Team preview: Idaho

Editor's Note: ESPN Insider has teamed with Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook to provide a comprehensive look at all 119 Division I-A teams. To order the complete 2006 edition of Blue Ribbon College Football Yearbook, visit www.blueribbonyearbook.com or call 1-866-805-BALL (2255).

(All information as of July 1, 2006)


The Idaho football program underwent quite the transformation during the winter.

The Vandals, who haven't won more than three games in a season since 2000, immediately went from national afterthought to national spotlight when they hired former coach Dennis Erickson to resurrect the program.

Erickson, who has coached at Idaho, Washington State, Wyoming, Miami and Oregon State in the college ranks and led San Francisco and Seattle of the NFL, began his head-coaching career in Moscow in 1982.

Now he returns, bringing a 145-56-1 college record with him.

"I just thought it was an opportunity for me to come back, give back and get back to coaching college football … my first love," Erickson said at his introductory press conference.

He succeeds Nick Holt, who stunned the Vandals by leaving in February after winning five games in two seasons. Holt first took a job on the St. Louis Rams staff in the NFL, then immediately reneged to become the defensive coordinator at USC -- the school he left to join the Vandals in the first place.

Holt led the Vandals to a 2-9 record in 2005 -- their first in the WAC -- but had fans and players alike hopeful about the future.

The Erickson hire pushed that hope up a couple notches. Season ticket sales and donations escalated even before the hiring was official.

"The name Dennis Erickson is a marketing slogan in itself," said Mahmood Sheikh, Idaho's assistant athletic director for regional development.