Mack to players: No worries


POSTED: Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Greg McMackin's cell phone rings, the words of Bob Marley come chirping out.

“;Don't worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be all right.”;

It's a philosophy McMackin would like the Hawaii defense to put into practice a bit more on game days.

In reviewing recent games, McMackin sees a group playing hard but carrying too much concern over making mistakes.

“;I think defensively we have to play a lot more reckless,”; McMackin said during his press conference yesterday.

“;They've just got to play like (Fetaiagogo) Fonoti and Blaze (Soares) play. They're not afraid to make a mistake. ... That's the last thing I tell everybody before we go on the field. Don't worry about making a mistake, I'm not going to yell at you, just make it full speed.”;

That's not to say the Warriors' head coach doesn't mind if responsibilities are missed, as miscues proved costly in last Saturday's loss to Fresno State. But the Warriors (2-3, 0-2 Western Athletic Conference) are looking to play with greater abandon when they face Idaho (5-1, 2-0) on Saturday in Moscow, Idaho.

“;On defense you have to have that mentality of kicking ass and having fun. These couple of games we weren't playing with that mentality,”; linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said.

The Warriors began preparations for their next road trip with an hour-long practice yesterday afternoon.

Mana Lolotai spent most of the team period working with the first unit at middle linebacker, with Soares shifting outside opposite Kiesel-Kauhane. Jake Heun — who was moved from linebacker to defensive end early in the season — has returned to middle linebacker.

“;We're trying to get depth because we've got so many injuries,”; McMackin said. “;We brought Jake back, and by playing guys at middle and outside it gives us more options.”;

The Warriors' run defense is again expected to be tested by Idaho. Louisiana Tech rushed for 352 yards two weeks ago, attacking primarily between the tackles. Fresno State picked up 277 on the ground last weekend.

“;We're a little young and a little inexperienced and we got way better over one week playing the run, whether it looked like it or not,”; McMackin said. “;From a coaching standpoint, from analyzing it, I know we did.”;

McMackin addressed the Warriors' relative youth in reviewing the miscues in all three phases during his press conference. And while three straight losses can certainly weigh on a football team and a coaching staff, McMackin prefers to keep the players from dwelling on the external pressures.

“;We're going to deal with the positives, and the negatives we're going to try to turn around,”; McMackin said. “;A lot of people are dealing with the negatives, I don't have time for that.

“;There's a lot of pressure put on these kids by what a lot of people say, and it doesn't bother me because I've been in it long enough. ... I'm not a happy camper right now, because we're not winning and we've got to really work hard to turn that around. These kids know that, but I want them to have fun playing the game. I'll worry about it. I want them to have fun playing the game.”;

Setback for Alexander

Quarterback Greg Alexander had a second operation on his left knee Sunday night to treat an infection that developed following his initial surgery. Alexander tore the ACL and MCL in his knee during UH's loss at Louisiana Tech and had season-ending surgery on Oct. 3. The infection caused swelling in his knee and he returned to the hospital on Sunday.

Meatoga's status in doubt

A persistent ankle injury may keep defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga from making the trip tomorrow. Meatoga hurt his ankle against UNLV on Sept. 19 and has been limited in practice and the two games since.

“;He's our best tackle and he's trying to do it, but it's not healing,”; McMackin said.

McMackin said offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli will miss his third straight game. Adrian Thomas started in Letuli's place, but didn't play in the second half on Saturday due to back spasms. Austin Hansen, listed as a backup guard, finished the game at tackle.

Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said Thomas could be ready for Saturday's game. If not, Hansen will again get the call.

“;He's been practicing at tackle too, so he's been kind of a swing guy,”; Shaw said. “;He's ready for it. He's been wanting to play, so this could be his chance.”;