Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Tuesday, August 27, 1996

Will 'Bows ride the wave
or wipe out?

'TIS the season. You can always tell when it's football season. The Honolulu Quarterback Club luncheon yesterday was so packed, they had to put out more tables.

It's always that way before the beginning of the University of Hawaii football season. Only more so this year with a new coach taking over. .

Fred vonAppen delivered - some great one-liners. Now, it's a matter of delivering on the field.

"This is the last time you're going to see me undefeated, untied and unscored upon," vonAppen said.

He was the first to admit that there's no magic wand in football. And no magic formula, either.

So much for the so-called "West Coast Offense" on which a lot of fans have pinned their revival hopes.

As far as I'm concerned, the "West Coast Offense" works only if you have a Joe Montana throwing to a Jerry Rice. Otherwise, it's just a fancy mishmash of X's and O's with a lot of squiggly lines.

All I see, as does vonAppen, is a 4-8 team in transition. You just hope that the transition won't be too painful.

"Where we are at a developmental spectrum, I don't know," he said.

That's why I'm not too enamored of the new Rainbow football slogan this season: "The New Wave in Town."

You can get a euphoric high riding a wave, but you can get wiped out by it, too. Which it will be for the 'Bows remains to be seen.

AND vonAppen's Rainbows won't be playing a patsy in their season opener Saturday afternoon at Aloha Stadium.

"Boston College is a formidable foe," vonAppen said. And after two weeks of boot camp at Barbers Point, he said that his team is anxious to play a game and hit somebody else for a change.

"We're excited about playing somebody. We're glad that it's not St. Louis," he said, tongue-in-cheek.

While not exactly the Beast of the Big East these days, B.C. comes to town with a solid football reputation. And they're big and physical, vonAppen said.

He was gratified to see that the Eagles' top wideout, Kenyatta Watson, was suspended for the game and is not making the trip. "I hope he's quickly reinstated after our game," vonAppen said.

"There's no reason in the world for us to be intimidated by Boston College," he added. The Eagles have to travel a long way to get here to play in the heat and humidity.

VonAppen's making sure they get to spend a lot more time in the sun, too.

Because the game was moved to the afternoon to accommodate television (ESPN2), vonAppen decided to have the UH bench on the makai sideline - the shady side of the stadium - instead of the usual mauka side.

"They'll probably be annoyed," vonAppen said about the gamesmanship switch. "Annoyed or not, they're going to be warm."

Hey, whatever it takes. The Rainbows, 21-point underdogs at last glance, will need all the help they can get.

ALTHOUGH vonAppen insisted that he's not spending any time worrying about anybody else on the schedule right now except for Boston College, he did admit that BYU's victory over Texas A&M last Saturday proved to be a good object lesson for his players.

"When you catch the ball effectively, you're never out of it," he said.

VonAppen believes it'll be like that the entire season for his Rainbows. "The big thing for us is how resilient we'll be when we face adversity," he said.

This much vonAppen has promised - his Rainbows will play hard and won't quit. And that's as much as the fans can hope to expect this transition season.

Besides, they're already survivors. They should have "I Survived Barbers Point" T-shirts made up.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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