Wednesday, November 11, 1998
Robinson and Liana willBy Paul Arnett
both see action against
Fresno State on Saturday
If you want to annoy offensive coordinator Don Lindsey, tell him the reason Hawaii lost to San Jose State last Saturday was because quarterback Bronson Liana came in for Dan Robinson.
"For anybody to think that is just plain stupid," Lindsey said. "What did Bronson have to do with Kaulana Noa moving before the snap or with Craig Stutzmann throwing an illegal block? Would Craig have blocked any differently if Dan were in there? And Noa is used to Bronson's cadence. He hears it every day in practice.
"It's a joke. It's crazy. Bronson got back 20 yards from the first-and-30 his teammates helped get him into. And on the second series, we start on the 14 and make a first down because of him.
"Then all Bronson did was throw a strike to Davey deLaura that no one could have thrown any better, and then Davey fumbles. If Dan Robinson had thrown it right between his numbers, are we saying Davey wouldn't have fumbled it? Golly, get off of it."
Lindsey said the twosome would take turns in this Saturday's Western Athletic Conference game at Fresno State. Robinson will start, but Liana will play.
One reason for the revolving door is Robinson's poor health. The junior has taken such a beating, Lindsey wants to limit the number of shots he absorbs in a game.
"Bronson also gives us a different look that opposing defenses have to prepare for," Lindsey said. "When I was a defensive coordinator, I didn't want to face an option offense of any kind."
Fresno State lines up in a similar defense to what Hawaii saw in the last two games with Texas-El Paso and San Jose State.
Even though the Bulldogs run a standard 4-3, they shift into a 5-2 and their own version of Buddy Ryan's 46 eagle defense.
"They are a stunting, quick, aggressive unit," Lindsey said. "They're similar to teams that like to slant a lot with their linemen and have their linebackers in an eagle defense. They'll even line up in a 50 sometimes just to give you something to worry about and prepare for."
While the defense is Fresno State's strong point -- the Bulldogs are ranked No. 51 nationally, giving up 361.3 yards a game -- the offense remains a mystery for head coach Pat Hill.
In the old days of Jim Sweeney, Fresno State was known as a passing team. The Bulldogs were explosive and entertaining. But not so much anymore.
Hill is a conservative coach. He runs first and second, then throws on third down only when necessary. It's enough to bring a smile to the face of UH defensive coordinator Tom Williams.
"To be honest with you, I don't think this team is as good as the one we beat last year," Williams said. "They run a lot and don't pass well in third-down situations.
"I'd feel better if we were playing them here, but we still have a chance over there. We just have to play smart, control the run and don't give up the big play."
Tailback Jaime Kimbrough is the leading rusher for the Bulldogs with 812 yards and seven touchdowns. He has carried the ball 164 times, averaging an impressive 5 yards a carry.
"He is the guy they go to in their two-back set," Williams said. "You know what's coming, but you still have to stop it."
Hawaii fans are familiar with quarterback Billy Volek. This is his third start against the Rainbows. He has completed 131 of 229 passes for 1,706 yards and seven touchdowns, and has thrown only three interceptions.
His main targets are wide receiver Charles Smith and Kimbrough. Smith has 35 receptions for 494 yards and one touchdown. Kimbrough has 32 catches for 346 yards and no scores.
"We have to stop Kimbrough as much as we can in order to have a chance to win," Williams said. "They are a beatable football team, but we have to play better than we have been."
Hawaii has given up at least 30 points in its last five games. The Rainbows have dropped to No. 93 nationally in scoring defense, yielding 30.7 points a game.
"Injuries have had a lot to do with that because we've had to play so many different guys," Williams said. "But for the most part, our guys have continued to play hard through difficult times."