Thursday, September 16, 1999
Going for Two
The Rainbows can't afford to
rest on their streak-busting win if they
hope to get a winning streak going
with a win over Boise State
FOOTBALL NOTEBOOKBy Paul Arnett
The Hawaii football coaches were drunk with joy after last Saturday night's much-needed victory over Eastern Illinois. But they sobered up in a hurry after watching the film of the game Sunday afternoon.
That's because the defense yielded nearly 500 yards, the special teams fumbled two kickoffs and the offense is still trying to get on the same pages of the playbook.
"We did some things better, but we've still got a long way to go to be where we're competitive every week," UH head coach June Jones said. "We're giving up too many yards on defense and we're not consistent enough on offense."
Those two areas need to be addressed further before the Rainbows take the field this Saturday night against Boise State. UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin is already tinkering with his starting lineup and Jones is hammering home the ins and outs of the run-and-shoot all this week in practice.
OFFENSEDespite setting school records in passing yards for quarterback Dan Robinson (452) and receiving yards for wideout Dwight Carter (220), Jones isn't ready to use this UH unit as his display model for the run-and-shoot just yet.
"We made some big plays, something we didn't do against USC, but we're still doing a lot of things wrong," Jones said. "And that's a concern, because Boise State has a defense that can play.
"What makes them unusual is they use a nickel package (4-2-5 alignment) all the time. They come at you from different angles and force you into making mental mistakes."
The challenge for Boise State is making the major adjustment from facing the spread option attack of Southern Utah to the run-and-shoot of Hawaii.
Last week, Southern Utah ran 59 times and passed only 14. Those numbers are likely to be reversed this weekend, which means senior Butkus Award nominee Bryan Johnson and redshirt freshman Quintin Mikell will be called upon to make the adjustments.
From his linebacker spot, Johnson managed 11 tackles in Boise State's 35-27 victory over Southern Utah. He also recovered a fumble and blocked a field goal.
Mikell is a multipurpose free safety Robinson needs to be aware of on every snap of the football. In two games, Mikell has 27 tackles, one sack, three pass breakups and one recovered fumble.
"They look like a good defensive team on film," said Robinson, who is the leader of the Western Athletic Conference in total yards, averaging 295 a game. "Most teams play nickel packages against us because of our four-wide stuff. But Boise does it all the time, which means it won't be an adjustment for them."
Redshirt freshmen tackles Bobby Hammer and Tony Altieri give the Broncos a youthful look, but don't let that fool you. Boise State began the season with nine returning starters on defense.
"They are an up-and-coming program with some sound defensive schemes," Jones said. "What they play is an eight-man gap defense.
"They blitz a lot, give you a lot of different looks out of it. It's a very good scheme. Florida runs it. In fact, a lot of good defensive teams use it. It allows the kids to go play football. And they have some good ones, who hustle and play hard."
DEFENSEMcMackin likes to think his defensive schemes allow his players to attack and make plays. But right now, he's more concerned with the basics.
Hawaii's defense is yielding too many yards on the ground and isn't putting enough pressure on the quarterback on obvious passing downs.
As a result, McMackin is experimenting this week with the personnel along the defensive front and in the secondary in an attempt to get ready for the Broncos.
"A lot of people might not know this, but they play good football up there in Idaho and Montana," McMackin said. "Boise State is an example of a team on the rise.
"They use a little bit of the West Coast offense, but they probably run the football better than West Coast offenses do. They'll play-action pass, they'll get into four-wides, three-wides. They're a multiple type of an offense."
Boise State also likes to use the tight end, which concerns McMackin some after how the Eastern Illinois tight ends exploited UH's secondary last week with seven receptions for 97 yards.
Bronco tight end Dave Stachelski had six catches last week for 108 yards, marking the first time a tight end had more than 100 receiving yards for Boise State since 1995. The Broncos also have a solid quarterback in Bart Hendricks, who has 3,243 career passing yards. His top wideout is Billy Wingfield. He has 10 catches for 107 yards.
The one weakness may be the running game. Boise State is averaging only 145.5 yards on the ground. The leading rusher is Davy Malaythong who has 125 yards on 28 carries.
"They have several running backs, but it doesn't look like they've settled on any one guy," McMackin said. "They lost some wide receivers, so they're sort of doing that by committee as well.
"But the main guy back there is the quarterback. He is good in the pocket and on the perimeter. He can move around, so we have to be careful he doesn't create big plays on the run."
Hawaii senior Matt Paul wants on the football field and the Rainbow coaches are trying to figure out where to put him.
D needs a spark, so
Paul moves to end
During yesterday morning's practice, UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin gave Paul numerous repetitions at the right defensive end. Whether he starts in Saturday night's nonconference game with Boise State remains to be seen.
"We're just trying to get players on the field and he's a guy who wants to play," McMackin said of Paul, who as a linebacker last year, finished second on the team in tackles with 100.
"He's a guy with experience. He's a tough guy who we believe can help us with our pass rush on the perimeter. We can use a guy like him on the field."
Paul has had trouble getting on the field as the backup to top middle linebacker Jeff Ulbrich. In the spring, Paul had some problems adjusting to McMackin's schemes, resulting in him being the odd man out once fall camp began in August.
Head coach June Jones said the defense hasn't been playing as well as he would like, so some shake-ups were in order.
"We're going to look at Matt there and see how he does," Jones said. "He wants to get on the field and we're struggling a little bit in some areas, so we'll give him a chance and see how he does.
"He wants to play. He's tough. Our defensive ends are like outside backers anyway. We'll see. I think when you haven't been there for a while, it's not going to happen overnight. That's for sure."
With Paul at right end, the coaches moved Joe Correia to the left side in place of Mike Iousa, who experienced some stingers in his neck in last week's win over Eastern Illinois.
"Because of that broken left hand, we moved him to the other side," McMackin said. "He can use his right hand to grab coming out of his stance. It was difficult for him to do that from the other side."
Paul is just glad to get the opportunity to be on the field. A starter in 35 games for former head coach Fred vonAppen, Paul has played sparingly in Hawaii's two games this year. He has only seven tackles.
"I like the move," Paul said. "It's a good position for the pass rush. It's pretty simple. I just have to get in so I can learn the plays a little better.
"What I wanted most of all was to get an opportunity to play. It's not really that much different from linebacker, other than I'm coming out of a three-point stance. I don't drop back as much in pass plays. My job is to rush the passer and contain on the edge."
Injury updateSafety Daniel Ho-Ching didn't take part in yesterday's drills, prefering to rest a shoulder he dislocated in the first quarter of last Saturday's victory over Eastern Illinois.
"It's the same one I hurt in the spring," Ho-Ching said. "It just keeps popping out. All I can do is tape it up and go back in there."
Jones said that the MRI on Robert Kemfort's knee was negative. He is wearing a brace, but continues to work with the No. 1 unit at left outside linebacker.
Safeties Dee Miller and Phil Austin are also back in the starting rotation. They have been bothered by slight concussions the past couple of weeks.
It appears slotback Davey deLaura will miss another game with a hamstring pull. Running back Robert Grant is back up after missing last week's game with an ankle sprain. Iosua and fellow defensive lineman Tony Tuioti (back) will play this weekend, but in a limited capacity.
"It looks like most everybody is going to try to play," Jones said. "But you don't know how that's all going to shake out until they're on the field. We've been nicked some in our first two games, but for the most part, we're fairly healthy."
Tinoisamoa still on holdFreshman linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is still attending practices, but his status with the NCAA remains the same.
"I'm hoping we'll win this appeal for his sake because he's going to be a difference-maker for us," Jones said. "We haven't heard anything yet."
Tinoisamoa is appealing an NCAA clearinghouse statement that said he is not eligible because of a math core credit. If UH loses the appeal, Tinoisamoa can't rejoin the program until next fall and will not be on scholarship for the rest of this season.
By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii