It's open season on Funaki, who's back at QB with no orange jersey


POSTED: Thursday, April 23, 2009

Inoke Funaki was back behind center yesterday, but without the protection of an orange practice jersey afforded him in the past.

Now a running back, Funaki ran seven plays at quarterback at the end of yesterday's practice. But where defenders couldn't touch him when he wore orange as a full-time QB, his white jersey left him open to hitting this time.

“;I don't have that halo, not any more,”; said Funaki, bloodied a bit by a hard hit. “;But it's OK, gotta get used to it.”;

Head coach Greg McMackin said the “; 'Noke offense,”; is designed for short-yardage or red-zone situations. Funaki kept the ball on five option plays out of the formation and attempted two passes.

“;The advantage we have is he can throw it too,”; McMackin said. “;We wanted to put it in today so we'd have it this spring and then we're going to work more on it in the preseason.”;

Funaki, who started six games at quarterback last season, has been learning the fundamentals of playing running back this spring, and had a strong showing in the Warriors' scrimmage on Maui. He said he wasn't expecting a return to quarterback when he showed up for practice yesterday.

“;I wasn't really anticipating it,”; Funaki said. “;I know they had talked about it, but I didn't think they would draw anything up in the spring.”;

While the move caught Funaki by surprise, it took the defense a moment to adjust as well.

“;The first play I tried not to touch him too much, and I got in trouble for that. So he was just another runner now,”; said linebacker Cory Paredes, who delivered a couple of shots. “;He's my friend, but you have to hit him.”;


Busy weekend

The final weekend of spring practice begins with a reception for former UH football players at the Wong Hospitality Room at the Stan Sheriff Center tomorrow from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Warriors will then host their first Junior Day on Saturday morning. Between 80 and 100 players are expected to attend, with invitations based on recommendations from high school coaches. The event gives the players and their families a chance to meet with coaches and tour the campus in an unofficial visit.

The day ends with the Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium, the 15th and final practice of the spring. An autograph session starts at 1 p.m., with the scrimmage to start at 3.