Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, November 9, 1999

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

UH Rainbow Football



McKnight has a special
way of coaching

Old Dandy Don Meredith wasn't singing a University of Hawaii version of turn out the McKnight's the party's over for special teams. Quite the contrary.

After watching film of the blocked punt for a touchdown by San Jose State last weekend and those four missed PATs by place-kicker Eric Hannum, special teams coach Dennis McKnight believes everything is correctable.

"There's nothing that needs to be changed with the schemes we use on punt protection because we've gotten that thing out of their 50 other times without a problem," McKnight said after this morning's practice.

"We had a guy have a breakdown in there that allowed someone to come through clean. He understands it. All you can do is do it right next time and move on."

Hannum said today that he and McKnight had a good talk. The junior believes he got all the bad kicks out of his system in one afternoon.

"He's the best coach I've ever had," Hannum said. "I've just got to relax out there and concentrate on my motion through the football. I'll be fine."

McKnight compared Hannum's problems to a golfer who is coming over the top of the ball.

"The more I'm around this game, the more I think place-kicking is the same as a golf swing," McKnight said. "Eric will be fine. He knows what he's doing wrong. To me, a guy who sees the problem and corrects it without worrying about it is the one who's going to be successful. The schemes we have are sound. If something bad happens, it's usually because we've done something wrong."

UH head coach June Jones isn't worried about Hannum or punt protection. He believes McKnight will handle these breakdowns just fine.

"You might make some minor changes here and there during the course of the season," Jones said. "But for the most part, you stick with what you're doing."

As for the penalties - special teams picked up two more personal fouls - Jones doesn't like them and will continue to try to impress on his team how those mistakes can hurt you.

"Both sides have had a lot of penalties in our last two games," said Jones. Hawaii and TCU combined for 200 yards, while Hawaii and San Jose State racked up an impressive 275 yards. "It's just the way things are called sometimes."

No vote from Jones

Jones was glad for the recognition of Hawaii receiving votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, but swears he had nothing to do with it.

"As far as I know, I'm not voting," Jones said, then smiled. "But I'm glad for our kids. It's good to see people are noticing what we're doing out here."

Climbing in computer poll

Hawaii moved up to No. 82 in the Matthews/Scripps Howard computer poll that ranks the 237 Division I and Division I-AA teams with a power rating of 84.84.

By comparison, Florida State is No. 1 this week with a power rating of 115.71. That means on a neutral site that Florida State would be a 31-point favorite over Hawaii.

Fresno State comes in at No. 38, the highest-ranked team in the WAC, with a power rating of 95.11. Factor in the four points for home field and Hawaii should be a touchdown underdog. The official line in Las Vegas has Fresno State favored by three.

Injury report

Offensive linemen Andy Phillips and Kaulana Noa were bothered by nagging leg injuries at this morning's practice.

"It's more irritating than anything," Noa said of the bruise on the outside of his left knee.

Phillips bruised his knee after picking up a fumble in the win over San Jose State and returning it for three yards before being chopped down by a Spartan defender.

"It's just sore," Phillips said. "I'll be fine by the end of the week."

Defensive lineman Tony Tuioti is still bothered by a bad back, something he may have to live with for the rest of his life.

Wideout Attrice Brooks was back with the No. 1 unit after missing several weeks with fluid on his knee. He could see some playing time in this week's big game with Fresno State.

By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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