Ready for some football

Edmiston excited to get back on field for Mavs' opener

Jake Edmiston missed the Mavs’ final four games of last season with a pair of injuries and is set to take the field tonight against Humboldt State.


Colorado Mesa (0-0) at No. 21 Humboldt State (0-0)

Today, 7 p.m., Redwood Bowl, Arcata, Calif.

Radio: 1230-AM (KEXO), 99.9-FM (KEKB).

The coaches

Colorado Mesa — Russ Martin, first game as head coach. Humboldt State — Rob Smith, fifth season, 24-17.

Last season

The Mavericks finished 4-7, seventh in the RMAC. The Lumberjacks finished 9-1, won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, and were ranked No. 20 in the final poll but didn’t qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs.

Series history

Humboldt State leads the series 2-1, including a 29-3 victory in the season opener last year at Stocker Stadium.

Players to watch

Colorado Mesa — RB Jake Cimolino rushed for 974 yards and five touchdowns last season; WR Austin Rodriguez caught 19 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns last season; S Trent deBraga led the team with 103 tackles and returned two interception for TDs; CB Jordan Price led the team in passes defended with 15 and was selected the RMAC freshman defensive player of the year.

Humboldt State — QB Alex Rump takes over for Mike Proulx, who set several career school records, including passing yards, completions and TDs. WR Victor Spencer is the leading returning receiver with 38 catches for 599 yards and two TDs; SS Jeremiah Maluia is the leading returning tackler with 64 tackles. CB Kevin Cooper intercepted four passes last season.

Injury Report

Four CMU players projected to either start or play major minutes are out: RB Zach Adair (knee), OL Isaac Valentine (knee) and S Andrew Hurley (knee) are out for the season with torn knee ligaments. DE Domonique Lewis is nursing a pulled hamstring and didn’t make the trip. DT Cees Doxsey may see limited reps, and CB Travis McRae will play after missing some practice time with a high ankle sprain.

Game Notes

■ Humboldt State is the preseason favorite to win its conference. It lost 18 starters from last year, including its quarterback, leading rusher and top two receivers from a team that ranked 11th in the nation in total offense and averaged more than 30 points a game.

“They became pretty good at what they were doing,” Martin said. “It’s a physical brand of football, but they’ll spread it out, run some bootleg and mix it up.”

■ Humboldt’s starting offensive line averages 6-foot-3, 302 pounds. The defensive line averages 6-3, 273. “They’re going to be big and physical,” Martin said. “I think we’ll match up OK. I think our style of play, both offensively and defensively, we’re going to have more movement.”

About that nickname

Colorado Mesa linebacker Jake Edmiston, with his fair skin and bleached blond hair, has been nicknamed Frosty since the first grade.

“I never once introduced myself as Frosty,” Edmiston said. “It followed me here through elementary school, middle school and high school.”

It followed him to CMU with his Palisade High School teammates, Zach Adair and Matt Young.

It’s the day that players look forward to the most: the season opener.

It’s today for the Colorado Mesa University football team, and while everyone is jacked up, it’s a good bet no one will be more ready to play than Jake Edmiston.

The Colorado Mesa University junior linebacker will play for the first time since Oct. 15, 2011, when a pair of injuries on one play ended his season in the Mavericks’ loss to the Colorado School of Mines. Edmiston missed the final four games of the season and spring ball.

He, as much as anyone, is ready for a revival when the Mavericks begin a new era under coach Russ Martin at 7 p.m. today at No. 21 Humboldt State (Calif.) University.

“Obviously, I’m excited,” Edmiston said. “It’s been a long time. I was talking to some of the guys earlier. It’s been 10-and-a-half months since I’ve got to hit someone besides my own teammates, so it’s going to be nice.”

The Palisade High School graduate will start the season opener and is one of six returning starters on defense for the Mavericks. Eight starters return on offense.

Edmiston, whom teammates call Frosty, was a starter at outside linebacker last year alongside three seniors. He averaged seven tackles a game and had 15 tackles and an interception against nationally ranked University of Nebraska-Kearney, where Martin was the offensive coordinator.

“He’s a guy that can help guys get lined up right and checks made,” Martin said. “He’s a smart football player. He recognizes things very well. He can decipher through all the things (offensive formations). He’s a good, tough football player.”

Edmiston tore his right knee ligaments and broke his hand on the same play last year against Colorado School of Mines.

“It was a freak accident, I guess,” Edmiston said. “I remember my knee popped and I came off the field. They took a look at it and told me it was torn. I didn’t want to believe them obviously. I could feel it once I came to the sideline. They made me pull my hands apart, and I could feel the bones move around in there. I didn’t know it was broken until then.”

A season-ending injury can crush a player’s spirit, but for Edmiston it was a blessing in disguise.

“Everyone says you never know what play could be your last,” he said. “I never really knew that until then. I’ve never had a significant injury where I missed any time, a practice or game, through high school and college. To have that and know you’re down for six months and there’s nothing you can do about it, I realized how blessed I am to play the game.”

Edmiston’s work in rehabilitation caught Martin’s eye.

“He’s had a great attitude coming back from all that stuff,” Martin said. “He’s a great example of a leader in the weight room, in the classroom, around campus. You want a class guy. That’s how he’s been acting and playing. He’s hungry to get after it.”

Edmiston’s work in rehab earned him an opportunity to be a defensive captain. He’ll be calling defensive plays at middle linebacker this season.

“I’m definitely not the most physically gifted guy by any stretch of the imagination,” Edmiston said. “I’ve always tried to be ahead mentally. It’s an honor coach has the trust in me to relay stuff to the other linebackers, D-line and the secondary.”

If that wasn’t enough, Edmiston is also the Mavericks’ long snapper on field goals and punts.


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