True freshman Preston Davis against Arizona
True freshman wide receiver PRESTON DAVIS and his Vandal teammates are putting Saturday’s 70-0 thumping at Arizona in the past. A game that started with some oddities, ended in a nightmare for the Vandals on the scoreboard. But Coach Robb Akey faced the media straight up this week, talking about Saturday’s loss and the Vandal’s home opener with Idaho State (Saturday, September 6 at 2:00 P.M.)
Regarding the game at Arizona: "Well, there’s nothing good to say about that game at Arizona. In fact, I told my players, when they left here yesterday, that thing was supposed to be history, and I’m trying to make it be the same way for me too, but … we didn’t do anything very well. Very disappointing that that would be the way that we would perform in the first game because we had been doing things well during the course of camp. I liked the progress we made. You wouldn’t know that by the way we played on Saturday night, but I do see good things coming for us. We had the opportunity to play seven true freshmen and 14 kids played their first college football game... had nine guys that started their first game, and I’m very confident things will get swung around to the right way."
About playing Idaho State this week: "Well, the thing I’m looking most forward to is the fact that we can try to get this bad taste spit out our mouth and we get an opportunity to play here at home, and that’s a great thing. I think being able to play one of our non-conference games against another in-state school I think is going to be a fun opportunity for us. As much as anything a lot of our focus has been put on ourselves right now and learning how to take the way we play on the practice field to get out there and put the same consistency and execution onto the game field.
Whether there was anything positive about last week’s game: "The plane didn’t crash on the way home. That was a positive. It ended. Then there was a period of time that I didn’t think that game was going to end. I think we performed as bad we could possibly perform; so we got that out of the way. That’s kind of the way I look at it. I think as we come back here… and we got our guys on the video… and we were able to coach them through some things… and when you understand how you need to be accountable to one another… and when guys don’t perform the way they need to or don’t execute the way they need to what that does to everybody else. I thing the understanding of what that can turn into… that’s what we have to take out and that’s what we have to learn from and understand that things can get out of hand if you don’t do things the right way."
Regarding any injuries from the Arizona game: "Well, we had three guys…Peter Bjorvik had a hamstring during warm-ups and was not able to play the game. He’ll be questionable this week. Tyrone Novikoff, our offensive tackle, had a shoulder… was not able to finish the game. That’s doing well and I expect him back this week, and Aaron Lavarias, the defensive tackle, that also had a shoulder sprain in that game is questionable probably for this week. I think that’s normal for the dings. Some bodies don’t feel great but at this point in time we’ll find out more as we get through to practice this afternoon. I would expect to have everybody out (at practice).
On the rehabilitation of Mike Iupati’s shoulder injury (from Spring camp): "Mike’s rehab is going fantastic, and he’s been able to have contact in the last couple of weeks. It’s still one-on-one contact. We’re still strengthening up that joint. He’s able to strike people, and the progress is ahead of schedule, and hopefully we’ll see him out on the game field in the next couple of weeks.
About 14 players in their first college football game: "Well, nobody did very well. You saw what the scoreboard read, and that was a little disenchanting, but there were guys that…some of them did play a little better… if you get a chance to look at it. They did things that were good. I look at Mike Cosgrove at defensive tackle that we redshirted a year ago. He’s playing his first college football game against a PAC-10 front, and there were some plays in there that he really did a nice job of getting off blocks and made a couple of tackles that were good things. There were some other things obviously that hurt him a little bit. He played hard the entire ball game … and there was a play late in the ball game, a ball got thrown and the receiver was tackled 20 yards down the field, and he was the guy that had his arms wrapped around that guy bringing him to the ground and another four defensive linemen were all there as well. There were some things like that that were good, but obviously it needs to get better than what it is. I think some of the lack of execution they understand. The things they did on the practice field they’ve been able to do, then when saw mistakes happen for the first time in the arena against a PAC-10 opponent, I saw a lot of mistakes that we hadn’t seen since the first week of camp start to take place again; so it’s part of the growing process. It’s a painful part of the growing process, but it’s part of the growing process."
Coach Akey’s impression of Idaho State: "Well, I think the Bengals have got some guys that are running around. They’re playing hard. I know they’re going to play hard to defense. They’re flying around. They’re going to work to be physical. It looks like the running back is a good player to me. I mean, he damn near had 100 yards against Boise (State), and the quarterback seems to be doing things pretty well. I think it’s a team that had a frustrating first game of their own, and I know that they’re going to come in here very, very hungry this week. I think they’re looking to fix a lot of things as well."
About Jayson Bird playing for the Vandals last season and the Bengals this season: "Well, Jayson busted his tail when he was here at the University of Idaho, and he was able to graduate. He retired early here due to the fact that he was able to graduate and wanted to get on to dental school and also had a knee injury that he didn’t think he was going to be able to play any longer. So, the fact that that knee is better now… I think that’s a great thing for Jayson, and I think probably, with a year of eligibility, he wanted to see what he would be able to do with that, and I think that’s probably a great thing for him."