Jason Gessers first week as Idahos interim head coach has included tears and texts and a near-complete lack of sleep.
Gesser is grateful it wont also include a game.
Idaho is off this week, giving Gesser, who was promoted Sunday to replace fired head coach Robb Akey, a bit more time to prepare for his first game. Idaho hosts San Jose State on Nov. 3.
Thank God its a bye week. Its a chance for me to get the shoes wet and see how everything goes, said Gesser, a 33-year-old offensive coordinator with less than two full seasons as a college coach.
While Gesser has been getting advice from his former coaches, including Mike Price, and learning about the demands of the job, players are adjusting to the departure of the only head coach they have had in the program.
To me, it was rough. It felt like I had heard someone had died. It took a couple days to soak it in and process it all, sophomore center Mike Marboe said. But coach Akey wouldnt want us to mourn over him.
Idaho returned to practice Wednesday and Thursday. They offered a chance for younger players to get some action, older players to rest and everyone to adjust to change.
Guys are a little hurt and upset about coach Akey being gone. Those are natural emotions. Everyone is going to feel that, punter and team captain Bobby Cowan said. We tell these young guys to keep going. These are the cards that we were dealt. This is what we have to do.
Just getting back on the field, around their teammates and coaches, had a healing effect for some. Football is kind of therapeutic, Cowan said.
Said defensive end Maxx Forde: Getting out here and doing what we do, being able to play football was kind of like a solace.
Gesser tried to keep practice light-hearted in his first couple of days without Akeys booming voice and presence on the field.
This is our sanctuary; this is where we come to hang out together; this is where we come to be a family; this is where we come to get away from our outside lives and all the problems out there, Gesser said.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444