Wednesday, November 11, 1998
Hawaii practiced on the grass fields yesterday for the first time in months because Fresno State's field is a natural surface.
to grass field
Rainbows head coach Fred vonAppen has kept off the field because so many players were getting hurt from the slickness and hardness of it.
"It's kind of like an ice rink with grass growing out of it," vonAppen said. "But we needed to make the transformation from artificial surface to grass, so, here we are."
It didn't take too long for a player to be hurt. Free safety Daniel Ho-Ching went up to stop a pass intended for Robert Kemfort. When he came down, he lost his footing and wound up with a badly bruised knee.
"Somebody fell right on top of it," Ho-Ching said. "This field is harder than Cooke Field. I've got a bad bruise, but I'll be ready to go by Saturday, no problem."
Running back Charles Tharp also had a dangerous slip. While planting his foot on a cutback, his legs wobbled like a beginning skier. He shook it off, but that kind of slip led to several serious groin pulls during fall camp.
"It got to the point where we had to quit practicing over here because of all the different kind of pulls," UH defensive coordinator Tom Williams said. "I've said all along that this field is in bad shape. Something has to be done."
Cornerback Jovon Jiles took it one step further.
"I don't understand why they don't watch out for the athletes," Jiles said. "You can't tell me they don't have the money to do something about it because this field is dangerous to your health."
INJURY REPORT: The injuries continue to be a harsh reality for the UH coaching staff.
The Rainbows learned yesterday afternoon that starting defensive end Joseph Correia will be lost until the Michigan game with a dislocated finger.
"He can't even make a fist or grab hold of anybody with that left hand," vonAppen said. "It also got infected somehow, so, that's a big loss for us."
He is just one of a dozen-odd defensive starters, who will wind up missing at least two games with an injury. The former St. Louis High star is the most athletic of the three down linemen.
Senior linebacker Stephen Gonzales is also out with a stinger in his shoulder. Williams said resting Gonzales for at least a week would be the best thing.
Free safety Phil Austin is back, but is still slowed by a knee injury. Offensive lineman Kaulana Noa is still battling an infection in his leg. He didn't practice yesterday, but UH trainers said the tackle would be fit for duty by Saturday.
"I looked out there and saw Houdini Jackson and Lonnie Williams getting most of the reps at outside linebacker, and it kind of brought it home," vonAppen said. "We never expected two freshmen to see so much playing time at those outside spots because we had so much depth."
One reason Williams could see more playing time is because linebacker Yaphet Warren has never recovered from a nasty hamstring pull he suffered up in fall camp and Rinda Brooks was lost weeks ago to a concussion.
STREAK IN JEOPARDY: Senior outside linebacker Kamuela Cobb-Adams spent most of yesterday's practice jogging around Cooke Field.
Cobb-Adams is still bothered by a nagging ankle injury that also was injured in fall camp. Each week he's usually the starter, but rarely finishes a game.
"He keeps injuring it every week, so I don't think he'll start this weekend," Williams said. "He's going to have to show some marked improvement over the next few days. Hopefully, he will."
Cobb-Adams has played in all 45 games of his career and has started 25 of those. His string of 20 consecutive starts ended last weekend against San Jose State.
By Paul Arnett