|Chad Pool, 5-10, 180, Fr|
A true freshman, Chad is seeing extensive playing time with starter Ortega out, and has led Idaho in tackling the last 2 games.
|J.R. Ruffin, 6-0, 175, Jr|
J.R. missed the early part of the season, but started at CB against BSU.
NEWCOMERS IN THE NEWS: Ya'll may want to get to know a couple first year defenders on the Vandal football team. True freshman Chad Pool has joined an already improved defense, and simply jumped to the top of the tackle chart in the last 2 games. Against Eastern he led the Vandals with 8 tackles, and against BSU on Saturday he topped that performance with a team-best 10 tackle performance. Through 3 games, he leads the Vandals in tackles (22 on the season, 1 more than Anderson). The guy gives a 110% on every down, a trait that is once again is becoming common-place throughout the Vandal defense. The other guy to keep tabs on is a fella that was listed by Collegefootballnews.com as Idaho's #1 recruit in 2002, redshirt junior cornerback J.R. Ruffin. We figured finding a cornerback to play opposite senior standout Rod Bryant would be tough, but newcomer Chris Nathan, Ben Allen, and now J.R. have all stepped up admirably. Ruffin looked outstanding with 2 open-field solo tackles, and to our knowledge didn't get burned once in pass coverage. Between Bryant, Ruffin, Nathan, and Allen, plus Simeon Stewart and Brandon Mascorro, the corners are rock solid. At safety Darryl Murphy (#3 on the team in tackles against BSU, including a pass breakup) has been a MUCH needed steady force in the first 3 games, while Pool and Chad Troxel have filled in for Robert Ortega (out for the EWU and BSU games) and Jarvis Huff. The growth in the defensive backfield has been outstanding, a testament to coordinator Ed Lamb and first year defensive backs coach (and former Pro Bowl DB) Greg Jackson.
|Mike Anderson, 6-3, 238, So|
Anderson among the leaders of an aggressive, athletic linebacking unit.
LINEBACKERS IMPRESS: Redshirt sophomore linebacker Mike Anderson again finished #2 on the tackle list, this time logging 8 tackles (5 solo), including 2 hits that caused fumbles (one recovered by Stobart, the other recovered by Kody Kraus). Mike rotated at middle linebacker and outside linebacker, and was a force all day. He's one example of a linebacking corp that has seemingly overnight become more athletic, aggressive, and generally more disruptive with their creative blitz packages. A rotation that includes Patrick Libey, Chad Kodama and Anderson at the top, also has shown solid depth with sophomore Nate Nichols and redshirt freshman Robert Davis seeing significant playing time. The unit includes 2 players among the top 3 on the team in tackles (Anderson, with Libey tied with Howard for 3rd), and is beginning to show solid depth with its youth.
|Andrew Stobart, 6-3, 268, RS-Fr|
Primarily a defensive end, Andrew has been working inside at Defensive Tackle. Against BSU, Andrew had 3 tackles, including 1 tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery.
ODDS AND DEFENSIVE ENDS: Last year against WSU and BSU, Idaho gave up an AVERAGE of 43.5 points per game (49 to Wazzu, and 38 to the Broncs); this year they've given up 24.5 points per game to the same 2 teams - if their is any question about whether Coordinator Ed Lamb has made a difference since coming to Moscow, just compare the scores we're giving up this season (19 points per game) with any of the last 3 or so years..............Senior defensive tackle, big Brian Howard, again made a mess of several BSU blocking schemes as he ended the day with 6 tackles (4 solo), including 2 quarterback hurries............Huge props to junior defensive tackle Michael Togafau with 2 tackles against BSU (and a solid pass rush), including a quarterback sack.
|Michael Harrington, 6-3, 197, So|
Leads Idaho into the endzone in the fourth quarter.
GETTIN' HIS GROOVE ON: Saturday sophomore quarterback Michael Harrington shook the 500 pound gorilla off his back, leading Idaho to paydirt for the first time this season. The offense didn't make it easy on themselves (going for it on 4th and goal from the 3), but the scoring play itself was perfectly executed. For the day Mike had an otherwise solid performance, going 25 of 50 for 273 yards, 1 TD and no interceptions. He definitely looked more comfortable operating between the 20s, but the redzone continues to be a challenge. Plagued by a number of dropped passes, he still had some trouble hitting his target on a few occasions within scoring distance. Make the connection, or hang onto the pass, and the outcome may have been different. As it was, Mike's growing confidence was clearly evident.
CATCHING ON: In a day of highs and lows for the receiving corp, it was senior wideout Orlando Winston who hauled in Idaho's first TD of the season. The unit continues to work on an issue they have with making the big catch to keep a drive alive or score CONSISTENTLY. Individual outstanding receptions are common, but consistently making the play has been the issue. Coach Cable indicated that the tightend would be a bigger factor this year, and that was true Saturday as senior Mike McCoy was second on the team in receiving yards (55), with the longest reception on the day for for the Vandals (33 yards). The guy even lined up at wideout out on a few plays. Bobby Bernal-Woods was third with 51 yards on 5 catches, while senior Orlando Winston also hauled in 5 for 62 yards and a TD.
|Mike McCoy, 6-3, 252, Sr|
Second on the team in receiving yards against BSU.
|B. Bernal-Wood, 6-2, 205, Jr|
Third on the team in receiving yards against BSU.
|Mike Barrow, 5-11, 165, RS-Fr|
Goes 1-1 in first game as a Vandal, hitting a 21 yarder in the first half.
COLLEGE KICKS: In his first start at the college level, redshirt freshman kicker Mike Barrow hit from 21 yards out in the first half Saturday. Late in the second quarter, he narrowly missed a 44 yarder that had plenty of distance, but was just a bit wide left. In all, not a bad start for a guy making his first collegiate appearance in a rivalry match-up.
A FEW EXTRA SHOTS
|Vandals drive to the endzone late in the 3rd quarter.|
|Vandals score in the fourth quarter, making it a 14-10 ballgame.|