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Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, February 24, 2001

U H _ F O O T B A L L

Warriors’ spring
practice is a go

Assistant George Lumpkin
will run the same format Jones
used over the past two years

By Paul Arnett

University of Hawaii associate coach George Lumpkin will run the football team in lieu of June Jones, who was injured in a one-car accident Thursday morning on the H-1 Freeway.

The longtime assistant for the Warriors will begin spring workouts on Thursday as planned, he confirmed after yesterday's hospital press conference.

Lumpkin, who handles many of the administrative duties, said the team will follow the same format Jones already had developed the past two springs.

On paper, Wes Suan is the offensive coordinator for the Warriors, but Jones is the man who runs the offense in practice and on the field. The coaches on that side of the football will share the responsibilities.

Former St. Louis School offensive coordinator Ron Lee said yesterday that the coaches hadn't met yet to discuss the 15 days of spring practice at Cooke Field.

"But everybody kind of knows their roles," said Lee, who handles the receivers. "The staff will sit down soon and meet to discuss what we want to do.

"We had a meeting today with (UH athletic director) Hugh Yoshida. But it was for them to give us an update of June's situation. The news was positive. We were hoping he would be back for the spring, but that might be a little bit of a stretch."

There had been some talk of delaying spring practice to see what the long-term prognosis was for Jones. His attending physicians believe the coach, in his third year at UH, will remain in the hospital for at least two weeks. But barring complications, should return in time for the fall.

"He's not only our boss, but our personal friend, also," Lumpkin said yesterday. "I've known Coach Jones for 28 years. I would have been surprised if he hadn't been as strong a fighter or shown this kind of improvement. He's a special person with a strong will.

"But we're going to continue to do what we had planned to do for the spring. I'm sure that's what June would want and that's the only reason we are continuing."

It will be up to the assistants to keep the players focused on getting better this spring. After last year's disappointing 3-9 finish, the staff wanted to come out strong and try to build toward a brighter tomorrow.

Several players said Thursday they were afraid it would be difficult to concentrate with Jones not there. But now that his health is improving, staying focused shouldn't prove as difficult.

"We're going to stay right on schedule and do what we need to do," assistant coach Vantz Singletary said. "We're going to keep teaching and coaching to get our team ready for the fall."

Lee echoed those sentiments.

"We want to get them focused on getting better," Lee said. "And we want to give Coach Jones some time to heal. That's the most important thing right now."

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