Two bright spot areas for the Idaho football team just got a little brighter. Ahead of fall camp, center Mike Marboe and punter Bobby Cowan were thrown in the spotlight earlier this month when both were named to pre-season watch lists for their respective positions.
Marboe, a redshirt sophomore, was named to the Rimington Trophy watch list, which honors the nation’s top center. Marboe helped bolster an offensive line that struggled often last season, starting every game as a freshman and emerging as one of the line’s leaders in 2012.
“I was really excited about (being named),” Marboe said. “It’s all just potential you know, I don’t want to blow it up too much but hopefully I will end up on the list at the end of year.”
The line will need to replace starters Tyrone Novikoff and Matt Cleveland, with continuity being the main concern going into fall camp.
“We need to work on being on the same page with each other. A lot of that will come with experience,” Marboe said. “I have a little bit of experience, so I put a little bit more leadership role on myself. I have to be able to indentify things.”
The offensive line has been holding private workouts, trying to get a head start on building the necessary chemistry before the start of fall camp.
“(Senior A.J. Jones) and I are really going to have to step up and take the initiative, we don’t have a ton of seniors this year,” Marboe said.
When the offense staggers, the Vandals will call upon Ray Guy Award Watch List nominee Bobby Cowan to put the defense in a favorable position.
Cowan did so a career-high 88 times last season, averaging 46.4 yards-per-punt and accounting for over 4,000 total punting yards.
Cowan hit the field just more than seven times per game last year, a staggeringly high average for any punter, which also points to how much Idaho struggled offensively. Despite being one of the nation’s top punters, Cowan would prefer to spend less time on the field.
“I want to stand on the sideline and have the best seat in the house is what I prefer,” Cowan said. “When I am on the field I want to give the opposing offense the longest field possible, so our offense can get the ball back and score.”
One of last year’s Ray Guy Award semi-finalists, Cowan specializes in long distance punting, hitting at least one 50-yard punt in all but one game last season, with a 60 or more yard punt in four games.
This year he wants to improve on his precision punting.
“The biggest thing I’ve worked on this off-season is my pooch punting, landing the ball inside the 20-yard line,” he said. “That was one of my weaknesses last year.”
Cowan and Marboe will get their potential award winning campaigns started when Idaho hosts Eastern Washington on Aug. 30.
Sean Kramer can be reached at email@example.com