2002 Outlook: Special Teams

Idaho's special teams play last season was inconsistant on good days, and down right horrendous on bad days. Coach Cable hired a Special Teams Coordinator this winter, which will undoubtedly push special teams to the forefront in gameday preparation, rather than an afterthought.

Special Teams (3 Returning Starters)

In 2001, one event that seemed to happen with alarming consistancy, was to watch the special teams melt down following an Idaho touchdown, either on the point after attempt, or when defending a kick-off. UW practically rewrote its special teams record books against Idaho.

That hopefully will change in 2002, as Head Coach Tom Cable has hired something rare on a college football team: A Special Teams Coordinator. Gary Coston comes to the UI with a solid background in special teams and defensive backfield coaching, and is one reason highly regarded placekicker/punter recruit Mike Barrow chose Idaho over a number of different options this year. He was also instrumental in landing a proven kick/punt return specialist from the JC ranks in Cedric Thompson.

Below is the complete depth chart, to the best of our knowledge, for the 2002 Idaho Special Teams.


(Note: Starters, Backups & Redshirts refer to status last year. Recruits are this year's recruits)
Kicker (4)
Starters (2) Brian Pope (6-2, 209, Jr), Keith Stamps (5-10, 215, Sr.)
Backups (0) .
Redshirts (1) Sam Parry (6-1, 211, Fr)
Recruits (1) Mike Barrow (5-11, 165, Fr)
Outlook: Both starters have their strengths and weaknesses. Pope has the "leg", but he was inconsistent in his control last year. Stamps is accurate, but does not reportedly have the leg strength Pope posesses. Coach Coston may be able to work through the inconsistencies both athletes had last season, but if not, keep an eye out for Parry.

Venue Picks: Brian Pope (SWAG). We believe Coston will get him on line.

Punter (3)
Starters (1) Ryan Downes (6-5, 213, Jr.)
Backups (1) Brian Pope (6-2, 209, Jr)
Redshirts (0) .
Recruits (1) Mike Barrow (5-11, 165, Fr)
Outlook: Ryan Downes has improved every year and we expect him to continue on his way to being a "boomer". Watch out for those speakers in the Kibbie Dome.

Venue Picks: Ryan Downes.

K/P RETURNER
Starters (0) .
Backups (#) Every skill player
Redshirts (0) .
Recruits (1) Cedric Thompson (5-8, 175, Jr)
Outlook: Chris Lacy, the #1 returner from last year is gone. The job is wide open, and could be an avenue for speedster Jimmy Labita, who returns to Idaho after missing last season, to get on the field early.

Venue Picks: Cedric Thompson (5-8, 175, Jr), Robert Nembhardt (5-9, 160, So), Jimmy Labita (5-8, 160, So). These guys are quick and fast. If they make good decisions, hold on to the ball, and don't get hurt, we should be okay next season. No problem!





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