QB Brian Lindgren

2002 Statistics

Coach: Tom Cable
8-26, 3 years
2002 Record: 2-10
at Boise State LOST 21-38
at Washington State LOST 14-49
at Oregon LOST 21-58
at Washington LOST 27-41
at Louis-Monroe LOST 14-34
at Louis-Lafayette LOST 28-31
at North Texas LOST 0-10

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Idaho makes for an interesting study in contrasts - for 2002, the Vandals totaled two more first downs than opponents, yet were outscored 428-285. Accordingly, the offense ranked 27th in total yards per contest, yet ranked 83rd in scoring. For a team with the offense Idaho had, most would think they could have won more often. But ranking 110th in total D easily offset their strong passing approach on offense (which evidently couldn't close the deal when needed). The cryptic nature of these stats makes for a large range of possible 2003 team results.

Such unpredictability could pay off well with Idaho's tough opening half of the season. Going through the opening slate will attune these young men to their potential. The Vandals have to know that holding it together until the season eases up will be the key. Later conference games will seem easy if the Vandals can build character while those big PAC-10ers rough them up early.

The difference in the Sun Belt between the top and bottom teams is smaller than in most conferences. In other words, Idaho could easily pull it together to challenge for the crown in '03. But will they overcome the weak linebacking unit and underachieving running game, not to mention the new kicking dimensions? Any one of these could take the Vandals down two or three wins, but orchestrated together, these weaknesses will make their campaign again disastrous. We feel there is too much talent and leadership for a repeated flop to be Idaho's destiny. Their ship should show its course by mid-season. Find a reason to believe in the Boys from Boise - they could be in prime position as the Sun Belt sets.

Projected 2003 record: 4-8
P Ryan Downes
QB Brian Lindgren
DE Brandon Kania
DE Eric Davis
QB - ?? DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 3.5
WR - 1.5 DB - 1
OL - 2.5 ..

Passing: Brian Lindgren, 382-240-10, 2763 yds., 19 TD

Rushing: Malfred Shaw, 60 att., 301 yds., 1 TD

Receiving: Orlando Winston, 50 rec., 624 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Zach Gerstner, 4 TD, 24 pts.

Punting: Ryan Downes, 56 punts, 41.8 avg.

Kicking: none

Tackles: Patrick Libey, 69 tot., 32 solo

Sacks: Brian Howard, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Rod Bryant, 2 for 13 yds.

Kickoff returns: Cedric Thompson, 36 ret., 22.9 avg.

Punt returns: Cedric Thompson, 26 ret., 9.1 avg.


OFFENSE: Robert Mitchell-OG, Josh Jelinek-OT, Josh Jelmberg-WR, Chris Belser-WR, Kevin O'Connell-FB, Blair Lewis-TB, Keith Stamps-K
DEFENSE: Tali Atoe-DT, Jordan Kramer-LB, Sergio Robleto-S, Nicq Hale-CB

written by Dave Hershorin

This side of the ball has only minor needs to make the Vandals O an efficient unit. One dilemma seems to be the imbalance of passing and running. The 396 rushes come close to the 512 passes, but the 1737 total yards gained on the ground only measures half of the passing total of 3475. Opponents' predictions of what will happen next came true enough for 28 TOs to occur.

Evidently, the individuals Idaho utilizes measure equal in talent to many others in major programs. Brian Lindgren is their senior field-general with a pocket-approach and numbers to compliment well the pass-heavy scheme HC Tom Cable employs. His 62.8% completion rate was unfortunately offset by 10 INTs. With backups who threw eight INTs in 127 tries (an INT every 15 or so throws), this position has to improve its accuracy for any "next levels" to be offensive realities. Always-throwing QBs make this a must.

Tossing the pigskin has been an Idaho strength as of late, and qualified receivers again pepper the Vandal's roster. Deep-threat Josh Jelmburg (eight TDs) is gone. Another defense-stretcher and finisher needs to emerge from this lanky crew. Orlando Winston seems primed for such status, but sophomore speedster Jeff Stowe could also prove worthy as Lindgren's favorite. Even the second-stringers (especially Cedric Thompson) show signs of starter's qualities, so look for this area to become a predictable crutch if the running game struggles. Improving on 2002's 11.5 yards per snag will be a marginal dimension which could tell-all of this squad's eventual results. If better, the running game can grow - if not, teams will stop the pass as well as the run for a long season.

Unless the team's 3.5 yards per rush attempt changes early, defense will again be pass-focused. Senior Malfred Shaw returns to again bully defenders who think they can easily tackle him. Mid-sized junior Zach Gerstner will rotate in with JUCO-transfer Kevin McKenzie until someone shows reasons for their permanence. McKenzie is the variable who could make 2003 a grounding year for the Vandals - his unscouted abilities could fool opponents for sizeable rushing totals. Something has to give if Idaho is to keep the other team(s) guessing. One tip - try giving it to those huge, capable fullbacks half a dozen times per tilt to create another dimension that will open things up that much more.

The line should be good enough for any back to get sizeable gains. Size here is not a problem, but confidence could be. Four seniors return (three starters), with highly touted freshman Hank Therien making waves already throughout spring. The depth looks good for if/when a few need breathers. But they will be battling 2002's suspect numbers - 36 sacks allowed and a mere 3.5 yards per carry make for sleepless nights and eagerly awaited second chances. This group has to mentally be ready for their three tough contests right off the bat. Learned lessons need to be taken from such (possibly) hard losses for second half of the season improvements fellow Sun Belters may not handle well. In other words, if they can survive intact against Wazzu, Washington State and Boise State (three of their first four games), smaller Sun Belt teams will seem paltry comparatively for improved results.


C Matt Martinez


Returning Starters in bold
QB Brian Lindgren-Sr Michael Harrington-So
FB Brian Yarno-Jr Willie Sipoloa-Jr
TB Malfred Shaw-Sr Zach Gerstner-Sr
WR Orlando Winston-Sr Bobby Bernal-Wood-Jr
WR Jeff Stowe-So Cedric Thompson-Sr
TE Kelly Nead-Sr Michael McCoy-Sr
OT Jake Scott-Sr Jake Leachman-So
OG Jason Cobb-Sr Tony Kiel-Jr
C Matt Martinez-Sr Jarrod Schulte-So
OG Kyle Stewart-Sr Jade Tadvick-Fr
OT Hank Therien-Fr Matt Newell-Fr
K Brian Pope-Sr ..



written by Dave Hershorin

This side of the ball has much more to adjust to improve team results. Shootouts in the Sun Belt are common, so allowing 35 points and 460-plus yards per game in 2002 does not signal assured doom for 2003's Vandal defense. But if they allow 4.7 yards per rushing attempt and 9.3 per pass try, the guaranteed fact will be Idaho losing early and often.

The line is streamlined well by position - the ends are tough and quick, while the tackles make their presence known enough to garner double-teams, or else. Senior Brian Howard is the clogger that counts for multi-dimensional defending from a middle lineman. His 54 tackles included 10 for loss, five sacks and two forced-fumbles to go with four passes defended! End Brandon Kania plays similarly, accounting for eight TFLs and four sacks in his complete package. The other starters and backups all weigh-in with an athletic eye for both run and pass that makes weak points hard to find within Idaho's front-four. Most have extensive experience, so this area should vastly improve despite 2002's numbers - consistency will be the factor for a defense that allowed 54 TDs.

The linebacking corps is full of talent. But marginal results in real-game situations make their anticipated 2003 performance suspect to many. Seniors Pat Libey and Chad Kodama will try to lead a unit that features little size in its depth. Despite their quickness, these LBs struggle at taking away the underneath routes. With already marginal run-stopping numbers, the daunting task of tightening down these problem areas seems rather insurmountable. Experience is the Vandal fan's only bankable commodity in this crew. But beyond the starters and former starter Kody Kraus, the unknown freshmen backups could provide enough new blood for changed results.

The secondary looks like it could be an improved area from 2002's sad affair. Ranking 111th versus the pass says it all - again, experience needs to pay off for this crew. Both safeties are seniors. Rob Ortega moves back from corner to join Darryl Murphy in the Vandal way-back. Corner Rod Bryant is another senior who should provide a grounding affect to opponents air attacks. Highly touted frosh Brandon Mascorro injects speed and promise to this well-sized group. Look for last season's INT total of eight to increase as opponents find a harder going of it in 2003. This area, along with the line, should be able to carry the marginal LBs somewhat, but to what extent and for how long will dictate whether this D can stop opponents when needed to clinch victories.


DE Brandon Kania


Returning Starters in bold
DE Brandon Kania-Jr Ernest Davis-Jr
DT Brian Howard-Sr Jason Jones-Sr
DT Kelly Talavou-So Michael Togafau-Jr
DE Mike Bonelli-So Eric Davis-Jr
LB Mike Anderson-So Jaron Williams-Fr
LB Patrick Libey-Sr Kody Kraus-Sr
LB Chad Kodama-Sr Robert Davis-Fr
CB Brandon Mascorro-Fr J.R. Ruffin-Jr
CB Rod Bryant-Sr Ben Allen-Jr
S Robert Ortega-Sr Simeon Stewart-Jr
S Darryl Murphy-Sr Nate Nichols-So
P Ryan Downes-Sr ..




The good news here is that Cedric Thompson returns for returns. His inclusion into the offensive scheme will directly impact this area - if route-running wears him down, both punt and kick returns will suffer a consistency drop-off. Coverage teams should be more than adequate if 2002's results are any indication.

The probable problem on special teams is in the kicking. Unproven seniors take over at both booting positions, so watch this variable as an indicator of impending success/failures to come. Punting was a strong point in 2002, whereas placekicking wasn't, so new starter Ryan Downes has his work cut out for him. In those wacky Sun Belt shootouts, this factor should equal a win and/or loss at some point.