McMackin eyes starters on special teams
It's one thing to use starters as kick returners. It's another to employ them in other special teams roles.
Hawaii may have offense and defense first-stringers in kickoff and punt coverage roles this season, as well as blocking on returns, coach Greg McMackin said yesterday.
McMackin said his rule is the NFL standard that a starter can play on one or two special teams "if he's the best player for the position."
Does that mean a premier player such as All-WAC outside linebacker Adam Leonard could end up on the kickoff return team, for example?
"If he's the best guy. If there's no one close to him, absolutely," McMackin said. "Obviously, we've got to be smart how we use them. A defensive guy, I don't want him to run down on the kickoff and have to be right in there."
McMackin makes his defensive play calls via middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian, so that would keep him off special teams. "That's just for communication sake."
McMackin also said the Warriors will be more aggressive in blocking kicks than in recent years.
"Here's what I told our staff," McMackin said. "There's six or seven plays that's key to a ballgame. They're on offense, defense and special teams. The rest of the game's pretty even. But those big plays, are the game winners. So special teams is a lot of those snaps. We're going to use our best."
Projected starters Ryan Mouton (cornerback) and Malcolm Lane (wide receiver) enter fall camp Monday as the No. 1 kickoff returners, with starting slotback Mike Washington atop the chart at punt returner.
McMackin has decided which coaches will be on the sideline and which will be doing their work from the booth above the action.
Ron Lee (offensive coordinator), George Lumpkin (defense), Dave Aranda (defensive line) Alex Gerke (running backs), Craig Stutzmann (receivers) and David Gilmore (defensive backs) will be upstairs.
"The guys upstairs are playing chess, and they have to think that way," McMackin said.
McMackin has always been a sideline guy:
"I want to look in the players' eyes, I want to know what their emotions are."
McMackin said he plans for one scrimmage, toward the end of fall camp. ... UH has two scholarships in reserve. One will likely be awarded to a veteran walk-on during camp and another to a new player. "It's good to have one in your pocket," McMackin said. "You never know who's going to come your way late. At Miami one year our last one went to Ray Lewis
." ... The coach said he prefers smaller travel squads, and the Warriors will take between 60 and 65 players to Florida. The other side of that, though, is that he wants to allow all players who practice to suit up and be on the sideline for home games. ... McMackin and his wife, Heather
, will host a seminar for female football fans at UH on Aug. 21.