UH's focus shifts to fall


POSTED: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The end of one phase signals the start of another.

Although the Hawaii football team closed spring practice last Saturday, the Warriors won't exactly be cruising through the end of the semester.




2009 schedule

        Home games at Aloha Stadium

Sept. 4Central Arkansas7:05 p.m.
Sept. 12at Washington StateTBA
Sept. 19at UNLV3 p.m.
Sept. 30at LaTech (ESPN2)2 p.m.
Oct. 10Fresno State6:05 p.m.
Oct. 17at Idaho10 a.m.
Oct. 24Boise State6:05 p.m.
Oct. 31at Nevada10:05 a.m.
Nov. 7Utah St. (homecoming)6:05 p.m.
Nov. 14New Mexico State6:05 p.m.
Nov. 21at San Jose State3 p.m.
Nov. 28Navy (military night)6:05 p.m.
Dec. 5Wisconsin (ESPN or ESPN2)TBA



To maintain the momentum the Warriors built through the spring, UH head coach Greg McMackin said the team will continue its conditioning program until final exams before the players head into their summer workouts.

“;I think this is really the push time,”; McMackin said. “;We have two more weeks to get better and we're going to use every second and every day we have.

“;This is where the work escalates. ... They want to win the WAC championship and to do that you have to work to get better.”;

The Warriors completed their run of 15 practices spread over four weeks with last Saturday's Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Along with having the players hit the weight room, McMackin said the coaches will meet with each player individually this week to discuss their standing entering the summer and areas of concentration.

Included in those meetings will be 30 tough conversations for the coaches. With the fall camp roster limited to 105 players, the staff will have to make room for the Warriors' incoming recruits by trimming the spring roster. McMackin said about 10 of those may be invited to rejoin the team when classes start for the fall semester.

“;It's really tough because there wasn't a nonathlete on the field,”; McMackin said.

In reflecting on spring practice, McMackin highlighted the relative lack of injuries—“;I think it's because of how hard they worked in the offseason,”; he said—and the depth on offense.

He was pleased with the development of the offensive line, which concentrated on reducing holding penalties after being flagged for 28 last season, contributing to UH's average of 8.71 penalties per game, third most in the country.

Greg Alexander led a group of quarterbacks that showed greater comfort in the offense throughout the spring in throwing to a deep receiver corps. Running back Leon Wright-Jackson had a strong finish in the Warrior Bowl and Inoke Funaki's conversion from quarterback to running back was a point of emphasis for the spring.

“;Inoke showed he can be a running back, that was something we really wanted to look at,”; McMackin said.

The defense was expected to go through some growing pains in replacing nine starters.

“;Defensively, the guys we have are good athletes and they ran well and tackled, they're just inexperienced,”; McMackin said. “;We're a little thin. It's going to help to get Blaze (Soares) and Paipai (Falemalu) back with the linebackers and we're getting a couple of guys who can help in the secondary.”;

Two junior college transfers—Lametrius Davis and Tank Hopkins—joined the competition in the defensive backfield this spring. Aaron Brown, a heralded safety from Saddleback (Calif.) College, joins the team in the summer.

Game times set

The Warriors open the season on a Friday, but will have a bit of a later start than usual. Kickoff for the season opener against Central Arkansas on Sept. 4 has been set for 7:05 p.m. UH's next five home games start at 6:05 p.m. The game time for the regular-season finale against Wisconsin has yet to be determined.