The Idaho Vandals can point to a number of reasons for their 0-4 start poor run game, too many turnovers, an offense that struggles to score.
Defensively, however, it has been the inability to limit big plays in the passing game that has been Idahos undoing.
In four games, the Vandals have allowed 18 passing plays of 20 or more yards and 11 of 30 yards or more. They are 106th in the FBS in pass defense (282.5 yards) and 109th in pass efficiency defense entering Saturdays game at North Carolina (2-2).
We dont need to change any scheme. Weve got to make that play better, coach [0x12]Robb Akey said. Sometimes its a matter of eyes. Sometimes its a matter of just go up and go after that thing. We dont need to catch it, but knock that darn thing down.
To improve their pass coverage, the Vandals turned to helmet cameras and Randy Moss this week in preparation for the Tar Heels, who rank 19th in pass offense (309.0 yards per game).
Several players wore helmet cams and then reviewed the film to make sure that their eyes were in the right place.
Sometimes when we get fatigued or tired and were not sticking to our fundamentals and playing sound, our eyes get bad, junior defensive back Tracy Carter said.
The Vandals have used helmet cams for quarterbacks and linebackers in the past. The film gives coaches a sense of where players are looking on each play.
I dont realize where my eyes are sometimes. Its crazy to see it on film. I was looking at that or thats what I should have been looking at, senior cornerback Aaron Grymes said.
The Vandals also did the Moss drill, as Grymes called it, with receivers and defensive backs fighting for a ball tossed high in the air by a coach. The competition between players led to some inspired moments.
Theyve told us were doing the hard part, thats being in coverage. Lets not waste it by letting the receiver make the play, Grymes said. Thats what weve been working on being aggressive, getting it at its highest point. Its a fight for the ball.
Losing that fight has led to bad results, but Akey remains confident that the Vandals are close to their first win.
We need to make that one more play to win the game. We need more of the plays that we have made. We need less of the adversity-creating plays, he said.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444