Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman has been at the center of much criticism this season, and even he understands why. The Vandals, 2-8 coming into Saturday's home finale against Utah State, are ranked 116th in the FBS in total offense and have struggled to replace Nate Enderle at quarterback.
We've got Axman's comments on this season and his future below.
Eleven weeks into the year, the Vandals have been left with no depth at receiver. The offensive line struggled to come together. The running game sputtered before turning it on about a month ago. And the quarterback play has been the most inconsistent position of all.
In other words, it's been a trying year for Axman and other offensive coaches at UI.
"It has been very frustrating," he said. "We’re basically working each week to try to get it together and hit on all cylinders where we’re meshing both our pass and run games to become a good offense. Still feel like we have a good chance."
In recent weeks, Idaho fans have directed more complaints toward the offense's production and Axman's playcalling in particular. As highlighted in the Lewiston Tribune on Monday, one Vandal fan at the BYU game wore a paper sack over his head that asked Robb Akey to fire Axman.
Asked about the criticism, Axman pointed to Idaho's 2009 season and the Humanitarian Bowl triumph. "Two years ago we were tearing it up offensively and going to a bowl and winning a bowl. I don’t think I’m any much different a coach as I was two years ago. But at the same token, that’s my responsibility to help produce an effective offense, and that’s one of the disappointments this year is that we’ve been very, very inconsistent and not anywhere as productive as want to be."
Senior tailback Princeton McCarty also pointed out that the Vandals operate the same offense they did two years ago. But everyone besides himself and left tackle Matt Cleveland have either graduated or are injured.
Said McCarty, "The offense as a whole, we all have to do better. He is the same coordinator as two years ago. We run the same offense. We don’t run a different offense or antyhing. The thing about it is, we have different personnel, we’re executing differently.
"I don’t know if the scheme isn’t matching up with the personnel that we have or that particular style of offense that we ran in ’09, was it perfectly lined up with the type of personnel that we have?" McCarty added. "I think that might play a certain part in it, as far as finding an identity, because every team is not the same."
McCarty said he can't pinpoint exactly what's happened this fall. But the bottom line: "It’s not going too well."
As far as Axman's future, he didn't give a time frame for how long he wanted to stay in coaching. But he said he's in good health after battling cancer last year. "I did have some health issues, and I think for the most part they’ve been solved," he said. "And I’m very happy about that."
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