Friday, August 20, 1999
Hawaii defensive back Phil Austin wakes up in a new secondary every day.
Austins versatility helps DBs
If the senior from Los Angeles isn't playing free safety, look for him at strong. If you miss him at those two spots, you can always try right cornerback. That's where he was last night during a 90-minute workout at Cooke Field.
Will he remain there? Not even Austin or Rainbows' defensive coordinator Greg McMackin know for sure.
"I might be playing defensive end tomorrow," Austin said after practice, then smiled. "You never know with Coach McMackin."
McMackin continues to shuffle his defense, looking for the right combinations. If Austin plays corner, it allows Nate Jackson and Dee Miller to be on the field at safety with Shawndell Tucker at the other corner.
"We're taking a look at different combinations because we feel we have eight or nine guys who can play back there," secondary coach Rich Miano said. "It's a very athletic group."
McMackin is also the kind of coach who likes to experiment, especially in fall camp. After all, the season opener against Southern California is still two weeks away.
"Once two-a-days end, we'll have a good idea where everybody will be," McMackin said. "We'll have six defensive backs in our dime package, so we need to see who can play where."
Outside linebacker Anthony Smith sprained his right foot near the end of last night's workout. The UH training staff will know more today how long last year's leading tackler will be out.
"It didn't look too bad," McMackin said. "Hopefully, he'll be back in a few days. Right now, we'll move Robert Kemfort in there."
The only two major injuries in fall practice have struck the same left outside linebacker spot. Backup Bo Espinoza injured his hamstring earlier this week. He is still questionable for the USC game.
Junior college wide receiver Jamal Garland was officially cleared for duty on Tuesday. It was feared the Grossmont College (Calif.) wide receiver might not be academically sound, but the speedy back is now in camp.
Grossmont College teammate Anthony Vaughn may not be as fortunate. At this point, he is the only newcomer not to make the grade. All the veterans are OK in the classroom.
Tickets on sale
Individual game tickets go on sale at Aloha Stadium on Monday. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices for the games vary. Season-ticket totals are in the 23,000 range, which would be about a 15 percent increase over last year's 20,000 low mark.
By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin