Saturday, August 21, 1999

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

UH offense
shows rust in
full-contact practice

Though the passing game
featured dropped passes and
missed receivers, Jones was
impressed by the defense

By Paul Arnett


The first full contact practice of fall camp didn't tell June Jones anything he didn't already know.

"We've got a long way to go and not much time left to get there," Jones said after yesterday's hard-hitting, two-hour workout at Cooke Field. "There were some good things, some bad.

"But we dropped way too many passes today and missed too many receivers. The defense played pretty well, I thought. The offense struggled at times."

Jones brought out some referees to help with the workout. It wasn't a controlled scrimmage. The defense was basically the second unit, with a smattering of starters thrown in.

The offense rotated the first- and second-string offensive lines. Jones also went three-deep on the running back chart and switched the receivers and slotbacks so often, only they knew when to go in and where.

Quarterback Dan Robinson remains the starter. Just who would come in if the senior went down? That's still anyone's guess.

Jones looked at every signal-caller, including redshirt Kevin Gilbride. It was difficult to say who impressed in that group because of the dropped balls and passes returned for touchdowns.

Freshman Mike Harrison continues to get a lot of repetitions. Jones wants to evaluate the Bellflower, Calif., quarterback before deciding whether to keep him in the rotation or redshirt him.

"Right now, he's still in there," Jones said. "We've still got some time to evaluate that situation."

Evaluating defensive situations was a little more enjoyable for coordinator Greg McMackin.

Led by junior college transfer Doug Sims, the front four did a good job penetrating on the pass rush and controlling the run.

Junior Anthony Smith was back in the lineup after spraining his foot Thursday night. Members of the UH training staff said he was fortunate the injury wasn't far more serious.

Fellow linebacker Matt Paul intercepted one pass thrown by Harrison and ran it back for a touchdown. Freshman Pisa Tinoisamoa had a chance at a pick as well, but dropped a ball that was right in the bread basket.

Wide receiver Scott Sims was a little more sure-handed.

Sims and Robinson hooked up for the top pass play of the day. The 45-yard completion came despite left cornerback Flex Armstrong's tight coverage on the play.

Avion Weaver also had a pair of nice running plays. On a sweep left, he might have broken it had he not cut into the back of an offensive lineman. He also had a good run on a draw play to the right side that picked up 13 yards.

"My main concern was all the balls on the ground," Jones said.

"We had some bad exchanges, some fumbles on running plays and some dropped passes. Those are areas we must improve."

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