KEY QUOTE: "I thought the students in the stands were awesome. That dome was loud now in the fourth quarter when New Mexico State was out there on offense. You saw how hungry people were, the way the fans were at the close of this ball game. That was a great thing. I certainly appreciate the involvement of the crowd late in the game, because that certainly helped make things be better."

LARRY JOHNSON: Hey coach, I've got a burning question for you. How's that coffee taste this morning?
RA: "It's better than it's been all year. The sun's brighter in Moscow today, too. It's a good thing."

About what Idaho did differently against New Mexico State than what they did earlier in the year to be so successful against a good offense:
RA: "Well, what we did better, I thought, we played more effectively. That was the biggest thing of all. We were able to get better pressure on the quarterback, and we didn't blitz a lot to do it. That means that the defensive front, those guys did a better job executing their technique. I think our coaches have done a nice job. We've been continuing to work for the last several weeks on improving some of our technique things; so some of that started to show through a little bit. The way that they were coming after the quarterback certainly helped. I think we did things better… we did some things better in coverage, and we certainly tackled better in this game that what we had the week before. I mean, the week before our open-field tackling was atrocious and it was much better in this game."

"I think the fact that… especially as you look at the way the ball game started with defensively being able to get the stop and then get thrown right back out there. Okay. Something bad happened. We muffed a punt, they've got the ball, and we're backed up against the wall. To make a stand there and not give up any points, I thought that really helped with the confidence level, and I saw that grow with those players throughout the course of the ball game. They were looking forward to getting back out on the field again. It was more the way we played as much as anything."

"Then another thing that… our defensive staff, they deserve a lot of credit also. That staff and those players deserve all the credit in the world. They had a great plan put together and they were able to point out a number of things… how this game could play itself out and what things were there for us. Players were able to take those things. It was the way defense is supposed to be played."

About what he was doing Saturday against New Mexico State that made him so effective this time:
RA: "The fact that he was executing things a little bit better, a little bit harder and finishing things through and making plays. That's where a lot of those pressures came from. He had 10 tackles, two quarterback sacks, three hurries and a forced fumble. That motor of his was running the whole time. He did a nice job finishing some pass rushes, and he finished the pass rushes that led to some of the pressures and those sacks."

About whether the defense stunted more last week than earlier in the season:
RA: "We've been running a fair amount of "games" throughout the course of the season, both in the run game and the throw game. It's been part of what we do. I think there were some times we tried to do a little bit less of it, move those line games around and give guys a chance to go after the guys in front of them, as well as being able to work some games that might be able to attack the protection. I thought they blended that pretty well throughout the course of the game."

About how far Josh Shaw has come since Coach Akey has been at Idaho:
RA: "Well, since coming in here I would tell you night and day. So, that first spring we were here I wouldn't have put a lot of odds on what he was going to be able to do. He wasn't playing with a motor, he wasn't doing some things quite the way we had hoped or [how] we expected guys to work. Then we got into that season last year and he did better than I thought he would."
"But then after the season, I tell you what, there was a light clicked on. Whether it was because it was going to be his final go being a senior or what, I mean he did a tremendous job in the weight room all winter long - became a leader. One thing I like about that defensive front, the front four has taken a lot in regards to them wanting to do things the right way. That is, their goal is to out-work the rest of the team. I see them working hard, and Josh and Taylor Rust are two guys that have had a great influence on making that happen. Then when he had a very good spring and a summer, when we got into fall camp this year obviously there was a lot of youth playing on this football team. What they did was go about becoming their big brothers and helping them learn the defense. I think it's been a great thing. He's playing hard. He's giving us everything that he's got and he finally got a nice reward with a good ball game this weekend. It was also nice to see him be rewarded by the conference as the Player of the Week."

About what Josh brings to the Vandal defense:
RA: "Well, right now it's the way that he's playing strong and the way that he's playing full tilt. That's the biggest thing right now. There are guys that might have more speed, there are guys that might be bigger, but he's playing effectively right now. So, it's a matter of using the technique the right way and playing full speed, playing with the motor. That's been a big thing, and that has really helped him. That and understanding the defense, where he belongs, and how things can work. I think it's starting to fall together. There's a guy with a lot on his plate. You look at him, he's a senior. He's playing his final year. He wants it to be everything he can. He's working his tail off to get graduated. He's a daddy. He's a kid with a lot on his plate, and I really like the way that he has responded to things."

About the injury situation from Saturday's game:
RA: "Well, the good thing is we came out of this game without anything really new; so that's a great positive. There are a number of spots where we don't have a whole lot left. Jeromy Jones was not able to play on Saturday. I expect him to be available for this game. We expected he was going to be able to play really up until game time [last week]. I think that we're going to get him back."

About how the team proceeds now coming off the win:
RA: "Well, we've got to continue to build. Obviously they enjoyed the victory and that was a good thing, understanding what the work that has gone in now, that can translate into a win, and Saturday can be a fun time again. They got the opportunity to experience that. Then we need to come back and be no different. So as we look at it now, these are the things that we did that were better - and there was a lot that was better. The biggest thing of all was this football team playing as a team, all three phases of the game helping each other out throughout the course of the game, and certainly playing with great emotion, great intensity. That's to be expected. That's a good thing. But now, by all of us playing together, that has really helped; so let's build off of that. Let's go back, each of us as individuals. The things that I did better in this game, I understand how the technique things I've been doing for the last few weeks has helped pay off. We've been able to point those things out to them. And - no different - point out the things that need to be done better, and continuing to work on those things and go right into it this game with obviously a little more excitement, a better feel to it, and go now put two WAC home wins together."

"We've got a damn good team coming in here this week to play. But [we need to] again continue to focus on us, and how we can build, and how we can move forward, and how much things could have been better. For example, we get that nice takeaway there at the end of the first half, let's make sure we convert that into points. If not a touchdown, at least get a field goal and go into the locker room with the lead. Make that field goal that was certainly makeable earlier, and now you're talking about six to 10 points more than the scoreboard, so it doesn't come down to needing that final field goal to make it be a touchdown difference in the ball game. Building off of things in that fashion. But I think now that they've seen it work for them - got the gorilla, King Kong, off our back – now the challenge is: Let's do everything we can to go get another one."

"The other thing I would say too: I thought the students in the stands were awesome. That dome was loud now in the fourth quarter when New Mexico State was out there on offense. You saw how hungry people were, the way the fans were at the close of this ball game. That was a great thing. I certainly appreciate the involvement of the crowd late in the game because that certainly helped make things be better."

About who will step up at running back this week, since two weeks ago it was Kama Bailey, and Saturday it was Princeton McCarty, and earlier this season it was Deonte Jackson:
RA: [chucking] "I've got all kinds of stuff up my sleeve. I'm looking forward to who gets the hot hand. What I really, really like, though, is the fact that there are some guys who are options. Three runningbacks played a great role in this ball game, and it was our ability to run the ball on offense and continue to run the ball on offense… that was the big difference that that side of the ball brought in. I wasn't particularly happy with our throwing game, but running the football - our front did a great job. We had three runningbacks contribute to that with Princeton McCarty and Deonte Jackson, and Troy Vital closing things out. That was a great deal. Our offensive line being able to get us some running yards, and Billy Bates, one of the senior offensive tackles, really played a good game in helping that to be the case. The fact that there were some different guys, and each of them little bit different styles, I think that that's a great thing."

About how the starting runningback is selected each week:
RA: "We've got a rotation that is pre-planned as we go into the game. The thing that Princeton McCarty has helped himself with is taking some of those runs that might be eight or 10-yard runs and turning them into longer runs, like that first touchdown. There's a guy, he's very lucky that he was the running back on the field on first down after they kicked off to us and he lost track of where he was on the field and fielded that [kickoff] and stepped out of bounds at the 10-yard line. He also made some big runs within that. One was a nice long run that got us not only out of jail, but that was a 90-yard touchdown drive that was absolutely huge - and that was a great catch by Daniel Hardy in the back corner. Nice throw by Nathan Enderle, good protection, and a great catch with a corner that was all over him, and making sure that he got his foot in for the touchdown. That was a great thing. A lot of being able to overcome some things has helped too. Princeton being able to break some of those long runs has helped him. That helped him get more carries in this past ball game."

About whether the win has given the team a chance to "turn the corner":
RA: "Well, I think it's a step closer. I certainly do. I think there's a lot that we can build off of, and I will say that I think that it's a bigger step forward because they've experienced victory, and that was an important thing to do. I think that's a damn good team that we played against, especially if you look at what that offense of New Mexico State is capable of, and that quarterback. I mean, that was a quality win in a hard-fought game that all three phases produced throughout the course of the game. That really helped us grow up a ton. There's no question about it, and being able to realize victory. That's a great thing because we're still learning how to win. In that respect I think that we gained a lot form this. I think it gets us that much closer to more wins, and the challenge now is to - let's win two, and let's make it a streak. Let's see how far we can take this thing. But we still have to continue to pay attention to us and doing things the right way. Obviously when you win there's so much more that comes with it, that it has helped us grow up a lot more, yes."

After these weeks of optimism, obviously you're not gonna gloat after one victory, but do you kinda feel like saying: See! I told you so. I knew what I was talking about.
RA: "No, I'm not gonna go there. I mean, I understand where everybody's frustrations were and they've gotta wonder how I can keep saying some of these things… maybe, but hopefully, this will have everybody say, Hey, you know what? Those kids ARE working their tails off, and they did do some good things. Hopefully they'll believe in the fact that this coaching staff is doing things the right way, and we are growing these guys up. It certainly is a very important ball game of us, and a very important win, but it is only one game and no different… we need to learn - in every game that we play - we need to take the good and the bad of out that game and take it all so we can build towards getting better. But it's no different than any of those other games. That game is over, so we're closing it out at this team meeting today [Monday]. When they walk out of the dome today, that game is history and we've got to go work on the next one. You've got to put both of them away. Celebrate victory and then get refocused on the new one."

About whether Shiloh Keo has been awarded a medical redshirt yet:
RA: "Well, probably after the season. I need to confirm that with our compliance people how soon the NCAA will respond. Things need to be done the right way. We expect it to come through, and it should be just the formality of turning the paperwork in because it did fit within the percentage. I would hope that that would be something that we would know here before too terribly long."

ALL Vandals Top Stories