|Akey's message to Vandals|
Robb Akey has one last charge to the 2011 Idaho football team: Make the most of this final opportunity on the field.
“This is our last chance,” said Akey as he prepared the Vandals for the season finale at Nevada (Saturday, 1 p.m., WAC Sports Network/Altitude TV). “Let’s embrace every minute of this week. Let’s have a great time doing it.
“In the grand scheme of things, you only get to play so many games in your life. Let’s do something special with it.”
Special would be beating the Wolf Pack for the first time since 1999 – a 12-year span that includes six games. While Nevada has dominated that stretch, it no longer has its superman quarterback Colin Kaepernick and takes a 6-5 record into Saturday’s game at Mackay Stadium. The Vandals are 2-9 but have five losses by one score or less and put up a heroic battle before falling in double overtime to Utah State in their most recent outing. Plenty of reasons to add to the ever-optimistic Akey’s optimism.
“They’re a well-rounded football team,” he said. “They’ve been able to run the ball well and they have the ability to throw the ball. They play well on defense. They’re a physical outfit.
“We have to stop the run better than we did in the last game and then make sure we make some plays in the throwing game as well. I’d like to think we can build off of the last game.”
Saturday’s game will be the final one in a Vandal uniform for 20 Idaho seniors. Of those, eight were in Akey’s initial recruiting class and two were grayshirts already signed. Three more played as true freshmen and two were here for three seasons. Another five were two-year transfers.
The grayshirts are Princeton McCarty, who has etched his name in the Vandal all-purpose yards lists, and Derek Wieting. Of the eight who were able to redshirt, three (Tyler Brooks, John McKinley and Landon Weaver) were walkons, who worked their way into vital roles on the team. The five initial signees are Quin Ashley, Matt Cleveland, Mike Cosgrove, Andre Ferguson and Tyrone Novikoff.
The four-year players are Kama Bailey, Tre`Shawn Robinson and Charles Smith, with Brian Reader and Korey Toomer both spending three seasons on the Vandal roster. The transfers are Elliott Chapman, Matthew Harvey, Armauni Johnson, Homer Mauga and Sam Tupua.
Because of the depth in the upper classes, Akey was able to redshirt 20 freshmen for the fall of 2012, while playing just two – Dion Bass and Bradley Njoku, from the 2011 signing class.