Sports Notebook

Thursday, November 15, 2001


Frosh ace leads RedHawks

By Dave Reardon

Fresno State's David Carr was the Heisman Trophy candidate. Boise State's Ryan Dinwiddie was Mr. Efficiency.

And now, when Hawaii (6-3) and Miami (Ohio) (7-3) play Saturday at Aloha Stadium, the Warriors tangle with the best freshman quarterback -- statistically, anyway -- in the nation.

Ben Roethlisberger has passed for 2,415 yards and 21 touchdowns in 10 games. He has completed 181 of 292 passes for 62 percent.

He has two games left to enter Miami's 113-year-old record book by breaking the RedHawks' single-season passing records with 110 yards and four touchdowns. With three years more to play, Roethlisberger figures to set many more records.

"If you watched his progress from the beginning of the year to now, he's advanced quite a lot. He's doing more," Marshall coach Bob Pruett said. "That's why they're moving the ball now. Their offense has developed as he's developed."

Miami uses the spread offense, which is increasing in popularity throughout college football.

"They play four wideouts and they throw the ball just like us," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "They're similar."

Splitting time: Too bad all time-share arrangements don't work this well.

Hawaii freshman Mike Bass and junior Thero Mitchell have proven this fall that there is room for more than one running back in the run-and-shoot offense.

Although Jones says he would throw the ball on every down if he could, he has often acknowledged the value of Bass and Mitchell this season.

"They both contribute in their own ways," Jones said.

Bass (5-feet-6, 158 pounds) does it with quickness and Mitchell (5-10, 215) with power.

UH is last in the WAC in rushing, but that's because the Warriors have the least rushing attempts in the conference.

Bass leads the team with 502 yards on 96 carries and has two touchdowns. Mitchell has 252 yards in 57 attempts, including nine TDs.

They don't mind splitting time, and starts. Bass started the first seven games, Mitchell the last two.

"It just depends on how the coach is starting the game," Mitchell said. "It doesn't make too much difference, we both end up getting lots of snaps."

He is a fan of Bass.

"You want to hear about the speed? The quickness? He's got lots of both. And that (incomplete halfback) pass last week wasn't an accurate representation of my man's arm. He was throwing it 50 yards in warmups."

Bass returns the favor.

"If he wasn't good, I wouldn't be happy about sharing time with him," he said. "But he can block and run, a good all-around back."

Uso works out: Senior wide receiver Tafiti Uso returned to practice and was running some crisp routes and catching passes yesterday, despite a separated shoulder suffered three weeks ago.

But Jones said Uso won't play until at least next week's Air Force game.

"He's not going to play this week. If he were to take a shot on it, he'd hurt it pretty bad," Jones said. "I didn't think he'd be back running around catching this week. He's sucking it up, trying to go and that's good."

Junior outside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa said he hopes to be ready to play in the season-ender Dec. 8 against Brigham Young, despite a stress fracture in his lower right leg that could have him missing all three of the remaining games.

Jones said sophomore defensive end Travis Laboy will probably miss Saturday's game with a sprained left ankle.

He also said he doesn't expect junior defensive tackle Lui Fuga to play, although he returned to practice over two weeks ago after recovering from shoulder surgery.

"He's not ready to go," Jones said of Fuga.

Short yardage: Hawaii remains atop the WAC statistics in scoring defense (21.3 points per game), passing defense efficiency (113.2) and kickoff returns (26.0 yards per return). ... The RedHawks arrived last night. ... This will be the first time the teams meet.

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