Coaches Corner: UI-SJSU Post Game

Idaho first year head coach Dennis Erickson talks about the season, the team's performance against San Jose State Saturday afternoon, and he discusses recruiting and the current status of the team. Some progress was made in this last week of the season (the team was in a position to win, and held a 10-7 halftime lead before falling 28-13 to the Spartans), but a lot more work remains.

Dennis Erickson's general comments about Idaho's performance against San Jose State... "We let it slip away...I thought at halftime we had all the momentum going in there. We played probably as well as we've played the last 5 or 6 weeks. We played pretty well on defense and running the football, which is something we felt we had to do going into that game. That first drive of the second half, where they took it in from 80 yards; that changed the momentum. We had opportunities, [but] couldn't get it into the endzone."

On Idaho's second half drive that started deep in their end of the field... "We throw a pass, which we do a lot coming out of the endzone. We had some guys who were there, and Steve [Wichman] underthrew it, and obviously that turned the game around. I was trying to get out of there...we practice that thing all the time, and it's a big play for us because its protected well. Obviously it didn't work, but it was my call, and that changed the game because we're talking a one point game at that time. It's kind of been the story for us the last 5 or 6 weeks; we play good at times. On special teams I thought Connelly punted pretty well, but we don't return kickoffs very well. They really hurt us field position-wise. San Jose is a good football team, and they didn't make very many mistakes. We've got a lot of work to do to get this program going in what I consider the right direction. Four wins isn't good enough."

Was anything "new" being implemented offensively the last few weeks... "[We were] just trying to execute what we do...that's our problem. We're not executing. I'd hate to put something new in...we were just trying to execute what we were doing. We felt going into this game that we were going to have to run it to be successful, because we haven't been throwing it or catching it very well the last month. And we did to a point, and it kinda worked the first half. Then we fell behind...had some guys open, and had some drops. When you throw it, a lot of good things have got to go, and we're just not capable of doing that right now."

About progress this last week... "I think we played better this game, there's no question about it. We had a chance to beat a pretty good football team. We're just inconsistent. We play well for awhile, but we just aren't experienced enough - haven't won enough - to do a lot of those things that you need to do in the second half, and that really jumped out in this game. We had all that momentum going [at halftime] and couldn't make plays in the third and fourth quarter to try to win it."

About the seniors.. "I thanked the seniors...they've been through so many things here. They've been through three coaches, not very many wins. They had some fun this year, we won three in a row and things were going pretty good. To me, I feel bad for them...I wanted them to go out with a win in the worst way. We preached that all week, and it just didn't happen. But the guys that have been here 4 or 5 years, it's been a long road for them...a long journey. It's different for the junior college guys that have only been here for a couple years. But you take Jade [Tadvick], Nate [VanderPol], and Jaron [Williams] and some of those guys that have been here a long time, and they're good football players who have busted their rearends for this program...I'm sorry that they couldn't have won more than four. But I told them that we're going to get this thing turned around, and they're still going to be a huge part of it."

About the feeling going into the off-season... "We're fine...we're going to be better just because we've been together here for a year, and they know what we want. Obviously we need to do some evaluation in our program - who wants to be here and who doesn't want to be here, who wants to make some commitments and who doesn't want to make commitments. Thats where we're at right now. We've got some opportunities; we've got recruiting; we've got some good young players. We're just going to move forward and try to continue to improve. But it's going to be an interesting off-season - it really is - in a lot of different ways. Recruiting-wise, things we're going to demand, physically, in our weightroom are the things I think are necessary to win. I'm convinced nowadays, as you look at all the programs throughout the country, a commitment at every program is a year-round commitment. We did not have as many guys here in the summer as I would have liked. So, we've got to make a total commitment to get it done, and we are. Those that don't want to make that commitment, that's fine too. But we're going to play with guys that want to make that commitment as time goes on in this program."

About recruiting... "Recruiting is a year-round deal. To me recruiting is all about evaluation, for us, particularly at the WAC level. The thing that you've got to do is you've got to be able to go and evaluate, because there's a lot of good players out there. You've got to turnover rocks, which is what Boise's done, which is what Reno's done - I look at those two programs, and Tomey's done that too. So you've really got to do a good job of evaluating. If you're going to take 20 guys, make sure you take 20 guys that can play. I always tell my coaches don't worry about who you lose, because it really doesn't make any difference. Worry about who you get. Make sure the guys you get can play, and that's where we're at right now."

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