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.