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Yotes Picked Sixth in Frontier Conference Preseason Poll

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 09:59 PM
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GREAT FALLS, Mont. – The College of Idaho was picked in a tie for sixth-place in today's Frontier Conference Preseason Football Coaches' Poll, announced at the conclusion of the league's Media Day at the Town House Inn.

The Yotes, coming off a 4-7 record in 2014, including three Frontier Conference wins, received 16 voter points from the eight league coaches.  C of I was tied with Montana Tech in the tabulation, with Montana State Northern placing eighth.
 
C of I returns all 11 starters on the offensive side of the ball, including All-Frontier Conference tight end Marcus Lenhardt, who led all NAIA tight ends in receptions and receiving yards.  The Coyotes return nine defensive starters, including safety Cory Brady, who led the team in tackles and interceptions.
 
Defending league champion, Carroll, earned top-billing in the poll, despite having to replace their all-time leading rusher in Dustin Rinker and their top defender in Sean Blomquist.  The Saints, who lost in the NAIA national quarterfinals return quarterback Mac Roche and receiver Kyle Griffith.
 
Despite coming off a NAIA national championship season, Southern Oregon was picked second by the coaches.  The Raiders, who swept through the Football Championship Series and defeated Marian (Ind.) in the national title game, must replace All-America quarterback Austin Dodge, who set NAIA records with over 17,000 career passing yards and over 150 touchdown passes.
 
Eastern Oregon, the first team left out of the postseason in 2014, was picked third.  The Mountaineers return quarterback Zach Bartlow and All-America slotback, Jace Billingsley, but will need to replace the bulk of their offensive line.
 
Rocky Mountain edged out Montana Western for fourth in the balloting, as the Bears return one of the top playmakers in the league in Andre McCullouch, while the Bulldogs return 1,000-yard rusher Sam Rutherford.
 
Montana Tech finished tied with the Yotes in the poll, as the Orediggers return their top tackler in linebacker David Meis.  MSU-Northern rounds out the poll, looking to rebound in 2015 behind the hard running of Zach McKinley, who rushed for 1,425 yards last season.
 
The Yotes report for fall camp next Friday, with the season opener set for Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon at Simplot Stadium
 
Single-Game and Season Tickets are currently available online at http://yoteathletics.com/sports/2015/7/9/FootballTickets.aspx?id=109.
 
2015 Frontier Conference Football Preseason Poll
 
Carroll (5)               9-1     10-2        47
Southern Oregon (3)       8-2     13-2        44
Eastern Oregon            7-3      8-3        36
Rocky Mountain            4-6      5-6        28
Montana Western           6-4      6-5        27
College of Idaho          3-7      4-7        16
Montana Tech              1-9      1-9        16
MSU-Northern              2-8      3-8        10

 


Coyote Football Opens Fall Camp

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 09:48 PM
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CALDWELL, Idaho – Coyote Football 2.0 began in earnest this morning at Simplot Stadium, as the College of Idaho kicked off fall camp in preparation for their season opener Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon.
 
The second year in the return of football brought 119 players to the field for the first of five two-a-day sessions during camp.
 
Quarterback Teejay Gordon is one of 11 starters returning from a Coyote offense that averaged over 200 yards per game on the ground.  Nine starters return on the defensive side of the ball, with a bevy of talented recruits looking to add depth to an ever improving unit.
 
The Yotes will have morning practices each of the next three days, beginning at 10 a.m. – and are open to the public.
 
C of I posted a 4-7 record in 2014, including three wins at Simplot Stadium  Season tickets are currently available online at YoteAthletics.com or by calling (208) 459-5223.


Positional Preview - Defensive Line

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:04 PM
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The first of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote defensive line.
 
During the 2014 season, injuries and depth plagued the Yotes throughout the year – as C of I ranked seventh in the Frontier Conference, allowing 213 yards rushing per game, and finished sixth in the league in sacks with 17.

However, the key core of the group has had a year to get bigger, faster, and stronger, while an outstanding recruiting class has helped the depth – making the Yotes front four look to be one of the most improved position groups on the team.
 
Returning tackle Josh Price is poised for a breakout season after leading all C of I interior linemen with 57 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss.
 
"Josh has the potential to be an All-Conference player for us," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said of the 6-3, 295-pound sophomore.  "He had an outstanding spring and has come to camp ready to do some great things for us."
 
Returners Talon SudbeckTrevor Smith and Zach Hall all look to make an impact for the Yotes. Sudbeck started at tackle last season and recorded 15 stops while battling injuries, while both Smith and Hall saw playing time as freshmen.
 
A trio of recruits also look to be in the mix initially – giving C of I size at the tackle position – as transfers Matt Crispoand Adam Kelsie, along with freshman James Fononga, are battling for playing time right away.
 
Crispo was an All-State lineman in the Utah high school ranks, having played at Montana Western as a freshman and redshirted at Weber State last season.  Kelsie had 11.5 tackles for loss at Orange Coast College in California and redshirted a Valdosta State in 2014, while Fononga was one of the top interior linemen in the Bay Area prep ranks.
 
"We are excited for our recruits," Jewell said.  "Both Crispo and Kelsie have experience at the college level and can step in and make an impact and I like what we've seen so far from Fononga."
 
The Yotes have further depth at the tackle position, as senior Tony Torres returns after missing 2014 due to injury, along with freshmen Zavior Cook and Geoffrey Blackmore.
 
On the end, the Yotes will need to replace Tyler Andreason, who did not return after leading the club with five sacks and four forced fumbles.
 
The staff made a big change this spring, moving leading tackler Jordan Vielma from linebacker to end.  The sophomore had 64 tackles during his rookie campaign, including 5.5 tackles for loss.
 
"Vielma will be a huge asset to our defense," Jewell said.  "His speed from the end will definitely make an impact."
 
Fellow sophomore, Taylor Oppedyk, had a great spring and will be a physical force, as will junior transfer Monte Huskey.  Sophomore Trevor Henderson and redshirt freshmen Kade PaulsenLeroy Sisnett and Kyle Ashby all have experience in the program and will provide depth at the position.
 
Three Oregon All-State players in Landon Clark-GammellJose Reyes, and Jett McCoy, along with local products Allen Attao Jr. and Zac Crosgrove and California native Nic Maggio, will be looking to crack the two-deep roster.
 
"Fans will definitely notice the improvement from our defensive front," Jewell said. 


Positional Preview - Linebackers

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 11:16 PM
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The second of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote linebackers.
 
Experience will be key for the Yotes linebackers, as the squad returns a bevy of talent to fill the two spots in the middle of the field.  The group will look to improve on a defense ranked seventh in the Frontier Conference in yards allowed.

"The Guys who have come back have worked really hard," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said. "It's been super competitive."

With fifth-leading tackler Kyle Cothern not returning this season and Jordan Vielma moving to defensive end, the Coyotes moved two-sport athlete Troy Carr from safety to linebacker to fill one of the roles.  Carr missed the first four games of last season with injury, but averaged nearly six tackles per game over the final seven contests, including a forced fumble and three tackles for loss.

"Troy Carr has made the move from safety and is doing really, really well," Jewell said. "At safety, he was physical and stiff hipped, but now he is a fast linebacker."

 He is joined by returning backers Jason Byce and Khallid Ransom, who each were in the regular rotation.  Byce finished his freshman season with 39 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, while Ransom, one of the 12 seniors on the squad, finished the season with 37 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss.
 
Also in the linebacker mix is a pair of Mountain Home products in Jake Hennessey and Ben Ceccarelli.  Hennessey, makes the move from offense to defense, as the junior, who was a redshirt defensive back at the University of Idaho in 2012, served as C of I's back-up quarterback last season.  Ceccarelli was a mainstay on the Yotes special teams last season, recording eight tackles and a pass break up last season.

"Byce and Ceccarelli have been phenomenal and Hennessey has made the transition from offense to defense easily," Jewell said.

Three newcomers look to make an immediate impact after stellar prep careers, as local products Zach Wagner and Dayne Jacobs are joined by California recruit Nikolas Lyons.  Wagner was an All-Southern Idaho Conference pick; Jacobs was an All-Conference player and had 101 tackles as a senior; while Lyons was a two-year starter for a very good Notre Dame High team.

"Wagner has been awesome, he's been everything we thought he would be," Jewell said. "He was our biggest 'get' in recruiting at the linebacker position.  We also moved Lyons from safety to linebacker this week and he has been outstanding."

Three other returners will be battling for a spot in the rotation – sophomore Mikey Cooper and redshirt freshmenDakota Horsewood and Travis Mayer.  Cooper served primarily on special teams in 2014, recording four tackles.

"Every day someone is bumping up and someone is bumping down," Jewell said. "The nice thing is that its competitive and it's made coaching easier because guys can't loaf and don't want to loaf because someone is breathing down their neck to steal their spot."

 The Coyotes will hold an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for their season opener, Aug. 29 vs. Eastern Oregon.


Positional Preview - Defensive Backs

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:10 PM
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The third of a nine-part preview of the 2015 College of Idaho football team, focusing today on the Coyote defensive backs.
 
Depth was the biggest concern for the Coyote secondary last season, as injuries depleted the roster as the season rolled on.  That is not the case this season, as the C of I staff focused much of their recruiting efforts to bolster both the safety and the corner positions.

One of those recruits, safety Tanner Oshiro, has had a great camp since joining the team when Menlo College shuttered their program in February.  The sophomore recorded 17 tackles during his rookie season for the Oaks.
 
Going head-to-head with the transfer is sophomore John Hohnhorst, who had 14 tackles as a freshman despite missing time due to injury. Also in the immediate mix is redshirt freshman David Juarez and true freshman Jaquan Mayberry.
 
"Oshiro has had a great camp so far and would be penciled in as the starter if we began today," defensive coordinator Chris Jewell said.  "I've been pleased with the way Hohnhorst has played so far and the same with Juarez, who redshirted for us last season and had a huge spring.  All of these guys have been competing, as has young Jaquan Mayberry, who has been competing for that spot as well."
 
At nickel safety, returner Hunter Temple had a quality freshman season, recording 40 tackles and a crucial blocked extra point in the season-opening win at Pacific.  He is being pushed by transfer Julian Patton, who had two solid seasons at Santa Barbara City College.
 
"Hunter Temple continues to get better and better and doing a heckuva job," Jewell said. "But, he is really being pushed by Julian Patton out of Santa Barbara who had to miss last year due to injury."
 
Cory Brady returns at free safety after leading the team with 64 tackles and six interceptions, including three picks in a home win over Montana Western.  The sophomore, who earned NAIA Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts, has depth behind him in Menlo transfer Michael Daw III, Fort Lewis transfer B.J. Newman, and returner Hank Boeger.
 
"Brady is playing well, but three guys are right with him," Jewell said. "Boeger had a great spring, and the transfers Daw and Newman have pushed him (Brady) to where he doesn't feel comfortable in that spot and has made him a better player.  He has really risen to the occasion – this spring he had a great spring and he has just continued to blossom."
 
Depth is key at all three positions, as returners Bryan DilworthJacques CarterDrake Rigby-Willingham, and T.J. Clarke are pushing to climb the depth chart, along with newcomers Levi Keltner and Kade Eiguren.
 
The Yotes return experience at the corner position, as returning starters Nate Moore and Grant Darrington look for breakout seasons.  Moore was C of I's top cover corner, matching up with the opponents' top receiver, and was among the Frontier Conference leaders in pass break-ups.  Darrington recorded 32 tackles on the season.
 
"Grant and Nate look to be our starters heading into the season," Jewell said. "Both had a great spring and have looked outstanding in camp."
 
Right behind the duo are three players, sophomore Malik Whitfield and true freshmen – Morris Kroma and Chris Waters.  Whitfield, a two-sport athlete, made 30 tackles in 2014 as part of the regular rotation, while both Kroma and Waters have impressive prep resumes.
 
"Morris Kroma was a huge get for us and has done really well, as has Chris Waters," Jewell said. "Malik Whitfield continues to get better and better.  We are a good five deep at corner, guys who we feel really good about putting in a game."
 
Also in the mix is returner Trae Bishop, who was a regular on the Yotes special teams, along with freshmen Payton WilnerDevin Gaskins, and Regan Sonderman.
 
"The guys that are behind them, they are not that far behind," Jewell said. "Just about all of our guys we feel we can put in a game and feel good about them.  Waiting in the wings are Payton Wilner, Devin Gaskins and Regan Sondermann, local kids that are going to be great and will be future really good Yotes – it's just that there are returners and others ahead of them right now.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.


Positional Preview - Running Backs

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:13 PM
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The fourth of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, focusing today on the Coyote running backs.
 
The running game was the key to the success of the Yotes during the 2014 season, averaging over 200-yards per game.  However, as the season progressed, injuries depleted the stable of backs, giving multiple players opportunities to shine.

This season, depth will not be a problem for the C of I offense, as 12 backs are vying for playing time, including four seniors.
 
"The experience we have in the back field is priceless," offensive coordinator Tim Keane said. "Every year we are getting a little more experience.  It's great to have an older group."
 
Though quarterback Teejay Gordon led the Yotes in rushing, Zach Garzoli was the top ground gainer among the running backs.  The sophomore had two 100-yard games and rushed for 559 yards and seven touchdowns, but missed much of the second half of the season due to injury.
 
Two seniors each had 50 or more carries last year, as the hard-nosed duo of Ryan Texeira and Kyle Merritt look to give C of I a change of pace.  Texeira made his debut in Week 5 and averaged over five yards per carry, rushing for 332 yards, while Merritt had 209 yards in an injury-plagued season.
 
Fellow seniors Mike Johnson and Marzett Davis provide speed in the back field and will be looked upon for an expanded role in 2015.
 
"If you look at our tailbacks, they come in all multiple shapes and sizes," Keane said. "We have little quick guys, and some bigger, stronger guys.  It has been fun to come up with some specific formations and packages for certain guys based on their strengths and let them do what they are suited to do."
 
Three other returners are in the mix – as sophomore Dakota Stallions rushed for 80 yards last season, Joe Murphyused the year as a redshirt season, while Chase Fiddler makes the conversion from the defensive side of the ball.
 
Looking to make a splash will be four freshmen, all who rushed for over 1,000 yards during their senior year of high school.  Josh Finley a 3A All-State pick and Magic Valley Player of the Year; Jason Leach rushed for over 3,300 yards over the past two seasons; Colby Brown rushed for 16 touchdowns as a senior; while Jake Thornberry split time between running back and quarterback.
 
"We have a lot of tailbacks and that is what is going to be fun this fall, is to figure out how to utilize all of these guys," Keane said.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.


Positional Preview - Offensive Line

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:11 PM
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The fifth of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, focusing tonight on the Coyote offensive line.
 
For offensive coordinator, Tim Keane, the new season brings a year of experience for his offensive line and renewed excitement for the potential of the offensive line.
 

Keane, a former lineman at UC Davis himself, returns all five starters that helped the offense average over 200 yards rushing per game.  Offseason workouts have increased the size of the returners by over 10 pounds per player, helping the crew match up even better with the quality defensive fronts in the Frontier Conference.
 
"I am really excited as those guys worked so hard during the summer," Keane said.  "We have NFL kind of line – in the sense we have just 10 guys. It's small like an NFL roster, as they carry eight guys plus some on a practice squad."
 
Center Greg Dohmen is the anchor of the line and is healthy after injuries plagued him during the 2014 season.  The former Bose State lineman is the lone senior among his peers.
 
"Greg is ready to go," Keane said.  "He spent the last two months digging ditches and using jackhammers on concrete, so double-days are easy compared to his summer work."
 
Guards Andrew Galloway and Dylan Garcia started all 11 games last season as true freshmen and earned loads of experience.  Galloway was busy during the spring as a thrower on the Yotes track and field team, placing fourth in the conference championships in the shot put.
 
"Galloway worked extremely hard during the summer, working in a lumber mill from 6-to-4," Keane said. "And then he made the trip to Caldwell and came over here to work out with us."
 
Tackles Sam Zvirdys and Sam Ball served as the primary bookends of the line as freshmen and both players are bigger, faster and stronger heading into 2015 – with their key role keeping the quarterback upright.
 
"With the work we have done, hopefully we are a little bit better up front in protecting our quarterback," Keane said.  "Their job is to keep him clean when he is throwing the ball."
 
Heading into camp, Keane has a full second unit of quailty offensive linemen – a luxury the Yotes did not have during the 2014 season.
 
Center Hayden Paul filled in admirably during his freshman season, earning loads of on-the-job experience.  At the guards, sophomore Jarrett Williams and junior Alec Montelongo provide size and speed and continue to press the starters, while at tackle, sophomore James Royspan style="font-family: arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;"> and freshman Tyler Vorce look to be impact players by the time their C of I careers are over.
 
"Our guys have a really good work ethic and are down to earth," Keane said. "Camp to them is easy; these guys are loving double-days in comparison to the work they put in during the summer.  It is fun to see their development."
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.


Positional Preview - Quarterbacks

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:14 PM
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The sixth of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, focusing today on the Coyote quarterbacks.
 
Heading into last season, the Yotes were excited about having a junior college quarterback directing the offense.  What they didn't know was that Teejay Gordon would break school records for rushing yards by a quarterback and set marks for completions, attempts and passing yards for a season.
 

Gordon recorded four 100-yard rushing games in C of I's first five contests and finished the year with a team-best 857 yards – tying a 1948 school record with 15 rushing touchdowns.  He added 1,728 yards through the air, completing 57-percent of his throws.
 
"We've tried to tweak things and add new wrinkles and expand things here and there," offensive coordinator Tim Keane said. "Teejay has done an outstanding job and was here all summer working and throwing.  He is poised to have a big senior year."
 
With last season's top back-up quarterback Jake Hennessey moving to the defensive side of the ball, it has opened things up for newcomer J.J. Hyde and redshirt freshman A.J. Martin.
 
Hyde spent his freshman season at the University of Utah before stepping away from the game for his LDS mission.  His 6-2, 230 pound frame provides a change of pace to the athleticism of Gordon, with Hyde a two-time 5A All-Southern Idaho Conference pick.
 
Martin got a year of tutelage in the system and had an outstanding spring.  As a senior at Idaho Falls High, he passed for over 3,200 yards and 32 touchdowns.
 
"The fun thing about all of our quarterbacks is that they are competitors," Keane said. "They love to compete.  It's really fun to watch these guys work hard and make each other better."
 
Redshirt freshman Tyler Cox also has a year in the system and a feel for the offense, while true freshman Drake Kuykendall of Orofino is coming off an outstanding final prep season.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.


Positional Preview - Tight Ends/Wide Receivers

Contributed by admin on Aug 18, 2015 - 10:16 PM
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The seventh of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, focusing today on the Coyote tight ends and receivers.
 
As the 2014 season rolled on, the Coyote passing game evolved, with both the tight ends and receivers becoming more and more involved with the offense.  This season, a balanced attack is imperative to the success of the squad.
 

It starts at the tight end position for the Yotes, as over one-third of all receptions last season were made by a trio of C of I ends.
 
"Tight ends are one of those funny positions now-a-days, most people don't even know what a tight end looks like anymore," offensive coordinator Tim Keane said. "We have some receiver tight ends, we have some that are more fullback type tight ends.  It's fun during the week to game plan to see how we will utilize this group and see how we can create a mismatch."
 
Leading the way is Marcus Lenhardt, who put together one of the best seasons in program history.  The sophomore, who was the Yotes lone representative on the All-Frontier Conference team and earned Preseason All-America honors by multiple minor publications, led the team with 43 receptions for 698 yards and two touchdowns.  His season numbers were second only to the monster 1954 season by NAIA Hall of Fame receiver, R.C. Owens.
 
Cole Maupin had a solid spring will definitely work his way into the rotation, a season after making three receptions, including one touchdown.  Senior Andy Forse served as C of I's long snapper last season but looks to be more involved in the offense, while true freshman Tyler Reay adds to the depth at the position.
 
Ringo Robinson is the top blocking tight end of the bunch, seeing the bulk of his playing time with the run game, but made five receptions as a freshman.
 
"Our returners did a great job this summer working out and I expect big, big things from them," Keane said.
 
In the Yotes three receiver set, a deep group of 19 wide-outs are battling for playing time – a huge mix of returners, transfers, and true freshmen.
 
"So much what we do at the receiver position in our offense is run blocking, these guys need to compete in run blocking to get themselves on the field and then we can find was to get them the ball in the passing game," Keane said. "Our receivers have to be tough and physically willing to block, because it opens up everything in our offense."
 
Returners Austin Diffey, Issac Gonzalez, and Zach Cooper were in the starting line-up most of the 2014 season and look improve on their initial campaign.  Diffey was the Yotes top possession receiver, making 42 receptions for 404 yards and a pair of touchdowns; Gonzalez was the primary deep threat, averaging 17.2 yards per reception; while the 6-foot, 4-inch Cooper made 10 receptions as a big outside target.
 
Fellow returners Levi Elsberry, Charlie Shepherd, and Lance Jones look to be more involved in the offense after being key special teams players in 2014.  Same can be said for redshirt transfers Shane Robinson and Colton Sweesy, who each had previous success at former schools.
 
"These guys have been great, the receivers have got tons and tons of reps in camp, a lot of 7-on-7, a lot of pass routes on air with the numbers we have, which has made each player better," Keane said.
 
Four transfers hope to make an immediate impact and shake up the rotation – juniors Terrence Young, Tyler Higby and Broch Cliff, along with sophomore Domenic Tolliver.  Young, from Diablo Valley College, had a dominant prep career where he had over 1,700 yards receiving and 16 touchdowns; Higby, a two-sport athlete, was a key receiver at Santa Barbara City College; while Tolliver saw action last season at Idaho State and was an All-City selection in Los Angeles as a prep. Cliff returns to the game after some time off, but was a two-time All-Southern Idaho Conference pick at Bishop Kelly High.
 
True freshmen will also be in the mix, as Zach Heinz, John Horn, Haziel Ledezma, Jackson Thompson and Scott Kautz look to get a grasp on the complex offensive scheme.  Heinz had a huge senior season at West Ranch High, making 62 receptions for 847 yards and 11 touchdowns; Horn averaged nearly 24 yards per reception at Yuba City High; Kautz recorded over 1,700 all-purpose yards at Sammamish High; with Ledezma and Thompson both two-sport athletes that won sprint state titles in track and field.
 
"We brought in some new guys into the receiver group and it has been fun to watch these guys push each other in camp," Keane said.
 
The unknown factor will be returning receivers Wes Fitzpatrick and Elijah Carter, who each had season-ending injuries early in the season.  Fitzpatrick was stellar in the season opener at Pacific, making eight receptions for 131 yards, while Carter had 10 catches before he was sidelined.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon. Admission is free and it is open to the public.


Positional Preview - Special Teams

Contributed by admin on Aug 20, 2015 - 09:50 PM
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The eighth of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, focusing today on the Coyote special teams.
 
Improvement across the board will be the key for the Yotes special teams in 2015, especially in kick coverage, where the squad struggled at times a year ago.  New special teams coordinator Kyle Greenwood has simplified the schemes and responsibilities and looks for a big year from his crew.
 
C of I will have a new place kicker this season, as 2014 starter Luke Taylor did not return for his sophomore season after making 34-of-38 extra points and both of his field goal attempts.
 
Look for redshirt freshman Hartvig Bondo to handle the duties – providing a big leg that could allow the Yotes to attempt field goals at a longer distance (C of I did not attempt a kick longer than 25 yards in 2014). 
 
Bondo will share kickoff duties with two-sport athlete Joseph Bolin, who is also an All-Conference soccer player for the Yotes.  The duo will try to improve on a kick coverage unit that allowed opponents an average starting position on the 38-yard-line.
 
Holders Levi Elsberry and Zach Cooper return, along with long snapper Andy Forse, who will be pushed in camp byTaylor Oppedyk and transfer Michael Daw III.
 
Punter Kevin McLemore will continue to be a weapon for the Yotes after averaging 38.8 yards per punt last season, including 10 balls downed inside the 20 yard line.  The senior used a great combination of traditional and rugby punts last season, but will need help from his coverage teams, as C of I's net punting average was just 26.6 yards.
 
In the return game, the Yotes will have options – a great mix of returners and hopefuls.
 
Cory Brady was C of I's lone punt returner in 2014, averaging 12.5 yards an attempt, while also averaging 21 yards a kick return.  Both Grant Darrington and Elijah Carter also were successful in the kick return game, with Carter providing an 87-yard touchdown in the opening win over Pacific.
 
Returners Shayne Robinson and Marzett Davis will also be in the mix as a deep back.
 
Newcomers Tyler HigbyTerrence Young , and Morris Kroma will push the veterans.  Higby averaged nearly 25 yards a kickoff return and 16 yards a punt return in junior college; Young averaged 24 yards a kickoff return in junior college; while Kroma averaged 17 yards a punt return his senior year of high school.
 
The Coyotes will host an intrasquad game on tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. in preparation for the season opener, Aug. 29, vs. Eastern Oregon.  Admission is free.


Positional Preview - Outlook/Opponents

Contributed by admin on Aug 21, 2015 - 11:22 PM
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The final segment of a nine-part College of Idaho 2015 football team preview, taking a look back at 2014, what players the Yotes will need to replace, and a look ahead to the upcoming schedule.
 
A season under their belt, and returning nearly the entire nucleus of a 4-7 squad that played their first game in 37 years, optimism is high for the Yotes. If the C of I offense can become more balanced to take pressure off the quarterback position and if the defense can make adjustments after a rough first year, the Coyotes could prove to be spoilers throughout the Frontier Conference season.  Conference coaches see the potential, voting the Yotes sixth in the preseason coaches' poll.
 
The big unknown was the entirety of the Coyote football program 12 months ago, as C of I was embarking on their first gridiron campaign in nearly four decades.  The undersized group of primarily freshmen stunned the football world in September of 2014 – first going on the road to defeat a senior-laden Pacific University team, 35-34, and then returning home to outlast a quality Montana Western squad before a sellout crowd, 31-28.
 
In all, the Coyotes opened the season 3-1 – including rolling up over 500 yards of total offense in a victory over Montana Tech. The team pushed their record to 4-2 in October, using a last minute touchdown and a last second goal line stop to defeat Montana State Northern, 35-31.
 
However, the rigors of the brutal Frontier Conference schedule caught up with the upstarts – five total games against Top-20 teams, including three of the final four weeks of the season – as C of I closed the season on a five-game losing streak.
 
The Yotes offense was solid, averaging over 200 yards rushing per game and had three different players record 100-yard rushing games.  The defense, which had eight freshmen starters, struggled against the potent offenses in the loop, allowing 492 yards per game – including three games against Top-5 clubs in which they rolled up over 600 yards in total offense.
 
In all, the offense should not skip a beat, as all 11 starters return and 27 players with game experience provide a solid group to begin with.  Key recruits in the back field and at the skill positions will make the Yotes even more explosive.
 
Defensively, the Coyotes will need to replace sack leader Tyler Andreason and linebacker Kyle Cothern, who each did not return this season.  However, nine starters return and 24 players with game experience is a good base to begin with.  Recruiting focused on the defensive line and secondary, which should help the club be more physical up front and have more size and speed in the among the defensive backs.
 
The 2015 schedule is a mirror image of last season, as C of I will play the same eight teams – including six home dates at Simplot Stadium, where the Yotes posted a 3-2 record and averaged over 4,500 fans per game.
 
The Aug. 29 opener vs. Eastern Oregon (will also travel to EOU on Nov. 7) is the earliest start date in program history.  The Mountaineers (8-3) are coming off their best season in program history and open 2015 ranked No. 13 in the NAIA Top-25 poll.  The offense revolves around returning quarterback Zach Bartlow, who passed for 2,318 yards and added 523 yards on the ground, while All-America receiver Jace Billingsley had 637 yards receiving and 891 yards rushing in 2014.  The EOU defense is paced by end Kyle Lanoue and corner Byron Benson, who each earned All-Conference honors.  The Mountaineers return five starters on offense and six defensive starters, but will need to replace four of their five offensive linemen.
 
The Coyotes will play back-to-back home games for the first time since starting 1977 with three consecutive dates at Simplot Stadium, hosting former Northwest Conference rival Pacific on Sept. 5.  The Boxers (6-3) rallied from a 0-2 start last season to earn a share of their first conference title since 1952 – including a six-game win streak.  Quarterback Warner Shaw threw for 1,814 yards last season, but lost his top three receivers to graduation.  Defensively, All-NWC picks  in linebacker Jack Perez and end Jeff Bajoma return to anchor front seven.
 
A week later, the Yotes hit the road, making the first of three trips to Montana, meeting Montana Western (will also host UMW on Halloween).  The Bulldogs (6-5) played two tight games against C of I last season, rallying for a last minute November home win.  Western will have to replace signal-caller Tyler Hulse, but leading rusher Sam Rutherford, who ran for 1,063 yards in 2014, is a good base to build on.  The Bulldogs also return two of the top linebackers in the Frontier Conference in All-Conference picks A.J. Wilson and Joe Coker.
 
Homecoming hits Caldwell on Sept. 19 and the Coyotes did not duck the competition, as defending NAIA champions and preseason No. 1 ranked Southern Oregon heads to town (C of I travels to SOU on Oct. 24).  The Raiders (13-2) return six offensive and seven defensive starters, but have to replace all-everything quarterback Austin Dodge, who passed for 5,607 yards and 52 touchdowns in 2014 and established career NAIA records for passing yards and touchdowns.  Gone are the top-two receivers from a year ago, but SOU returns 1,000-yard rusher Melvin Mason along with Matt Retzlaff, who had 56 receptions.  Defensively, linebacker Joseph Lenlofi anchors an underrated Raiders defensive unit that came up big in the 2014 postseason.
 
C of I closes out the first half of the season on Sept. 26 at Montana Tech, as the Orediggers (1-9) look to rebound after a rough 2014 season.  Gone is the all-time leading rusher in Tech history in Pat Hansen, while Montana State transfer Quinn McQueary will battle Dawson Reardon and Andrew Loudenback for the quarterback spot, after the returning duo combined for over 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns.  Defensively, All-America linebacker David Meis is the key component of the Digger front seven.
 
Following a bye week, the Yotes make the 700 mile exodus to Montana State Northern for their first ever game at Blue Pony Stadium.  The Lights (3-8) struggled last season due to a coaching change just before the start of fall camp and never fully recovered.  Frontier Conference rushing champ Zach McKinley, who tallied 1,425 yards in 2014, will be Northern's featured back, while All-Conference defensive end Tyler Craig leads a defense that held the Yotes in check in the second half of last season's wild 35-31 C of I win.
 
C of I returns home on Oct. 17 for a meeting with Rocky Mountain, as the Bears (5-6) are coming off a disappointing 2014 season.  Rocky will break in a new quarterback this season, but whomever wins the job will have two-time All-America receiver Andre McCullough to work with, as McCullough is coming off an 87 reception season, good for 1,161 yards.  All-Conference safety Eric Buer and defensive lineman Brendon Johnson key the Bears defense.
 
After return meetings against SOU, Western, and EOU, the Yotes close the season Nov. 14 against perennial Frontier Conference power Carroll.  The Saints (10-2) won the 2014 conference title and advanced to the national quarterfinals, where they were eliminated by Southern Oregon in a blizzard, 42-40.  Carroll returns six starters on each side of the ball – including quarterback Mac Roche, who passed for 2,942 yards and 28 touchdowns, completing 67-percent of his attempts.  Defensive backs James Dowgin and Shayne Durbin are key to the Saints success, as Carroll must replace two-time All-America linebacker in Sean Blomquist.
 
The Coyotes open the 2015 season next Saturday afternoon, hosting Eastern Oregon at 1 p.m.