Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 9, 2001


UH Football

Bass makes most of
first collegiate start

By Paul Arnett

WAILUKU, Maui >> Hawaii running back Mike Bass didn't learn until a few minutes before kickoff that he would be inserted into the starting lineup for last night's nonconference game against Montana.

Not that there's anything wrong with that if you are an experienced back who's prepared for things on short notice. But for the true freshman from Corona, Calif., this was his first game at the Division I level. The butterflies were on the loose.

"I was trying to fight back the nervousness and just concentrate on what I had learned in practice," Bass said. "In this offense, it's pass first and run later. I just tried to be patient and wait for things to develop. It felt great."

Bass finished with 72 yards on 16 carries. He caught 5 passes for another 17 yards and stood on the sidelines while junior running back Thero Mitchell scored two touchdowns from close range.

UH coach June Jones designed several plays with Bass in mind, including the ball being directly snapped to him, something Bass enjoys.

"That's a great play I really like," Bass said. "It gives me a chance to surprise some guys or look for the holes myself. The element of surprise is always there because everybody thinks we're going to pass. That's what's great about this offense.

"I didn't catch that many passes in high school. It's something I've got to learn to do. But the coaches have confidence in me and so do my teammates. The best thing is we got the win."

Jones indicated before the game that Mitchell would get the start. But once he settled on a series of plays, he thought Bass was better suited for them. The 5-foot-7, 165-pounder isn't big, but he's shifty. He can make people miss and he can get the tough yards. This is the kind of back Jones thought he would be.

"I thought he acquitted himself very well," Jones said. "He had few mistakes and he picked up some key yards for us. He showed everybody what he can do. He's only going to get better and better."

UH running backs coach Wes Suan agreed.

"It's asking a lot of a young guy to come in and play right away," Suan said. "But he did it. He made very few mistakes out there. He did what we asked him to do."

As for Bass, this is a night he won't soon forget.

"I'll always remember Maui as the place where my college career began," Bass said. "It was just like high school out there, only a little faster. Right now, I'm on top of the world."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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