Star-Bulletin Sports


Friday, September 3, 1999


R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L




University of Hawaii Football
1999 season preview

DEFENSE
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11 -- Anthony Smith
Left linebacker

The team's leading tackler as a strong safety last year, he doesn't care if he repeats that feat as an outside linebacker. "I just want to help us win games. Period." The coaching staff believes Smith is one of the key players to help them do just that. He has the size, speed and quickness to not only pursue a running back or quarterback, but cover a tight end or wideout. Smith is the complete package for the Rainbows.



New formation gives
UH flexible strength

By Paul Arnett
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

At first glance, Hawaii defensive coordinator Greg McMackin's formation resembles the tried-and-true pro set. You have four down linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs.

But this ain't your daddy's 4-3.

The defensive ends line up in a three-point stance. They are usually firing off the edge like two dragsters covering a quarter-mile. Their primary duty? Contain. The two tackles are the only real linemen in this set. They have to be a pair of big, strong, brave-hearted fellows who don't mind being double-teamed to death. They hold the point, first and foremost.

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17 -- Dee Miller
Strong safety

Not since free safety Bryan Addison have the Rainbows had a defensive back of Miller's size and speed. He supports the run with a vengeance and has the speed to cover the deep zones over the top of the defense. The junior college All-American has an opportunity to be the enforcer in Hawaii's secondary. Look for him to answer the call early and often.



This strategy allows the middle linebacker to search and destroy the running back. His outside teammates are either following behind the ends off the edge or shooting an inside gap off tackle.

They may also remain home and watch for the sweeps, guard the flats on pass plays and take the tight end or back out of the backfield. The corners and safeties assist in a variety of coverages that range from full man to all zone.

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92 -- Tony Tuioti
Right defensive tackle

He is the heart and soul of the defense. Still bothered by a bad back, Tuioti missed most of fall camp, but is expected to be fit for duty against Southern California. The players respect his tenacity up front. And no one who saw Tuioti on his hands and knees at the end of a practice last year -- unable to move because of the ruptured disc in his back -- will forget that he played in a game two days later. He has true grit.



It is an excellent helping defense that slides to areas of the field where the ball already is or is about to be. The players love it, head coach June Jones believes in it, and McMackin has made an excellent living from it.

"We first started doing some of this stuff at Utah and Miami of Florida," McMackin said. "We perfected it at Seattle last year where we set a record for most scoring touchdowns on defense."

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44 -- Jeff Ulbrich
Middle linebacker

Here is another player whose fiery disposition is only matched by his determination. Run-and-shoot designer Mouse Davis had been in town only one day and even he knew the story of how Ulbrich played on a blown-out knee just so he could line up against Michigan. As Davis put it, "You don't have to know anything else about him. That's the kind of guy you want on your team."



The challenge for McMackin is not making it too complicated or expecting too much from players not yet ready for NFL prime time. He has some solid athletes in place among the front seven and in the secondary.

Two vital keys for long-range success this season are health and experience. Lose a player such as Jeff Ulbrich at linebacker or Dee Miller at safety, and the Rainbows won't be nearly as effective. Allowing time to bring the newcomers along to help with the chemistry already in place is critical for McMackin. Having too much youth, too soon, could hinder the rebuilding process.



http://uhathletics.hawaii.edu



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