WAC Players of the Week

Last weekend against Idaho State, the Vandals were paced by sophomores ISAAC BUTTS (27) and ERIC HUNTER. Butts hauled in TWO interceptions and registered four solo tackles from his starting cornerback position. Hunter energized a Vandal first half scoring spree when he blocked a punt and recovered it in the endzone for a TD. Both players earned WAC Player of the Week honors for their efforts.

Below are quotes from last Saturday's post-game media conference following Idaho's win in the Dome.

LINK: Story on the University of Idaho OFFICIAL athletics website

Isaac Butts, 6-0, 171, Sophomore
WAC Defensive Player of the Week

LARRY JOHNSON: I wanted to ask the two guys on defense (Isaac Butts and Eric Hunter), did either of you talk to Jayson Bird before or after the game?
IB: "Always. During the game. The refs kinda got on us a little bit, but they don't really understand. [laughter] They thought we were just talking about some other player, but that's J-Bird…J-Bird."

LJ: How did he take it?
IB: "He was cool. He didn't really respond back. I thought he was gonna respond back a little more, but knowing Jayson he's always locked in; so he was just locked in, just playing."

Q: Isaac, how about the couple picks you had today? That must have been nice, huh?
IB: "Yeah, yeah. Real nice, especially the home opener. I mean, the first one running down the sideline it looked like the ball was kinda underthrown – it just kinda fell in my lap. The second one, a fade ball and I was just running with it, saw the receiver got those big eyes so I knew the ball was coming; so I just turned around and was in good position and came up with that interception."

Q: They threw the ball 65 times. How tough was it to play defense that much?
IB: "It was kinda tiring, but at the same time they don't run a lot of vertical stuff. They run a lot of short, underneath pivot routes and throws and stuff like that; so it wasn't that bad."

Q: How about that number six guy for them? He seemed to be everywhere.
IB: "Ah yeah. They put him everywhere. We knew they were going to do that coming into the week. They were going to put him in the slot, they were going to put him in motion a lot. That's their guy. I mean for the most part, yeah. He's going to make plays and he's going to have catches, but for the most part I think that we did a good job on him."

Q: He dislocated his finger at one point in the game, right?
IB: "Yeah, he came up holding his hand one time, I think that was early in the third quarter. I give him props. He was out there still battling it out, making catches and stuff throughout the game."

Q: Would you say more of his catches were coming when you were on zone or were they just finding a soft spot? It seemed like a lot of those were on man-to-man. Were you guys in a lot of zone tonight?
IB: "Well, we ran a lot of man too, but we did run some zone, and he was would just settle up and find a hole, adjust off our backers or off our corners, off of what we were doing. He did good job of that tonight."

Q: Are you excited to watch film now?
IB: "Yeah. We had a lot of great plays on both sides of the ball. The defense played real hard. We're proud of that. The offense got it going, air game, ground game. I think we're making good progress (unclear) where we're going to get."

Eric Hunter, 5-6, 160, Sophomore
WAC Special Teams Player of the Week

Q: Eric, could you talk about the blocked punt?
EH: "Yes. It was just me doing what we do every day in practice. We called a punt protection, and my position on the field is to pressure the punter. They warned me about the rugby punt, which I saw and stayed outside contain. The kicker started running and a split second before he was going to kick it I was going to tackle him when he goes to kick, but what the coaches want to hear is the "thump-thump" blocked punt; so I heard that. I was lost for a second where the ball was on the ground, but I ended up scooping it and going into the end zone."

Q: You say that thing was kinda rolling around between your legs for a while.
EH: "Yeah. I almost lost it. I was panicking because I really wanted to pick that up and score."

PAT HAUGE: Were you unblocked on that, or did you beat someone for the block?
EH: "I got outside the wing, but since they did the rugby punt they rolled to my side, and I got outside of him."

Q: Looking ahead to WMU, you got the win, the negative streak is over. Where do you guys have to get better for next week? You know the competition's going to be a good Western Michigan team. Just talk about what you guys learned from this and what you need to do to get better.
EH: "I think we played good today, but we can still improve in every aspect of the game whether it is on special teams, offense, and defense, because you can always get better, and to get to what we want to do, which is a WAC championship, to get to our goal, we've got to keep getting better, keep working harder in practice, and do what we've got to do on Saturdays."

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