UH should call timeout on wacky road schedules


POSTED: Sunday, September 27, 2009

So if today is Sunday, that means it's actually Wednesday.

And Wednesday will be Saturday.

That's life for the University of Hawaii football team right now. The Warriors fly out of town today—the day they usually return from road trips. They play at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, and if you're part of the UH traveling party you can throw out the days of the week the rest of the world uses.

A hump-day football game? Maybe in the park after school back in fifth grade.

“;Nope,”; never before for defensive end Fetaiagogo Fonoti. “;But when it's game day, you just gotta go.”;

Maybe this is good for the teams and the conference because of the exposure aspect; it's the only game in the country that night.

“;Everybody's watching,”; says Fonoti, who adds he's ready to make his season debut after a knee injury kept him out of the first three games. “;It gives you the urge to do better.”;

TO ME, mostly it highlights once again how ridiculous it is that UH and LaTech are in the same conference. It remains to be seen how two “;half”; byes affect the team one way or the other, but Warriors coach Greg McMackin is rightfully not thrilled with the lack of an actual week-long bye.

Hawaii should never make a special trip all the way to Ruston, La., just for the one game against the Bulldogs. It's too expensive not to combine it with another road game, such as two years ago when the game at LaTech was followed by one at UNLV on the way back to Hawaii. Anything east of the Rockies should be paired, and Hawaii has the right idea in following up next year's game at West Point with one at Colorado since the Warriors are on the mainland anyway.

REPORTERS WHO cover UH get more access than most other college football media. But a couple of ground rules exist about some things we can't tell you; you have to go to practice yourself to see any wild formation changes or trick plays. And then, if you start plastering it all over the Internet, you run the risk of future practices being closed.

When June Jones was coach, sometimes the Warriors worked on their trick plays exclusively at the Friday walk-through (which draws much less media attention than earlier in the week).

Position changes, however, are a gray area when it comes to reporting them.

When McMackin said on his radio show that some receivers might be used in special situations as defensive backs it became fair game.

Tall, athletic guys like Greg Salas and Royce Pollard might be able to knock down alley-oop passes to tall, athletic guys like UNLV's Phillip Payne, whose two TD catches were a pain in the you know what for the Warriors.

“;I played a little corner in high school,”; said Pollard, who has been running at first-team receiver due to Jovonte Taylor's injury. “;If they told me to hike the ball, I'd hike the ball, too.”;

We can tell you that Pollard participates in tackling drills. But that's nothing new, everyone else on the punt team is in on those, too.

Practice in Dallas is at a “;confidential”; location, McMackin says. So maybe that's where they'll work on any surprises.

Either way, McMackin's talking about it gives Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley one more thing to think about as we get closer to Saturday ... sorry, I mean Wednesday.