Cal Poly Post-Game: Robb Akey

Vandal first year head coach ROBB AKEY and his young Vandal squad evened their season record to 1-1 with Saturday's 20-13 home victory over Cal Poly. Inside this article coach Akey, enjoying his first win as a head coach, talks about the stellar effort of his team, focusing in on Shiloh Keo, Stanley Franks, Deonte Jackson, and redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Enderle

Idaho head football coach Robb Akey: "Y'all look kinda quiet sitting in here….Fire away!"

About Idaho's halftime adjustments, and the performance of the Vandal Defense: "I think I like what our defensive coaches did. We gave up quite a few rushing yards obviously today, but we did do a nice job of taking the football away from them. I think we had four forced fumbles - or they had seven fumbles and we got four of them - so that was big right there. We made a couple of alignment changes to try to help solidify some of that running game. I thought coach Criner did a nice job of getting things blended in there and moving it around. I'm gonna to tell you what – that option game just creates so many more [issues] in that triple option. I thought that those kids and that coaching staff did a nice job getting things tweaked. [Basically] we moved some guys around a little bit, got a little bit of an alignment change so we would be able to change up some responsibilities in regards to the dive, the quarterback, the pitch. I thought the kids handled it well. The coaching staff did a great job of dialing it up, and also changing it during the course of the ballgame. They did very well there I thought."

About Stanley Franks and his performance against a tall, very good receiver: "I'll tell you what, I think Stanley is a darned good player, and I think he could play anywhere he wanted to in the country. I'm happy as hell that he's with us. I like the way that he plays a lot. That receiver [for Cal Poly], he's a hell of a player. He looked just like those guys we played against last week [at USC]. That kid does a great job, and he's done a great job for them in his time there. Stanley answered the challenge. I talked to Stanley on the field, I said, ‘I'd think they'd be leaving you alone by now, bubba,' because he was doing a great job. He put himself in great position, made great plays on the ball, and I can't say enough. I thought he did a tremendous job."

About the Vandal offensive line Saturday: "Well, we ran the ball pretty darned well; so I would say it was better. I think it came along. I like the way we were able to run the football. They did a great job grinding the clock out with 4-1/2 minutes left there to finish the football game. Deonte goes for 216 yards or somewhere in that ball park. I think in that respect they did a tremendous job, and at the same time I think that there's a lot more that we can do. We need to perform better than what we did today. I'm happy with the win. Every win is a good win. I feel like we took a step forward today, but we're nowhere near where we need to be - where we can be."

About what Joartis Ratti said when he brought the ball to you on the sideline after recovering a fumble: "He was pretty fired up, and so was I. He said he had a little gift for me, so he brought it to me. I was happy about that. We talk about that a lot of times before games and before scrimmages. I tell these guys, ‘Hey! Go bring me a ball would ya?' He followed through on it; so it was awesome. We were both fired up because that meant the ball was ours and the offense was back out on the field. I was happy about that."

Did the players say anything to you after the game about first win: "Well, there were a few of the guys who came over. They said, "Hey, congratulations on the first one coach." That did mean a lot."

About getting the first win: "I was happy. Obviously you always look at a ball game and you see all the things that you'd like to do better, but winning is important, and I like the way that we won today, especially when I know how much better we're capable of playing. To be able to win and still have improvement that can be made, as a coach that's where you like to be. Obviously we want to get better as fast as we can so we can find out how good we can make this football team. This football team doesn't know how good it can be just yet, and we've got to keep pushing to get it to that point. To get the first win, get it here in the Dome…to get it here at home and to get it right away and not have to wait, I'm happy about that."

Describe the defensive performance regarding stopping the triple option: "I think they did a good job. Again, there were a lot of yards against us, but until that play there in the second half we did a great job of keeping points off the board. They might have gotten down there but we stopped ‘em. They went for it on fourth down and we stopped ‘em. We did a great job of also taking the football away, like I talked about before. When you're going against the triple, you don't face that all the time and it's a different deal. That's why they do it. It gives them an opportunity to compete against people when they go to play a 1-A program. It's just like Air Force had all the success for all those years because they ran the same deal and it gave them an opportunity to compete. So what it did, it created more yards against us, but again the scoreboard is what matters. The yardage doesn't matter. The scoreboard is what matters, and I thought those guys did a great job. Again, I can't say enough about taking the ball away from ‘em four times."

Regarding Deonte Jackson running for over 200 yards rushing, was the game plan to run that much: "We felt like we'd be able to run the ball against them, yes. We wanted it to be a blended package, and you'd like to be 50/50 to the best of your ability. But when you've got something that you can take, you want to go and take it. I thought [offensive coordinator Steve] Axman, the offensive players, and the offensive staff did a great job of getting that running game going and making it work, and I can't say enough about Deonte. I like the way he runs. He works his tail off every day at practice, and you saw the way he did it out there tonight. The one [carry he had] down by our endzone – that was a big time run in my opinion, and he's just a pup. He's going to keep getting better, but I was very happy with the way he ran the ball."

Regarding redshirt freshman quarterback Nathan Enderle's performance, and the fact he threw for more yards against USC than he did today against Cal Poly: "Well, I think that those numbers might have been a little bit different. We had a big, long ball that could have put us down there at the Cal Poly 5 yard line. That would have been a whole lot more yards, and another opportunity to maybe score there. I thought there were some pretty good throws that maybe we didn't catch. I think also we were able to do a lot with the running game, and we didn't throw the ball as much today as we did last week.

About the possibility that the team may not have been up as much for this game as they were against USC: "I don't think [that was an issue]. Nah. I don't think so. I looked at this football team and that question was asked of me last week. I thought when they came out they looked to me like they were ready to play. We're not at the point where we can let down. There was nothing to let down from. We got beat last week. That's what we talked about all week long. We lost that USC game by 28 points. That's nothing. That's not good. I don't see….there was nothing to let down from. We're still climbing trying to get ourselves a win. No, I don't think so. I thought they worked hard all week long in practice. This was a little bit different. All spring long we practiced against each other. Our defense faced our offense and vice versa. They saw that look all that time. We started fall camp and they practiced against each other. Then there were the offensive players, the defensive players, the special teams kids – they were looking at USC video over the course of the summer, over the course of fall camp. We practiced for ten days or so against USC, and they were very comfortable with what they were going to see there. Now, and a lot of these guys are freshmen, all of a sudden - BOOM. You're into a new game week. There's a different offense being run at you, a completely different defense and special team run at you; so I thought what these guys did was a tremendous job of getting more comfortable with it as the week went on. It was very different all of a sudden on Tuesday's practice. On Wednesday it got a little cleaner. On Thursday it got a little cleaner. On Friday…you know, they got more comfortable as the week went on. Now they've got a little better experience of the routine of how you attack a new opponent. I think maybe that affected things a little bit. But in regards to being ready to play – no, these guys were definitely ready to play. What I would like to see is maybe a little more life when we come out there in the second half, but I ain't trying to say anything. [Laughter]

About the performance sophomore strong safety Shiloh Keo: "He's playing his tail off…he's another guy. I look at him and he loves to play the game. I see that in practice. Both of these two young men right here [Keo and Franks were at the media table with Akey]. They practice hard and they play hard in practice. A lot of guys don't have the ability to do that. They do that, and that's why they're able to play the way they do when they play full speed. He has a great understanding of what we're doing in our defensive package, where weaknesses are, where people are going to try to attack it, and he handles that very well, and he knows when he needs to be there for the run. I'm going to tell you what. One of the best plays he made today was that fade ball that was thrown down our sideline. He showed great range on that and came flying through the air and knocked that ball away. That was a big time play in my opinion. He's also doing some good things for us on the special teams, too, other than that….well, we won't talk about that…"

About the facemask call that happened on a second half, fourth down play that had Cal Poly stopped: "They said it was on a defensive lineman. I couldn't see it. They were confident that that was what the deal was. That was pretty unfortunate, too, because there was a fourth down stop that put us in a position to be able to put another score on the board. It was unfortunate that play [the long Cal Poly TD reception] hit after that, but if we take care of business I think we learn a great lesson there. Take care of business, finish your job, and we're not in jeopardy at that point in time. Our offense is on the field trying to score another touchdown. It was disappointing - I couldn't see the facemask, but there was no question in their minds."


About injuries to Brian Flowers and Aaron Lavarias: "Flowers has a hamstring and obviously wasn't able to finish the day. I've got a feeling it's probably going to take a while the way he reacted. I'll know more tomorrow. I think Lavarias has got an ankle and it kept him from being able to finish the game. How bad that is, I don't know. The trainer came over and told me he was done and I don't know more than that."

About Jo'Artis Ratti getting in there early although he didn't start: "He showed up there, didn't he? He got out there and that foot didn't feel real comfortable early. Then he got his mind set and he was able to fight through it. He did some good things out there today. I was disappointed in the penalty, obviously, but he made a couple of nice hits on that quarterback and he got his tail flying around. I think he showed us some signs of what he's going to be able to do this season. He's one I like a lot. He brings personality out there to the defense. He plays with a motor, and there's a lot more that he's capable of doing. I'm anxious to see him improve."

Robb Akey: "Thanks fellas. We'll see you next [Saturday]. I heard we've got a big game."

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