CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii coach Greg McMackin gave some pointers to backup lineman Joey Lipp yesterday.
Feeling the heat
UH tries to simulate Florida weather at the stadium
The differences in practice weren't limited to the temperature and surroundings.
The Hawaii football team practiced at Aloha Stadium for the first time yesterday, adding a little bit more bounce to the workout for the Warriors.
"They were coming a lot harder, there was a lot more competition. They were getting excited trying to hit somebody," quarterback Brent Rausch said of the Warriors defense after his introduction to the stadium yesterday.
"I was running a little bit faster, throwing a little bit harder. It felt good."
The Warriors practiced on their home field for the first time in fall camp, using the first of two opportunities to work out at Aloha Stadium. Game conditions were simulated, from the cooling misters on the sidelines to the coaches testing out the headsets in the booth.
Then there was the heat.
A breeze provided some relief, but it was still plenty hot on the FieldTurf as the Warriors prepared for next week's opener at No. 5 Florida.
"This is the time we're actually going to play there, so we tried to get on the turf where it's as hot as it can be," UH coach Greg McMackin said of the 12:30 p.m. start, matching the starting time at Florida. "They watered it right before we came in so it would steam up a little bit.
"It's not as hot as we're going to get, but we're going to work on it a couple of times. ... It's the first time for a lot of the guys, it's an impressive stadium, it's fun to be here and it sort of spiced up practice. It made every drill game-like."
Rausch was among the Warriors newcomers who walked into the stadium for the first time yesterday.
"I could not wait," the sophomore transfer said. "I was definitely looking forward to this. ... It was pretty important getting used to the scenery and just getting a feel for the place."
The Warriors defense provided more heat in the eight 11-on-11 periods, played without full tackling and no contact on quarterbacks.
Three UH quarterbacks - Rausch, Greg Alexander and Inoke Funaki - combined to complete 36 of 51 passes, with Rausch going 18-for-26 while working primarily against the defensive starters. But eight plays were whistled dead when the defense broke through for apparent sacks, and there were other close calls.
"The level of competition was way up on offense and defense," said Rausch, who ran four series starting at the 30-yard line, while Alexander and Funaki took two turns each.
"It definitely feels like the season's here. I have to learn a little bit more, pick up my progressions a little bit quicker, but I'm ready."
Rausch ended his day with a 5-for-5 series ending with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Bain.
Working with the new 40-second play clock was also among McMackin's focal points in the stadium session.
"We've been working on that, but (yesterday) it was regulated, and it was a game situation and we didn't have a single 40-second clock penalty," McMackin said.
The Warriors continue fall camp today with two practices on campus. The players will also move out of the dance studios they've called home since camp opened on Aug. 4 and check into their dorms. The team will have another closed session at Aloha Stadium tomorrow.