McMackin recalls close call to Utah
Greg McMackin picked up the phone one day in 1999 and the Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator found himself talking to the University of Utah athletic director. It looked like the Utes were going to lose their head coach, Ron McBride, to Hawaii. How would McMackin like to succeed his former boss in Salt Lake City?
"I would've gone," McMackin said yesterday. "Isn't it funny how things work out?"
It was McMackin who wound up in Hawaii instead of McBride, after June Jones answered "deal" to UH's final offer. One of Jones' first calls was to McMackin, asking him to come run the defense. He did it for one year, left, came back last season and is 2-for-2 in WAC championships.
McBride lasted at Utah until 2002 (his replacement there was one Urban Meyer) and went to be an assistant at Kentucky.
Now it's Mack vs. Mack on Saturday at Aloha Stadium, with McBride bringing dangerous underdog Weber State here for the Warriors' home opener. It probably shouldn't be a surprise that two of the older head coaches in the college game have ties ... or that they worked together.
"I coached for Ron McBride for three years, he's a great coach, physical, tough, hard-nosed, he's spread it out a little bit (on offense)," McMackin said. " ... He's a guy that loves Hawaii, he's got 15 or more Hawaiian kids on his team. They're coming here to make a statement and we need everyone to come to the ballgame and need everybody's help. This isn't going to be as easy of a game as everybody makes it as."
» Another thing that isn't easy - especially if you do it too fast - is coming back from a high ankle sprain. Running back Daniel Libre looked sharp at Florida, and is a key to UH's success this season. He told Brian McInnis he thinks he can play Saturday. But rushing back with a bad sprain would be a mistake. There's plenty of season left for Libre to make an impact.
» It would also be wrong to use my Football Fever picks for anything other than amusement; not advice on your "friendly wagers"-type amusement, but ROTFL amusement. That's true after last week's 6-6 maiden voyage following minutes of arduous research. I wish I had a quarterback to change.
Hey, I do after our office's fantasy league draft; Matt Leinart. That's what happens when you leave it on auto - you get the backup and not the starter.
» Castle and Farrington is the highest profile high school game this week, but Pac-Five and Word of Life promises to be the most emotionally charged.
Joe Onosai - the only blocking back I've ever heard of to be named state Player of the Year - was Pac-Five football in 1982 when the former doormat won the first of two Prep Bowls.
Now Word of LIfe has broken away (some say was pushed) from the Pack and formed its own team - with Onosai as coach. Friday he matches wits with Kip Botelho, the son of his legendary Wolfpack coach Don Botelho.