Depth takes charge of scrimmage
Auditions reach another level of intensity at Hawaii spring football practice this morning, as the Warriors hold a controlled scrimmage at the grass practice field.
Most established veteran players won't participate, and if they do it will be for just a few plays, coach Greg McMackin said. The 30- to 40-play scrimmage is mostly a tool to evaluate newcomers and others bidding to make the team or climb the depth chart.
If it's anything like the offense against defense team sessions of the past week, there will be plenty of old school physicality to go with the finesse of the run-and-shoot passing attack.
Offensive coordinator Ron Lee said he plans to deploy most of the running backs -- including the top contenders for the starting spot, Daniel Libre and Leon Wright-Jackson -- for a few plays each. Burly Jake Heun, whom McMackin likened to Larry Csonka after he bowled over defenders Thursday, will also likely be in for a few downs, Lee said.
Strongside linebacker Blaze Soares is out with a nerve injury, but he and fellow starters Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard weren't expected to play in this first of three scrimmages, anyway.
"Spring is about getting your depth," defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Cal Lee said. "We'll be looking at R.J. (Kiesel-Kauhane) and Tyson (Kafentzis) and a lot of other guys."
So far, the veteran defense has had the edge over the rebuilding offense as spring practice approaches the midway point.
"We're getting a good look," Ron Lee said. "This defense is midseason form. And the coverages and all of that stuff is really exceptional.
"We need to be really tight on our execution. Nobody's going to be wide open."
McMackin said the rejuvenated running game will eventually open things up for the passing attack.
"We've added some running plays and I think we have the guys to do them," he said. "They can't just pass all the time."
Today's practice -- free and open to the public -- starts at 7 a.m. The scrimmage is slated to begin a little after 8, McMackin said.