Tomorrow’s game is a reunion
Four coaches who once worked on the same sideline with the Detroit Lions will find themselves on opposite sides of Aloha Stadium tomorrow.
June Jones, Mouse Davis, Woody Widenhofer and Herb Paterra worked together on the Lions staff for two seasons and will reunite tomorrow when Hawaii (1-4, 1-2 Western Athletic Conference) and New Mexico State (0-6, 0-2) take the field.
Jones, now Hawaii's head coach, helped Davis implement the run-and-shoot at Detroit in 1989 and 1990, when Davis was the Lions' offensive coordinator. Widenhofer and Paterra worked on the other side of the ball, designing the defense.
"It's always good to go against guys you know and are friends with," Jones said. "It does make it kind of fun to go play."
Paterra is in his first year as NMSU's associate head coach, with Widenhofer working as defensive coordinator.
Along with his time in Detroit, Widenhofer's résumé includes designing the Pittsburgh Steelers' famed "Steel Curtain" defense of the 1970s. He uses many of the same elements with the Aggies.
"I'm staying with the same scheme just like June is staying with his scheme," Widenhofer said. "You do what you know and all you can do is try to put players in position to make plays.
"I think (the Warriors) do a great job with the scheme; of course they've got the two guys that invented the thing, Mouse and June, so they know how to make adjustments and they do what they have to do to get it going."
Although the Aggies are still searching for their first win, Widenhofer has been impressed with the effort of his unit and the leadership of linebacker Jimmy Cottrell and safety Matt Griebel.
Cottrell leads the WAC and ranks second in the nation with 88 total tackles. Griebel is third in the WAC with 69 stops.
"Our seniors have been great leaders and worked very hard. We just have to have some good things happen for us," Widenhofer said.
D-line shuffle: With defensive end Melila Purcell out with a knee injury, the Warriors continue to consider their options on the defensive front.
"We've been taking a look at everybody," UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said.
Renolds Fruean practiced with the first team at left end with Michael Lafaele at nose tackle. Lafaele practiced at end earlier in the week with Keala Watson in the middle. Jones said Tony Akpan and Lawrence Wilson could also figure into the mix.
On offense, right tackle Dane Uperesa practiced with the first team yesterday. Uperesa's availability was in doubt early in the week due to an elbow injury.
Short yardage: Davis said freshman Jake Ingram will continue to handle long-snapping duties. He filled in for linebacker Tanuvasa Moe last week. ... New Mexico State arrived yesterday and is staying at the Turtle Bay Resort, not far from the homes of freshmen David Niumatalolo, La'auli Fonoti and Maveu Heimuli of Kahuku. ... Tomorrow's game will be the second meeting between UH and NMSU. UH defeated the Aggies 35-20 on Nov. 11, 1978. ... Jones is 5-1 in homecoming games in his UH career.