MID-WEEK MEDIA CALL: Robb Akey

Saturday's outcome was a frustrating followup to a solid performance two weeks ago, as the Vandals lost 46-14 on the road at Louisiana Tech (complete with questionable calls). Despite the frustrating setback, Idaho Head Coach ROBB AKEY talks about QB Nathan Enderle's development, the growing roles of some of the younger players on the team, and his philosophy about rebuilding this program.

About the Idaho game at Louisiana Tech:
RA: "Well, it was a rough trip. Certainly going into that game we were very excited about the chance. Maybe we could see a light at the end of the tunnel … hoping maybe to get through that tunnel. It didn't work out that way. In a nutshell, they did a good job stopping our running game and we didn't do a good enough job stopping theirs. I thought the second quarter killed us. We had too many turnovers and penalties throughout the course of the game, there were some things that got fixed, and we did a little bit better. Our defense only gave up one touchdown in the second half. There were some things that were better in that respect, believe it or not."

"We had some things that we built up there at the beginning of the second half to change the momentum of the game. It didn't work out that way. I thought Kama Bailey showed. He had two nice touchdowns there. He's been doing a good job returning kicks for us. Another guy that showed up well for us, Max Komar, made some good plays catching the ball for us. We're working toward building off things and getting ourselves playing more complete, better football games - good enough to win a game. We're certainly happy to be off the road."

"We get to spend about a month here now, and I think that's a good thing. We're going into our ninth game of the season; so we've got some bodies that are feeling that a little bit. We've got to do a good job of making sure that we manage that. Looking forward to the game this weekend, New Mexico State comes in and they're a dangerous football team. We're going to see a lot of different looks from their defense. They're an aggressive outfit in that respect. I think they've got an outstanding quarterback. They've got some receivers that have good speed, make good plays. That makes a great challenge. I think that we've got to come in here this week and we're going to continue to pay attention to building off things that we've done well. Play a complete game that we would like to see, and pay attention to the fact that we can see light at then of the tunnel. I'd like to see that light in the dome, and look forward to getting ourselves to it this weekend."


Q: About the development of Nathan Enderle at quarterback:
RA: "Well, I like the way that Nate Enderle is growing up. There's a guy that I continue to see taking more command of our offense. I like the way that he's conducting himself, the way that he's carrying himself. He's continuing to grow and build a strong relationship with more than just Eddie Williams. Some other guys we feel like we can get the football to. I like the way he's handling the game at the line of scrimmage, the way he's managing it, and he's a young man that is going to continue to improve."


About the things Enderle has improved upon the most:
RA: "Well, when I see the way that he carries himself throughout the course of the game, the confidence, the leadership that he's displaying - the things that he displayed in the spring and coming into fall camp. I am continuing to see him do a stronger job of commanding our offense and conducting things out there, and that's been good. He manages the game very well at the line of scrimmage and is putting us into good plays and making good decisions. I think those are some of the strengths and things that we can continue to build on. He throws the ball well and is doing a better job of working to make plays."


About what Kama Bailey did to earn more reps with the starting offense in the La Tech game:
RA: "Well, the fact that he's showing up and being able to do some things. We've got some guys in that backfield that I do think have some ability, and he's taken advantage of opportunities that have been presented to him. Some of those opportunities have come through special teams. He's done a good job with that, and continues to work to get involved in the game plan. Our offensive staff, on those two touchdowns that he scored, I thought they built a nice scheme. We got two different looks from La Tech's defense on that, and those kids did a nice job of executing it, particularly on the second one. That was a blitz; so they did a great job of seeing what was there and executing that play and getting it to him, and he was all alone."


About seeing more Kama Bailey:
RA: "You will continue to see more of those guys, absolutely."


About the challenges of rebuilding a program at the WAC level, as opposed to a BCS level rebuilding job:
RA: "I think if you compare this to a BCS conference school, certainly they've got some things that can help them in that building process. A lot of that comes down to money that's available. It can help you with the academics that you're working with your players. It can help you with things that you're working to get built. And obviously kids, a lot of them that we end up recruiting on the West Coast, they have dreams of playing in the Pac-10. That can help sway a young man at points in time. I think that what you see throughout the country, it proves to you that you can get things built at a number of places."

"When I was at Washington State we had a strong, strong run there with three top-10 finishes and 10-win seasons, and people in the outside world told us you can never do that at Washington State. So, I do believe we can get it built. We've got the same…I look at us in the WAC conference, similar to what we had when I was there [WSU] in the Pac-10 conference. We've got the same strengths here with a college town and our ability to build a family here. That gives me more confidence that we can get it built."

"Certainly there are always challenges in regards to getting a program built. I think a lot of it, when you seem somebody goes from worst to first or something like that, has a little bit [to do] with how much building needed to take place. For example, here we're looking at a situation where there hasn't been a bowl here since the 1998 season. There was a lot of change [after that season]. So, therefore, when other people had come in here with the desire to build a program, those jobs never got completed. The true 'start' and the building continued to get put off, put off, and put off. We're in our second year of a building process. We've also elected to do it with young players who are going to be with us for a long period of time. So, in my opinion, we can build a strong foundation and a strong program in that fashion. Therefore, we didn't go about it to bring in - load it up with - a number of junior college players that may be a little bit older. Maybe they do have the ability to help you a little bit quicker. We didn't like to go about doing it that way. I think as we get ourselves through the tunnel and we start having that success that we've been building to have, I've got to expect to see that we'll have a stronger foundation and it's going to continue to grow for us."

"Now, some of the real young players that are playing strong roles for us at this point in time, there are some growing pains that comes with that. With those guys playing for us the remainder of this season and in the coming years, I think we get paid back for some of those growing pains because now they've experienced that stuff. They've played in the arena with the bullets flying and all those types of things, and I think it's a way to build a more seasoned team."





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