Coach Robb Akey said the Idaho Vandals need to put the first part of the season in the rearview mirror and look at what they can accomplish in their final four games of 2011.
“We have to get the won-loss record out of our vision,” he said as the Vandals prepared for their Saturday game at San Jose State – 1 p.m. on the WAC TV Network as well as the Vandal Radio Network. “A lot of attention still needs to be put on us and what we’re going to do to attack them.”
Idaho’s defense has taken great strides over the last four games – an improvement that showed last weekend in its limiting one of the Western Athletic Conference’s top offenses to 16 points and held the Hawai`i run game to a scant 15 yards. That rush yardage was due in part to a formidable front that tallied 10 tackles for losses totaling 54 yards.
That’s a big difference from the start of the season when the Vandals mustered just 14 tackles for losses (only two were sacks) in the first four games. In contrast, they’ve notched 29 in the last four (totaling 139 yards in losses). Included in that TFL total are 12 sacks for 88 lost yards.
“Our defense has made great strides this season,” Akey said.
The offense? In some regards.
“Our running game has grown,” said Akey, who has seen a Princeton McCarty-fueled ground game tally two of the best run games of the season in the last two outings. “We need to build off of that and we need to throw the ball more effectively than we have.
“We need to continue to diligently work at it as the week progresses and then make it happen on Saturday. … The bottom line is we need to close out drives and get touchdowns.”