CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sophomore defensive lineman Elliott Purcell received encouragement from coach Greg McMackin during practice yesterday. The team completed its 10th of 15 scheduled practices.
Signs of success
As spring practice heads into the stretch run, McMackin likes the team's development
Greg McMackin likes what he sees as Hawaii spring football practice heads into the stretch drive -- lots of productivity and improvement on both sides of the ball.
"Our offensive line is getting better daily and lots of big plays are being made on offense and defense," the Hawaii coach said yesterday after the 10th of 15 practices. "The quarterbacks played very well and the defense continues to run to the ball and develop depth."
Quarterbacks Tyler Graunke and Inoke Funaki continued their spirited battle for the top of the depth chart, where they are now co-No. 1s. Throwing in some new wrinkles, they combined to complete the first seven passes in team session. Graunke finished 7-for-11 and Funaki 7-for-13, and neither was intercepted. Cornerback candidate Jameel Dowling did get a pick in 7-on-7.
Quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said the experienced UH defense is helping the offense improve.
"This might be the best defense we play," the former Hawaii QB said. "Plus, they have familiarity with our offense, and their windows are tight. They know things that are coming and we're still able to get it in there sometimes."
Toward the end of the team session, UH defensive backs homed in on the receivers and broke up several on-target passes.
"Coach is trying to emphasize 'don't feel sorry for yourself' because we were going back-to-back today and we were a little tired," safety Mana Silva said. "Just try to stay mentally tough. We made some plays back there."
Starting slotback Mike Washington joined the injured list with a tight hamstring. His replacements played well.
"Jon Medeiros had a great day, Eric Shaffer had a great day," Funaki said. "Confidence is starting to radiate throughout the receivers and the offense and the team."
Shaffer caught three passes for an estimated 55 yards in team session, while Medeiros gathered one in for at least 25 yards and maybe a touchdown.
There is no practice today. The team returns to the field tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. for a practice that concludes with a scrimmage.