WAC WEEKLY CALL: Robb Akey

Idaho head coach Robb Akey addressed numerous questions regarding the controversial "deception" penalty called when Idaho converted a fake field goal into a touchdown and had the play nullified. Aside from this topic, Akey talked about the emergence of true freshman KAMA BAILEY and his two-touchdown performance Saturday, as well as providing overall team-wide updates and status reports.

On whether Robb Akey would respond to the call from a trick play that returned a touchdown from a fake field goal attempt…
RA: Yes I can. We ran a play that I had a conversation with the referee about prior to the game. He assured me at that point in time that we were doing the right thing, and we executed the way that I told him we were gonna execute it. We scored a touchdown off of it, and one of the officials felt like we didn't conduct it the right way. He threw a flag on that, and we've gotta live with that flag.


If the substitution to deceive was a legal play…
RA: There was a rule put in years back in regards to how you substitute, and trying to deceive people by getting people on and off the playing field. I think they thought we brought a guy off the sidelines, when actually the guy that we threw the ball to was Eddie Williams who was in on the previous play and ran an option route over the football on what would have been the far side of the field from our sideline. I think the unfortunate thing about it is that in ball games there are mistakes made by players that impact the football game. There are mistakes made sometimes by coaches that impact the ball game. And there are things that can be done by officials that impact the ball game. And that's what it came down to. I've had communication with the conference, and we talked about the scenarios, and I know where we sit.


Q: The conference – has anyone come out and said: Hey, it was a mistake. Did the conference assure you that you did things right or are you not at that point yet?
RA: Well, I talked with the head of officials and we talked about the play, and it is a legal play. It's unfortunate that it… the thing that's hard for me to swallow is the fact that that touchdown makes it a two score game with the extra point putting us ahead. The result is we still miss the field goal. So, therefore, you could call it at least a four-point swing at that point in time, and then we give up the only touchdown we give up in the second half; so we go from what was a two score game to a four score game in the snap of a thumb, and I believe that we did the right thing.


Where was Eddie at the snap:
RA: Off the line of the scrimmage, over near our sideline.

About whether the team huddle before the play, and was Eddie in the huddle:
RA: He was on the field of play. We don't huddle when we go from an offensive play to a special teams play or a defensive team play to a special teams play; so there was no huddle.


About whether the officials said Idaho had to tell them who would be catching the ball:
RA: Well, I was very specific with the referee prior to the game in regards to how that play was going to be executed, what we were going to do, because if it wasn't right I would never have called that play. If I hadn't been assured that it was okay I would not have called it.


About Idaho's struggles to run the ball against La Tech:
RA: I'd say that that was exactly the case. This ball game came down to their ability to stop our running game and our lack of ability to stop theirs. That's what this ball game was about, and we had too many penalties in my opinion… penalties and turnovers. Going into the game we knew #20 was a back that breaks a lot of tackles and has been a thorn in a lot of people's tails in regards to that. We had first hit opportunities - by getting him wrapped up we could have gotten ourselves off the field a lot earlier in a number of drives, and that would have made a big difference. It would have cut down obviously on a number of their rushing yards also. So, being more sure when we tackle - making sure that we wrap across is one thing - making sure that we have things leveraged and we fit the run game every time they run the ball properly. That's another big thing: When you're in the right leverage and the right fit, the proper position to make a tackle. That certainly makes it a lot easier.


About Idaho's struggles to run the ball this year compared to last season:
RA: Well, I think as you look at ball games - for example, this one in particular. We knew Louisiana Tech's defensive strength is stopping the run, and they certainly paid attention to that. They did some things that made it difficult, where they had struggled within the throwing game, and that's been the case with them throughout the course of the year. I think you also can look at it as when people prepare to play against the Idaho Vandals, they say: Hey, they do run the football. There's a commitment to running the football. We've got to make sure we do everything in our power to be able to stop or handle their running game to the best of our ability. Obviously we've got to make sure we cover Eddie Williams. Every defensive coordinator that faces us, those are some of the first things that they're going to look to address as they play us. Louisiana Tech certainly made sure that they had people committed to Eddie Williams, and continued to do things to outnumber you and try to take away your running game in that fashion.


About whether Bailey was lined up in the backfield or the slot:
RA: He was lined up in the backfield, and I was real happy. I liked what Kama Bailey did, and it was great to see him get those two touchdowns. I thought our offensive staff…those plays were schemed very well. They attacked what Louisiana Tech's defense left available for you, and the kids did a great job of executing it. The first one went just like we expected. The second one, they were actually blitzing us, and I thought that was a great job by our front in getting that blitz picked up. Nathan (Enderle) recognized it and also delivered that ball to Kama (Bailey), and Kama finished the play. That's a good job of getting things executed. It went from the drawing board to the practice field to the game field with the success it's supposed to have. We need more though.


About whether Kama Bailey earned playing time over Princeton McCarty last week:
RA: Well, as it worked out that play was kinda set to feature him a little bit, and it happened to be we had success with it. We were able to come back to it again at a later point in time. We've got some backs I think we've got confidence in from Deonte (Jackson) all the way through, and Kama is one that he's dressed out so much in the backfield, as they have in special teams. He's handled his special team opportunities very well, and there's a desire to get him involved in [the offense] also, and this was a way to do it, and those turned into being two real big plays. I think one of the things that I'm happy about is the fact that we've got some backs I think are good football players that can help us have success.


About preparing for New Mexico State this week in the Dome:
RA: Well, we come back home and we maintain the belief and the expectation that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We can see it. We talked to the players about the fact that nothing's going to be handed to you. Nothing's going to be easy in this world and this life or in this game. We certainly… I think we talked about this last week… players seeing that light at the end of the tunnel. That light is still there, it's still burning bright. I'd light to think that light is right here in the Dome. We can pop through that tunnel in the Dome this week. I like the fact that we're back at home. We're gonna be here for about a month. We've go to pay attention - we need to continue building off things that we have done well, and cleaning up some of the other things. Continue to execute things better with the belief that we'll make it happen, and the expectation that we'll make it happen this week. New Mexico State is the opponent this week. We'll continue to work on doing things better in the way we play the game, and then look at applying it towards the way New Mexico State plays the game with the type of things they do. In their defense we're going to get a number of different looks. Joe Lee Dunn is a very experienced defensive coach and he provides you a lot of different looks, a lot of different pressure looks that are different from what a lot of people do. They bring one of the best quarterbacks in the country into the Dome this week with a receiving corps …they've got some very good players there.


About what kept Deonte Jackson from getting into the flow of the game:
RA: Well, what Louisiana Tech's defense did led to us needing to throw the football more. That had a lot to do with the number of carries. We still are going to work to run the football, and we didn't get the type of running yardage that we needed. There were some opportunities throwing the football, some we hit and made big plays and obviously others that we needed to do more with. It was the nature of that game. He (Deonte Jackson) was there, he was available. He ran the ball when we gave it to him. He blocked and protected. When that opportunity was there we also worked to throw him the football. He's still dealing with that back. I think he feels better than he did in the early part of the season, and he'll continue to deal with that all year long, but we worked to use him. He plays his position, and it involved more roles that just carrying the football in this particular game.


About the injury to Wieting: RA: Well, Derek Wieting got his leg broken similar to what Matt Cleveland had at the beginning of the year. He'll have surgery here right away in the next day or so and will be done for the year.


Idaho's injury status from Saturday: RA: We have some guys that are banged up. We're going into our ninth ball game of the year. We've had some nice games…bodies that we're gonna have to manage throughout the course of the week. I expect that we'll be able to get those guys back. A number of them have been dealing with injuries. Joseph Dickson has been dealing with the shoulder. He's gonna continue dealing with that. Jeromy Jones got a head and neck a little bit in that game that kept him from being able to finish the game, but I would anticipate being able to have him - expect to have him back this week and just make sure we're taking care of the bodies the way we can. Maurice Shaw was back and played. I would like to think that his ankle is going to be even better this week, and we can get even more out of him in this coming game.


About what makes Kama an effective returner and becoming an effective tailback: RA: Kama has a good way of seeing things. He's got a good burst. I think he's got good speed. He handles the ball well. That's the reason we recruited him, and he did a number of things like that when he was in high school. That's how he ended up being our kickoff returner. He's also returning punts now with Shiloh Keo being gone. That's a good eye-hand skill right there with the ability to do something with the football once he's got it in his hands. As a punt returner he's also shown that not only can he field that ball, but like Shiloh he's going back there to make something happen. There have been some times where a lot of guys would fair catch, but he's catching the ball and working to make something happen with it. He played a great role, as did those kids blocking and getting that kickoff return team to become a better weapon for us throughout the course of this season. Those are the same qualities that he brings to us at running back. You see those hands, we can also throw him the football and he's got enough speed to get himself in the throwing game to where he's open, and enough speed to be able to finish. Those are two good touchdown plays. I think as his role develops he's also gonna be able to provide the same thing as a running back. At running back we've got some guys that each have some different qualities to them - that are strengths - that differ maybe a little bit from each other, from Deonte (Jackson) to Troy Vital to Corey White to Princeton McCarty to Kama Bailey. That's a good little changeup for us there, and we're working to have each of those guys involved in the game. It helps us keep fresh bodies. It helps us keep guys involved with helping produce and making things happen.




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