SB FILE / OCT. 2005
Chad Mock is competing with Jason Rivers for playing time.
UH shows lots of depth at receiver
Jones may use a rotation at wideout since Hawaii has so many talented veteran players
Hawaii wide receivers are proving themselves better at separating from defenders than each other on the depth chart.
Two weeks after the start of fall camp, coach June Jones is still planning on going with a rotation system at the X (right) and Z (left) wideout positions when the Warriors open Sept. 2 at Alabama.
Usually when a coach has a hard time deciding on a starter, it's because no one has stepped up and shown to be deserving of the position. The opposite is true in this case -- all four contenders have played well. Jones went into camp thinking about using more than one player regularly at both spots, and nothing's happened to change that.
"Probably will, because we have some veteran guys who have played. We'll probably rotate a few guys in," Jones said after yesterday morning's practice.
Senior Chad Mock and junior Jason Rivers are competing on the right, while seniors Ross Dickerson and Ian Sample are on the left. In their UH careers, they have combined for 44 starts, 263 receptions, 3,237 yards and 19 touchdowns.
"That'll be good for us, to have a rotation in there because all four of us are experienced and we know what we're doing," said Mock, who knows the routes for both sides and entered camp No. 1 at X.
Receivers coach Ron Lee said things will shake out in the next 10 days. They have to. Even with a rotation, someone has to start the game.
Z might solve itself if Sample's groin doesn't heal up quickly. He was on light duty yesterday afternoon, but still participated.
"Any one of those four can
play. I don't know," Lee said. "I haven't talked to June yet how we're going to do the subbing. We have to wait. The next couple of weeks are critical. Next week is going to be very critical. It's a week that they're going to have to really step up. That's when the decisions will be made.
"We come back after (the end of camp) Sunday and the practices are only 2 hours, but they have to be at a very high level if we're going to be worth anything."
Except for a couple of drops, Rivers has had an outstanding camp. He's returned after a year off from school after catching 128 passes for 12 touchdowns in 2003 and 2004.
"I think overall I've caught up to where I was when I was first here. Mentally I'm a lot further along than I was, ever. I'm happy with myself so far," Rivers said.
Two years ago, Rivers caught the pass that gave Tim Chang the NCAA career passing yardage record. He said it didn't take long to adjust to Colt Brennan.
"To me, a pass is a pass," Rivers said. "They have different styles of throwing. Colt's a little more sidearm than Timmy, but a pass is a pass."
Jones praised all the veterans, and true freshman Greg Salas, who is working out with Mock and Rivers on the right.
At slotback, it will be hard for anyone to dislodge starting sophomores Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins. Both are coming off spectacular freshman seasons. But the same player could end up backing up both.
"Aaron Bain's had a really good camp," Jones said. "He and Ryan and Davone are a little bit ahead of everybody."
Bain and another backup sophomore slot, Mike Washington, turned in some of the morning's highlights.
Bain stretched his 5-foot-9 frame to get a hand on a pass that appeared out of reach in the back of the end zone. After tipping it, he juggled the ball a couple of times before cradling it as he fell inbounds.
Washington had a hard time hanging onto the ball early in practice, but latched on to everything thrown his way in the team period. He made a tough catch in traffic over the middle, and later made a diving snag near the sideline, tipping the ball with one hand and coming down with it as he landed.