Idaho coach Robb Akey said this morning that linebacker JoJo Dickson, who fractured his leg and dislocated his ankle Saturday, had surgery Saturday night and is expected to be out of the hospital today. Dickson's injury was "a lot better than I expected," Akey said.
Read on for more from Akey -- and comments from New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker on the hit that injured Dickson.
After the win over NMSU, Akey went to Gritman Medical Center and was able to wheel Dickson into the operating room. The coach said doctors were happy with how surgery went on the starting senior middle linebacker.
Dickson's parents came from Hawaii to Moscow to help their son. Akey hopes to have Dickson on the trip to play the University of Hawaii on Saturday. "It will be an important thing for him and might help our guys too."
As for the hit from Kenny Turner that drew a personal foul, Akey said he did not think it was "vicious." Turner went to block Dickson, who was a yard or two from NMSU quarterback and ball-carrier Matt Christian, while the linebacker was planting his left foot.
New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker, after watching the tape and talking to Turner, said he was sure it wasn't a dirty play too. "Seeing it on tape, Kenny was swearing up and down, saying it wasn’t an illegal hit," Walker said. "And when you watch it on tape … it really wasn’t a cheap shot."
Following Dickson's injury, Walker and Akey met on the field and talked with officials briefly before play resumed. Asked what he and Akey discussed, Walker said, "I just have the most utmost respect for Coach Akey. I wanted to reiterate that we don’t tolerate cheap shots. … And he voiced the same thing for his team because his team had five personal fouls."
Walker said both coaches agreed the Aggies and Vandals should "just finish the game the (way the) game was intended to play, and that’s with good sportsmanship."
Akey said Tre'Shawn Robinson will slide into Dickson's starting spot at middle LB, while Homer Mauga and Robert Siavii will continue to start at the outside 'backer spots. Akey is hopeful Conrad Scheidt, who was injured early in the Louisiana Tech game, will be back this week against first-place Hawaii.
The Vandals are suddently much thinner at linebacker with Dickson and John McKinley (broken leg) out for the year.
Receiver Armauni Johnson did not play last week for undisclosed reasons. But Akey said Johnson will play Saturday.
The Vandals will leave Friday from Lewiston for Honolulu. They'll have to stop for refueling before heading to the Islands. "Now, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because certainly this isn’t one you want to run out of gas on," Akey joked. "It’s not like we have a lot of options out over the water"
Akey said one reason why the Hawaii trip is so hard every other year -- beyond the jet lag and three hours difference in time zone -- is what it does for the following week. The Vandals won't arrive back in Moscow until mid-Sunday morning ... and will then start preparing for a home game with Nevada.
Hawaii coach Greg McMackin has nice things to say about Akey and UI offensive coordinator Steve Axman. "I have a lot of respect for Robb Akey. Matter of fact, I thought he did the best job of coaching (in the WAC) last year. He’s just an outstanding coach. … They’re scoring on everybody. I think they are well-coached team."