UH taking shape


POSTED: Monday, April 13, 2009

WAILUKU » Coaches mingled on the field. Players obliged a snaking line of autograph seekers under the shade of a tent. Fans lingered around the fence line hoping to get a photo with a favorite Warrior.

All the while, Chris Williams' work was just beginning.

Sitting under the midday Maui sun, the Hawaii football team's newly hired video coordinator squinted at a laptop screen on a bench at War Memorial Stadium to begin breaking down footage of the Warriors' just-completed scrimmage.

There wasn't much time to waste as Williams prepared the images for the coaches to review when they returned to campus, if not sooner.

“;Going in a live situation you find out where the guys are,”; offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “;We got a lot of plays, nobody got hurt, got a lot on tape. A lot of good stuff to look at.”;

Player evaluation is one of the primary tasks of spring practice and Saturday's scrimmage on Maui left UH with seven practices down and seven to go leading up to the April 25 spring game at Aloha Stadium to solidify the depth chart while developing depth at various positions.

“;I think we're getting and better and better, but we have a ways to go,”; head coach Greg McMackin said. “;This isn't by any means where we want to be. I think we're getting better and you can see it.”;

The Warriors have four more practices this week, with another evaluation point coming in a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Where most of the regulars sat out the hour-long scrimmage on Maui, McMackin said most of the starters are expected to play in Saturday's session.

Two units that featured the first units for extended stretches last Saturday were the offensive line and defensive backfield, areas of focus for the Warriors entering this spring.

Senior center John Estes sat out the scrimmage, but the other four spring starters — tackles Aaron Kia, guards Raphael Ieru and Ray Hisatake with Matagisila Lefiti filling in at center — took 15 of the 60 snaps in the Warriors' first live-tackling session.

The line was flagged for one holding penalty and a false start in the scrimmage. Two other plays would likely have been sacks had quarterbacks been open to contact.

“;I'm very happy with the progress that we've made,”; new line coach Gordy Shaw said. “;We played a pretty clean scrimmage as far as mental errors.

“;One of our emphasis this spring was to reduce the penalties we have and understand the use of our hands is allowed but not everywhere and anywhere. ... We're starting to play fast and that comes from understanding what we're doing.”;

The secondary has new starters at every position and came up with interceptions from safeties Kenny Estes and Spencer Smith.

“;I think it's a good starting point for us,”; Smith said. “;It's our first scrimmage together as a unit, and we saw where we are right now and know we can get better.”;

“;I thought they did a good job of tackling and doing their techniques,”; McMackin said.

On offense, Lee said there hasn't been movement in the depth chart that served as a starting point for the offense.

Quarterback Greg Alexander remains first in the rotation and sat out the scrimmage, giving junior Brent Rausch and sophomore Shane Austin most of the reps.

“;They're all doing a good job,”; Lee said. “;The three guys are all right in there. In the next two weeks it's going to be very interesting.”;

UH's depth at receiver has the coaches envisioning a rotation of eight to 10 in the fall and has allowed wideout Greg Salas to work at slotback while younger players get more repetitions on the outside.