Coaches Corner: Akey discusses Border War

The Vandals jumped out to a determined start at Martin Stadium Saturday night, scoring efficiently on their first possession and carrying a 14-7 lead into the second quarter. But with Washington State continuing to put on an offensive clinic this season, and with the young Vandals making mistakes on both sides of the ball, Idaho went into halftime down 31-21 and eventually lost 45-28 to Wazzu.

About the game: "Well, I'm disappointed obviously with the way it turned out. I liked the way that it started out, and I felt like some things were going well at the [beginning]. We knew we needed to do what we could to try and limit big plays by their offense, which obviously we didn't do a good enough job of tonight. That's a darn good receiving corps. Jed Collins made some good plays for them also. They were a little bit on fire tonight. At the same time I'm a little disappointed in the fact that I don't think we executed some things very well. We lost leverage in coverage, lost leverage in the running game also. Things we had done better at points in time. That's disappointing to me. The way that we started the football game, we came out and we were getting after it, and it was a wild football game there for awhile. And we were throwing. We need still to be able to respond better to adversity than what we did tonight. We were a bit of a roller coaster I felt, in regards to our confidence and the way that we played. But those are things that we can fix. This is one ball game. Obviously I would have liked very much to win this game. That football team played their tails off over there and we found out where we are a little bit, we found out some things that we need to fix, and we will. It doesn't affect our WAC conference schedule."

About the return to Martin Stadium tonight: "I was planning on going out of here a winner, so it wasn't good in that respect. It was different, standing over there on that other sideline. That was when I came into the stadium. When you're coaching the game, you're coaching the game, with this football team, and focused on what was going on. It's kind of like all those pregame talks to get your guys all wound up. As soon as the first hit hits, those things are all gone. It was sort of the same thing today. But it was something I was looking forward to, and I just we would have finished a little bit better."

Did WSU do anything that surprised him: "No. They didn't surprise me. With the things they were doing and that type of deal, no. I was disappointed that we didn't maybe make some plays on some of those things than we could have, and that comes down to some execution. That was disappointing to me, because I thought we'd been making some progress in regards to some things like that. But its something that got exposed, and we've got to get it cleaned up and fixed."

About Idaho not playing Wazzu for awhile: "Well, we don't have them on the schedule next year, so we have to live with this for a little while until we can get it back on there again. I think it's a good thing for the two communities. I think it can be a fun game, and it's been going for a long, long time. Maybe this little break will help put something back on it when we come back in again. Obviously I'd like another shot at it. But at the same time I also want to make sure that we're doing something with our schedule to help prepare our football team to win WAC Championships. I think playing two PAC-10 teams that can be both physically and mentally hard on you as you're preparing for things. Our athletic director is doing a great job of getting the schedule cleaned up and getting us to the point where we'll have a PAC-10 / BCS school that we'll play, a couple schools that are in conferences similar to ours like the Mountain West Conference, the MAC. We have Northern Illinois coming out here this week. Conference USA, someone like that. And then hopefully a game that is supposed to be a warmup type game, like what Cal Poly was last week. I think if you can do those things, the important thing is building this team through the preseason to get ready for the WAC Conference, so I think that helps us."

About quarterback Nathan Enderle: "Well he did some good things at times, and we threw too many interceptions obviously today. There were a couple of them where he could have made a better decision I think. But that's a young guy that's running the show, he's getting a lot better in regards to how he's doing things. He's getting to the point where he's taking it over. You've got a young guy that's pushing and trying to make plays out there tonight, and some of the plays that he made were very, very good. I think the consistency level is what we need to get going. But we've got to take better care of the football. That's something that our football team has been doing, coming into today, we'd been winning the takeaway battles. We hadn't been turning the ball over, and tonight we did. We still got some takeaways, an interception and two fumble recoveries. But I don't think that outdoes the four interceptions. So, that's one of the battles within the war and the game that you need to win in order to influence the ballgame. So, we need to clean that up a little bit. But I like him a lot, and I like what he's going to do for us. He's a hell of a kid, and he's going to be a big time player I think."

About the positives you take from tonight: "Well, it's over, so that's a good thing. [laugter] I think when you settle down and you look at the video, and you look at the way we came out and the way that we played at that point in time, that's a positive. When we were playing well, the mindset we had. Right now we have to fix that more than anything, the mindset we have [throughout the game], the way we carry ourselves. Playing with confidence. Coming into a stadium and expecting to win the game. We came in that way, we played that way initially, but when some things hit us bad, we didn't respond to it well. I thought we made progress towards that. So we were a bit of a roller coaster. When things were going well, hey it was great! And we were playing our tails off. But as soon as we'd have some adversity, I sensed we were down a little bit. Then we'd make something happen and we'd get back up. It was a roller coaster. We've got to get ourselves to a level and perform at that level. I understand that there is a lot of ground to gain, you don't build it all at one time. But they've shown me – that they're capable of doing it, because we have done these things at times. It's a matter of making it be a habit in the way that we perform. And then, you don't see some of the – I was very disappointed in our penalties tonight. There were four or five, maybe six, personal fouls. Some of them the player might be playing fast and the guy doesn't know where he's at and that happens. Sometimes those things happen. I just want to make sure that if we get a penalty, it's not lack of composure. I felt some of those things certainly hurt us tonight. We've got to get that cleaned up, because we will played class football. I think some of them weren't necessarily…it's just the nature of the game, and some of it's going to get called. But we'll know better after I've had a chance to look at the video. We're gaining ground with this team. I like this team. I like the way that they have responded to us. Tonight was something that was a great learning experience for us to be able to overcome some things, and get it built. We still have one more game to play before we get into our WAC conference schedule, and we need to get some things cleaned up in a hurry."

About being within 10 points in the fourth quarter: "It was a two score ball game at that point, and we were working hard…I thought we could get something over the hump there. And I thought we could still get it to within a two score game. If something bad happens you still have to keep playing. If we just have that kind of an attitude about the way we play, than I think things can be fixed. But at that point, I did. I thought we had a little something happen there. We talked about needing to get them stopped on defense and create something on offense, and boy there then we did. Then we just need to be able to finish there a bit. We showed some sparks."

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