ROBB AKEY: Post-game comments

Following Idaho's home opening victory over Idaho State Saturday afternoon, Idaho head coach ROBB AKEY addressed the media regarding his overall impression of the game, what areas were improved since the Arizona game, and what areas need more work as the team prepares for Saturday's clash with the Western Michigan Broncos of the Mid-American Conference.

About when the staff chose to run the first play against Idaho State, which resulted in a 77-yard touchdown strike for Idaho on the first play of the game: "Well, throughout the course of the week the game plan gets put together, and we work on our openers. That's what we do as part of our practice during the course of the week. There was also a conversation that Coach Axman and I were having an hour before the ball game, and that was the way we elected to get it started. I like the boost it gave us. I think it did a lot for us in regards to being there the way we expected to be there to play. And seeing some success happen that early, I think that was good for Nate to be able to complete that long ball, have that long ball get caught early in the ball game. It certainly brought some life to the crowd I think also. It was the way we really needed to start the day, and I was happy to see that go the way that it did."

About the importance of getting a win: "It means we finally got to enjoy four hours on a Saturday. I'm realy happy about that. I'm happy for these kids. There's been a lot work going, and there's finally a reward's come to them. It's one game, but you appreciate every opportunity you get; so that was big, and I'm excited for the fact that we got something accomplished out there, but it's just part of our pre-season. It's not anything more than that. I think it shows that we have been doing things better, similar to what I was talking about how camp was going. It is getting better, but there's a lot that needs to be better over the way that we played today. Yeah, I'm happy for a win and I always will be. Wins are hard to come by. If they weren't then it would be easy to do, then we wouldn't keep track of the dang things; so I'm happy about that. We'll enjoy today and then we've got to get our tails to work on our non-conference game and Western Michigan."

About the value of a 14-point cushion to start the game with the TD strike and blocked punt recovered for another Idaho TD in the first five minutes of the game: "Most definitely. Being able to start fast. When somebody comes up here, for them to get in a hole like that early, that always helps in any ballgame. But I wanted to make sure the door had been shut on the previous week. We said we were going to do that, and I felt it had been that way during the course of the week. But this is a young football team and how were they going to respond now that we finally got ourselves back out there? I think that helped it to make sure that it was responded to the right way. It most certainly did, and to happen with a big pass play, that was important. For it to happen with the special teams play, that was important because we didn't play great on special teams obviously a week ago. That was important."

About not playing Deonte Jackson in the second half and having a deep backfield rotation: "Well, I think we've got some help there, yeah. I do. We really had to manage Deonte's back during the course of this week. We had to manage it all the way through camp, and he didn't get a lot of work during this week. We've got to find the right formula that he can get a little bit of work done during the week but then be able to play like he did today, and he did well today. I am also happy with the way those other running backs are doing things. Each of them. I thought Corey did a fine job. He got the start because he got the work done. When Deonte got himself healthy, he was able to go and had another 100-yard game. I would say he's a warrior. I think he's a stallion. And I like what those other young guys bring to the table. I see Troy Vital running hard, Corey White was running hard. Princeton McCarty brings a little different shift to the table the way that he runs. I told him as long as that fumble is the only one, I'll forgive him for that one. He's got some work to do there. I think having that depth is going to help us, it's going to help him [Jackson], and those are some good, quality young players."

About not attempting more than a couple passes in the second half: "We kinda felt like we really didn't need to, and it was an opportunity to keep working on things that we had going, and we wanted to pound that out."

Did anyone get nervous in the fourth quarter when ISU scored a couple touchdowns: "I wouldn't say "nervous." No. I'd say "irritating," yes. That was aggravating to me. I didn't like those last couple of scores there at the end. We've got to continue getting better with our pass defense and being able to pressure a quarterback with a four-man rush. We need some work at that. I wasn't happy with that. No. I mean, I know what the score read but I didn't feel like anything was out of control, but yeah. I'd like to see 14 less points on their column. It's a lot of what we have work to do. Like I said I'm happy with the win. There were some very good things that took place out there today, and obviously some things got fixed. We were more of the team that's been practicing than we were the team in that game we're not going to talk about. That has gotten better, but there were things with penalties tonight that I'm not happy about. Like I said, we've got to fix some things. I wasn't happy initially with the way we were fitting the run game. We got that cleaned up, and that got to be better, but I want to see our pass defense clean up more. I want to see us being able to continue drives more. But it was a good step forward, and we got better on our special teams today. A blocked punt and a touchdown is a heck of a deal. The other thing that I was happy about was the take-aways that we got out of our defense. There were four interceptions, two by Isaac Butts and ol' Virdell Larkins got one. Matter of fact Virdell called it. That was right after the fumble, if I remember right. We had ‘em all talking there together, and he called his shot; so I told him that was a pretty good deal. Then Breyon Williams ended it up with one. So there were a lot of positives we can take from this, and again it's just one win, and it's going forward. Yeah, it's nice to have a new streak started and get ourselves going."

About the status of Joseph Dickson: "JoJo's shoulder got whacked in practice on either Tuesday or Wednesday. We had hoped that maybe it was going to start to come along a little bit, but it wasn't ready to go today, and I don't know if he'll be ready. He'll probably be questionable right now for next week."

About the status of Tyrone Novikoff: "Novikoff, it didn't feel strong enough; so it was a gametime decision and we backed him out. I would expect to have him available to us next week, but I kinda expected we'd have him this week. It didn't respond the way we had hoped, and Aaron Lavarias, I hope we have both those shoulders back by next week, but that's a little bit uncertain."

About the status of Charles Smith: "Charles was sick. As a matter of fact we sent him home last night. We didn't have him around the team last night because we didn't want that to get spread. He didn't go to the hotel with us. He tried to come in today, but it was back at him again; so that's why he wasn't there."



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