McMackin ‘pleased’ after second week
Two weeks down.
Less than two to go.
While the Hawaii football team took a breather yesterday, the coaching staff again spent its Sunday in meetings preparing for the early portion of the schedule, which begins a week from Saturday at Florida.
The nine practices scheduled for Week 3 include the team's reintroduction to Aloha Stadium and a shift in focus from installing the base packages to implementing the game plan for the opener.
UH coach Greg McMackin said the Warriors are fighting through some "little nicks. But I'm pleased with how things are going.
"I think our offensive line is blocking blitzes better. I think our defense is really running to the ball and playing faster. I think we've come a long way in the last three days," McMackin said.
As for the players - including several projected starters on defense - who've missed practice time with various ailments, McMackin said he isn't concerned over the early bruises.
"We have two weeks to the ballgame and most everybody's going to be back (this) week," McMackin said. "The only two guys out are Rocky (Savaiigaea) and Blaze (Soares), everybody else we're just making sure they're OK.
"We're fine, we're just treating anything and it gives the backups reps, so it just makes us stronger."
Over the last week, we found out ...
...» The Warriors won't be at full strength at Florida: The second week of camp got off to a painful start when Soares was carted from the field early in Monday's practice and diagnosed with a tear in this calf that is expected to keep him out early in the season. An MRI on defensive tackle Savaiigaea's triceps also revealed a tear that will keep him out of the opener.
» Brent Rausch can pull off a comeback: After a shaky start to camp, Rausch's improvement over the last week convinced the staff to entrust the sophomore with the starting quarterback job. The promotion means Rausch, who showed off his arm strength and accuracy in solid showings Thursday and Friday, will take the majority of the snaps in practice from here on. Juniors Inoke Funaki and Greg Alexander will share the backup role for now.
» Dan Kelly's still got it: The senior twice made 53-yard field goals at the end of practices to save the team some extra running.
And in the week ahead ...
» Competitions continue: Although most eyes were on the quarterback race, there remain position battles to be settled. Left tackle is still close, as Aaron Kia and Laupepa Letuli are slated to split reps. Wide receiver Malcolm Lane has been slowed lately, giving Royce Pollard and Nathaniel Nasca a chance to impress the coaches.
» Moving day's coming: After two-plus weeks in the dance studios that serve as home for the Warriors during fall camp, the players move out on Wednesday to check into their dormitories or return to their off-campus housing.
"It's been a good time every summer camp," senior defensive lineman Keala Watson said. "It's special when you can bond with your teammates and get cohesiveness within the team."
» Get out the turf shoes: The team will leave UH's grass practice field for closed practices at Aloha Stadium tomorrow and Thursday. McMackin said there would be one scrimmage during camp, but hadn't finalized a date as yet. They have two-a-days scheduled for today, Wednesday and Friday on campus.
Individual ticket sales open
Tickets for individual home games go on sale today. Tickets will be available online at HawaiiAthletics.com at the Stan Sheriff Center box office and all other UH ticket outlets, or by calling 944-2697.
Women’s clinic tomorrow
McMackin and his wife, Heather, will host the Hawaii Wahine Football Clinic at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Sheriff Center. The fee for the clinic for women interested in learning basic football strategy is $10 (cash only). Registration will be at the door.