Warriors will hit Maui at full speed


POSTED: Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin and the Warriors' fans on Maui will be looking for pretty much the same thing when the Warriors visit the Valley Isle today.

“;Guys who run around and hit people,”; McMackin said.

The Warriors make their first appearance on Maui since 2001, when they opened the regular season against Montana. Today's practice at War Memorial Stadium in Wailuku starts at 11 a.m.

The team will run through a normal practice for the first hour, then hold their first scrimmage of the spring in the second hour. McMackin said the plan is to run about 60 plays in the scrimmage.

Since the Warriors started practicing in pads a week ago, the coaches have reminded the players to stay on their feet during contact drills to reduce the risk of injury. Today's session offers a rare chance for live tackling.

“;It's always good to go full speed,”; linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said. “;The coaches are talking about just staying pro style (in practice). It's good, but you can't really have as much contact as you'd like to. So that'll be fun.”;

Some of the Warriors' established starters won't see much action in the scrimmage, and hitting quarterbacks remains off limits. But the scrimmage gives the coaches a chance to gauge the team's progress over the first seven of 15 practices this spring.

“;We're going to play everybody back there,”; said defensive backs coach Rich Miano, who is overseeing a rebuilding project in the secondary. “;We want to see who can perform under pressure, get them an even amount of reps so we can evaluate them.”;

The team will hold an autograph session from 1 to 3 p.m., before returning to Oahu. Parking and admission are free.

“;The players are really excited about going over there, seeing Maui and our fans on Maui,”; McMackin said.