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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, March 12, 2001

U H _ F O O T B A L L

By FL Morris, Star-Bulletin
Quarterback Tim Chang throws a pass during Saturday's scrimmage.

line shines in

Hawaii's defense continues to
experiment and evaluate; the
offensive front shows
strength and maturity

Bullet June Jones may be discharged next week

By Paul Arnett

Perhaps there wasn't as much fire-in-the-hole frenzy as the University of Hawaii coaching staff would have liked. A first scrimmage usually produces a lot of bodies flying around. This one last Saturday morning did not.

Missing from the defensive scene were Nate Jackson, Lui Fuga, Mike Iosua, Travis Laboy, Hyrum Peters and Keani Alapa, and the intensity those potential starters bring to the ceremony.

UH Football The offense featured third-string quarterback Shawn Withy-Allen more than sophomore starter Tim Chang. Top wideouts Ashley Lelie and Craig Stutzmann are so solid as starters, neither took part in the 54-play scrimmage that ended the first half of spring practice.

"I thought overall we had a good scrimmage," UH associate head coach George Lumpkin said. "We did a better job of tackling, especially in the run-phase of the scrimmage. And we got to look at a lot of guys at a lot of different positions."

The experiment of moving defensive ends Joe Correia and Kevin Jackson to outside linebacker is moving faster than Chris Brown's shift from end to middle linebacker. That's to be expected.

For Jackson and Correia, playing outside is a lot like competing at end, only standing up. Of course, they now have to worry about pass plays, something they did last year only in a zone blitz. But according to defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa, that pair is right on schedule.

"We had so many people hurt, we had to move Kevin and Joe back to defensive end for the scrimmage," Lempa said. "And when we're in nickel packages, they'll be at end anyway as part of the pass rush.

"It gives us a chance to evaluate other people if we can keep them at linebacker. We want Chris, Joe and Kevin at those positions to help us defend the run better. If we can keep Houston Ala and Laanui Correa at end, get Travis Laboy and Wayne Hunter up to speed at end as well, then we have a chance to be good.

"For Chris, it's a difficult challenge because it's a new position for him. It's much different than playing end, because you have to react to the play and flow to the ball, while guys are coming at you from all directions. It's hard to say where Chris will be because we need to give him a lot of practice time against a fullback and a tight end."

That was the reason for the 12-play period that opened the scrimmage. Only once did Withy-Allen pass the ball. The rest of the time he handed off to running backs Colin O'Reilly, Chad Kapanui, Jonathan Kauka and Tui Ala in an attempt to simulate offenses the Warriors will face next season.

The makeshift defense gave some younger guys more repetitions than they might have first anticipated. Outside linebacker Preston Faraimo played well. He had two of the better hits of the scrimmage.

Freshman wideout Mark Tate burned the secondary several times for big plays realized and big plays lost. He has a real chance to emerge as the top wideout on the left side, complementing Lelie on the right.

"We looked at some of the younger guys to see what they can do," UH receivers coach Ron Lee said. "We've reached the halfway point of the spring. I think we're making some progress offensively. But we've still got a ways to go. This was good, to get tackled and to see how the offensive line is developing against our defensive front."

Last year's projected weakness is this season's undeniable strength. Mike Cavanaugh's offensive line provided Lempa a measuring stick for his defense. The front protected well, did a better job on the run and made some hits downfield that brought a smile to Cavanaugh's face.

"We're starting to work on things we couldn't even think about last spring," Cavanaugh said. "I'm real pleased. That five right there could be as good as there is. We've just got to keep working on the little details of technique.

"The experience and these kids being in the system, there's a comfort level there. It's not all new. It's nice because that first year was hard, and so was the second. Now, we're starting to see some real maturity, there. And hopefully, that will lead to good things down the road."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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