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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.

Blackman, Scheidt kicked off UI football team; Elmo suspended

Quarterback Dominique Blackman has been kicked off the Idaho football team after a third failed drug test and tight end Taylor Elmo was suspended — possibly for the rest of the year — for posting an inflammatory message on Twitter in the wake of Robb Akey’s firing, sources told The Spokesman-Review.

UPDATE: We've also confirmed that senior linebacker Conrad Scheidt has been kicked off the team. He too failed a drug test this week, sources said.

We have the full story below.

Akey on firing, discipline and more

Robb Akey told The Spokesman-Review this afternoon that he knew his win-loss record at Idaho wasn't good enough. Nonetheless, he didn't expect to get fired Sunday, with four games left in the season. Because he was let go before the end of the year, he won't receive $105,000 of his $375,000 salary — the last of two media payments for the year.

We have more from Akey in our story for the paper. Below we examine Idaho athletic director Rob Spear's comments yesterday about hiring a coach that brings discipline and accountablity to the program — and Akey's response to his remarks.

Transcript: Gesser meets media as Idaho’s interim coach

This morning Jason Gesser met with reporters for the first time after being named Idaho's interim head football coach. The 33-year-old former Washington State quarterback, wearing a black pinstripe suit with a gray tie, started crying a few minutes into the press conference when talking about the influence that Robb Akey, the man he's replacing, has had on him. “Akey’s been everything for me,” Gesser said. “The guy means a lot. … I mean, I owe my life to the guy.”

The full transcript of his comments during a 20-minute chat with the media is below.

UPDATE: We also have athletic director Rob Spear's full remarks after the jump. Spear told The Spokesman-Review after the press conference that the compensation for the new coach will be roughly the same as Akey's. Akey was set to make about $375,000 this year.

UPDATE NO. 2: Here's an early look at my story for Tuesday morning's paper.

Idaho fires Robb Akey; Gesser named interim coach

The University of Idaho has fired football coach Robb Akey and named offensive coordinator Jason Gesser the interim coach. Akey was 20-50 in less than six full years with the Vandals. Idaho was blitzed 70-28 last night by Louisiana Tech to fall to 1-7 on the year.

Akey is the first coach in the FBS to be fired this season. In 2009, he led Idaho to one of its two bowl appearances since moving up from the FCS (then 1-AA) ranks in 1996. The Vandals rallied past Bowling Green for one of the most memorable wins in Idaho history.

Akey signed a contract extension in June 2010 that was set to keep him in Moscow through 2014. According to the terms of the extension, Akey will receive his base salary — $165,796.80 per year — “until the terms of this Agreement ends or until (Akey) obtains employment, which occurs first.”

Gesser will speak at press conference at 10:30 Monday morning. UI media relations director Becky Paull said athletic director Rob Spear will not be made formally available to the media.

More below.

Idaho overwhelmed by Tech

Twelve seconds into the game, the Vandals were down 7-0. By the end of the first quarter, they were on pace to give up 140 points. Louisiana Tech's blistering offense cooled a bit after that, but never enough for Idaho to catch up in a 70-28 loss.

The Vandals (1-7, 1-2) clinched their 12th losing season in the last 13 years.

More after the jump.

Vandals get a lot accomplished

With so much in doubt the past few months, Idaho fans were getting restless. Actually, many were beyond restless. But UI athletic director Rob Spear and president Duane Nellis made two announcements Friday that put the Vandals on more secure ground. We've got the details below.