Countdown to Seattle

With just over a week before Idaho takes on long-time border rival Washington State at Seahawks Stadium in Seattle, here is a quick look at changes that have been made to the team since last spring, including an introduction of 11 new Vandals on the team (7 invited walk-ons and 4 JC transfers).

Around the Club House

Below is a quick hit update on several players from several sources, including a recent report in the Spokesman Review.

No major injuries to report as of press time, other than the typical bumps and bruises that occasionally keep players out of a couple practices to recover.

True freshmen Chad Pool and Akeem Anthony are looking good this fall, and both could see playing time as true freshmen.

Idaho's top 3 TE's (Mike McCoy, Kelly Nead, and Luke Smith-Anderson) are all playing well, and all will see significant playing time. Each will be substituted situationally, and no clear-cut "starter" has been named.

RS-Fr wide receiver Wendell Octave is continuing to make good progress at WR and could see action in the rotation this fall. Competition is intense, especially with senior Cedric Thompson completing his eligibility earlier this fall.

Battles are still being fought on the offensive line, with 3 RS-Freshmen among the top 4 contenders for the openings at one guard and the strong tackle position. Strong tackle is still seeing spirited competition between RS-Freshmen Nate VanderPol and Hank Therien, while senior DT Jason Jones has switched over to the offensive side of the ball to compete with RS-Fr Jade Tadvick for the starting guard position. In other news, sophomore OG Kelly Adams has left the team, RS Freshman OG Geoff Zuber has been working through a shoulder injury, and JC transfer Michael Bakken (a projected OG) is making progress, but is still working on the transition from JC to 1-A.

Idaho's top 4 defensive linemen are currently true-senior Brian Howard, true-sophomore Kelly Talavou, RS-junior Michael Togafau, and RS-Soph Jeff Edwards. Of the 72 or so players who worked out in Moscow this summer, both Talavou and Togafau are considered by some to have made the most progress in the off-season.

Kody Kraus, who was given a look at LB this spring, will be with the DEs for the 2003 season, and it was reported in the Spokesman Review that he is likely the starter opposite Brandon Kania. RS-Soph Mike Bonelli, RS-Fr Andrew Stobart, and the Davis twins (Eric and Ernest) who transferred to Idaho this spring should all be strong contenders for playing time in the rotation.

Curtis Bibolet, a JC transfer who joined the team this spring as a safety is now working with the linebackers. It has also been confirmed that Nate Nichols has moved up to the linebacking corp and is in a close battle for the starting weakside linebacker position currently held by returning starter, senior Chad Kodama.

RS-Fr cornerback Brandon Mascorro has been banged up a bit this fall (no major injury), but should continue to be a factor in the CB rotation. Currently, fall JC transfer Chris Nathan has impressed at the CB opposite returning starter Rod Bryant, and will be in a healthy competition with Mascorro and RS-junior Ben Allen. Still no confirmation on the eligibility status of speedy transfer J.R. Ruffin.

Introducing the Newbies

Idaho invited at least 7 freshmen athletes to walk on this fall, including 5 from the state of Idaho (4 from Northern Idaho) and recruited 4 JC transfers to help on defense. Among the invited freshmen walk-ons, safety Derek McCleod is reportedly making the biggest impact of the group overall. Among some of the more notable accomplishments of this group as high school seniors, WR Ryan Heacock (6-0, 166) was named to the 2003 East-West All-State football roster for the state of Washington, Honorable Mention on the Northwesthoops 4A All-State basketball team, and placed 3rd at the District 8 Track Championships in the 400m Dash. Chris Jasper (6-2, 233) finished 7th in the Idaho State Track Championships in the 100m Dash as a senior in 2002 (Lewiston has sent some quality athletes to Idaho as walk-ons, including pre-season All-Conference tackle Jake Scott and projected starting SLB, RS-Soph Mike Anderson.....Chris could be next in line to make an impact). DE prospect Stevenson Gion (6-1, 222) earned All Intermountain League honors this past winter. Finally, OL Ben Duesterhoeft placed 8th this past May in the District 8 shot put.

High School Walk-Ons:
Ben Duesterhoeft, OL, 6-2, 257, Fr, University High School (Spokane, WA)
Stevenson Gion, DE, 6-1, 222, Fr, Kellogg High School (Kellogg, ID)
Ryan Heacock, WR, 6-0, 166, Fr, Central Valley High School (Spokane, WA)
Chris Jasper, DE, 6-2, 233, Fr, Lewiston High School (Lewiston, ID)
Pat McLaughlin, WR, 5-10, 182, Fr, Eagle High School (Boise, ID)
Derek McCleod, S, 5-11, 177, Fr, Coeur d'Alene High School (CDA, ID)
Tracy McCormick, WR, 5-8, 147, Fr, Post Falls High School (Post Falls, ID)

Idaho also welcomes in 4 Junior College transfers this fall. All 4 transfers are on the defensive side of the ball, and include 2 DBs, an LB and a DE. So far Chris Nathan of Reedley College appears to be making the biggest splash by staking his claim for the starting CB job opposite Rod Bryant, and has been working significantly with the #1 defensive unit this fall.

Junior College Transfers:
James Coley, DE 6-2, 246, Jr, Mt. San Antonio College (Walnut, CA)
Jarvis Huff, S, 5-11, 207, Jr, El Camino College (Torrance, CA)
Fred Kelley, LB, 6-1, 225, Jr, Los Medanos JC (Pittsburg, CA)
Chris Nathan, CB, 6-0, 170, Jr, Reedley Junior College (Jacksonville, FL)

Welcome aboard to the entire group of athletes!

Linebacker Depth Chart Looking Taller/Faster

During spring drills Idaho experimented with several players to fill the depth chart at linebacker, including giving 10 game starter defensive end Kody Kraus a look. With just a week left before the WSU game, the depth chart is beginning to look faster as 3 safeties now find themselves in the mix. Its still a young unit without much experience beyond the projected starters, but the mobility is there. Below is the new list of players competing at linebacker, listed by players with starting experience, followed by the rest of the chart listed by class (+ = starting experience at safety).

Patrick Libey, MLB, 6-1, 240, Sr
Chad Kodama, WLB, 6-2, 232, Sr
Mike Anderson, SLB, 6-4, 238, So
Nate Nichols, 6-2, 223, So (+)
Curtis Bibolet, 6-3, 232, Jr
Fred Kelley, 6-1, 225, Jr
Robert Davis, 6-4, 224, RS-Fr
Jaron Williams, 6-2, 225, RS-Fr
Cole Snyder, 5-11, 230, So
Nathan Zody, 5-11, 226, RS-Fr
Josh Bousman, 6-2, 205, true-Fr
Chad Pool, 5-10, 189, true-Fr
Sam Tossie, 6-1, 240, true-Fr

There should be plenty to work with for several years to come with this young, athletic group (NOTE: Nichols, Snyder and Zody's weight have not been updated yet this year).

Stadium Maps

Got your tickets for the Battle in Seattle and still curious about where EXACTLY you're sitting? Well, below is a map of fabulous Seahawks Stadium, so happy hunting!

Also, for those of you who are not familiar with seating in The Dome, below is a seating chart:

The Final Word

We have some new features on this site that you will want to become familiar with soon. Specifically, on the front page, at the top center of the page, is a list of stories affectionately referred to as "Hot News." This is where we'll post quick stories consisting of a paragraph or 2 (or even sentence or two) with news and information on individual players. Take some time to check this every day or so, and also take a tour around the site to become familiar with the different bells and whistles. This is truly a powerful network, that is getting stronger and stronger each year.

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