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Idaho Football Defensive Preview
The under appreciated bunch of the Vandals
base 4-3 defense
led by DC Rob Aurich
Aurich was formerly the inside linebackers coach at the University of South Dakota
as Aurich has implemented his system at Idaho, they’ve improved steadily
in 2021, the Vandal defense gave up 31.55 points per game. Aurich arrived in 2022 and subsequently Idaho gave up only 25.42 ppg
Idaho to my knowledge doesn’t release formal depth charts so that section will be skipped
2022 Defense in Review
The Vandals were 43rd in scoring defense in the FCS last season
4th in the Big Sky in scoring defense last season
returned 3 of their 5 leading tacklers from last season (Mathias Bertram, Tommy McCormick, and Marcus Harris)
DE Keshawn James-Newby, DT Jahkari Larmond, DT Ben Bertram, DE Malakai Williams
LB Mathias Bertram, LB Tre Thomas, LB Dylan Layne
CB Marcus Harris, S Ormanie Arnold, S Tommy McCormick, CB Murvin Kenion III
Players to Watch
Cornerback Marcus Harris will be one of the main Idaho defenders that Cal will need to keep an eye on Saturday. Harris, a preseason FCS All American selection, has tallied an interception, half of a sack, and 10 total tackles in the young season, simply making plays all over the field. His running mate in the secondary Tommy McCormick also returns this season for the Vandals, as they were two of the top playmakers from last seasons improving defense. If Cal is going to push the ball down the field, they need to know where they are lined up at all times.
In the front 7, linebacker Tre Thomas and defensive lineman Tylen Coleman have been the playmakers thus far for Idaho. Coleman leads the team in sacks, so he will be sure to get extra attention from the likes of the Cal offensive line. Thomas on the other hand, seems to be the more explosive type of athlete in the front seven, getting in the backfield for several TFL’s this season. These four are the names to watch when on the move for the Bears.
Take a look below to see how a Ron Aurich defense operates, both in 2022 and 2023.
How Cal can win this game
The big advantage Cal has is along the lines. The Bears need to and should consistently win the battle in the trenches vs Idaho. Doing so will establish the run early and often, whether its Jaydn Ott back there or not. If Cal has trouble with that, they could be in for a long afternoon of football versus Idaho. In theory they should have matchup advantages across the board but this Vandals defense is scrappy under Jason Eck and Ron Aurich. Aurich won a DC of the week award for his groups performance versus Nevada, so this team is no slouch. The Vandals held the Wolfpack to 6 points, forced 3 turnovers, and held them to 3.9 yards per catch. Cal’s ability to bounce back will be the biggest test in this game but I believe they can do it.
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