Idaho Announces Depth Chart
Senior Editor,
Posted Aug 31, 2004

The University of Idaho Vandal football team releases their first depth chart of fall. As expected, the chart includes a significant number of true freshmen making the 2-deep depth chart, with a sizeable number of juniors and seniors (23) stepping up.

OFFIAL RELEASE: Official Depth Chart (PDF)

LINK: Depth Chart

There are some noteworthy observations with the first official depth chart, some of which include the following:

(1) The loss of Hank Therien forced a significant shuffling of the Vandal offensive line for the season opener. Nate VanderPol moves from right tackle to left tackle to take over for Hank, while Jade Tadvick moves from guard to right tackle. The guards will be manned by senior Tony Kiel and junior Ryan Waage, with junior Jarrod Schulte lining up at center. The backups, though talented, will be young and inexperienced.

(2) Senior Brian Yarno moves from runningback to tightend, and will backup senior Willie Sipoloa. It is uncertain how much action sophomores Luke Smith-Anderson and Keith Greer will see in the game as they continue to recover from injuries (mostly sustained last season).

(3) Among the top 6 receivers are Jeff Stowe (2003: 11 games, 30 receptions for 316 yards and 4 TDs), Jimmy Labita (2003: 11 games, 26 receptions, 438 yards, 2 TDs), Wendell Octave (2003: 11 games, 19 receptions, 322 yards, 2 TDs), and Bobby Bernal-Wood (2003: 7 games, 15 receptions, 181 yards). Rounding out the top of the rotation is junior Robert Nembhard and incoming freshman Desmond Belton.

(4) Cliff Mason and Justin Wall earned top 2 honors at runningback.

(5) Three true freshmen made the defensive 2-deeps, including Jevon Butler who is listed as the starter at strong safety. Evan Ruud joins fellow tri-cities native Brandon Kania as his backup at DE, while the Ben Alexander will work as the backup MIKE. Reggie Jones is listed as the #2 punt returner, and has looked solid this fall at CB.

(6) A couple redshirt freshmen continue to impress at cornerback. Eric McMillan gets the starting nod opposite senior J.R. Ruffin, while Kyle Williams will be backing up Ruffin.

(7) Former walkon Derek McCleod, a redshirt freshman out of Coeur d'Alene, will work as the #2 free safety. In addition, redshirt freshman Josh Bousman will work as the #2 strongside linebacker (SAM) behind junior Nate Nichols.

As expected, there is a significant amount of youth throughout the Vandal depth chart. However, the team is playing with an energy level that has seemed to be missing the last few years, and preliminary reports are that overall team speed has seen a nice improvement this fall.

All of which should make for an interesting match-up this Saturday in Boise.

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