[ WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kainoa Akina let loose a throw at UH spring football practice this week. Akina is vying for the No. 2 spot at QB.
Spring is in the air
But today’s scrimmage won’t
just be about airing it out
Lots of people think Hawaii football coach June Jones always favors the offense. He certainly doesn't in his scoring system for scrimmages.
An interception is a cool 25 points for the defense.
"That's how we kind of keep it even," UH defensive coordinator George Lumpkin said. "June wants to emphasize not making turnovers for the offense."
UH spring football extravaganza
What: Offense vs. defense in 60-play scrimmage
When: Today, 7 p.m. Parking gates open 4:30 p.m., turnstiles open 5 p.m.
Where: Aloha Stadium
Activities: Performances by UH band, Rainbow Dancers, UH cheerleaders. Autograph and photos with players and coaches. Contests and giveaways, and games for children.
So if Omega Hogan and Patrick Jenkins can duplicate their practice efforts of yesterday at tonight's spring finale at Aloha Stadium, they get the defense 50 points on two quick plays.
Hogan, a contender for playing time this fall at cornerback, has done well in prior spring and fall camps. Jenkins emerged in this, his final spring.
Hogan made a diving interception just a couple of plays after Jenkins grabbed one and took it the other way for what would have been a touchdown.
"He's been showing up, really been coming into his own," Lumpkin said. "All this stuff was really new to him, but he's starting to understand."
When his interception was brought up after practice, Jenkins deflected praise.
"I made too many mental mistakes, I've got to improve on a lot of stuff," he said. "But I'm going to improve each day."
Jenkins, a 6-1, 190-pound senior, has always looked the part of a big-time safety. He's only beginning to perform like one this year.
"I really didn't take football very seriously until I came to college," said Jenkins, who walked on two years ago after following his brother to UH from Orlando, Fla. "I played linebacker in high school, so I'm just picking it up at safety. I had a rough start when I got here, but I'm learning from the other guys and trying to improve. This is the first year like I'm really focused. The other years I should've been more into it."
Jenkins is among many players trying to show they deserve playing time this fall on a defensive unit that is being rebuilt after losing eight starters.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterbacks Jack Rolovich and Kainoa Akina looked on during practice this week.
On offense, the competition is mostly for second-team positions. But at some positions, particularly quarterback, the No. 2s usually find their way into the game.
In the past three years alone, backup quarterbacks Nick Rolovich, Shawn Withy-Allen and Jason Whieldon eventually replaced starter Tim Chang because of injury or incompletions.
Chang threw only in individual drills most of this spring, but for the past three practices he took part in 7-on-7 action. Kainoa Akina, Jack Rolovich, Ryan Stickler and Jeff Rhode followed him -- in that order.
Jones has repeatedly said not to put much stock in who throws when, and he and quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison have tried to rotate them around. But Jones also said he knows who he would use in a real game if Chang weren't available.
Akina, a junior, has the most experience. He started seven games for Eastern Michigan in 2001, passing for 1,504 yards. He said he has fine-tuned his game this spring.
"With Coach Jones allowing us to get more reps, I feel like I've made a lot of strides," he said. "Just little things, just seeing if the defender's got outside technique on the guy, obviously I want to hit him on the inside. If the corner's looking at you, he's probably bailing out. Just those little things like that. I think the tiny aspects are where I made my biggest jumps."
The enthusiastic Akina said he hopes for a big crowd tonight.
"It's gonna be a fun day and a lot of guys are going to show what they got," he said. "It's free, so shoot, the glass is always have full ... let's go ahead and say 15 (thousand). That'd be great to get that kind of fan base. It would show great support and backing for our program."
Lumpkin laughed when asked if he and Jones have a friendly wager going on tonight's scrimmage.
"Nothing like that," he said. "We'll just see if the guys have improved, and I think they have. This is their test."
The head coach is just glad he doesn't have to scrimmage on the hard turf of Cooke Field, like in years past.
"We're all looking forward to it," Jones said. "Anytime you can get into the stadium, that's great."
Short yardage: Guest coach Frank Gansz and linebackers coach Cal Lee will miss tonight's scrimmage. Gansz returned home to Georgia, and Lee is in Louisiana, at his "night job" as head coach of the Hawaiian Islanders. ... The NCAA has ruled that slotback Nate Ilaoa is eligible to apply for an additional season of eligibility if he suffers another serious injury. He has two seasons of playing eligibility, not three as was reported Thursday, using incorrect information supplied by UH.
BACK TO TOP
Hawaii running back
A University of Hawaii running back from Waianae was among a group of people indicted this week in an alleged scheme to defraud Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.
Named in the seven-count indictment filed Thursday in Circuit Court are West Keliikipi III, brother Winston K. Keliikipi, cousin Gordon K. Keliikipi, Coleen Spencer, Tasha N.K. Black, Jared P. Santiago and Shantel Santa Isabel.
Winston Keliikipi, Gordon Keliikipi, Isabel and Spencer are charged with first-degree theft, punishable by a 10-year prison term. Isabel also was charged with first-degree computer fraud.
West Keliikipi, Santiago and Black are charged with second-degree theft, punishable by a five-year prison term.
Details of the thefts were not available. The offenses allegedly took place during overlapping periods from February to May 2002.
West Keliikipi said he was not aware of the indictment and didn't know why he was named.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said, when told of the indictment.
While Kaiser is his medical carrier, he did not receive any services or monies during the period noted in the indictment, he said.
He said he does not know the others named in the indictment, other than his cousin and brother.
The others could not be reached for comment. Gordon Keliikipi is purportedly now living on the mainland.
Alison Russell, spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente, said they had not seen the indictment and could not comment until they have had an opportunity to review it.
"I hope it's not true," UH football coach June Jones said.
Keliikipi was not at spring practice yesterday. He said he was excused to go to a doctor's appointment for a followup visit for surgery on his knee.
He was not expected to play in tonight's scrimmage at Aloha Stadium.
Keliikipi played in 10 games last year before hurting his knee. He rushed for 247 yards and six touchdowns and caught 20 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown. He will be a senior in eligibility in the fall.
"I'd be very surprised if he's involved in anything like that," UH running-backs coach Wes Suan said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Dave Reardon contributed to this report.