Wichman ready to move on | NevadaAppeal.com

Wichman ready to move on

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

Last year was one Steve Wichman would just as soon forget.

After leading Delta College in Northern California to back-to-back 9-2 seasons, Wichman, despite putting up some impressive numbers, endured a 2-9 season in his first year at Idaho.

“It’s wiped out, not in my memory,” Wichman said. “I don’t think about last year. We didn’t have a lot of success.”

And, he doesn’t care that people aren’t predicting much success for this year’s Vandal team. He has confidence in his teammates, and he has a lot of confidence in his new coaching staff, especially head coach Dennis Erickson.

“The first thing I did when I heard about coach Erickson was call my dad,” Wichman said. “I grew up a 49ers fan. My dad told me we were fortunate to get coach Erickson, and that he was a great guy and a great leader.”

And, Wichman realizes that Erickson is a master when it comes to offensive football. He knows it will be a huge improvement over last season.

“I was not comfortable in the offense last year,” Wichman said. “They changed things so much that I didn’t have a clue. We never got the entire offense in during the whole season.”

Erickson has already said that the Vandals won’t have his whole package in when the season starts Sept. 2 at Michigan State. It’s not because of any deficiencies in Wichman’s game, it’s more because the Vandals lack explosive talent at wide receiver, and because Erickson knows for his offense to work, Idaho needs to establish a running game, something the Vandals were unable to establish last year.

Erickson stressed that he wants to protect Wichman, who suffered through a 30-sack season a year ago.

“He picked things up pretty well,” Erickson said. “At the beginning of spring, he would make throws and he didn’t understand what we were trying to do. As spring went on, he picked up more of an understanding of what we were doing, and he made better decisions, not that he makes bad decisions.

“Steve’s experience is going to be a big plus for us. He can make all the throws. He can throw an out route from one hash mark to the other, and that’s a tough throw. He has a good arm.”

Wichman appreciates some of the freedom Erickson gives his quarterbacks; calling plays he’s most comfortable with.

“Going into a game, we’ll have five plays that we could use in certain situations,” Erickson said. “Ill bring the quarterback into the office and ask him what he’s most comfortable with. They might not be the best, but they are ones that he feels confident in. He knows what he does well and what he doesn’t.”

It’s that kind of freedom that Wichman appreciates, and it’s why he has so much confidence entering the season under Erickson’s tutelage.

Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281

UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO

Mascot: Vandals

Home stadium: Kibbie Dome (16,000)

Head coach: Dennis Erickson (5th year)

2005 record: 2-9

Returning lettermen: 42

The Wichman File

Position: Quarterback

Year in school: Senior

Height: 6-3

Weight: 219

Of Note: Was WAC Player of the Week after throwing for 390 yards in a loss to UNLV