IT’S FINALLY HERE!!!
Boise State opens the 2004 season on the blue
against the Idaho Vandals Saturday with a kickoff of
Idaho was 3-9 last year while the Broncos were 13-1.
all the talk, the pre-season speculation, the much too long off-season, it’s finally
Coach Nick Holt replaces Tom Cable at
the University of Idaho and has already adopted the Chris Tormey (former coach at Idaho and now Nevada) philosophy of telling his team
and all that will listen that they hate Boise State”, or, as Holt put it, “We can't stand
the school down there and can’t even say their name.” We will see Saturday which coaching approach
(Holt’s or Boise State Coach Dan Hawkins’) works better, but for now, let’s
take a look at the 2004 Vandal team.
After significant action last season Michael Harrington (90-196 for 996 yards, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in 2003),
moves into the starting role with the graduation of Brian Lindgren. Harrington was 25-50 for 273 yards against Boise State last year in Moscow.
Gone are 1,000-yard running back Zach Gerstner and Malfred Shaw as well
as the Moscow school’s top two receivers Orlando Winston (55 receptions for 807
yards) and Michael McCoy (32-478).
Idaho’s approach the last two years was to try to shorten
the game by running the ball. Seniors
Bobby Bernal-Wood (6-2, 203) and Jimmy Labita (5-10, 172), are still listed as starters on the school’s
two-deep chart but in a scrimmage a couple of weeks ago, Rolly Lumbala (6-2,
241, Fr.)carried the ball 19 times for 76 yards and Jayson Bird (6-0, 220, Fr.)
13 for 48.
Labita (5-10, 172, Sr.) Wendell Octave (6-1, 178, So.) and Bobby Bernal-Wood
(6-2, 203) are the favorites at the receiver positions with Willie Sipoloa
(6-2, 259, Sr.) the tight end. Labita had
26 catches for 438 yards while Octave had 19 for 322 and Bernal-Wood grabbed 15
for 181 yards a year ago. Labita’s
92-yard reception is the 2nd longest in Vandal history.
The projected line of Jade Tavick (6-5,
320 So.), Nate Vanderpol (6-6, 312 So.), Tony Kiel (6-3, 317 Sr.), Ryan Waage (6-4,
300 Jr.) and Center Jarrod Schulte (6-3, 269 Jr.) will look to protect
Harrington and open holes for the running game.
Coach Holt promises an aggressive defense
that will “dictate what the offense does, rather than react to it.” The dictators, then, are Mike Anderson (6-3,
237, Jr.) and Brandon Kania (6-3, 241, Sr.) at defensive end, Jeff Edwards
(6-3, 263, Jr.) the tackle and James Coley (6-2, 246, Sr.) or Michael Togafu
(6-3, 292, Sr.) at nose tackle. Anderson was credited with 97 tackles and
2 sacks last season, while Kania had 46 tackles and 7 sacks.
Robert Davis (6-4, 225, So.) is a strong
presence at linebacker. He’ll be joined
by Cole Snyder (5-11, 230, Jr.) or freshman Ben Alexander (6-1, 230) and Nate Nichols
(6-2, 223, Jr.). J.R. Ruffin (6-0, 167, Sr.) and Eric McMillan (5-9, 173, Fr.)
are expected to start at the corners with safeties Simeon Stewart (5-8, 179,
Sr.) and Jevon Butler (6-0, 205, Fr.).
Mike Barrow (5-11, 150, So.) will handle
both punting and placekicking duties Saturday.
It’s a young
Idaho team that will take the field
Saturday as they’ll be replacing several starters. Coach Holt is fired up to make a difference
in Moscow and his team will be as well. They would like nothing better than to knock
off the #27 team in the nation that they don’t like to talk about. This is their biggest game of the year—their national
championship game. One thing’s for
sure—there will be plenty of excitement at Bronco Stadium as college football
gets underway in Boise!