Growing Pains

With significant battles for vacant positions all over the depth chart on the offensive side of the ball, the offense struggled a bit in the first scrimmage of spring. There were some impressive gains (including Malfred Shaw's 70 yard touchdown burst), but consistency was an issue (as would be expected with so much youth in the depth chart). Also, it was good to see junior fullback <b>Nate Griffin</b> back in the rotation (injury RS last year), as he too battles for the starting fullback job.

Official Site Scrimmage Write-Up Image
Hank Therien
6-7, 318, RS-Fr
Crescent Valley High
Corvallis, OR
A huge crop of redshirt freshmen linemen are getting their shot at the 2 vacant positions to fill on this year's offensive line (strong tackle and one of the guard positions). They are also battling sophomores, juniors and seniors already in the program. So, it is probably fairly safe to guess that the offensive line will be relatively fluid until next fall, when the best combination of linemen is identified. The group is also working on gelling as a cohesive unit.

Yesterday, the first unit line was comprised of senior Jake Scott at weak tackle, redshirt freshman Jade Tadvick at weak guard, senior Matt Martinez at center, senior Jason Cobb at strong guard, and redshirt freshman Nate VanderPol at strong tackle.

Locked in a battle for the strong tackle position is redshirt freshman Hank Therien. Both VanderPol and Therien looked solid yesterday, although this week it was VanderPol running with the ones. Senior Kyle Stewart got some reps at center (we believe he got some reps at guard as well), splitting time as backup center with sophomore Jerrod Schulte. Redshirt freshman Matt Newell backed up Jake Scott at tackle, while sophomore Kelly Adams and junior Tony Kiel worked the guards.

Its a competitive environment, to say the very least. Image Image
Nate VanderPol
6-6, 310, RS-Fr
Federal Way High
Federal Way, WA
Jade Tadvick
6-5, 330, RS-Fr
Stevensville High
Stevensville, MT Image
Michael Harrington
6-3, 190, So
Central Catholic High
Portland, OR
A couple things worked against the Vandal offense for much of yesterday's scrimmage. First, the offense worked on starting a big chunk of their drives from inside their own 5 yard line. Second, the youth on the offensive line going against a veteran defensive line and linebacking corp was a huge challenge. Sprinkle in a little rain and a group of talented but inexperienced wide receivers, and, get the picture. Consequently, the quarterbacks seemed to have defenders in their faces for much of the day. On the morning senior Brian Lindgren completed 14 of 29 for 169 yards and 4 picks. Sophomore Michael Harrington completed 10 of 21 for 92 yards and 1 pick. Both had their share of struggles and successes. Image
Bobby Bernal-Wood
6-2, 190, Jr
Butte College
Seattle, WA
The receivers also struggled with their own inconsistencies (impressive big gains coupled with dropped passes). Redshirt sophomore Jeff Stowe stood out among the pack as he led all receivers with 60 yards on three receptions (including a couple in heavy traffic). Redshirt sophomore Robert Nembhard was second on the day with 51 yards on 3 catches (including a nice 35 yarder from Harrington). Returning starter, senior Orlando Winston, and JC transfer Matt Miller rounded out the top 4 receivers with about 35 yards each.

Senior Kelly Nead led the TEs with an 11 yard reception, while both senior Mike McCoy and redshirt sophomore Luke Smith-Anderson were held out of drills. Sophomore Tyler Scott got quite a few reps, while true sophomore Keith Greer split time between FB and TE.

Senior Malfred Shaw cut loose on a 71 yard burst for a score (over 130 yards rushing on 13 carries) to lead the running game for Idaho. Redshirt freshman Mike Lowry ground out 56 yards on 12 carries while hauling in 2 passes for 15 yards. In general though, the running lanes were clogged for much of the day, especially when Idaho was working deep in its own end of the field.

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