Idaho State head coach Mike Kramer doesn’t want Utah kicker Andy Phillips getting oxygen because he’s kicking so many PATs.
How’s that for honesty?
Speaking in a Big Sky conference call ahead of his team’s opener Thursday night in Salt Lake City, Kramer acknowledged that the Bengals’ 44-game road losing streak, among other losing streaks, "are just nasty."
"Opening up at Utah and next week at Utah State, I’m sure that that streak’s really not in danger," he said.
He feels good about his team’s progress, however.
The fourth-year coach said Idaho State now has the athleticism and experience to compete in the Big Sky. His defense has improved considerably since an "unmitigated disaster" in 2012, when eight opponents scored 49 or more points, and four scored 70. Last year, only three opponents scored 49 or more, and two of those (BYU and Washington) were FBS opponents.
They haven’t come so far, though, that he can expect to beat Utah or Utah State.
"We’re still trying to build ourselves toward winning the games we should win," he said. "Those games that you can’t win unless something fortunately comes to you, we’re probably a little ways from doing that."
Of Utah, Kramer said that they’ve long had the top-tier athletes to compete at the highest level of college football. Two of his coaches — co-defensive coordinator Spencer Toone and defensive line coach Steve Fifita — are evidence of that. It’s just a matter of getting enough of those athletes, he said, and Utah is "very close."
It’s "a program with a huge chip on their shoulder as they try to prove the skeptics wrong."
— Matthew Piper
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