Tuesday, September 14, 1999
hope to ring up
Robert Kemfort's injury
depletes the Hawaii football team's
already thin defensive squad
RAINBOW FOOTBALL NOTEBOOKBy Paul Arnett
WAC honors Robinson, Shrout
The injuries are mounting up so quickly on defense, Rainbows coordinator Greg McMackin isn't sure if he'll have to suit up.
"We've got a lot of guys dinged up," McMackin conceded, "but you can't dwell on those things. You just have to get the ones ready who are able to suit up and go out on the field."
The latest casualty is outside linebacker Robert Kemfort, who had an MRI done on his knee yesterday.
After coming in to stop Eastern Illinois on a key fourth-down play in the fourth quarter, Kemfort left the field, saying his knee was bothering him.
"He woke up today with a lot of pain and swelling," UH head coach June Jones said yesterday during his weekly press conference. "We're not sure what's wrong, but we'll know more once the doctor examines the knee."
Kemfort already battled through an ankle sprain during fall camp, but made it back in time for the opener with Southern California. Unfortunately for the Rainbows, Kemfort isn't the only one feeling some pain.
Defensive backs Daniel Ho-Ching (shoulder), Phil Austin (slight concussion) and Dee Miller (slight concussion) also missed significant playing time in Saturday's victory over Eastern Illinois.
Throw in injuries to defensive linemen Mike Iosua (neck), Tony Tuioti (back) and Joe Correia (broken hand), and it's easy to see why Jones is a little concerned.
"We think all of those guys are going to be able to play, but how effective they will be and how long they stay on the field remains to be seen," Jones said. "We said early on that injuries were something we couldn't afford to have. So far, we haven't had any major injuries, but we're still a little dinged up."
Running back Robert Grant (ankle) and slotback Davey deLaura (hamstring) missed Saturday's game. They're listed as day-to-day.
The injury report isn't the only thing on Jones' mind these days. He also is concerned with certain phases of the offense, defense and special teams.
"We had opportunities to come away with eight quarterback sacks and we managed only three," Jones said. "We can't afford not to make those kind of plays."
There were other times when tackles could have been made in the gaps and open field, but weren't, which kept Eastern Illinois in the game.
"On offense, we made some big plays, but we also made a lot of little mistakes," Jones said. "We can't make those same mistakes and expect to beat a team of Boise State's caliber."
The Broncos are coming off a win over Southern Utah after opening the season with a road loss against UCLA.
"And that game was closer than the final score indicated," Jones said of the 38-7 defeat to the Pac-10 Bruins. "They are talented on both sides of the ball and could pose us problems if we don't come ready to play."
WAC honors Robinson, ShroutStaff and wire reports
Quarterback Dan Robinson and punter Chad Shrout of Hawaii were named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Week and Special Teams Player of the Week yesterday for their performances in UH's 31-27 victory over Eastern Illinois.
Robinson threw four touchdown passes and set a school record with 452 passing yards as the Rainbows snapped the nation's longest major college losing streak at 19 games.
Shrout averaged 46.5 yards on four punts, with longs of 61 and 60.
Yeah, it's early in the season. And granted, a lot of the numbers came against Division I-AA Eastern Illinois.
TODAY'S RAINBOW NOTEBOOK
Rainbows atop of stat charts
But after the Western Athletic Conference statistics were released yesterday, Hawaii found itself at the head of the class in several offensive categories.
That's right, offense. Not since the days of Paul Johnson's spread option have the Rainbows found themselves on the high end of the offensive charts.
"We do take some pride in those things," UH head coach June Jones said today. "But our win-loss record is what we're interested in."
After two games, the Rainbows are ranked second in the league in total offense, averaging 381 yards a game. They are also first in passing offense (323 yards), thanks in part to the strong arm of Dan Robinson, the quick feet of Dwight Carter and the sure hands of Craig Stutzmann.
Robinson is first in the WAC in total offense, averaging 295 yards a game. Stutzmann is tied for the league lead in receptions with 12 for 117 yards and one touchdown. And Carter is first in the league in receiving yards per game with 128.5. He is also tied for second in the league in receptions with 11.
"And we're just going to keep building from there," Carter said this morning. "We've just got to keep it up and stay on this pace.
"All of our receivers are going to be at or near the top by the end of this thing. Everybody is going to do some looking and say, 'Hey, Hawaii is doing some good things out there.' "
Carter set a school record for receiving yards Saturday night with 220. Had he not dropped a 49-yard touchdown pass, his numbers would be even better.
"I'm still dreaming about that one," Carter said, then smiled. "I can't get it out of my mind. I saw it on the film yesterday morning and it killed me. You can't forget those kind of things -- ever."
Stutzmann doesn't want to forget the first touchdown catch of his collegiate career. With 7:10 left in the third quarter, he pulled in a Robinson pass and scampered 6 yards for the score to give Hawaii a 24-17 lead.
"It felt great to get around the corner and score," Stutzmann said. "All the students were standing up in the end zone cheering me. I won't forget it."
Stutzmann has helped his fellow receivers not forget their run-and-shoot plays. The former St. Louis Crusader has been involved with this offense throughout his career and knows how to run the routes as well as anyone.
"Craig is like having another coach out there," Jones said. "He understands the subtle reads and runs his routes very well."
Hawaii's numbers aren't as strong on defense. Despite linebacker Jeff Ulbrich leading the league with 26 tackles, the Rainbows are last against the run, yielding 246 yards a game and are seventh of eight teams in total defense (513 yards) and scoring defense, yielding 44.5 points a game.
"We're hurting right now, especially on our defensive front," UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin said. "But we're continuing to make improvements in all areas."
Moving on upThe Rainbows moved up 16 spots to No. 145 in the Scripps-Howard computer poll that rates all 237 of the Division I and Division I-AA teams.
Hawaii has a power rating of 71.44. By comparison, Miami, Fla., is No. 1 with a rating of 115.12. That means on a neutral field, Hawaii would be about a 45-point underdog.
Boise State is ranked No. 117 in this poll with a power rating of 77.77. Throw in the four points Hawaii gets for being at home and Boise State should be a two-point choice. In Las Vegas, the Broncos are favored by six.
Warrior Club backJones said today that the Warrior Club has been reinstated and that players who grade well in games will be given Rainbow Warrior stickers to put on their helmets.
"We're only going to award them after victories," Jones said.
Former UH head coach Bob Wagner used a similar system, but Fred vonAppen opted not to during his three years on the UH sidelines.
By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii