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



Bullet Who: Southern California
Bullet Kickoff: 6:35 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Trojans last year: 8-5
Bullet UH all-time vs. USC: 0-3
Bullet Key returnees: TB Chad Morton 985 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns; QB Carson Palmer 1,755 yards and 7 touchdowns; WR R. Jay Soward 44 receptions for 679 yards and 6 touchdowns; FS David Gibson 85 tackles.
Bullet Coach Paul Hackett: "This is a very important year for us. There were so many uncertainties last year because it was the first time around for us. We may struggle some early on, but I look for us to be in the thick of the Pac-10 race. We showed some flashes last year. We showed some improvement, but by no means were we satisfied with our showing last year."


Bullet Who: Eastern Illinois
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Panthers last year: 6-5
Bullet UH all-time vs. Eastern Illinois: First meeting.
Bullet Key returnees: RB Wayne Brown 631 yards and 4 touchdowns; QB Anthony Buich 1,801 yards and 12 touchdowns; WR Philip Taylor 31 catches for 437 yards and 2 touchdowns; LB Brian Jones 90 tackles and 4 quarterback sacks.
Bullet Coach Bob Spoo: "I feel a little better, but I'm still concerned about the commitment of this group. We lost some players due to academic ineligibility and that has put a strain on some segments, particularly the secondary. Our schedule is a baptism by fire with Central Michigan and Hawaii so early. With June Jones taking over at Hawaii, I suspect they'll throw all over the place."


Bullet Who: Boise State
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Broncos last year: 6-5
Bullet UH all-time vs. Boise State: 1-0
Bullet Key returnees: RB Gavin Reed 459 yards and 4 touchdowns; QB Bart Hendricks 1,799 yards and 13 touchdowns; LB Bryan Johnson 76 tackles and 2 quarterback sacks; CB Dempsy Dees 5 interceptions and 12 pass breakups.
Bullet Coach Dirk Koetter: "This staff is committed to Bronco football. Everyone of the assistants is back, which was our No. 1 goal in the off-season. Stability is now there and we have quality depth on the field to go with it. We have a good blend of experienced players and young talent coming in."


Bullet Who: Southern Methodist
Bullet Kickoff: 9:05 a.m. Cotton Bowl
Bullet Mustangs last year: 5-7 overall; 4-4 WAC-Mountain Division (T5th)
Bullet UH all-time vs. SMU: 0-1
Bullet Key returnees: RB Rodnick Phillips 1,115 yards and 9 touchdowns; OT Jerry Chavira 22 career starts; P Colin Vadheim 42.1 average; LB Jason Simonton 131 tackles; DB Tracy Hart 92 tackles and 5 interceptions.
Bullet Coach Mike Cavan: "Last year, we had some adversity early on, but we survived it and came out with a respectable season. The guys knew we had to work hard this off-season if we wanted to be a championship-caliber football team. We've made progress the past two years. Now it's time to take it to the next step."


Bullet Who: Texas-El Paso
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Miners last year: 3-8 overall; 3-5 WAC-Pacific Division (T6th)
Bullet UH all-time vs. UTEP: 14-11
Bullet Key returnees: TE Brian Natkin 34 receptions for 362 yards and 3 touchdowns; LB Robert Weathers 71 tackles; PK Ricky Bishop scored 58 points; DE Brian Young 104 tackles.
Bullet Coach Charlie Bailey: Last year was disappointing because we were in so many games that we lost. We let Oregon come back from a couple of touchdowns to beat us, and we lost three league games (to Colorado State, Utah and San Diego State) by a total of 15 points. Hopefully, we can do a better job and be competitive this season. I didn't think we tackled well at all last year."


Bullet Who: Rice
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Owls last year: 5-6 overall; 5-3 WAC-Mountain Division (T3rd)
Bullet UH all-time vs. Rice: First meeting
Bullet Key returnees: OG Neal Gray started 30 of 33 career games; LB Dan Dawson 80 tackles; QB Chad Richardson 1,344 yards total offense; FB Jamie Tyler 614 yards and 8 touchdowns; PK Derek Crabtree made every kick -- 23 in all -- to score 33 points.
Bullet Coach Ken Hatfield: "We finished 5-6 in 1998, had Air Force on the ropes before losing late and we beat TCU, which won the Sun Bowl. We have some areas we need to work on, but I look for us to be competitive this season. We need to develop some depth at quarterback and fullback."


Bullet Who: Tulsa
Bullet Kickoff: 9:05 a.m. Skelly Stadium
Bullet Golden Hurricanes last year: 4-7 overall; 2-6 WAC-Mountain Division (7th)
Bullet UH all-time vs. Tulsa: 1-1
Bullet Key returnees: CB Todd Franz 56 tackles and 2 interceptions; LB Ryan Cook 66 tackles; LB Ashon Farley 6 quarterback sacks; WR Damon Savage 42 receptions and 5 touchdowns.
Bullet Coach Dave Rader: "We have a difficult schedule early on (three consecutive road games vs. Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, San Jose State) that will force us to fill some holes very quickly. But we're excited about our prospects. We believe we have some guys who can get the job done. We just need to find some players up front on defense, we need a tight end and we have to improve in the kicking game."


Bullet Who: Texas Christian
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Horned Frogs last year: 7-5 overall; 4-4 WAC-Mountain Division (T5th)
Bullet UH all-time vs. TCU: First meeting
Bullet Key returnees: RB LaDainian Tomlinson 717 yards and 8 touchdowns; DE Aaron Schobel 68 tackles and 7.5 sacks; FS Reggie Hunt 111 tackles and 2 interceptions; DT J.W. Wilson 34 tackles.
Bullet Coach Dennis Franchione: "Last year was a great experience for this football team. It's something we can build on toward this year. But we've got a challenging schedule and some players we have to replace if we want to have that kind of success this season. Our defense is right where we want it to be. Our offense still needs some work. But overall, we're moving in the right direction."


Bullet Who: San Jose State
Bullet Kickoff: 10:35 a.m. Spartan Field
Bullet Spartans last year: 4-8 overall; 3-5 WAC-Pacific Division (5th)
Bullet UH all-time vs. San Jose: 7-14-1
Bullet Key returnees: DL Samson Sherrod team-leading 7 sacks: DL Abdul-Salam Noah 36 tackles; WR Eric Ruhle 16 receptions; RB Deonce Whitaker 719 yards and 7 touchdowns; WR Casey LeBlanc 23 catches.
Bullet Coach Dave Baldwin: "It's not like we're starting over. But we worked on some new schemes this spring and evaluated our talent to see how the players fit into our new plans. We wanted to emphasize throwing the football more. That was our original plan, but we haven't made it there yet. We'll have good competition offensively, which will only make us better. Both of our quarterbacks have competed at this level."


Bullet Who: Fresno State
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Bulldogs last year: 5-6 overall; 5-3 WAC-Pacific Division (T3rd)
Bullet UH all-time vs. Fresno State: 13-17-1
Bullet Key returnees: QB Billy Volek 1,973 yards and 10 touchdowns; WR Charlie Smith 42 receptions for 621 yards and 3 touchdowns; CB Payton Williams 3 interceptions; LB Tim Skipper team-leading 108 tackles.
Bullet Coach Pat Hill: "Offense puts people in the seats, but defense wins you football games. I like who we have out there on defense. It takes time to get your system in place and move forward. We had a chance to be bowl-eligible the last two years, but we didn't get it done when we had to. You still have to perform on the field."


Bullet Who: Naval Academy
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Midshipmen last year: 3-8
Bullet UH all-time vs. Navy: First meeting
Bullet Key returnees: QB Brian Broadwater rushed for 679 yards and passed for 838; WR Travis Williams 12 catches for 127 yards; FS Jamie Doffermyre 127 tackles and 2 quarterback sacks.
Bullet Coach Charlie Weatherbie: "One of our big moves in the off-season was going to the 3-4 on defense. It's better for us because we have more linebacker types in our program. Last year, we had too many young players in key positions. I know the experience they gained will pay off this year."


Bullet Who: Washington State
Bullet Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Aloha Stadium
Bullet Cougars last year: 3-8
Bullet UH all-time vs. Washington State: 1-1
Bullet Key returnees: RB Nian Taylor 847 yards and 8 touchdowns; QB Steve Birnbaum 1,677 yards and 6 touchdowns; WR Leaford Hackett 54 catches for 580 yards and 4 touchdowns; LB James Price 83 tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks.
Bullet Coach Mike Price: "I enjoy turning over rocks and finding players others have not recruited. The most important part of the team developmental process is not how good the players are when you recruit them, but what you do with them while they are in your program. For the last few years (the Pac-10) has been a quarterback league, but the runningbacks will dominate this season."

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