Warriors’ inside man
Assistant Gerke spent the last two years at Weber State and knows the Wildcats well
This time a year ago, Alex Gerke was in Utah barking at Weber State's offensive linemen.
Familiarity with Weber State would figure to be a plus for Hawaii in its home opener
This Saturday, he'll be on the sideline opposite many of those same players when Hawaii hosts the Wildcats in its home opener.
Not that the first-year Warriors assistant is spending much time reflecting on the reunion.
"Another game, can't wait to get after it," was Gerke's succinct response to a question about facing his former team.
Gerke, who now coaches the Warriors running backs and offensive line, worked at Weber State for two seasons and his connection to WSU coach Ron McBride extends well beyond that. He played for McBride at Utah in the early 1980s and later returned to Salt Lake City for two stints on the Utes' staff.
"He's the main reason I went to Utah back in the day," Gerke said. "I played for him, I worked for him. I've been in touch with him not just in the football sense, he's like a father figure."
Gerke's familiarity with the Wildcats figures to give the Warriors a bit of a head start on this week's scouting report.
"It's just like any coach, you're going to watch the film, see what they do," Gerke said. "I understand the personnel a little bit because I coached a lot of those guys up front offensively and went against that defense every day in practice for 21/2 years."
Gerke added another back to drills in yesterday's hour-long practice in Kealoha Pilares, who had been playing slotback. Pilares, UH's leading rusher last season, returned to the backfield after Daniel Libre suffered an ankle injury in last Saturday's loss at Florida.
"He was a back before, but it's different," Gerke said. "We demand some more things out of them so don't think it was his easiest day."