Robb Akey just got through with his Monday morning press conference, and one thing stuck out to me: He was happy to get past New Mexico State on Saturday, but by no means was he or other members of the club as giddy as they were after last year's breakthrough against NMSU. Perhaps it's a sign that the Idaho football program is maturing.
Click below for some more quotes and thoughts from Akey.
Akey, in fact, spent almost as much time this morning talking about the Vandals' deficiencies than strong points in the 21-6 win. He was not pleased with how much time the defense spent on the field in the second half, and he called Nathan Enderle's lone interception "a terrible throw. .. He can't make that throw. That was poor." Pretty strong words, but Akey clearly wants his players to expect more than what took place Saturday.
Other quotes of note:
On whether he's been nit-picky with the defensive performance: "I hope so. I'd like to hope we can push these guys to have high expectations and play well. I certainly want to praise the things they did well and take a look at the things we can do better and things we’re going to need to do better to continue to gain the ground and be the football team we want to be."
On how pleased he was with the start of the game: "I was happy with the way we got started. Playing hard, flying around like they were, I think the kids were having a good time. To start like that was important."
On the task of taking on Washington on Saturday: "I think it’s a big challenge coming up. It’s a Pac-10 opponent … that’s got new life with a new coaching staff. I know those guys are going to bring a lot of energy to what they’re doing over there.
"Looking at Saturday’s ball game, that was a darn good football team they played in LSU, and they were right there in the thick of things. That quarterback (Jake Locker) is a very, very talented player. He throws the ball well; he can also run very, very well. He’s got very good speed."
On facing Johnny Nansen, who went from the UI staff to UW's staff: "I certainly enjoyed having Johnny on my staff; he was part of the original staff. He coached hard for us and recruited hard for us and helped get a number of players here. But he doesn’t have anything to do with us now. He’s on the other side, we’ve got to go get after his tail."
On the progress of the rebuilding project: "We’re graining a lot of ground, and I expected to be gaining ground."
On the vibe of the team: "There’s a lot of good energy. And we still have their attention on a lot of things ... ."
Akey said the Vandals came out pretty much injury-free from Saturday. Deonte Jackson was the only one who got slightly dinged up, but he should be OK.
After Sunday's meetings, Idaho has turned its focus to UW. In addition to Nansen, a number of former Vandal coaches and players are on the UW staff -- Joel Thomas, Doug Nussmeier, Mike Anderson, Nick Holt, Jeff Mills and Dan Cozzetto. Akey said the reunion of sorts is a "nice little sidebar" to the game but nothing more.
One last note: Idaho punter Bobby Cowan was named the WAC special teams player of the week. The freshman had a 49.2-yard average on four punts.