Sean Kramer of Vandal Nation was nice enough to answer my questions on the Vandals because, let's face it, I know nothing about them. Sean?
Like most LSU fans, I don't know the first thing about Idaho football, so the first question is real basic: which players should we look out for? Who are your stars?
VN: QB Dominique Blackman is who we have all pinned our hopes on for offensive life this year, and he did not disappoint last night going 30-37 for 352 yards. WR Mike Scott (18) is the most potent skill position player on offense who features a holistic set of skills at the wide out spot. Defensively we'll count on DE Benson Mayowa (10) and LB Robert Siavii (1) who have been our two most consistent performers there the last two games.
What kind of offense do y'all run?
VN: Offensive coordinator Jason Gesser has mixed it up this year spreading it out a little more. Idaho likes to put Blackman in shotgun and get receivers in space intermediately so that Blackman can get rid of the ball quickly after just one or two reads. Idaho won't do a ton of down the field throws, but when they do it's set up by the intermediate stuff Idaho will be doing most of the time. Idaho's receivers are mostly quick and shifty so the offense counts on receiver yards after catch for its big plays.
I don't think I'm going out on a huge limb if I say I think LSU is a much better team than Idaho. How will you define success in this game? What has to happen for Idaho to win this game?
VN: No Idaho players dying/getting hurt. Losing by less than Washington did. Scoring a touchdown. Any or all of those three and we'll be drinking in celebration Saturday night in Moscow.Vandals. Great mascot or greatest mascot?
VN: We freaking love Joe Vandal. It's a unique mascot that comes with its own unique persona and identity for our campus. The story of its origin is pretty cool as well - It started about a century ago when a student journalist wrote that the basketball team 'Vandalized' its opponents on defense, and it took off from there.
LSU is built from the lines first. Both the offensive and defensive lines are big, strong, fast, and deep. What is the Vandal strategy for counteracting the LSU advantage up front?
VN: Get the ball out quickly. That's our offense anyways. Blackman is a big imposing figure sitting in the pocket but he's not very mobile and he won't be able to run from the pass rush like Keith Price often did last week. Look for a lot of similar stuff to what Washington ran that got Price out of the line of fire - Quick sideline throws, etc.
What is the general attitude towards a game like this? Are you excited to be playing in Tiger Stadium or are you just dreading this game and hoping no one gets hurt?
VN: It's mixed. It's cool to see us play in environments like Washington, Nebraska, Virginia, Texas A&M and Tiger Stadium. Obviously last year we took Virginia to overtime so that was a really awesome experience for us trying to knock off an ACC school. But we're starting to play more and more of them and less games against the MAC and Mountain West types that we can actually be competitive with. We go to Chapel Hill in two weeks after this, and could be looking at 0-5 because of it. We all have a pretty good educated guess on how this game is going to go, but if we can get some moral victories like I laid out above I think we'll all be content.
The WAC is, sadly, about to cease operations. What does this mean for the future of Idaho football?
VN: Athletic director Rob Spear has laid out a plan for the football program to go independent in 2013 and 2014, but the scheduling contracts have yet to be announced. It's as up in the air today as it was three months ago.
VN: LSU 51 Idaho 10 - That's beating the spread!! #GoVandals
Also, one more thing to keep an eye for if you're going to be at the game. When the Vandals run out of the tunnel they'll be flying a No. 86 flag that honors Ken McRoyal, an Idaho wide receiver who died this summer in his hometown of Los Angeles. They will have it for every game.