|Vandals ready for a game|
The past is just that – the past, says coach Idaho Robb Akey, as he prepares the Vandals (1-6, 0-3) for their Western Athletic Conference game against Hawai`i (4-3, 2-1) Saturday at the Kibbie Dome. Kickoff for the ESPN Regional contest is 2:05 p.m.
“The stuff in the past has got to be the past. It has to be history,” said Akey in his weekly address to the media. “I want them paying attention to what it is we’re paying attention to, what we’re capable of doing. Pay attention to what you can do. If you see what you can do, you give yourself a chance.”
Akey firmly believes Idaho’s 1-6 start isn’t anywhere near what the Vandals could be achieving. What he and his staff have been working to remedy during the bye week is an offense that has stumbled, while maintaining the steady progress of the defense and specials teams, which have provided most of the 2011 highlight reel footage.
“We need to get more productivity out of our offense in regards to finishing drives with touchdowns, scoring touchdowns, playing better on third down,” Akey said. “That’s the part of the equation that hasn’t clicked for us yet. As soon as we get some of that, I think we have an opportunity to get a little fire started.”
As they say, there is no time like the present with four WAC games and one non-conference outing remaining on the schedule. Akey’s sense of urgency is clear.
“You get the first half (of the season) kicked to the curb,” Akey said. “You pay attention to the parts within it that were good and how you can build off of that to be better. I do believe it’s just a spark away.”
Hawai`i comes in with a team traditionally known for its high octane offenses and tough-nosed defenses. This year is no different, Akey says.
“They’re a well-coached team. Their players play well,” he said. “They have one of the best quarterbacks (WAC-leading Bryant Moniz) around. He can throw the dog out of the ball – and they throw the dog out of the ball. He can hurt you with his legs as well.
“Defensively, they’re a physical outfit. They’re going to play physical.”
In that regard, the just-past bye week should aid the Vandals.
“We’ll have some guys back in a more full-time role this week,” said Akey in reference to injuries to defensive tackle Michael Cosgrove, defensive end Benson Mayowa and offensive tackle Jordan Johnson. “The guys that have been banged up, that have taken the majority of the snaps, didn’t have collisions this last week.”