Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, August 19, 2001


UH Football

UH’s first
coming up

Coach June Jones says the
Warriors will begin tackling
sometime this week

By Paul Arnett

If you want to see the University of Hawaii scrimmage this week, it's best to attend every morning workout or risk missing it. Not even head football coach June Jones knows for sure.

"We'll probably just come out one day this week and decide we're going to tackle that practice," Jones said at the end of yesterday's final session of the week. The team will take today off, then resume two-a-days first thing tomorrow morning.

"We'll start going three hours in the morning, kind of combining what we've done in the daily practices this week," Jones said of the new 8:30 a.m. start. "The afternoon practices will be primarily devoted to special teams."

Jones will continue his philosophy of light hitting. True, the players will be in full pads tomorrow morning for the first time. There will be some head knocking, especially up front.

But the phrase you'll hear most of the time from the coaches in this final week of two-a-days is, "Stay up." Most of the injuries occur when one player rolls up on another player's leg down in the trenches.

"That's when you get your knees and your ankles hurt," Jones said. "And we don't want any of that happening in practice. We can't afford any needless injuries, especially up front on offense and defense.

The trick for Mike Bass --Hawaii's 5-foot-6, 160-pound
running back -- is to avoid getting hit. The Warriors
coaches hope to flare up the run-and-shoot offense
with Bass' flair for zigzagging.

"When we do scrimmage, it will be mostly the younger guys. We want to see what they can do and we also want to keep the veterans out of the line of fire as much as we can."

The Warriors are already painfully thin across the defensive front. Injuries and academic woes to projected starters have left defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa a little shaky.

He's still using new linebackers Chris Brown and Joe Correia as ends in the Okie packages (five defensive backs). But Houston Ala and Laanui Correa appear to be the bookends of the defensive front with Mike Iosua and Wayne Hunter getting comfortable at tackle.

Once tackle Lui Fuga gets healthy -- and that may be October at the earliest -- Hunter is expected to slide back to end in place of Ala. Lempa had hoped Travis Laboy would be contributing more up front. But a nagging hamstring injury has left the defensive end sidelined for all of fall camp so far.

"And that's not good," Lempa said. "We need to get him some repetitions, so he'll be able to play some against Montana. We don't have a lot of depth up there, something we experienced a lot last year.

"One of our goals coming in was to have two starters at every position because with the run-and-shoot, you know you're going to be on the field a lot no matter what. We have several guys out or not here, so we'll have to adjust."

The secondary is also under scrutiny. Granted, safeties Jacob Espiau and Nate Jackson are one of the top tandems in the Western Athletic Conference, but the Warriors are without a true cover corner.

Sophomore Kelvin Millhouse has had solid practices so far. Fellow cornerback Hyrum Peters has had his moments as well. Backup safety David Gilmore had two interceptions in yesterday's afternoon workout to give the defense something to cheer about.

"I like our team speed defensively," Jones said. "We've really improved in that area the last couple of years, which is encouraging."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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