Offense, defense come together in camp
The units each claim victory after testing themselves against each other for the first time
After spending the first few days of fall camp on opposite ends of the field, Hawaii's offensive and defensive units finally got a chance to get acquainted yesterday.
The Warriors faced off for the first time in camp, running through two periods of limited-contact 11-on-11 drills during the 3-hour morning session, the first about midway through practice and another to end the day.
Both sides had their moments during the periods, and the verdict on which side got the better of the action depended on who was doing the evaluating.
"I think the defense won," safety Leonard Peters said. "The offense knows it's the D."
"Don't let them fool you -- we had their number today," quarterback Colt Brennan countered. "We have the film to prove it."
Overall, UH coach June Jones came away with a positive outlook on the team's first test of the fall.
"We looked faster on both sides of the ball," Jones said. "The kids really worked out hard, we looked faster and quicker, and I think some of that comes with knowing what to do.
"There's always good competition. The defense understands what (defensive coordinator) Jerry (Glanville) expects of them and they have a year in the system."
After matching up with scouts early in camp, it took a
few snaps for the offense -- which returns nine starters -- to get into gear with a defense on the other side of the ball.
"It was one of those learning days in that we finally went live and guys were making good plays and mistakes at the same time," Brennan said.
"We made the right reads for the most part, and did the right stuff. There were mistakes here and there, but compared to where we were last year on this day, we are just so far more advanced and ahead of the game."
As with most practices, the defenders pulled up on most hits and didn't take ballcarriers to the ground. Even if they were allowed to go full speed, they might have had a tough time stopping Jason Rivers, who blazed through the defense on a couple of completions during the 7-on-7 period.
"Physically, I think I'm a little better than I was, but I'm more focused on the mental part of it," said Rivers, who missed all of last season after posting 973 yards and seven touchdowns in 2004. "The faster you are mentally, the faster you move on the field.
"I'm seeing what my legs are ready to do, how good my legs feel, and they felt pretty good."
The defense was without inside linebacker Solomon Elimimian, who sat out the practice with a case of dehydration. Junior Timo Paepule took his place with the first team.
Although the defense was able to disrupt the offense's rhythm at times with an energetic performance, Glanville is looking for more out of the unit.
"We're just trying not to make the mental error," Glanville said. "We know we'll run, we'll chase, we'll hit, now we need to see who knows what to do."
After four days of drills, the grind of fall camp kicked in with yesterday's first 3-hour practice.
The first of four two-a-day sessions spread over a week is scheduled for tomorrow. An afternoon walk-through is scheduled for days without a second practice. The team will start practicing in full pads on Monday.
"Three hours is very grueling, especially in the sun," defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis said. "But it's going to be even hotter in Alabama (where the Warriors open the season on Sept. 2), so this is good for us. We have to get used to the heat and playing under hard conditions."
"It gets you in football shape and you're going to get more done now that the admission stuff is all behind us," Jones said. "So you get focused for the next 10 days pretty much on football."
Receiver Ian Sample is going with a new look in his last year with the Warriors.
Sample switched from No. 81 to No. 3 yesterday and said the change will stick.
The number became available this season when running back Bryan Maneafaiga elected to become a team manager. Maneafaiga had been pursuing a waiver to the five-year rule after missing most of last season with an injury. Sample was granted a similar waiver last week, giving him a sixth year of eligibility.
"That was my number in high school and I wanted it since I got here," Sample said. "But (former cornerback) Kelvin Millhouse had it first and then Bryan Maneafaiga had it. I'd rather have him on the team than take his number.
"He's out here, he's still around the team, so I figured I might as well keep it alive."
Along with Elimimian, freshman Brashton Satele also sat out of practice with a bruised thigh. Satele's not sure when he'll return to practice and said it was tough watching the offense and defense battle yesterday.
"Everybody's banging, I want to bang too," he said.