Vandals Scrimmage In Coeur d' Alene

LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com

As the team prepares for the annual Silver and Gold Game this Friday night (7pm kickoff), we take a look back to the team's scrimmage in Coeur d'Alene a couple weeks ago. VV.com writer Larry Johnson was on hand, serving double-duty as both photographer and writer.<br> <br> It proved to be a great opportunity to watch true-sophomore tailback <b>Cliff Mason</b> and the rest of the Vandals scrimmage under the watchful eyes of the new Idaho staff, and mingle with 300+ Vandal fans in attendance.

The University of Idaho football team traveled to Lake City High School last weekend to conduct their first spring scrimmage. A new level of enthusiasm was expected and there were a lot of new looks for the friendly crowd that was estimated to exceed 300. This was their first outing under new head coach Nick Holt and new staff.


LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
The team battled in the trenches all day, with the Vandal defense doing a solid jobbing clogging things up in the first half.
Michael Harrington is the heir apparent quarterback, but Brian Nooy and Chris Joseph rotated duty and were tested. The single back offense was demonstrated, but the first half did not produce the results that offensive coaches rave about. The offense produced short gains, one field goal and no touchdowns during the entire first half, but the defense sported an entirely new look and the first half results were reminiscent of the Vandal defensive schemes not seen in years.

The second half produced five touchdowns and a field goal with a dynamic tempo and style to the offense. The most notable change from first to second half was responding and making adjustments. Final quarterback statistics for Harrington were 18 completions in 24 attempts for 226 yards. Brian Nooy went 6 of 8 for 42 yards with three consecutive completions to set up the first score of the game. Chris Joseph completed a TD pass when the balled slipped thought the hands of a defender and landed in the ready hands of Orlando Winston. Cliff Mason (21 carries for 46 yards) and Akeem Anthony were impressive and the team seems to regard the 5'5" Anthony as special.


LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
Redshirt sophomore kicker Mike Barrow goes for a fieldgoal while Mike Harrington holds. On a wind-swept day Barrow was 2 of 4, hitting on attempts from 39 and 47 yards, and missing on attempts from 46 and 44 yards out.
A second Mike Barrow field goad traveled 47 yards into the wind to clear the crossbar by 2 feet. He also missed a 46-yard attempt and scored from 44 yards out. Cole Synder made nine tackles, which was the team high.

The weather varied from fairly sunny to threatening clouds, but the weather was kind to both players and fans alike until late in the second half when a light shower dampened the field, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the players or the staff. I could sense that the players were spirited in their play and in their answers to the fans and alumni that mingled during the lunch, which followed the scrimmage.



LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
Senior Willie Sipoloa, who moves from fullback to tightend this season, has been impressive this spring.
Two former Vandals who experienced lengthy careers in the NFL were in attendance. John Yarno traveled to the scrimmage from Seattle where he and family raised their son Brian who wears number 36. Brian Yarno will begin his senior year this fall. John Friesz, who lives nearby attended with this three sons. Bob Curtis, who has announced his final football season as the voice of the Vandals, was in attendance as well.

Michael Togafau created pressure and some hurries in the first half and despite halftime adjustments was still a force to contend with and looked impressive.

Some of the new staff is familiar to long-time Vandals. Jeff Mills and Joel Thomas have returned to the Vandals for the second time and it was good to see the coaches meet the fans. For many fans this was their first time to meet or hear from Nick Holt since the press conference that announced his acceptance of the Head Football Coach position and return to the Moscow campus.


LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
Senior wide receiver Orlando Winston continues to wait on an announcement regarding his bid for a 6th year of eligibility.
Volunteers of the Kootenai County Vandal Boosters organized the event, lunch, VSF enrollment and arranged for the school to sell Vandal gear and season tickets. Even the Junior Joe Club was represented. A number of sponsors committed to support this event before Nick Holt's Vandals have even played a game. A.G. Edwards, Stein's IGA, Northwest Dodge, and Outback Steakhouse provided food, monetary support, or supplies to make this event a complete success. The net yield for the Vandal Scholarship fund was approximately $2,000 for the VSF.

The staff and volunteers of Lake City High School, which graduated Luke Smith-Anderson, created an ideal venue for this event. Their head coach, Henry Hamill, was extra supportive, as he used to coach the Vandals under Coach Troxel.

TV coverage included all three Spokane TV stations and two print photographers. The media coverage before and after the event was excellent and contributed to the new look of the 2004 Vandals.





LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
Vandal runningback Cliff Mason fights for yardage.


LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com
Sophomore Cliff Mason gained 46 yards on 21 carries for the day, with 2 TDs.



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