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


Thursday, April 6, 2000

UH Football Notebook

Coach Jones uses
Bobby Dodd’s approach

UH Baseball Playbook
Small College Notebook

Top returning wideout Craig Stutzmann exited Cooke Field yesterday morning feeling a little winded. Most of the spring, the former St. Louis School standout has been more of an instructor than anything else.

Yesterday, he caught a couple of passes in the team phase of spring practice, proving Hawaii head coach June Jones hadn't forgotten about him after all.

"I thought maybe I was going to be cut," Stutzmann said, then smiled. "They weren't using me as much because they want to take a look at the younger guys."

At first glance, you might think Jones' approach to this spring session is similar to what National Football League coaches do during the preseason.

There are usually about 100 players in the opening of NFL summer camps. The veterans don't receive as much work as the rookies because the coaches want to see what the new players can do before the first major cutdown.

But Jones' approach this spring to work the younger guys more than the veterans wasn't gleaned from his days in the NFL, but rather from former college coaching great Bobby Dodd.

"When I first thought about coaching in the late 70s early 80s, I sat down with Coach Dodd one day and he was talking about in the spring he only let his starters coach their positions," Jones said.

"He felt like it gave them way more depth as the year went on because they had a whole spring where the guys who don't normally get to practice as much, get more repetitions.

"Ever since he said that, it made sense to me. And it's happening out here. We're looking at some guys who normally don't get the reps in the fall. And we're finding out that maybe they're a little better or not quite as good as we thought they were."

Last spring, Jones took a little heat for cutting 20 or so players from the roster. A few of those players returned, but others were openly critical of the moves.

Jones said approximately 20 or so players currently on the spring roster won't be invited to the opening day of fall camp on Aug. 7 because NCAA rules only allow 105 players. Once school is in session on Aug. 21, the Rainbows can field as many players as Jones wants on the roster.

"That's why it's important for us to look at the younger guys now and to evaluate them on film," Jones said. "It also gives our veterans a chance to talk to the younger guys and to tell them what to do in certain situations.

"Because of the NCAA restrictions, every spring it's going to be the same in terms of who we invite to fall camp and who we don't. We have 100 or so players out here right now, so some of those guys won't be in early because we have 25 recruits joining our team this fall."

Old man Kanoa

Manly Kanoa is only a junior, but already he has been tabbed as the old man on the offensive line.

That's because the former Kamehameha Schools star is the only returning starter up front for the Rainbows, and even he has switched from right guard to left.

"That move wasn't that difficult," Kanoa said. "What I have to get used to is having Chris (Smith) as the center because he's smaller than (former UH center) Dustin (Owen).

"It's cool being the veteran guy up front. We're so much farther along than we were a year ago. Chris is so smart. He has already learned all the plays, so things are going well."

Assistant coach Mike Cavanaugh is also pleased with the progress his guys have made up front. He said after Monday's workout that despite all the new faces, the offensive line was coming along quite nicely.

Noa attends practice

Former UH tackle Kaulana Noa went to his second practice this week, stopping by to say hello to old coaches and friends. He'll be here a few more days before going back to the Big Island to await next week's NFL Draft.

By Paul Arnett

UH Baseball Playbook

vs. San Jose State Spartans

Bullet First pitch: Tomorrow, 4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m., Municipal Stadium, San Jose, Calif.

Bullet Coaches: Hawaii, Les Murakami, 30th season (1,072-559-4, .657); San Jose State, Sam Piraro, 14th season (435-332-3, .567).

Bullet Season: Hawaii (8-4 WAC 21-17 overall); San Jose State (8-4 WAC, 22-11 overall).

Bullet Series record: Hawaii leads the series, 21-13. The Spartans won two of the three games in Hawaii last month.

Bullet Probable starting pitchers: San Jose State, Chris Key, left-hander (7-0, 2.44); Joey Baker (5-4, 3.72), and either Tim Adinolfi, left-hander (3-1, 1.91) or Chris Sherman, right-hander (3-4, 4.36) ... Hawaii, Jamie Aloy, left-hander (5-2, 4.12); Randon Ho, left-hander (5-4, 6.61), and Rich Snider, right-hander (6-5, 3.66).

Bullet Top position players: San Jose State, Junior Ruiz, left fielder (.373 batting average, 2 home runs, 25 runs batted in); Brain Stream, second baseman (.323, 6 RBIs), and Joe Fagan, outfielder (.306, 7 HR, 29 RBIs) ... Hawaii, Kenn Wakakuwa, second baseman/catcher (.393, 29 runs, 2 HR, 30 RBIs); Jamie Aloy, first baseman (.351, 21 runs, 9 RBIs); Rah-Miel Mitchell, outfielder (.340, 11 runs, 3 triples, 7 RBIs);.Scooter Martines, left fielder (.314, 15 RBIs), and Danny Kimura, DH (.308, 8 doubles, 40 RBIs).

Bullet Interesting facts: Kenn Wakakuwa leads the WAC with 57 hits and is third in runs scored (29), batting (.393) and fourth in RBIs (30) ... Danny Kimura leads the conference with 40 RBIs ... Rich Snider is third in strikeouts with 56 ... San Jose State's Tim Adinolfi leads the WAC with a 1.91 ERA. Chris Key is third at 2.44 ... The Spartans have won six of their last seven conference games and 11 of their last 15 overall ... The Rainbows are 1-8 in three previous WAC series against SJSU at Municipal Stadium.

Bullet Series keys: The Rainbows' goals of winning the conference and nailing down the automatic NCAA playoff berth rests on their ability to win away from home ...

Bullet On the air: All three games live on KCCN (1420 AM).

By Al Chase

Small College Notebook

HPU tennis
could go far

Typically in college athletics, Division I teams are better than Division II teams, Division II teams are better than NAIA teams, and NAIA teams are better than Division III teams. Occasionally, however, these traditional lines are crossed when certain quality teams excel against all levels of competition, despite not having Division I status.

One such case in point is the Hawaii Pacific University men's tennis team. The Sea Warriors compete as a Division II team, and have fared extremely well against all comers so far this season, amassing a 15-3 mark and a No. 11 ranking among Division II teams along the way.

Last Thursday, the Sea Warriors earned one of their biggest victories of the season, downing Minnesota, the No. 17 ranked team in Division I, 4-3.

The win was particularly big considering that the Sea Warriors next play in the ultra-competitive Blue-Gray Small College Invitational in Montgomery, Ala., beginning today and running through Saturday. The top teams from Division II and the NAIA are invited to participate in the invitational.

"The win (against Minnesota) shows our guys that they belong with the top teams in the nation," said coach Henry Somerville. "It solidifies belief in our ability and gives us confidence going into the invitational. When we put it all together and play with intensity, we can compete with anybody."

It seems that the Sea Warriors have had it together all season. Besides Minnesota, the Sea Warriors also beat then-No. 14 ranked Fresno State of Division I earlier in the year. Two of their three losses were against No. 10 ranked Southern Methodist University and No. 2 ranked Pepperdine, both of Division I. The matches in the 3-2 loss to SMU were extremely competitive. Against Pepperdine, the Sea Warriors narrowly lost 4-3.

According to Somerville, the only match that the Sea Warriors lost which they should have won came against Division II UC-Davis.

"Without the loss to Davis, this would be a great season so far, instead of just a really good one," said Somerville. "But it does serve as a gut-check, and in the long-run, it may help."

Somerville said that the most important aspect for the Sea Warriors for the remainder of the season is better focus in doubles play. While he is pleased with the Sea Warriors singles play, Somerville said that improved doubles play is vital to his team making a long run in the NCAA Division II Regionals and Nationals.

"We do have a chance at winning the entire thing (Division II national championship)," said Somerville. "We can compete with anybody because we are very deep from positions 1-6, but there are a handful of other teams that can do the same. We are one of a handful that can win it all."

UH-Hilo baseball hits road:

After being handily swept by San Jose State in its last Western Athletic Conference series, the University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcans are on the road for two consecutive series. This weekend, the Vulcans (13-21 overall, 4-11 in WAC) are in Houston to face Rice (17-17, 6-8) for three games beginning Saturday and ending Monday. Next Thursday through Saturday, the Vulcans visit Texas Christian University (13-21, 4-7) for a three-game series.

Despite their sub-.500 record, there have been some bright spots for the Vulcans in this, their inaugural season in the WAC. To go along with strong early-season pitching performances by Kaholo Rickard and Thomas Ford and slick overall play by shortstop Brandon Chaves, leadoff hitter and outfielder Brian Rooke is leading the conference with 19 stolen bases.

HPU baseball up and down:

The HPU baseball team has lost five games in a row after five consecutive victories. San Francisco State tripped the Sea Warriors 11-4 last night

HPU had hopes of a postseason at-large berth, but those hopes were dashed when they lost the final two games of a three-games series with Chico State, and then also a single game to Sonoma State in late March.

By Brandon Lee, Special to the Star-Bulletin

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