Tuesday, September 16, 2003


Trip doesn’t get
any easier for UH

The Warriors hope for
a different result with an
opponent similar to the Trojans

Hawaii at UNLV

When: Friday, 3 p.m. Hawaii time
Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
TV: Live, ESPN2
Radio: Live, KKEA 1420-AM
Line: Even

ONTARIO, Calif. >> The reviews are in, Hawaii football fans.

If you hated "Southern California Live" last Saturday, you might not like "The Nevada-Las Vegas Show," either.

The expert critics -- UH football coaches and players -- have seen the UNLV tape, and they say the Trojans and Rebels look a lot alike.

Maybe it's because UNLV coach John Robinson became a legend coaching USC.

Whatever the reason, it might not bode well for the 1-1 Warriors, who lost 61-32 at fourth-ranked USC last Saturday and complete their road trip at UNLV (2-1) on Friday after the Rebels dismantled No. 14 Wisconsin 23-5 at Madison. The early line has the game as a toss-up.

Hawaii coach June Jones came out of the screening room impressed.

"Their offense, looks maybe, I'll tell you, equivalent to USC's. Their quarterback (Kurt Nantkes) looks a little better, probably just as much skill at wide receiver," Jones said. "Their running back, I don't know, somebody said he got hurt against Wisconsin, but he looks better than the back at SC. So they've got some players on offense."

Like USC, the Rebels have at least two good running backs, Larry Croom (37 carries for 225 yards) and Dominique Dorsey (47-233). Croom is more powerful at 5-foot-10 and 205 pounds, while Dorsey is a darter at 5-7 and 160.

Croom might not be available again this week due to a leg injury suffered two weeks ago at Kansas. Dorsey took over against Wisconsin with 100 yards on 26 carries in his first career start.

"They run some stuff similar to what USC ran. They have some good running backs," UH senior defensive end Kevin Jackson said. "They really try to run the ball, but they pass well and present a balanced attack."

Indeed, the Rebels have rushed for 488 yards and passed for 578.

While UNLV's offense did more than enough against the Badgers, its defense dominated the Big Ten team. The Rebels forced five fumbles and came up with nine sacks.

"They try to confuse you, mix it up," Jones said. "They do a lot of zone blitz and that kind of stuff. They try to screw up your protection with pressure from kind of a 3-3 look."

Jamaal Brimmer might be the best safety in the nation. He was named Mountain West Player of the Week after totaling 11 tackles with two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble return for a 95-yard touchdown.

Warriors running back John West said Brimmer is just one part of an attacking defense. And once again, the Rebels were compared to the Trojans.

"Basically they smell the ball. Just like USC; they're pretty much swarming to the ball," West said. "But our offense is pretty good. As long as we limit our mistakes, I don't think anyone can stay with us."

Dealing with it: UH senior offensive lineman Shayne Kajioka lost his starting spot at left guard to second-year freshman Samson Satele. He's not happy about it, but he's trying to remain a productive member of the team.

"It's kind of hard right now because I still don't know what's going on," Kajioka said after practice yesterday. "So what I'm doing right now is helping Jeremy (Inferrera, true freshman starting left tackle) and Sam with my experience and knowledge, how to set and react, and how certain defensive linemen are going to react in certain situations."

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh has not been extremely critical of Kajioka's play, but he did say last week he wants Kajioka to show him he made a mistake by benching him.

"I'm just riding it out right now. Just waiting patiently to get my one shot back. It's a long season," Kajioka said. "He said he wants to try these guys out. I guess because I'm a senior and I'm almost done."

Kajioka did not play against USC except on special teams.

"That was the biggest disappointment for me. But I think Cav wanted to keep the guys in for full-game experience, and that's going to be vital," Kajioka said.

Short yardage: UNLV junior linebacker Mike Tinoisamoa is the brother of former UH and current St. Louis Rams linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. ... UH senior defensive tackle Lui Fuga was in fall camp with the Rebels as a freshman in 1999, but returned to Hawaii without enrolling in school or playing for UNLV. ... Jones was one of Robinson's quarterbacks (the others were Dan Fouts and Norv Turner) when Robinson coached the position at Oregon in 1971. Jones transferred to Hawaii and then Portland State.

Around the WAC: Boise State is the Western Athletic Conference's only remaining unbeaten team at 2-0. ... Conference play begins Thursday with San Jose State hosting Nevada. Louisiana Tech visits Fresno State on Saturday in the week's other WAC game. ... LaTech quarterback Luke McCown, Tulsa defensive back Kedrick Alexander and Boise State punt returner Tim Gilligan were selected conference players of the week.


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