Rain spotlights UH’s field issues
An unfit practice surface forces the football team to alter its schedule
The case was made emphatically yesterday for renovation of Cooke Field.
And the sooner the better, as far as Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin is concerned.
The Warriors' plan to conduct the first offense and defense interaction of the spring was altered when rain soaked the grass practice field. Instead, the defense walked through its packages in Klum Gym and the offense reviewed its work from the first two practices on the wet field.
Offensive coordinator Ron Lee said his players survived the walk-through on the sloppy field without any mishaps.
If Cooke Field was usable, the team could have had a regular practice.
"It's not worth getting someone injured and tearing up the (grass) field," said McMackin, after deciding to alter his practice plan. "This is a great example of why we need Cooke Field. The good thing is I've been told that it will be addressed within a couple of months."
UH hopes to have the field ready in time for fall practice, athletic director Jim Donovan said.
"They're close to soliciting proposals for bids," said Donovan, who estimates the job will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million. "The chancellor's very confident there are funds for that."
Lee said there are several practical reasons to have Cooke Field available.
"Obviously we need to practice on days that are wet, cloudy or slick," Lee said. "Also, a lot of the fields we play on (including Aloha Stadium) are not grass fields. It'd be good to go out there on certain days. And it would be good to be able to practice under the lights, especially for receivers and special teams. In so many ways it will be helpful. I'm glad they're talking about it."
The next practice is Monday at 7 a.m.