Around the Clubhouse

As Idaho prepares to keep making some noise in the Sun Belt title race, we've been able to pick up some tidbits of information here and there around campus.

Player Props: CHAD KODAMA, 6-2, 235, Junior
After the MTSU game we mentioned Chad had been injured during the game, and we weren't sure the extent of the injury. Well, it turns out Chad is doing just fine and is listed as the starter at Weakside Linebacker for Saturday's tilt with the Louisiana – Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. Chad's been the starter all season at WLB, and has done an outstanding job, especially considering he was originally recruited to Idaho out of Seattle as a quarterback. We want to acknowledge one particular play that Chad made in Saturday's game. MTSU had set up a screen pass perfectly, and the Idaho defense bit….except Chad. With a group of linemen in front of him, Hicks hauled in the pass from quarterback Andrico Hines. Hicks had one man to beat: Chad. Before Hicks could turn after catching the ball, Chad brought him down behind the line of scrimmage. We applaud this play for 2 reasons:

1. It was an outstanding open field tackle, one-on-one, with a ton of open space between Hicks and the endzone. Chad misses that tackle, and it's a possible TD for MTSU. Even more spectacular was that Chad closed on Hicks quick enough to tackle him behind the line of scrimmage.

2. Chad REACTED after the play. Now, we're not saying that every defender has to do a dance every time they make a tackle, but Chad made a big-time, possibly game-saving play and he bounced up and thrust his fist in the air. Its been awhile since we've seen this from our guys, and it was definitely a refreshing site. Keep up the great effort!

One more senior...
Earlier this week we realized that we omitted one senior from this year's senior class write-up: Kurt Gregg. Our sincerest apologies go out to Kurt...we really didn't mean to forget you, young man!
#89 Kurt Gregg
#89 Kurt Gregg
Wide Receiver
6-3, 193 Pounds
Woodinville, Washington

Games Started 2002: 0
Games Played 2002: 4

This is Kurt's first year with the Idaho football team, and he's made an appearance in 4 games this season, hauling in one catch for 6 yards. However, football isn't his only game. He's been a member of the Idaho track team the past 2 years, and finished fourth in the Big West Conference in the decathlon in 2001. Kurt previously attended Eastern Washington University before transfering to the University of Idaho. He's definitely given our team solid depth at wide receiver this year.

Player Shuffling
With Josh Jelmberg out for at least 2 weeks with a separated shoulder, the Wide Receivers did some shuffling this week. Currently, the game time starters are listed as Orlando Winston (has started every game this season) and senior Christopher Belser (has been Orlando's backup all season, and has played extensively in every game). Orlando's backup will be senior Eric Hunter who breaks into the top 2 rotation for the first time this season. Chris' backup will be redshirt freshman Jeff Stowe, who has been Josh's backup all season.

The tightends did a bit of a shuffle also this week. Junior Mike McCoy (last year's starting TE), who underwent hernia surgery just before the season began and has been making his way back onto the field the past 3 weeks, moves into the #2 spot behind junior Kelly Nead, who's started every game this season. True Freshman Keith Greer is listed as the #3 Tightend, and will likely continue to see substantial playing time as the season progresses (he's done an admirable job as the #2 TE all season). The depth at this position is starting to grow, and should be outstanding going into next season.

Freshman Development
Believed to be the biggest haul of huge offensive linemen ever at Idaho, this year's group of freshmen is reportedly progressing exceptionally well, and we can expect to see these guys making some noise in the depth chart next fall. Although specific reports on the guys are unclear right now, we do know that both Jade Tadvick (6-5, 295) and Hank Therien (6-7, 317) are exceeding expectations already, and that all four (including Nate Vanderpol at 6-6, 290 and Matt Newell at 6-8, 280) are progressing well. With the graduation after this season of starters Robert Mitchell at strong guard and Joshua Jelinek at strong tackle, and Seann Mumford at backup weakside tackle, these freshmen will very likely start filling the 2-Deep Depth Chart next season.

Sun Belt Conference Statistics
Idaho now holds the top spot in 13 of the SBC's team and individual statistics as of this past weekend. Who are we talking about? Here are the lists we top:

Team Stats
#1 Least penalized team
#1 Total Offense
#1 Redzone Offense
#1 Passing Offense
#1 Kickoff Return Yard Average
#1 First Downs

Individual Stats
#1 PAT percentage: Keith Stamps
#1 Passing Yards: Brian Lindgren
#1 Receptions/Game: Josh Jelmberg
#1 Rushing yards per game: Blair Lewis
#1 Total Tackles: Jordan Kramer
#1 Tackles by Linebacker: Jordan Kramer
#1 Tackles by Defensive Lineman: Brian Howard

Now if we can just find a way to bump up the overall team defensive stats a bit, and bring down the points allowed per game, we'll be in business! Regardless, this is a good start, and we look forward to watching the team build on this effort.

Building A Better Defense
Seeing junior defensive tackle Brian Howard's name atop the Sun Belt Conference chart for tackles by defensive linemen made us curious. How is the total number of tackles breaking down for the team this year? The stats are both interesting and encouraging for the future. SIX of the top 7 tacklers on the team are juniors or younger. Redshirt freshman backup linebacker Mike Anderson is #3 on the team with 40 tackles through 8 games (20 solo). True freshman Kelly Talavou is 13th with just 6 games played. Jordan Kramer leads the team with 5 sacks, Brandon Kania is second with 4 sacks. Brian Howard is third with 3. Through 8 games this year we have 19 sacks, a year ago through 11 games we had 17. Bottom line is that the individual stats for this young defense is improving some point the overall improvement of the defense has to follow. Hopefully, their performance against MTSU was the hurdle they needed to cross.

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