Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

ready for big
step forward

UH football coaches are
impressed with the group

Rainbow Notebook

By Paul Arnett


The three starting linebackers for the University of Hawaii still want to make a few headlines.

Granted, middle man Jeff Ulbrich snagged a few after he decided to put off reconstructive knee surgery last year to have a chance to play against Michigan.

Right outside backer Yaphet Warren read a few of his own after a bad moped accident threatened to end his career.

Even Anthony Smith has seen his name in print a time or two after he and Matt Paul went down to the last game before Smith's 103 tackles was a team best - three better than Paul's.

But for all the clippings these three have put away in their scrapbooks, they still want to make a few more for the team.

"This defense is designed for everybody to make plays, not just one position," said Smith, who made the transition from strong safety to outside linebacker, "for the good of the team."

"All we care about is performing well enough within the system so we can win some football games. Everybody has a chance to produce in this scheme and be a difference-maker."

Smith is the prototype outside linebacker in new defensive coordinator Greg McMackin's snazzy 4-3. He has the size (6-foot-2, 209), and the quickness coming off the edge, to wreak havoc on the run and against the pass.

"I think Anthony has a chance to be one of the best outside backers I've coached," said McMackin, which is saying something when considering McMackin's stops in Seattle, Miami and Utah. "I think we have three really good outside guys in Smith, Warren and (Robert) Kemfort."

Like Smith, Kemfort is another transplant. Since joining the program in 1996, the former Maui High standout has played receiver, running back and now outside linebacker. Also like Smith, he did it for the good of the team.

"At first, I wasn't sure what it was going to be like," said Kemfort, who could still see some playing time at running back. "But I like this defense. You get to run around and make plays."

Kemfort, Smith and Warren are the future wave for outside linebackers, according to McMackin. What attracted him to these three was their body types and their ability to flat out run.

"All defenses in the future will be built on speed," McMackin said. "To run this defense, we need the big guys up the middle to draw the double teams, the ends to contain and the linebackers to flow to the football."

Ulbrich doesn't exactly flow, he dives right in, which is fine with McMackin. That's what he wants his middle linebackers - Ulbrich, Paul and Pisa Tinoisamoa - to do.

Tinoisamoa, coming off the middle blitz, had a nice quarterback sack in yesterday's morning workout.

While Paul and Ulbrich have the advantage of learning this new defense in the spring, don't be surprised if Tinoisamoa sees more playing time once he understands McMackin's principles.

"Being in the middle of things is good for a linebacker," said Ulbrich, who managed 41 tackles in seven games, including one sack. "My knee feels a lot better. And I'm looking forward to our first game with USC."

So is Warren, who like Ulbrich had to take it easy in the spring to rest his nearly ruined ankle. Yes, it was frustrating for the former Idaho player. And yes, he wondered if his career was done.

"But all that made me stronger as a person," the senior said. "I'm ready to have a good senior year and I think this defense is perfect for me."

Several former teammates remember Warren as a difficult guy to tackle. Two years ago as a redshirt, Warren was the scout team running back.

"I liked it," said Warren. "But I like linebacker even more."

And that suits UH associate head coach George Lumpkin just fine. As the assistant handling linebackers, the former Rainbows defensive coordinator likes what he sees on several fronts.

"First, this may be the best group of linebackers I've coached, and I've seen quite a few come through here in my career," Lumpkin said. "Anthony can run, he's smart and he's tough.

"As for Jeff, well, he's what a linebacker is supposed to be. He's a tough guy, who you can usually find at the bottom of the pile with his arms around the runner. This season, I look for big things from all our guys back there."



Tight end still has place
in UH offense

For those watching yesterday morning's Hawaii practice and thought they were going crazy counting six linemen, it's OK. You don't need a psychiatrist.

Rainbows head coach June Jones conceded yesterday afternoon that Hawaii will not only run alignments with one tight end, three wideouts and one running back, but also two tight ends, two wide receivers and one back.

"We're going to give USC multiple looks," Jones said. "Yes, we'll be one back and four wide a lot of the time, but everywhere I've gone - except when I was with Mouse Davis at Portland State - we've run formations with one or two tight ends."

Sometimes it will be in short-yardage situations. Other times, Jones will employ a tight end when he needs to run the ball and the clock. In his mind, you can't just use a pure run-and-shoot.

"To be honest with you, sometimes it's easier to run the football out of our four wide package because teams aren't necessarily looking for it," Jones said. "When you bring in a tight end, teams get the idea you're probably going to run. But this is something I've always done."

As far as who the tight ends might be, Jones said, "We're going to try to keep that a secret for the first game. We don't want USC to know everything we're going to do."

VonAppen at Washington

Former Hawaii head coach Fred vonAppen is working as a volunteer coach at the University of Washington, the Star-Bulletin confirmed yesterday.

VonAppen is not a member of new Huskies head coach Rick Neuheisel's staff. He did serve as an assistant for Neuheisel at Colorado the year before he joined the Rainbows in 1996.

Last spring, an arbitrator ruled Hawaii had to pay the two remaining years on his contract. He settled for a sum worth about $150,000.

VonAppen joins former Hawaii defensive coordinator Tom Williams. It was announced Monday that former Rainbows outside linebacker Houdini Jackson was awarded a scholarship by Neuheisel on Monday. Jones said Monday that he was unaware Jackson had signed with Washington.

"He came and told me after spring that he didn't know if he wanted to play football anymore," Jones said. "It was his decision to leave."

Fuga back in mix

Defensive lineman Lui Fuga was given his clearance by the NCAA and will be allowed to play this season for the Rainbows.

"Having big Lui in there makes a big difference for us," Greg McMackin said of the 6-3, 305-pound graduate of Waipahu High. "He's big and strong, and can give you that push we need up front."

Jones said the former UNLV product was cleared to play, but wasn't sure of the particulars. Fuga originally signed with the Rebels out of high school in 1998. He quit the team early on, never donning a UNLV uniform.

"We're glad to have him," Jones said. "He gives us some much-needed depth up front."

Injury update

Wide receiver Davey deLaura returned to practice yesterday after sitting out Monday's workout with a groin injury.

Defensive end Kealohamakua Emmsley also was cleared to practice after being sidelined by UH trainers for an irregular heart beat. The Kalaheo High product will compete at defensive end.

Linebacker Bo Espinoza remains sidelined with a hamstring pull. He will be out 2-3 weeks.

Offensive play of the day

Wide receiver John Kirby didn't waste any time getting back into the swing of things after being cleared for duty by the UH trainers on Monday. The senior ran a 10-yard square out to the sideline, caught the pass between two defenders and headed up field untouched for the score.

Defensive play of the day

Wideout Dwight Carter didn't give away his long route right away, causing junior college transfer Tavis Campbell to wait a second or two to see if the senior receiver was going to run a post or a fade. That allowed Carter to zip past him for a step or two as he looked back toward Mike Harrison's bomb. The ball was slightly underthrown, allowing Campbell all the time he needed to look back and break up the pass just as the football landed in Carter's hands.

Weather report

It was another nice, breezy day at Cooke Field. The temperatures remained in the low 80s for both workouts. There were some isolated showers, but not nearly as many as the two previous days.

By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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