SCRIMMAGE QUOTES: Head Coach Robb Akey

University of Idaho head football coach ROBB AKEY discusses all aspects of today's scrimmage - the improvements made on offense, the things the defense must work on, and a discussion about how the Vandals arrived at the offense they'll be running this fall, and more.

COACH QUOTES: Robb Akey, University of Idaho Head Coach

ROBB AKEY: "Nobody got hurt, so that's always nice. So what do you guys want to talk about?"

About the receivers today: "Maurice Shaw's name is written down a lot on my book right here. So was Eddie Williams. So was Eric Greenwood. That was good, because I saw more than just one play by those guys. I saw very good things happen from those guys; so I'm happy that that showed up. I was happy to see Dewey (Hale) make that catch there. That's a guy that's got some shake and some speed that can do some things. I thought that was better, and we looked like we did a good job of getting the ball to some of those other tight ends, too. I think Kevin Small had a couple catches in there. That was one of the positives I was looking for today. No question. The long ball in the two minute situation. We were in a terrible situation for that scenario. It's third down, and we were backed up. We burned the time out, and then we hit a home run long ball (to Greenwood) while he's getting pass interfered. Those catches that Eric Greenwood made, he was under tight, tight coverage and he made that one and the other fades down here on the goal line…those were big time catches. So for that play to get us out of that mess, and I saw Nate throw some nice balls, some nice balls on the money, that was a good thing to see today."

On the offense scoring on all but one possession: "Yup. It was all but one; so that was very positive for them. Princeton McCarty had some nice runs today. He got a little bit in there with the ones [First Team offense}. I thought each of those running backs have done some good things [McCarty and Corey White, stepping up for starter Deonte Jackson who has sat out the last couple practices]. Joseph Dickson had the fumble takeaway in the one possession for the First Team defense, and the rest of them the offense was pretty consistent about being able to put points on the board. Corey Williams also had some nice runs today.

Q: White? Corey White?
RA: "Corey White. What'd I say? Williams?"

Media: Williams.
RA: "That's about 155 years ago. Corey White."

Q: There was a Corey Williams at one point.
RA: "Uh, when I was coaching at Weber State [laughter all around]. His name was written above Eddie Williams and I blended the two together."

About depth on the O-Line: "Well, the positive of that was that we felt like there was some depth; so therefore that depth is getting its opportunity to go to work. I'm anxious to see how that battle within in the battle looks, the front battle today. We've got Tyrone Novikoff. We moved Billy Bates over to the left tackle, and Tyrone is up in there [starting at right tackle]. Kellen Beam obviously didn't get to go today. We're trying to get his back healthy. I think he'll be practicing again soon, and Bryce Sinclair [Beam and Sinclair battling for starting tackle positions]. Is that going to be the fix to our situation right now, or is it going to be something else? Is the next guard going into the game, then get somebody else - maybe Kris Anderson - out there at tackle? That's the challenge that lies ahead for us, mix-matching that offensive line to where it belongs and then find out which of the chess moves - or which of the personnel moves - we need to make as we go through as a portion of the ball games. That's kinda where we're at."

On redshirt freshman Matt Cleveland, the projected starter at left tackle before his injury, and his possibility of returning: "Well, it's going to be really late in the season before he's going to be cleared to put weight on that thing, and then it's a matter of how quickly that comes together. He's very hopeful. He's got that date and that ball game…you ask him. He'll tell you exactly who we're playing and when. It's circled on his calendar right now, in red so he can see it. But it's going to be very, very late in the season, and it's going to be a matter of not only getting to bear weight on it, but play football bearing weight on it. That's the concern I've got. We may be able to use him late in the season, but it's going to be late."

Regarding starting tailback Deonte Jackson's back: "Deonte's back is really, really tight up in there. The positive is it's not something that's going to require surgery. It's something that we can rehabilitate, and that's why we're taking it easy on him right now. We've got to get it where it's feeling good, and then we've got to control his work load. That's the only positive to come out of that. It enables us to see what these other running backs are capable of doing."

About the performance of the runningbacks: "I like what I'm seeing to this point in time. Each of them did some good things, and that I think is very positive."

Any concerns that Jackson's back will take longer to rehab: "No. No. At this point, no. A few days ago there was a little bit of concern, but we had a specialist take a look at him, and I'm very confident that we'll be able to get him right back in the flow of things, and we'll make sure we take care of him, too."

About wide receivers Lee Smith and Max Komar: "Yeah. He [Smith] has been out for a little while. He's been on the shelf. Max has been battling a hamstring also, and he was able to go today. I was happy to see him fight through that, and he made a tremendous catch on that sideline over there, up in the air and then coming down making sure those feet got in-bounds. That was a great catch. Max has made a lot of catches like that in his career. We need to get him so he's healthy, he's able to be out here and then continually do those things. If we can continually see Maurice and Greenwood and those guys doing what we saw today … now that's a healthy scenario. Nate looked pretty darn good throwing the ball today, and if they can be where they're supposed to be and they're making those kinds of catches, well we can get the offense going."

About the defense today: "Well, obviously I'd like to see more stops. For the head coach, that's a double-edge sword. You want to see both sides have success, and I did. That's what I talked to the players about. The offense has the ability to…you know, first down and second down can be terrible. Just like that two-minute drill was. But third down saved them and they got their life back. On defense first down, second down, third down all have to be great, and if you're down there on the goal line fourth down has to be a win as well. You don't have the luxury. A blown play on defense means something bad has happened. A blown play on offense, you just line up and you go "second down" or whatever it is, provided that's not a third down situation. But that's the nature of the game. That's what it is. We need that mentality. We ran the ball very well today as an offense; therefore we didn't stop the run well enough today. I'm confident with what I saw out here today. There are little things that we'll fix in that running game. We lost some gaps at the line of scrimmage and we had some linebackers not fitting some things. The second level defense, whether it be linebacker or safety, wasn't fitting it where it belongs. We're getting comfortable with our eyes, and those are new starters there. As we get those fits to take place, we'll have more of what that wall should look like, and some of those holes won't be there to that extent. I'm not saying it didn't mean that the offense didn't block some of those things out, but I saw plenty of guys falling off into the wrong gap, and that's where the ball's going to go."

About the offense - all shotgun, with plenty of play action and rolling out: "It's a hybrid of a lot of stuff. The offense that you've seen forever [at Idaho], the single back offense, this is a little different variation of it, and it's got the quarterback back there with vision. It also has opened the option game for us, which has been a great positive. That also affects the defense. I promise you that. There are going to be option periods when they're getting ready for us. They're going to have to pay attention to that. They've got to be option sound if they're going to blitz us. I think that's a very positive thing there, and being in the gun as we are, that fits both quarterbacks' abilities to do things. We've got one offense the way we run it, and I think that's a great thing."

About when the staff chose to implement this style of offense: "We started [at Idaho] with the intent - when we came and took this over, that's what we've been working towards being able to do. We really felt like that was a necessity for helping us get things going the way we needed to. But also the game in this day and age, it's hard to have that quarterback…you don't see a lot of that old, big, strong guy that can just stand there and whistle the ball around. You need a little more help for that guy, I think, and that's an advantage it provides for us. It help us with our protection as well. That quarterback's already back there, and he's got the ability to quick game. He's already there. He can get rid of the ball. Then if you have issues with your offensive line, that can help them out a little bit. When your offensive line is as strong as you want it to be, then it just continually strengthens things. Everything has its positives, and people will attack different things because of the way you're sitting back there, but that's the way you build the offense to make it work, too."

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