MOSCOW, Idaho – The last time the University of Idaho played a football game without Robb Akey on the sideline was Nov. 25, 2006. Dennis Erickson was the coach. San Jose State was the opponent. And Jason Gesser was still a professional quarterback.
The Vandals begin the post- Akey era today by again hosting SJSU at the Kibbie Dome, and leading the remade Idaho football program is the 33-year-old Gesser.
Since last playing two weeks ago, UI has ousted Akey after five-plus seasons as coach, replaced him with Gesser and dismissed two players – including starting quarterback Dominique Blackman – for a violation of team rules.
It’s hard to imagine a more eventful bye week.
“Seven days have felt like a month for me right now with everything going on,” said Gesser, the former Washington State star who’s in his second year of college coaching.
Gesser admitted Monday that he had been so preoccupied with everything swirling around him that he wasn’t sure what type of offense San Jose State runs. Nor had he seen much of David Fales, the Spartans’ quarterback who ranks second nationally in completion percentage (73.2).
As the Vandals’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Akey, Gesser had no need to worry about an opposing team’s QB or offensive system. But now as the interim leader of the program, he’s had to adjust to his new duties – all while keeping his old ones.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “The whole situation (the) last week has been not easy.”
It’s not likely to get much easier against the resurgent Spartans (6-2, 2-1). They’re a 20-point favorite and will become bowl eligible by beating the Vandals (1-7, 1-2) after three straight losses in this series.
Fales, the most efficient quarterback in the WAC, has flourished under the tutelage of first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brian Lindgren, a former Idaho QB.
Lindgren joined SJSU after six years at Northern Arizona and has made a big difference with the team’s quarterback group and with his playcalling, coach Mike MacIntyre said.
“He has no ego,” MacIntyre said of Lindgren. “He’s extremely bright. He does a great job with the quarterbacks.”
The Vandals’ QB situation is far less settled than SJSU’s. With Blackman off the team, former walk-on Logan Bushnell will get his second start of the year. But Gesser said Taylor Davis, who led UI to a victory at San Jose State last year, will also play at least a series or two.