GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Lamar Broadway broke up a Royal Gill pass intended for New Mexico State's Paul Dombrowski during the Oct. 15 game between the Warriors and Aggies at Aloha Stadium.
Broadway turns the corner for Warriors
He was recruited as an 'athlete' and showed why with 10 tackles last week
Lamar Broadway has fond memories of his recruiting visit to Fresno State five years ago.
"I had fun. I went with (San Jose State receiver) Rufus Skillern, and my childhood friend, Justin Cooper," said Broadway, who eventually accepted a football scholarship from Hawaii instead of Fresno and its close proximity to his family's home in Corona, Calif.
Three years ago the trip back was nice, too. Broadway contributed on special teams as the Warriors beat the Bulldogs 31-21, for one of the Warriors' biggest road wins.
But the visit to the San Joaquin Valley last fall wasn't nearly as pleasant.
"I don't hold no grudges," said Broadway, now a senior cornerback. "But the fire burns because of the debacle we had last year. We went out there, and I don't know what happened."
What happened was simple. Fresno State pounded a weak UH defense for 503 rushing yards in a 70-14 embarrassment. Somehow after that the Warriors were able to bounce back to win their final four games.
The Bulldogs are favored by around two touchdowns when they visit the Warriors on Saturday at Aloha Stadium. UH will have to continue to improve at one of the game's basic skills to have a chance at knocking off 5-1 Fresno State, which is ranked No. 22.
Broadway looked proficient at it in last Saturday's 45-38 victory at San Jose State. He was in on a career-high 10 tackles. Turmarian Moreland, the corner on the other side, had a team-high 11 stops.
"Last year there was a lot of emphasis on us not being able to tackle. We had to bring 'em down, and in this game we brought 'em down," Broadway said.
It's rare for one cornerback to make 10 tackles, much less both. But the Warriors were playing lots of Cover 2 defense to counter San Jose State's short-passing West Coast offense.
"When you play that much Cover 2, guess what, they make every tackle that's 5 yards up the field," coach June Jones said. "Lamar played very well for being out there (for the first time as a starter). And Turmarian (is) ... getting better and better because he's playing more. He came up and made some hits too. Corners, when you play Cover 2, they're the force people instead of your strong safety."
"They did a lot of things outside, so we were in position to make the play," Broadway said.
Such a scheme might not work very well against Fresno State, which relies primarily on its powerful running game. Whatever defenses the Warriors employ, Broadway said he's ready to stick strictly to the blueprint -- something he admits wasn't always the case.
"To tell you the truth, this whole time I've been learning. Before I was just out there free-lancing, trying to make plays," he said. "I learned it comes down to alignment and assignment and that makes it easier to make plays."
When Broadway arrived at UH in 2001, he didn't know which side of the ball he'd be making plays on. He was a quarterback, wide receiver, running back, punt returner and defensive back at Centennial High School, where he was a two-time team MVP.
He said owning the "athlete" designation as a recruit helped him.
"The more you can do the better. You play one position, say quarterback, and that's all you can do, they might not want you if you're not tall," said the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Broadway. "If you can show you're an athlete and you're versatile, you have a better chance. You have more opportunities to get looked at on the field."
He played a little scout team quarterback as a freshman, but was soon moved to cornerback.
"I tried to guard (Ashley) Lelie to the best of my ability," he said with a laugh.
Broadway was moved to safety in 2002. He started five games at free safety last year and was just moved back to corner last week.
"I just like playing. It doesn't matter where I'm at," he said. "If they want me to play nose guard I'll do it.
Mixed message: Defensive end/tackle Mel Purcell will "probably play," defensive line coach Vantz Singletary said. Purcell, who injured a knee at Louisiana Tech on Oct. 8, was at practice but did not participate in contact drills yesterday.
Either he or Renolds Fruean is expected to start Saturday.
Cornerback Kenny Patton, who started the first six games, watched from the side yesterday.
Big brother: Former Utah and Atlanta Falcons star running back Jamal Anderson is an analyst on the ABC crew that is televising Saturday's game.
Anderson is the older brother of Jazen Anderson, a junior-college running back who is expected to enroll at UH in the spring.