2 MINUTE DRILL: RB DeMaundray Woolridge

Going into the 2009 season, if there was one position on the Idaho roster that was well stocked, it was at tailback. That chart got a little bit deeper with the addition of senior DEMAUNDRAY WOOLRIDGE, a gifted 5-9, 241-pound bull of a back with speed who started his college career at Washington State and burst onto the scene in 2006 with a stellar 86 yard, nine carry performance against Auburn.

Only a handful of Vandals on the current roster were on the team the last time the University of Idaho took on the University of Washington. Given the less than happy ending in that game for Idaho (a 34-6 setback in 2005), it probably isn't that bad a thing.

Saturday the Vandals will take on Washington in a game that kicks off at 12:30pm at Husky Stadium and will be regionally televised on Fox Sports Northwest.

This year the Vandals are boasting a more veteran team with more depth - particularly offensively - than they've fielded in years. Operating behind one of the bigger offensive lines ever at Idaho is a stable of tailbacks that offer a range of running styles and abilities. Led by junior Deonte Jackson and sophomore Princeton McCarty, the group also has size, speed, and sure-handedness in Troy Vital, Kama Bailey, and Corey White.

Plus, the Vandals are joined this year by a newcomer with Pac-10 experience making his debut in a Vandal uniform this fall.

DeMaundray Woolridge, a bruising tailback with deceptive speed to go with his 5-9, 241-pound frame, joined the Vandals last year after two impressive - albeit injury shortened - seasons at Washington State.

What Woolridge gives Idaho's deep tailback depth chart is a nice change of gears – and punch.

As a true sophomore at Wazzu in 2006, in a tough road game against the rugged Auburn Tigers of the SEC, he burst onto the scene as he rushed for 86 yards on nine carries for the Cougs. Despite battling injuries and missing three games as a sophomore, he quickly became known in Pac-10 circles as a running back with an outstanding combination of speed and power. He finished the season with 330 yards on 78 attempts for a 4.2 yards per carry average.

As a true freshman at WSU in 2005 he rushed for more than 312 yards backing up Jerome Harrison, averaging a whopping six yards per carry (long of 70 yards, 2 touchdowns). He recorded back-to-back 100-yard games when he rushed for 133 at Nevada (including rambling for a 70-yard touchdown run against the Wolfpack), and followed it up with 105-yards against Grambling. He then suffered an injury that slowed him for the remainder of the season. He was one of nine true freshmen to see varsity action for the Cougs in 2005.

DeMaundray transferred to the University of Idaho last year after leaving Washington State in 2006 and spending a year at Langston University (an NAIA school in Oklahoma). He redshirted the 2008 season in Moscow, but made an immediate impact on the team in practices as a scout teamer.

As fall camp approached this year, fan interest swelled as Woolridge make a successful return to the field in a Vandal uniform. Last week, in his first Division 1A game since 2006, he battled and fought for 18 yards on five carries for Idaho, gaining 3.6 yards per carry average with a long of nine yards.

Now, with his attention fully focused on completing his college football career and education at the University of Idaho, DeMaundray has set his sights on being a leader on the 2009 Vandal team and playing one more season for Robb Akey - the coach that recruited him to Washington State and Idaho.

About the transition from Washington State to Idaho.
"I feel great. Two seniors in the running back corps, and I'm one of them. I've made it -- I'm a senior this year. The running back corps, we're deep all around. We have some younger guys that are really good, some older guys who are really good. I think this corps can make a lot of things happen for this team."

About the big offensive line - led by Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award candidate Mike Iupati - leading the way this fall.
"I LOVE this offensive line. I walk by them everyday in the locker room and I say ‘I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.' And they love us back. They work hard for us, and we try to work hard for them."

About the differences between Washington State and his experience at Idaho.
"When I was there, at Washington State, I felt we weren't really that close as a family. Here, I feel like we're a really big family. The coaching staff, the advisors, everyone is just so close. We know each other personally, we know each other through academics and everything. It's one big family here, and that's the big difference."

About who made the first call to get DeMaundray back on the field, this time in an Idaho jersey.
"That was me. While I was at Langston University [an NAIA school in Oklahoma after leaving Wazzu] I was talking to a guy over at Central [Washington], and the Central coach knows Coach Akey's wife. The Central coach talked about me going up there for a visit, because I was thinking about going up there maybe, and Akey wanted to know how my grades were. When I sent him my transcripts he saw that I was doing really well in school, and he told me, ‘HEY, I would love to have you come on over.' I saw an opportunity to play Division 1 football again, and not to have to play Division 1AA. And I said, you know what? I'm gonna go ahead and go on over there, because I love Akey as my coach and I always have. I'm glad I have him as my coach – I'm very glad I have him as my coach."

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