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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Two days and counting for Vandals

There is just a little over 48 hours until the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, and John Blanchette and I will be there to provide coverage. Before then, we've got links of note (including interviews at other schools for Idaho assistants) and leftover quotes from my story on Robb Akey. Keep reading.


First, some links ...

  • Let's start with the newsiest items. Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman has interviewed for the vacant OC position at Arizona State, coached by former Vandal coach Dennis Erickson. And Idaho QBs coach Jonathan Smith has interviewed for the OC position at New Mexico State.
  • If you haven't already, I recommend reading John Blanchette's Sunday column on the Vandals. Well worth your time.

Now, here are a bunch of quotes I gathered while writing the Akey feature. Some interesting stuff in here, including a funny exchange between Akey and Mike Price ....

Akey on talking to Mike Price

Absolutely. As often as we can. Sometimes it’s every other week; sometimes it will go a month. We get to see each other a couple times a year. We stay in touch during the season. I’ll see him a play a game and call him and talk to him about the game I saw. The night we played Colorado State here, we were in doing the press conference and my son comes in and says, 'Hey, Dad. UTEP beat Houston,' which was a huge win. So we went up to my office and I called Coach Price and I’m telling him congratulations and he wanted to talk about us beating Colorado State. So it was awesome.

I think it was the Fresno game. He called me the next day and we were talking and he said, 'Hey, I got to see the second half of your game last night.' He said, 'You’ve got to be proud of your team.' I said, 'I am.' And He said, 'Oh, they play hard.' He said, 'I like your team.' I said, 'Well, if we had played the first half like we did the second half, we might have had a chance.' He said, 'Well, I don’t know about that. But I’m going to tell ya I saw every play of the second half and I love your football team. You guys are playing hard. Robb, you’ve got to be proud of them.' That meant a hell of a lot.

Akey on how much thought it took to go for UI job the second time

No, it didn’t (take a lot of thought). But that’s kind of my way. I know guys that are different and will mull things over. I’m not that way. I want to make a decision and go.

Now, you may be in the process of finding some things out about something and you’ve haven’t made that decision yet. But I’m not one to sit there and want to think about it a lot.

When they asked (in '03) I wasn’t interested because some of the facility things hadn't taken place. We were in the Sun Belt conference. There was no president, AD. There was some things at that point in time where I thought, 'Well, I want to be a head coach but I would like to have a career as a head coach. And I thought that was awful hard. When I got the call the next time, yeah I was (interested) because now they’re in the WAC. Things are getting done with the facilities. I really felt like having been here for  the time, I knew how to recruit to this area. And I really felt like you could build something here. I really did, especially since they were getting things together to take care of the kids. You can get kids to come here and put together a team, I really felt like you could. 

You’re going to have to leave to become the head coach, well I only had to leave 8 miles away so we got to stay in the area. My boys got to keep friends that they had for years; we still have those relationships with people and got to build new ones over here. So that made it even easier. It had been a few more years also, and I was anxious to be a head coach. I had been a defensive coordinator at two spots. I had been a special teams coordinator, a recruiting coordinator. I had done everything except other than run your program.

It was something I was hungry to do because I wanted to be a young coach. I don’t know if I did that. Forty wasn’t too bad.

Mkristo Bruce on Akey

After you play a certain amount of games, your body starts to hurt and you start to get these nicks and bruises and pains. And every single day, Akey came out and he was the same guy — from Day One when everybody was fired up to the last game of the season. He was just always fired up.

He always had this weird thing … he always wore shorts. Even if it was snowing outside, he always wore shorts. It would be coming down, a blizzard outside and he’s just having shorts on, just jumping around the same as always.

Bruce on Akey getting a chance to become head coach

Well, we all thought he was going to be a head coach sooner than he got the job at Idaho. It had been something that had been in the making for a long time that I’m sure had been in his heart that he wanted to do. And when he got the opportunity, a lot of people were mad. Oh, he’s going to Idaho. But at the same time, this was opportunity he had been waiting for — for him and his family. Yeah, I didn’t want to see him leave, but at the same time I was happy for him and his family to that opportunity. And to take a program that was struggling is a lot better story than to go to a program that is thriving. For him to go to that program and pretty much build it from the ground up, it’s a great story. And he’s the guy to do it.


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