University of Hawaii head coach Fred vonAppen said after yesterday's practice that the true freshman will be called upon in certain situations.
"If we're way ahead or way behind, we've told (UH starting quarterback) Glenn (Freitas) that Josh will probably get the call," vonAppen said. "We also will go with Josh if Glenn is having a bad throwing day."
UH offensive coordinator Guy Benjamin said he will work specifically with Skinner during the bye week. After this weekend's game at the Air Force Academy, Hawaii doesn't return to action until Nov. 9 against San Jose State.
"We want to start building toward the future," Benjamin said after yesterday's practice. "Josh needs the experience. His play this year is a great reason why you don't start a true freshman.
"He just wasn't ready in the Wyoming game. Everything moves by much quicker at this level than it does in high school. We also needed Glenn's leadership. Josh can learn a lot from that. Everybody understands that he'll see more playing time the last four games."
Skinner has hit 21 of 53 passes for 219 yards. He has one touchdown and two interceptions for a quarterback rating of 73.
Freitas counters with 82 completions in 145 attempts for 745 yards and six touchdowns. He also has tossed eight interceptions for a rating of 106.4. By comparison, Brigham Young's Steve Sarkisian is second nationally with a pass efficiency rating of 179.33.
For most of the season, the defense has led in every major statistical team category, but no longer.
Fresh off a 38-point performance against the Rebels, the Rainbows' rushing offense jumped nearly 30 spots to No. 59 in the nation with an average of 152.9 yards a game.
Hawaii is still No. 100 in the country in scoring offense (14.1 points a game) and No. 102 in total offense (279.5 yards a game), but Benjamin sees a light at the end of the tunnel.
"It has taken us awhile, but we're making some progress," Benjamin said. "I'm sure there were guys on the team who thought we would have done better had we stayed with the old offense.
"And maybe we would have. But we're building this team for the future. There's always a period of transition when you put in a new offensive scheme."
The defense continues to hold its own. Hawaii is sixth in the Western Athletic Conference in total defense and No. 67 nationally, giving up 374.1 yards a game.
The Rainbows are No. 82 against the run (190.9 yards a game) and No. 74 vs. the pass with a 127.10 rating. By comparison, Texas-El Paso is first in the league with a 99.65 rating.
In scoring defense, the Rainbows are still a woeful 12th in the league and No. 92 in the country (32.1 points a game), but UH defensive coordinator Don Lindsey points out that not all of those points were his team's fault.
"Other teams have scored 21 points off three blocked punts, and we've had some fumbles recovered for touchdowns as well," Lindsey said. "I've never understood why that is blamed on the defense. We've also inherited some pretty poor field position."
The Rainbows are tied for last in the league in quarterback sacks, averaging only 1.1 a game. They are No. 85 nationally in turnover margin, giving up .63 a game, and No. 108 out of 111 teams in net punting (29.6 yards a game).
BYU leads the way with 309,906 in five games, for an average of 61,981. Air Force is second, averaging 49,824 in three games.
Fresno State is third with an average of 38,005 after three games, and Hawaii is fourth. Through five home games, the Rainbows have drawn 166,334, for an average of 33,267.
San Jose State is last in the league. In three home dates, the Spartans are averaging a paltry 13,945 a game.
VonAppen said C.B Wentling will start, long-snapper Tyler Tanigawa will be second and injured Shane Oliveira would play only in an emergency. Oliveira is scheduled to undergo season-ending ankle surgery during the bye.
"It's kind of a regional deal," vonAppen said, then smiled. "Sam is from Kansas, Russell is from Colorado and C.B. is from Alaska."