MOSCOW Coach Robb Akey sounds a bit less optimistic than normal this week and more like the coach of a winless team fighting for his job after last weekends 40-37 overtime loss to Wyoming.
Despite dropping to 0-4, he emphasized that only one play could have changed the Vandals fate.
Im going to focus on the growth weve had, because really were talking about the outcome of one play, Akey said. Why should I let that affect how I treat these guys? Even if we had won, there would still be things to fix.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing was the offense, which produced 509 yards. Ryan Bass led the ground game with 121 yards, and Dominique Blackman passed for 306 yards and three TDs.
I think (Blackman) has come a long ways in a lot of ways and has a good understanding of what needs to be done, Akey said. I love the swagger and confidence that comes with Dom, but he also needs to be focused and challenged.
Kicker Trey Farquhar had an impressive game as well, hitting field goals from 53, 49 and 29 yards. He was honored by College Football Performance Awards as the national kicker of the week.
I had a long conversation with my coaches about what we did well because I am tired of hearing about all the negative crap, Akey said. That focus on whats good, whats right, thats whats going to help us. I let everyone else have fun with the negative crap because there is plenty of it out there.
Things wont get any easier this week as Idaho travels to North Carolina. If the Vandals hope to have success, theyll need to execute for a full 60 minutes something Akey is still confident his team can do.
To the outside world, Ive got to be the worst coach in the country, were one of the worst teams on Gods green earth, but thats not where were at, he said. When we have success on the scoreboard, then everybody else is going to come along and join that party with us.