Friday Morning Edition

The Vandals are heading into their final week of preparation for their date at Boise State, and we have a few more team wide updates to share.

Idaho's Svelte Offensive Line?

You heard it here first folks, intense off-season conditioning and a year of starting experience saw 3 of Idaho's starting offensive linemen actually shave a few pounds this off-season. Who, you might ask? It's all 3 returning sophomores, starting with Outland Trophy candidate, center Matt Martinez, who's shed 11 pounds from his weight of a year ago, going from 315 to 304. Weak guard Jason Cobb also shed a layer or two, dropping 12 pounds from 310 down to 298. And finally, All-Conference weak tackle Jake Scott shed 7 pounds, weighing in this season at a fit and trim 283 pounds. We've noticed this unit appear a bit more mobile this spring and fall, and now we know why.

The Waiting Game

#69 Talifaia "Ryan" Atoe
6-2, 314, Sr
At last the results on the 2 JC transfer's eligibility is in, and the news is good for the Idaho Vandals. Talifaia "Ryan" Atoe, a 6-2, 314 pound defensive line prospect out of The College of the Redwoods, and Rod Bryant, a 6-1, 180 pound cornerback out of West Hills College just received clearance and started practicing with the team Thursday morning. Both have been on campus for weeks, and both made immediate impressions with their presence. Ryan has just one year of eligibility, but comes to Idaho after being named a 1st Team All-American Defensive Lineman and his Conference's defensive MVP. Rod comes to Idaho from Friendly, Maryland and is a defensive back that brings much needed size and agility. At some point this fall, we think both have a great shot at making a major impact on the field for Idaho.

Below is a link to our updated team depth chart. You can access this link anytime by clicking on "2 Deeps" in the left hand margin. At this time, we have most of the guys in the depth chart shown. As we get a better feel for who the top 2 players at each position will be, we'll update this chart accordingly.

Vandals Depth Chart

Names And Faces

#42 Mike Lowry, 5-10, 196, Fr
We've heard a lot about the freshman class that signed with Idaho this February, and the JC recruits expected to have an immediate impact on the team this fall. What we haven't been able to discuss quite yet are the invited walk-ons and transfers who will now be calling Moscow home. The list is as intriguing as the recruited class itself, including a youngster from Southern California's St. Bonaventure High School, which is quickly becoming a pipe-line of young Vandal football players.

The list also includes 4 sophomores-to-be, including one transfer. Rory Cordial comes to Idaho after starting his career at Oregon State University, then transferring to Butte College in California before coming to Moscow. The other 3 are defensive lineman Peter Foss of Puyallup, Washington, Ryan Mann of Kellogg, Idaho and Rory Tipton of Nampa, Idaho. Imagine that, 2 Rory's in one class...

Below is the complete list in alphabetical order:

Justin Barnes, WR, 6-1, 195, Nampa, ID (Nampa High School)
Rory Cordial, QB, 6-0, 197, Missoula, MT (Butte College)
Ace Davis, DB, 6-0, 200, Oxnard, CA (St. Bonaventure High School)
Peter Foss, DL, 6-2, 290, Puyallup, WA (Rogers High School)
Mike Lowry, RB, 5-10, 196, Meridian, ID (Meridian High School)
Ryan Mann, FB, 6-1, 193, Kellogg, ID (Kellogg High School)
Drew Pearce, QB, 6-4, 206, Walla Walla, WA (Walla Walla High School)
Rory Tipton, WR, 6-0, 165, Nampa, ID (Nampa High School)
Nathan Zody, LB, 5-11, 226, Fairbanks, AK (Lathrop High School)

We don't have much information on any of these guys, but keep your eyes open for them in the next couple of years. We've updated the projected Red Shirt list, which can be accessed anytime by clicking on "Redshirts" in the left hand margin. Below is a link directly to the list.

Projected 2002 Redshirts

Nathan Zody, 5-11, 226, Fr
Ace Davis, 6-0, 200, Fr

Looking Good Already

#18 Brandon Mascorro, 5-9, 170, Fr
You don't expect to see too many true freshmen making their way onto a college football playing field very often, and this year probably will be harder in Moscow than in years past. However, there is one guy out of this year's recruiting class who was running with several defensive units this past weekend during Idaho's first scrimmage. Brandon Mascorro, a 3-time All-Conference DB, 2001 Conference Defensive back of the Year, and 2001 Ventura County Defensive Back of the Year, showed some of the reasons why his high school team, St. Bonaventure, accumulated a stunning 42-0 record during Brandon's 3 years at the school.

He's definitely not big, but the kid is courageous. Great agility and quick to the ball, this is one recruit we don't expect to see standing on the sidelines for long, and because of this there's a strong possibility he may not redshirt this season. Even with the large influx of JC defensive backs this fall, he's shown he has come to Moscow to play ball. He joins 3 other St. Bonaventure graduates on the Idaho roster: Mike Bonelli (RS-Fr defensive end who should get plenty of playing time this season), and fellow recruits Mike Barrow (highly touted place kicker who hit a 25 yarder in the scrimmage on Saturday in gusty winds) and Ace Davis (defensive back walk-on who also saw playing time this weekend).

#58 Jaron Williams, 6-1, 210, Fr
Another youngster to keep tabs on this year is linebacker recruit Jaron Williams out of Muir High School in Pasadena, California. Jaron got some reps in with the second and third units this weekend, and also saw time on the second team punt and kick-off units. Defensively he was lining up most frequently at weakside linebacker, a position that requires good speed and range, given the amount of space he must cover.

Jaron converted from tightend to middle linebacker during his junior year, and its obvious why. The guy has a keen sense for the ball and gets to the runner quickly. He's also not afraid to mix it up with 300 pound linemen. A solid year in the weight room and you might see #58 battling for a starting job next year as a redshirt freshman. He's definitely one to keep your eye on.

One more guy to keep your eye on is defensive line recruit Kelly Talavou, a 6-2, 310 pound prospect out of Los Angeles, California. He very quietly made a name for himself in Southern California, earning an invitation to play in the Los Angeles/Orange County All Star game at the end of last season. He's apparently making an impression already on the team, and may see action this season. Classmate and fellow defensive line recruit Geoff Zuber (6-4, 290, Gold Beach High School) got some reps with the defense last weekend and more than held his own.

Senior Props

#11 Nicq Hale, 5-10, 171, Sr
We'd like to single out one of many seniors on this year's Idaho team who has really stepped up his game this off-season. Nicq Hale of Mountain Home, Idaho ran with the 1s this weekend at cornerback and looked sharp. In addition to corner, he's also been working with the punt and kick-off return teams. There is a tremendous amount of competition at both corner positions (with returning starter Ed Rankin, plus at least 3 JC transfers and the returning depth chart from last year in the mix), and its still not certain who will be starting or how the depth chart will fill out. But Nicq has stepped up to the challenge and should be a contender this season. Even if he doesn't start, our depth at corner is definitely improved with Nicq's emergence, and if he's called upon, we think he'll be ready.

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