THE 2007 SEASON SAW TWO FRESHMAN QUARTERBACKS take their lumps learning a new offense under a first-year coaching staff. Redshirt freshman NATHAN ENDERLE was the starter for the season opener at USC, and true freshman Quin Ashley moved to QB from safety following a mid-season injury to Enderle. Inside we talk to Enderle about the strides he - and the Vandals - made this spring.

QUESTION: What kind of season did University of Idaho legend John Friesz - an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006 - have as a freshman for the Vandals?

Interesting question.

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.

Nathan Enderle
6-5, 217, RS-Fr
Nathan Enderle came to Idaho as a prolific throwing quarterback out of Nebraska, and was ranked the #58 quarterback prospect in the country by as a high school senior in 2005. Nathan committed to Idaho, graduated from high school a semester early, enrolled at Idaho in January and joined the Vandals in time for spring drills. When Enderle signed with Idaho, the Vandals were coached by Nick Holt. By the time spring drills started two months later, Idaho was coached by legendary college head coach Dennis Erickson. Nathan spent his redshirt year learning the quarterback position under the watchful eye of Erickson, then before the next spring camp began he found himself learning his third offense in 12 months as current head coach Robb Akey and his new staff took over the program.

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.

Quin Ashley
5-11, 198, True-Fr
Quin Ashley, on the other hand, came to Idaho as one of the top prospects in Robb Akey's first recruiting class. The Texan originally committed to TCU, but changed his commit the week before signing day while holding offers from TCU, Colorado State and others. A dual-threat QB in high school, Quin came to Idaho as an athlete who would get looks at multiple positions. He missed much of fall camp and the first few weeks of the season because of a high ankle sprain, and when he regained his health played on special teams and as a backup safety battling for playing time. Then, midway through the season, Enderle went down with an injury and Quin moved to QB. Despite seeing no action at QB prior Enderle's injury, and despite the fact the TRUE FRESHMAN hadn't donned a Vandal uniform prior to arriving on campus in August, Quin split playing time with reserve Brian Nooy until Enderle returned to the field.

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.

Single Season Stats

Yards Passing
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)

Completion Percentage
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)

Touchdown Passes
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)
PAT HAUGE: How would you rate your performance in the Spring Game, and how do you think the offense progressed overall this spring?

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."

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