Archive | September, 2012

Monday Akey-isms: 9/24 – Team growth, packing the Dome, travel and more

24 Sep

All throughout the fall the emphasis of this Idaho football team was supposed to be finish. From the t-shirts, to throwing four fingers in the air during the fourth quarter of every game, and practice for that matter. Akey even said he used the word over 700 times during his media sessions at WAC media days. 

But it was the same song and dance for the Vandals, relinquishing a fourth quarter lead to the Wyoming Cowboys and falling in overtime. Quarterback Dominique Blackman’s fumble on the one yard early in the fourth quarter seemed to be the turning point. It turned an opportunity for Idaho to go up two touchdowns in to an opportunity that Wyoming seized to tie the game.

With Idaho sitting at 0-4 for the first time since Nick Holt was the head coach (2005) it would imaginably be hard to stay positive, but that’s what Robb Akey is choosing to do.

“We’re one outcome of a play away, one inch away and I got to make sure our guys see that. I’m sick for our players to not have the win coming out of that game…We played that game well,” Akey said. “You look at the growth that our team has made and that’s what I’m going to focus at.”

Those positives Akey focused on was mainly on the offensive side of the ball. The offense totaled over 500 yards of offense and scored a season high 37 points, which is more than Idaho had scored the previous three games combined (30).

Those positives will need to continue for Idaho from here. They’ll play on the road at North Carolina next week before coming home to face New Mexico State at the Kibbie Dome during Homecoming weekend.

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Better Know a Foe: Week 4 Lasso the Pokes edition

20 Sep

This week something has to give. Two teams will walk in to the Kibbie Dome in week four without losses, one will walk out with a win.

Todd Handley is expected to be involved in the offense Saturday

The opponent this week is the Wyoming Cowboys, who the Vandals see when they look at themselves in the mirror. Wyoming is the same 0-3 as Idaho and in almost identical fashion. Wyoming lost close to a MAC opponent in week two, lost to a BCS opponent in Texas in week one and fell to a Big Sky opponent in Cal Poly without their starting quarterback.

“I’ve never experienced this before, it’s all new ground to me. It’s not where I want to be, I know it’s not where Idaho wants to be. Both teams are very similar in a lot of way,” Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said.

With their backs against the wall before a conference game is even played, coach Robb Akey isn’t ready to concede the season yet.

“Is any football team in the country that hasn’t won a game yet have great confidence? I would doubt it,” he said. “Certainly that is my challenge as the coach, is to make sure the guys do see how the parts have come together.”

A win against Wyoming is critical if Idaho still harbors any dreams of making it back to a bowl game, since the schedule hardly gets any easier. Future dates on the road against North Carolina, La. Tech, BYU and Utah State mean the margin for error is close to zero. Continue reading

Monday Akey-isms: 9/17 – Anticipating a breakthrough against the Pokes

17 Sep

For 30 minutes last Saturday night in Baton Rouge the Vandals seemed to be, somewhat, going tit for tat with the No. 2 (or No. 3, depending on your preferred poll) team in the nation. Twice the Vandals pulled to within a touchdown in the first half after LSU had ample opportunities to put the game away. Twice the Vandals battled back and made a statement. Both the 94-yard interception return from Gary Walker that set up Dominique Blackman’s first touchdown pass of the game to make it 14-7, as well as the seven-play 81-yard drive capped off with a 22 yard touchdown pass to Jahrie Level that made it 21-14.

Dominique Blackman threw for two touchdowns and four interceptions against LSU
Courtesy | Ilya Pinchuk

Unfortunately for Idaho, football games are sixty minutes.

Idaho went in to the half down 28-14, but 35 unanswered second half points from the Tigers gave everybody the game that was pretty much expected.

“There are things within the game that we’re going to build from. Battles within the battle that if you can do it part of the time I think you have an opportunity to do it all the time,” coach Robb Akey said. “I’m not big on saying ‘this was great’ because if it was great the score wouldn’t have read like it did.” Continue reading

Better Know a Foe – week 3 at LSU edition – Geaux Time

13 Sep

It’s anybody’s guess on what will terrify the Vandals most Saturday night when the team walks out of Tiger Stadium’s visitors tunnel – The 450-pound live Bengal tiger caged up on the sideline staring them in the face, or the No. 2 team in the country that demolished the Pac-12′s Washington Huskies by 38-points last week.

In the heart of the Bayou they call it Death Valley, where teams that come in dreaming of upsets and victory often leave mauled and demoralized. LSU has won 19-straight at Tiger Stadium.

Regardless, the Vandals are well aware of the challenge that awaits them there.

The LSU mascot, Mike VI. He’s cute.

“Everything we do has to be another notch higher, another speed. That’s what they’re really good at, speed,” center Mike Marboe said. “That’s the biggest thing preparation wise, everything they do…is so much faster than anything we’ve ever seen.”

Speed, indeed. That speed kept the usually potent Washington offense touchdown-less and held quarterback Keith Price to 4.4 yards per passing attempt. The beat down of the Huskies moved LSU to 2-0 on the year, and 2-0 at Tiger Stadium with an average margin of victory of 32.5 points. 

“They call it Death Valley for a couple reasons,” coach Robb Akey said. “I think a lot of people have lost a game before they ever go in there, and that’s talking about SEC teams.”

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LSU week practice report, Pay-Per-View information, other notes and numbers

12 Sep

The Vandals are off the practice field Wednesday, the last one open to the public and media before the team flies down to Baton Rouge on Friday.

Not a ton to report, they were pretty standard practices. The mood around practice was pretty relaxed and fairly business oriented. Perhaps the reality of the situation that they will be playing at LSU Tiger’s Stadium on Saturday hasn’t set in yet, or maybe they’re trying to keep their excitement leveled for such an opportunity.

Two loud speakers were present at both Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice to simulate crowd noise and at one point Jason Gesser and Dominique Blackman walked over to signal that they wanted it louder.

After the practices we were able to talk to some coaches and players on the match-up, and we’ll have other notes from the week below that.

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Monday Akey-isms: Week 3 – ‘We’ve got nothing to lose’

10 Sep

Just about everything about Idaho’s performance against Bowling Green last Saturday night was a drastic improvement over the week one 20-3 loss to Eastern Washington – except for the final result. The Vandals left with a 21-13 defeat and are now 0-2 on the year. Not the kind of start that coach Robb Akey probably envisioned, considering that the next three games consists of two BCS Conference teams and a Mountain West bowl team. So don’t be surprised if at the end of the year this game is one that the Vandals look at thinking ‘what if’.

Jahrie Level led Idaho in receiving Saturday against Bowling Green with 10 receptions for 119 yards
Courtesy | Ilya Pinchuk

Down 14-6 with 3:36 left in the third quarter it was an ill-timed Dominique Blackman interception that spurred Bowling Green on a touchdown drive to make it a two possession game. After drawing back within one score Idaho WR Jahrie Level fumbled with 3:41 left in the game giving the Falcons an opportunity to run out the clock.

“We did things better, we competed better, our football team united better, we responded to adversity better. We  still need to win the damn game that we had an opportunity to win,” Akey said. “Not the finish we wanted, not happy with that. Did we grow? Yes. Do we have room to continue to get better? Yes. And that’s what we’re going to pay attention to. I saw life, I feel like we have grown.”

It won’t get any easier from here. The Vandals will now travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to face an LSU team that dismantled Washington 41-3 last Saturday.

“We’ve got nothing to lose, we’re gonna go pin our ears back, get after it,” Akey said.

More on nothing to lose below. Here are the rest of our notes from Monday’s news conference with coach Akey:

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Better know a Foe: Humanitarian Bowl rubber match – Week 2 at Bowling Green

6 Sep

The H-Bowl table at the Corner Club in Moscow

It was the two-point conversion that re-defined what football was at the University of Idaho. The standard to which coach Robb Akey’s program is held was set on December 30, 2009 when Nathan Enderle hit Preston Davis in the back of the endzone, and pandemonium ensued. The play spurred Idaho to a 43-42 victory in the Humanitarian Bowl over Bowling Green, its second bowl victory since becoming a Football Subdivision program. Continue reading

Weekend Volleyball recap: California dreamin’

3 Sep

Argonaut | File photo

The Vandals hit the state of California dreaming of wins, and were left completely blanked. Not the kind of momentum the Vandal ladies were looking for before facing powerhouses UCLA and Hawaii next weekend at the Hawaii Volleyball Tournament.

Here is our write-up from the Argonaut.

Kevin Bingaman

Argonaut

After a solid start to the season at home the Vandal volleyball team stubled in its first road trip of the season, dropping three straight over the weekend.

The Vandals came into the weekend  with a 2-1 record and the momentum of beating rival Washington State, but that was shortlived when the Vandals fell to Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Northeastern and Cal State Northridge. Continue reading

Game recap: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3

1 Sep Philip Vukelich | Argonaut
Senior quarterback Logan Bushnell delivers a pass as he is pressured from the Eastern Washington University defensive line Thursday in the Kibbie Dome. Bushnell, Idaho’s second-string quarterback, started the game after Dominique Blackman did not play for unspecified reasons.

The words that can be used to describe Idaho’s 20-3 season-opening loss to Eastern Washington range from poor to pathetic. It was a tale of two sides of the ball for a Vandals team that was without their starting QB Dominique Blackman, which in turn led to a lack of any offense.

Here is our game overview with quotes from coach Robb Akey, QB Logan Bushnell and LB Homer Mauga. Also below the jump is stats and analysis of the game. Continue reading

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