Saturday, November 13, 1999

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

UH Rainbow Football

Jones has fit
puzzle pieces

His UH football team was
recruited for a mishmash of
different philosophies

By Paul Arnett


There are those who believe that within the next century or so we will learn how to pick up the broken glass on the floor and reverse the flow of energy created by someone letting a slippery bottle whisk through his fingers, allowing gravity to do its thing.

The shattered shards will suddenly jump back like a James Brown dance step and fly together to create the bottle that was broken only seconds before. Yes Virginia, there will come a time when all the king's horsemen and all the king's men can put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

But until that day, a metaphor in coach's clothing will have to do.


Bullet When: 6:05 p.m., today
Bullet Where: Aloha Stadium
Bullet TV: Delayed, 9 p.m. on KFVE
Bullet Radio: Live on KCCN 1420-AM
Bullet RealAudio: Click here

Hawaii head coach June Jones needed nine months to put the jagged sections of this broken program into something resembling a football team. Scientists may claim Jones inherited a 1,000-piece puzzle rather than a solid object. But what do scientists really know, anyway?

This team made up of 22 distinct parts that plays Fresno State tonight at Aloha Stadium is basically the same one the Bulldogs knocked off Fred vonAppen's shelf last year and left busted on the football field.

This group, that stretches across three head coaches and more assistants than any of the half-dozen fifth-year seniors cares to count, was just bits and pieces of coaches gone by.

The concept of being whole did not apply to this team the first time Jones walked into the room. They were players from past programs, belonging to different ideals ranging from the spread option to the West Coast.

Adrian Klemm was recruited by UH associate coach George Lumpkin in his first tour of duty that lasted nearly a quarter-century. Cornerback Shawndel Tucker is another Lumpkin recruit, only he's a part of the current regime that brought Lumpkin back to life.

"I recruited Klemm, but that seems like a long time ago,'' Lumpkin said of the Los Angeles-area player that has helped make Jones' run-and-shoot go. Klemm said, "Sometimes I see Coach Lumpkin and I realize we've come full circle.''

That circle is so large, some of the fifth-year seniors forgot its starting point. Take Chad Shrout as an example. When asked who recruited him in 1995, the UH punter paused a moment.

"It was Chris Smeland,'' Shrout said like a Jeopardy contestant who just beat the buzzer. "I think (the former UH defensive coordinator) is at Utah State.''

No, Smeland is actually in Louisville, but it's tough to keep up with all the changes around here. Fifth-year seniors Klemm, Shrout, Andy Phillips, Daniel Ho-Ching, Kaulana Noa and Tony Tuioti are the last class of the Bob Wagner era. They are all starters.

Current San Diego State assistant Ulima Afoa and Fresno State coach Trent Miles went from Wagner to vonAppen. Afoa brought on board three current starters and Miles signed a key player from Maui named Robert Kemfort.

Former assistant coach Tim Green, who is now in private business in Pittsburgh, was a graduate assistant under Wagner and a full-time coach for vonAppen.

He is responsible for recruiting three of tonight's starting players. Former UH offensive coordinator and current Hawaii Hammerheads head coach Guy Benjamin certainly recognizes talent. He signed five starters, including quarterback Dan Robinson and middle linebacker Jeff Ulbrich.

"I was recruited by the infamous Guy Benjamin,'' Robinson said proudly. "He is the reason I'm a Rainbow. I know he'll be out there somewhere watching us Saturday night.''

Ulbrich put it this way, "If it weren't for Coach Benjamin, I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing. He came to my junior college and convinced me Hawaii was the place to be. I have to thank him for it.''

Jones privately thanks him every day, just as he sends best wishes to Wagner for bringing in the top three offensive linemen, a first-class punter, and a free safety whose life has been an example for everyone to follow.

Ho-Ching won't be remembered for his hits and interceptions, but rather his two-year battle with cancer he beat back with chemotherapy. "I'm feeling pretty old, these days,'' said Ho-Ching, who has been sidelined off and on with a shoulder problem. "But to be a part of this. To have a chance to be WAC champions and to go to a bowl game, well, it's all worth it.''

Most of that is because of the belief system Jones put into the playbook last spring. There is only one starter, wide receiver Channon Harris, that Jones can call his own. UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin signed the remaining two starters belonging to the current staff, defensive lineman Doug Sims and safety Dee Miller.

"I would never have come to Hawaii if it hadn't been for Coach McMackin,'' the junior college All-American from Mississippi said. "But you'll follow good coaches wherever they go.''

That's what Jones is counting on during the next two recruiting classes. How good those are will determine how much longer the Rainbows are a Division I program. If you don't believe it, just ask Jones.

"We lose a lot of guys from this starting lineup,'' Jones said of the dozen seniors playing their three final regular-season games. "How well we recruit and how quickly we can get them up to speed will be critical to our success. There's a big hole in the last two classes that will be difficult to fill.''

In other words, the last two recruiting classes haven't produced the depth and breadth needed to keep this fragile program from falling apart without some help in 2000 and 2001. By then, there will be a reshuffling among the major programs, one that could leave Hawaii out of the equation.

And while this program has managed to fly back together like an instant replay in reverse, Jones needs two quality quarterbacks, a dozen offensive and defensive linemen, a breakaway running back, a promising place-kicker, a cover corner and a big receiver capable of stretching a defense.

It's a tall order. But so was putting together Humpty-Dumpty again.



WR Dwight CarterTim Green
WR Channon HarrisJune Jones
OT Adrian KlemmGeorge Lumpkin
OG Andy PhillipsJim Cochran
C Dustin OwenTim Green
OG Manly KanoaUlima Afoa
OT Kaulana NoaAl Beaver
WR Craig StutzmannTim Green
WR Ashley LelieGuy Benjamin
QB Dan RobinsonGuy Benjamin
RB Afatia ThompsonUlima Afoa
RB Avion WeaverGuy Benjamin


DE Joe CorreiaWalked on
DT Doug SimsGreg McMackin
DT Tony TuiotiUlima Afoa
DE Matt PaulKen Margerum
LB Yaphet WarrenWalked on
LB Jeff UlbrichGuy Benjamin
LB Robert KemfortTrent Miles
DB Shawndel TuckerGeorge Lumpkin
DB Nate JacksonGuy Benjamin
DB Dee MillerGreg McMackin
DB Quincy LeJayTom Williams


PK Eric HannumTom Williams
P Chad ShroutChris Smeland
Ka Leo O Hawaii

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin