Player Post-Game (UI vs BSU)
Steve Wichman
Posted Oct 24, 2006

Player post-game quotes on this site are normally reserved for Scout / subscribers, but this week we've elected to make the quotes free for all of our readers. The post-game media conference, attended by Luke Smith-Anderson, Stanley Franks, Ryan Davis, Marlon Haynes, David Vobora and QB STEVE WICHMAN demonstrated how much the team appreciated the boisterous Vandal crowd Saturday.

Admittedly, it's been far too long since Vandal fans (perhaps spoiled by two decades of outstanding football competition throughout the 80s and 90s) have had a chance to really get behind the team and cheer them to victory. But last Saturday Idaho met rival Boise State in a classic matchup of conference unbeatens in the Dome. BSU walked away with the victory, but a resurgent Vandal team played them tough for four quarters and came within a few plays of pulling off an upset.

This is just Idaho's second year competing in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), and already membership is paying dividends. With Dennis Erickson and a deep coaching staff at the helm, several solid recruiting classes and more on the way, new facilities and discussions of more facilities upgrades, things appear to be headed in the right direction.

But for now, Idaho stands at 4-4 on the season and 3-1 in WAC competition. In the midst of the toughest stretch of their schedule, Idaho takes a road trip this weekend to Honolulu to play a Hawaii team that garnered Top 25 votes in the latest AP poll, and has one of the top offenses in the country. The Warriors' only conference loss is to BSU, and they've already blown out Fresno in Fresno this season. Obviously, this will be a tough assignment for the Vandals this week.

After that Idaho has a home date with Nevada (Nov. 4), and then a much deserved bye week. The last two weeks of this season round out with a road game at Fresno (Nov 18) and the season finale in Moscow to take on a much improved San Jose State team (Nov 25).

Saturday's crowd was electric, and a repeat effort by Idaho fans on Nov 4 and Nov 25 would go a long way towards making the Dome one of the bigger home field advantages in the WAC.

Below are the players' post-game comments...

Idaho Crowd
Vandal fans did their part to "Black Out The Dome."

6-5, 255, Jr, Tightend

About the crowd Saturday…

LSA: “That was an unbelievable crowd. I’ve never seen anything like that since I’ve been here at the University of Idaho. I was looking at the record before the game [crowd attendance], and the record we have is 17,600 set in 1989; that had to have been close to that [Saturday]. It’s amazing, and that’s why we play college football. I wish it could be like that every time...I hope it is from here on out.”

Luke Smith-Anderson
Luke Smith-Anderson dives in for a touchdown against BSU.
About jumping out to a big start Saturday (jumping up 7-0 on the first UI possession)…

LSA: “Boise’s plan was to take our crowd out of it. Our crowd played a big factor in the game. It was the loudest I’ve ever heard it. When we can go and set the tone for the game, it just increases the crowd’s power. That’s exactly what we did, and it was extremely exciting making plays. We’ve just got to continue to work on being consistent, making those plays all throughout every single quarter for the rest of this season.”

6-0, 270, Senior, Defensive Tackle

About the blocked punt...

RD: “Well, we called a safe return, but we weren’t sure if they were going to try to run a fake punt, something like that. We just got lined up, and that’s why you don’t take plays off - go hard every play. You never know when an opportunity’s going to come for you, and they let me come up the middle. No one picked me up, and I just made the play.”

LSA: “It was his elusive speed.” [laughter]

Really? That was NOT a set-up play…

RD: “Nah, a safe return was the call - just go hard. Don’t take plays off, and things will come your way.”

Did your blocker miss you…

RD: “He picked me up, but he was probably assuming that it was just a safe return and we weren’t coming hard; so he let me go pretty quick, and then no one picked me up throug the middle.”

About how many reps he got in the game [coming off an injury last week]…

RD: “I’m not sure how many I played. I think maybe five in the first half, and then got a couple series in the second half…not too much.”

5-11, 170, Jr, Cornerback

About the rivalry…

SF: “The fans out there showed tremendous support and everything just building up to the week. It was everything we expected.”

About the interception play…

SF: “It was just the flat and then a curl. I just jumped the curl by the outside receiver.”

About being able to contain BSU’s passing attack (especially the long ball)…

SF: “To start off with, the D-linemen and the linebackers did a great job on the run; so we knew we’d be seeing the pass; we did a pretty good job like you said staying on top of the route for the deep ones…we did give up the big one and the post, and that was pretty much it.”

Was it encouraging to play BSU tough…

SF: “It’s encouraging, but, you know, you’d still like to win. You’ve just got to make the plays. But it’s encouraging because we know they’re a good football team. They weren’t just gonna come in here and just let us take anything from ‘em. We had to take it. Yeah, it’s encouraging. [We're] just moving on to next week knowing we have Hawaii and everything.”

About the importance of BSU’s big kick return in the fourth quarter…

SF: “That changed the momentum and everything. Gave ‘em great field position. I think they were like on the 30 or something like that. That’s why you can’t give up field position like that, especially at the time of the game that it was.”

6-1, 225, Jr, Inside Linebacker (WILL)

About BSU tailback Ian Johnson

DV: “He’s a good football player. He has great vision, he’s real patient, he has real good feet. He keeps his legs moving - he’s a strong back. When somebody does that it’s hard to tackle him. At times I think we had some different blown assignments and what not, but that’s when he really got out on our defense. He’s a good back, and he puts it up in there - he’s hard to tackle.”

David Vobora
David Vobora
About momentum swings in the game (especially BSU's big kickoff return), and what Idaho needs to do next…

DV: “That’s a big play. Field position was huge, especially down the stretch, and there were discouraging things. It was definitely discouraging when it’s right there at your fingertips. But at the same time it’s motivating because we know that two, three, four plays here or there and it’s a completely different ball game. That’s what we have to understand. Come back tomorrow with the motivation to watch the tape, to get better, to prepare this week because we have four games left. Everything’s still right at our fingertips. We still control our own destiny. It [the loss] is frustrating - I think that’s the best word to describe it. But at the same time it’s very motivating.”

About the “Statue of Liberty” play that BSU ran…

DV: “Boise’s kinda notorious for pulling out some different kind of gadget trick plays, and we knew they would. This week in practice we practiced in different looks they’ve shown and some things we thought they might have up their sleeve, but that definitely wasn’t one of ‘em. They called some great plays, they did a lot of different trick stuff and really kept us on our heels. I think when we were in base and they tried to do what they do best - smash mouth football - most of the time, we plugged it up pretty well.”

6-3, 218, Senior, Quarterback

About the crowd Saturday…

SW: “I loved it. I loved it, and I hope it’s that way every game, because this team…we will not hang our heads to this loss. Every game that we have either suffered a loss, a failure, or we have had success, we’ve been tight throughout. With that crowd, it just makes it that much of an honor to be able to represent the University of Idaho, to represent our students, to represent the people that come out and support us, and I hope it’s like that every game, because I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that crowd. That’s how it should be. Division I football should be played in that type of an atmosphere, and we’re a good enough team that we should have that kind of a showing from here on out.”

Any “trash talking” on the field…

SW: “No, I think it was a very well played game by both teams. I think we respected each other. We respected that they’re a talented team, and they’re a very good team to contend with, and I think that as the game went by we gained their respect which, you know…I’m not asking for their respect. I don’t need them to respect us, but it’s a nice feeling to know that they know that they pulled it out. Good teams pull it out; so you’ve gotta give ‘em a little bit of credit there.”

About Idaho’s quick scoring to start the game…

SW: “We couldn’t have executed any better, I don’t think, the way we started offensively. We knew going into that game that if we won the toss or if they deferred to us that we would be more than happy to take the ball because we wanted to set the tone in that game. Our focus going into that game, like Coach Erickson mentioned, is nobody that they had played in the past except for Wyoming had jumped on them early, or gained early momentum. We knew the atmosphere in the dome today was gonna be obviously as intense as it was, and I don’t think they knew what hit ‘em early, to be honest with you. I’m not going to take anything away from that team, because they’re a great team and they played a good game in my opinion. It’s just hard to take right now.”

About the 41-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Haynes…

SW: “Well, that was a little wrinkle we put in this week; so we knew we were only going to get one opportunity at that. It was executed real well up front with the linemen protecting the way they did, and Marlon does what he does best. His man pressed on him and he’s pretty hard to cover deep, and I figured, hey, I just throw it far enough ahead of him so he can run underneath it and he can make a play on the ball, and that’s what he did. I mean, he made a great play, made a great grab - it was a great pressure grab right there. It was a good experience for our receiver crew, our whole offense really, to play against a good defense like they were. It was a true test of character and we made big plays when we needed to, and we left some out there; so we’re gonna take this to the drawing board and hopefully get better as time goes by.”

About BSU’s kickoff return…

SW: “Yeah, if you want to talk about any momentum change, especially late in the game. We intercepted one, that was big momentum. We blocked a punt, that was big momentum. However, we couldn’t capitalize the way we wanted to capitalize, but I mean that return…you talk about good games and how good games are finished. Well, late in the game like that, big momentum shifts like that are hard to contend with, and they did a great job in setting up that return. There’s nothing really more to be said about that. They just did a good job.”

About BSU keeping it together when Idaho jumped out to a good start…

SW: “Yeah, and that goes along with what I just said, that good teams know how to - in the end - make things happen and put the game away. With the momentum shift on that kickoff return, that’s exactly what they needed, and they gave themselves enough of a spark to do that.”

About the rest of the season…

SW: “We just came off a game where we caused eight turnovers. We had turnovers ourselves on offense, but you can definitely tell with this team that we’re getting better every week. We’re learning from the mistakes that we’ve made, and I think that’ll be beneficial to us in the end…with our chances of going to a bowl game and chances to finish highly ranked in this conference. I don’t know how it’s going to shake up, but by the end of this conference [schedule] we’ll see what happens. This conference is shaking out to be a tough conference. You’re gonna have to come to play every game, and if you don’t, you’re gonna be on the bus ride home not feeling too good about yourself.”

6-0, 185, Junior, Wide Receiver

About his first taste of this rivalry...

MH: “It was a pretty exciting game. Everybody was fired up…”

About the touchdown play…

MH: “That was just a play that coach drew up for me earlier in the week. It was more a good play rather than me overall. It was just a good play.”

About the crowd…

MH: “I liked the crowd. I liked the intensity and the momentum we had early and throughout the game.”

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DT Ryan Davis (profile)
CB Stanley Franks (profile)
WR Marlon Haynes (profile)
TE Luke Smith-Anderson (profile)
ILB David Vobora (profile)
QB Steve Wichman (profile)
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