Before we answer that question, GVN takes a look back at the 2007 season for Idaho freshmen Nathan Enderle (6-5, 217) and Quin Ashley (5-11, 198). Quin and Nathan bring significantly different games to the field, and both found their way to the lineup in different ways for Idaho last year.
6-5, 217, RS-Fr
Despite the turbulence, Enderle won the starting nod as a redshirt freshman last fall for the season opener against USC. For the season Nathan started nine games for the Vandals, missing three starts midway through the season due to an injury to his throwing hand.
5-11, 198, True-Fr
Statistically, the two freshmen had their struggles and successes last season.
Enderle's numbers included 1,787 yards passing, a 44.3% completion percentage (132 of 298), 10 TDs, 18 interceptions, a 93.66 rating, and 23 sacks on the year. His most prolific passing game came in a 42-35 loss against Northern Illinois, which included 423 yards passing, a 50% completion performance, and two touchdown passes (coupled with three interceptions).
Ashley on the other hand didn't play QB until the sixth game of the year against San Jose State, a game in which he didn't throw any passes but logged five carries for 13 yards. On the season (six games) Quin's statistics included 92 yards passing, 36.4% completion percentage (8 of 22), 1 TD, 0 interceptions, a 77.4 rating and 2 sacks. His best game came against New Mexico State, in which he threw for those 92 yards (53.3% completions, 1 TD, no picks) in a 45-31 loss. In that game he also gained 33 yards on the ground and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. For the year he finished with 111 yards rushing on 28 carries.
This spring the two sophomores continued their battle for the starting job. Enderle maintained his hold at the top of the Depth Chart and will be the starter going into fall, but Ashley made significant strides as he concentrated exclusively on the quarterback position.
So what kind of numbers did Friesz put up as a freshman? Not many. As a redshirt freshman in 1986 Friesz backed up then-senior Scott Linehan and played sparingly in a reserve role as Linehan threw for 2,954 yards - which at the time ranked third all-time. That season Idaho made their 3rd straight appearance in the 1-AA playoffs, and Linehan signed a rookie free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
Friesz learned a lot that freshman year as Idaho's top backup, and went on to set numerous passing records at Idaho, beginning immediately his sophomore year in 1987 when he threw for 3,677 yards, completed 62% of his passes, and threw 28 touchdowns. By his senior year in 1989 Friesz was named a consensus 1st Team All-American (by AP, Kodak, TSN, and FBG), the Coaches Choice 1-AA Player of the year (Walter Payton Award), and FBG Offensive Player of the Year.
How will the sophomore year for Enderle - or Ashley - compare to the statistics posted by Vandal legends Friesz, Ken Hobart, Doug Nussmeier, and John Welsh (among others)? Time will tell.
Below is our post-Spring Game interview with Nathan Enderle, and a chart showing some of the statistics that he - and Quin Ashley - will be taking aim at as his career progresses.
THE VANDAL RECORD BOOK|
Single Season Stats
1. John Friesz - 4,041 (1989)
2. John Friesz - 3,677 (1987)
3. Ryan Fien - 3,674 (1996)
4. Ken Hobart - 3,618 (1983)
5. Doug Nussmeier - 3,300 ('91)
6. John Welsh - 3,171 (2000)
7. Ken Hobart - 3,058 (1982)
8. Doug Nussmeier - 3,028 (1992)
9. Doug Nussmeier - 2,960 (1993)
10. Scott Linehan - 2,954 (1986)
1. Rick Sloan - 68.1% (1985)
2. M. Harrington - 65.8% (2004)
3. John Welsh - 64.4% (2001)
4. John Welsh - 62.9% (2000)
5. Brian Lindgren - 62.8% (2002)
6. Steve Nolan - 62.3% (1990)
7. John Friesz - 62.0% (1987)
8. D. Nussmeier - 61.9% (1992)
9. John Friesz - 61.1% (1989)
1. Doug Nussmeier - 33 (1993)
2. Ken Hobart - 32 (1983)
3. John Friesz - 31 (1989)
4. John Friesz - 28 (1987)
5. Ryan Fien - 27 (1996)
Yards Per Game
1. John Friesz - 367.4 (1989)
2. John Friesz - 334.3 (1987)
3. Ryan Fien - 334.0 (1996)
4. Ken Hobart - 328.9 (1983)
5. D Nussmeier - 300.0 (1991)
NFL Draft Round
1. Doug Nussmeier - 4th (1994)
2. John Friesz - 6th (1990)
3. John Foruria - 8th (1967)
Inducted into College Football
Hall of Fame (2006)
NATHAN ENDERLE: "As far as [the Spring Game], I thought I played well. I didn't have very many incompletions and I put the ball where I thought it needed to be. I made some decisions throwing the ball away, which I think is almost a bigger play sometimes than making a big-time throw. As far as the offense, we've progressed a lot, and we're going to keep progressing as we get more and more comfortable in the system. I think one big part of it is when the new freshmen come in, we're going to have some guys that have been here for awhile and know the system; so it's not everybody learning a new system [like last year]. I think that will help us a lot."
PH: How do you think the wide receivers looked in the Spring Game? They looked like they were catching a lot of balls. What's the difference? Is it just knowing the offense better, or knowing you better?
NE: "A little bit of both. I for one have made strides in the offense; so that helps them catch the ball when I put it right where it needs to be. At the same time they're running more precise routes. They're more knowledgeable about [the routes]. They're getting used to how I'm seeing the field, and where they need to kind of slow down - gear down - and sit in the hole, or keep going and get past a guy."
PH: What do you think about the development of Quin? You guys are both fighting for a starting job and he's come a long way. How's he doing in this system?
NE: "He's made so many strides from where he was last year, and that just happens because playing quarterback in Division I football is a lot different than high school; so he's really adjusted well to that I think, especially with his drop back passing game. As far as running the ball, he's a great athlete and that helps him out there."
PH: It looked like you guys were running out of the shotgun a lot this spring. What are your thoughts about running the offense out of that formation?
NE: "I like running out of the shotgun. That's kind of how we did in high school; so I'm used to that. It's a different system. We've been doing it all spring, so I feel really comfortable with it."