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Hybrid hiccups make Mack want to tinker


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whether you believe it or not, Greg McMackin believes in the run-and-shoot offense.

He also, however, believes in winning football games. That's why he got all Strom Thurmond on us for a while there, you know, ultra-conservative.

In the coaches' judgment a few weeks ago, Inoke Funaki was the quarterback available who gave UH the best chance to win, and that's why he's been starting. As of yesterday, Funaki's still No. 1.

But now there's a twist.

McMackin strongly hinted Funaki won't carry the entire burden himself behind center this week against Nevada. Someone else might play some quarterback, and while the game's outcome is still in the balance, he said.

“;We've got pure throwers. If we need a pure thrower, we're going to put in a pure thrower. We're going to get a pure thrower ready.”;

A lot of talk of purity, not much of hybrid ... the term we'd come to associate with Funaki until he turned out to be too one-dimensional for good defenses like Boise State's. Funaki's running game is so much better than his passes that when the former gets taken away by scheme, the latter get taken away by DBs, on a regular basis.

So, it looks like he'll start, but Greg Alexander or Brent Rausch will also play. McMackin said Tyler Graunke—who, with his experience and skill, was supposed to eliminate any QB controversy months ago—remains out.

“;I don't think he throws with the same velocity (since a hand injury in September). I want Tyler Graunke to play. Tyler has not been able to play for different reasons (including suspension). His strength is down. He's a good kid, he's just not ready to play,”; the coach said, implying off-field issues are not a factor now in this awkward situation.

Is anyone ready? Funaki's the closest, but it's obvious he can't do it all.

“;Maybe it'd be good to get some of it off him,”; McMackin said. “;Give him enough shots and he will get hurt. Anyone who puts it on Inoke has no clue about football.”;

The original preseason plan was Funaki as a change-of-pace guy; like Shawn Withy-Allen and Jason Whieldon gave Tim Chang a breather, and Graunke did once or twice for Colt Brennan their first year together.

“;We wanted to have a package for Inoke, have him sprint out, option,”; McMackin said.

It won't matter who's at quarterback if the line doesn't improve. For years, it was the Warriors' proudest unit, now it's the shakiest. It hasn't developed chemistry because of injuries and inconsistency, hasn't gotten better since being exposed in the Sugar Bowl back in January.

McMackin promises lineup alterations, and we have to assume they include the offensive line. But is there anyone around who can do better than the starters?

“;We're going to make some personnel changes. We're going to do some things that fit into the run-and-shoot, some advanced techniques,”; he said.

If you want to see all this develop, you'll need a helicopter or a room at one of the dorms near the practice field and some good binoculars. Or the ability to look like you belong somewhere you're not supposed to be. Practice is closed.

The last time was prior to the San Jose State game.

Not a good omen.