No offense, ‘D’ wins
First the Hawaii coaches put on a clinic.
Then the Warriors defense did so, as often happens this time of year.
After a week of spring practice in which the rebuilding offense showed outstanding progress, it struggled a bit during a 33-play scrimmage yesterday at the UH grass practice field with an afternoon crowd of several hundred watching.
Part of it had to do with veteran offensive linemen John Estes (center) and Keoni Steinhoff (right tackle) being held out of the scrimmage.
"It shows fast," offensive line coach Brian Smith said. "Communication. There were some holes here and there. But the good thing is the kids were competing and fighting. We exchange scripts, so we know what's coming. We struggled a little bit today. I think we took a step back."
Still, head coach Greg McMackin lauded Smith's work with the offensive line's technique, and said it may be the team's most improved unit.
The top of the chart players at quarterback, receiver and running back saw plenty of action, as McMackin wants them to develop timing. But backups got most of the repetitions on defense. Cornerback Calvin Roberts continued to impress, and McMackin said he has officially taken the lead in the three-way competition for the starting spot on the right.
Despite a ferocious rush, quarterback Inoke Funaki competed 10 of 12 passes in the scrimmage and the earlier blitz period -- but the last one was to himself, after linebacker Tyson Kafentzis tipped the ball. Kafentzis had two sacks earlier in the session.
"Never, never," Funaki said when asked if he'd ever caught his own pass before. "I just didn't want Tyson to get that ball. I know I wouldn't hear the end of it the rest of the year."
As for the offense:
"We're slowly progressing. I think Wednesday and Thursday we made some strides. There's a lot more things we can do to improve, especially me," said Funaki, who is locked in a battle with Tyler Graunke as No. 1 quarterback exiting the spring.