H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Thursday, November 18, 1999

Today's Rainbow Notebook

Practice plans for
bowl game taking shape

Hawaii head coach June Jones and his staff don't have all their bowl practice plans in place, but they've moving in that direction.

"We're thinking about starting full practices two weeks before the bowl game itself," Jones said. "We'll take a similar approach to what we're doing now."

The Rainbows held a light workout today in the rain at Cooke Field as preparation for this Saturday's game with the Naval Academy winds down. Jones said the team is a little banged up, so he cut the Rainbows loose once their work was done.

"As a team, we still have to realize we have two games left," Jones said. "It's easy to forget that fact what with all the excitement of being in a bowl game.

We're excited about the opportunity of practicing in the month of December because it gives you a little extra time with the younger players. Our recruiting may be affected somewhat because we had plans to go to the mainland the first part of December. We'll just make some adjustments, maybe concentrate more on the local players because we'll still be here, then see where that takes us."

If Hawaii plays in the Christmas Day doubleheader, bowl practices will begin around Dec. 11. If the Rainbows wind up going to the Las Vegas Bowl, they'll only take a few days off following their game with Washington State before preparing for their Mountain West Conference opponent.

"All we're thinking about right now is Navy because this is a very good football team," Jones said. "It's tough to be up two weeks in a row or come off a game like we had with Fresno State, but we've handled it pretty well in practice this week."

Field work begins

Jones said work on the upper and lower grass practice fields began today.

"They're going to start construction on the upper field for women's soccer and then start on our lower field some time after that," Jones said. "We won't get in the way. If we can't work on the grass fields next month, then we'll move to Cooke Field."

UH administrators said the work wouldn't be completed until next summer. That means, spring practice will be held on Cooke Field's artificial surface. It is hoped everything will be finished in time for fall camp.

"They're going to tear up the entire field, put in a new sprinkler system and then fence it in to keep other people off it," Jones said. "You need a good practice facility to attract quality players."

Attendance lagging

Jones believes the traffic problems in the season opener, coupled with the 62-7 loss to Southern California, scared away many of the "casual fans" who could help the Rainbows with their attendance woes.

"I still believe we can get this thing sold out again, but it's going to take more time than we thought," Jones said. "I'm happy about the fans who are coming out each week. They were loud last week, even Fresno State's coaches said so. Heck, if there had been 50,000 acting like the fans were in the final moments, Aloha Stadium might have come down."

Aloha Bowl officials are expecting about 36,000 for Saturday's nonconference game with Navy. Local military fans might help bump up that number, but it appears Hawaii has peaked attendance-wise this season.

"We're still up (about 50 percent) over last year," Jones said. "But I think we were all hoping it would be around 40,000 or more."

Through seven games, Hawaii is averaging around 37,000 tickets distributed and 34,500 fans in the house. The Rainbows sold out the season-opener with USC, the first time that has happened since the BYU game in 1993.

Injury update

Safety Phil Austin (hamstring) and defensive lineman Matt Elam (stress fracture) are the only two regular players not in the lineup for this Saturday's game.

"But we have a group of other players who won't be at full speed," Jones said of defensive linemen Tony Tuioti (back) and Lui Fuga (sprained foot), and defensive backs Dee Miller (ankle) and Nate Jackson (knee).

By Paul Arnett

Rainbow Notebook

Navy's Anderson is
center of attention

It's not often a lineman is the center of attention, but for the Hawaii defensive unit, Naval Academy snapper Terrence Anderson is somebody to avoid.

"This guy is sweet," middle linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said of Anderson after yesterday morning's practice. "He has a great motor and can flat out knock you down.

"We were watching the tape of the Notre Dame game and their linebackers were no match for this guy. He knocked them off their feet all afternoon."

Anderson recently was awarded a National Football Foundation scholarship for his work in the classroom. The 5-foot-11, 285-pounder from Stillwater, Okla., has a chance to be an All-American this year for his efforts on the football field.

"Terrence Anderson is as good, if not better, than any center in America," ESPN analyst Mike Gottfried said. "I know I didn't see a better center in the games we did on ESPN."

You won't get any argument from defensive tackle Tony Tuioti. Like Ulbrich, he's watched film of the economics major and is a believer the senior center is among the best nationally.

"He has great feet," Tuioti said. "An offensive lineman with great footwork makes it tough on defensive linemen and linebackers because he's balanced."

Navy head coach Charlie Weatherbie is Anderson's biggest fan. The midline option and fullback dives are keyed off Anderson's blocks downfield.

"He's not only a great player, but a great kid," Weatherbie said. "He's smart in the classroom and on the field. He makes our offense go."

Injury update

Safeties Nate Jackson and Dee Miller took part in practice yesterday, trying to forget about the bumps and bruises the pair suffered in the victory over Fresno State.

Jackson had his wobbly knee lightly wrapped. It's the same one that was operated on early in the season to repair slight ligament damage. He's expected to play in this Saturday night's game with Navy at Aloha Stadium.

So is Miller. His ankle is tender as is defensive lineman Lui Fuga's sprained foot. He took part in yesterday's practice, but his limp was noticeable.

"We don't have any major injuries, just a lot of aggravating bumps and bruises," UH head coach June Jones said. "We've been fortunate not to have any more major injuries than we've had. But our depth on defense is being tested."

Hawaii will be without the services of safety Phil Austin (hamstring) and defensive lineman Matt Elam (stress fracture). Austin is involved in all of Hawaii's nickel packages, something the Rainbows probably won't use that much against the option attack of the Midshipmen.

"But we'll miss his leadership," UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin said. "Hopefully, he can make it back in time for the bowl game next month."

Breaking away

UH quarterback Dan Robinson has broken so many passing marks this season, the sports information department keeps the record book handy in case another one is about to be erased.

So far this season, Robinson has broken 16 records and now has his sights set on the all-time passing mark of 5,631 yards held by Garrett Gabriel.

Robinson needs only 377 yards in his last two games to surpass Gabriel, who needed four years to set his. Robinson is only in his second full season under center.

"That alone tells you how long my records will stand," Robinson said. "Some young gun will come in here and really do some damage if he plays four full seasons.

"I don't really care about those records. The only one that matters to me is victories. As long as we keep winning, I'm happy."

That sentiment was echoed by offensive lineman Andy Phillips. He and his fellow big uglies are responsible for keeping Robinson on his feet.

"Dan cares about winning and we care about keeping Dan healthy," Phillips said. "This is a team game where individual records don't really matter. All we want to do is keep putting up the Ws."

By Paul Arnett

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