Stand-ins set for
UH season opener

Hawaii's football season
kicks off tonight against
Appalachian State

Whatever happened to Tim Chang, Uriah Moenoa and the Akron Zips?

Hawaii vs. Appalachian State

When: Today, 6:05 p.m.
Where: Aloha Stadium
Tickets: $19 sideline, $17 south end zone, $10 north end zone (adult), $9 north end zone (students/seniors, age 4 through high school), UH students free (super rooter only). Available at Aloha Stadium, Stan Sheriff Center, UH Campus Center and Windward Community College's OCET Office. Or call 800-944-2697 or on the Internet.
TV: KFVE (Channel 5), delay at 10 p.m., with rebroadcast Sunday at 9 a.m. Also available live on Pay-Per-View. Call 625-8100 on Oahu or (866) 566-7784 on neighbor islands to subscribe.
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM.
Parking: Gates open at 2:30 p.m. Parking is $5. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College, Kam Drive-In and Radford High School.
Traffic advisory: 1420-AM is the official traffic advisory station and provides updates before each home game.
Bus: Roberts Hawaii School Bus will run shuttles to and from the stadium with pick-ups at six Oahu locations. Call 832-4886 for information and reservations.

Hawaii's football season opener tonight is as much about who won't be running around on the new FieldTurf surface at Aloha Stadium as who will be.

The stand-ins are Jason Whieldon, Phil Kauffman and the Appalachian State Mountaineers.

Most consider the opponent switch of last March a wash, but this game loses some of its allure with a quarterback being pushed for Heisman consideration replaced by a guy who has thrown 18 career Division I passes and left the team briefly during midseason last fall.

Chang and one of his top bodyguards out of action makes victory less of a sure thing for the hometown boys, who are still a prohibitive favorite, anyway.

Chang was suspended for a game for playing in the Hawaii Bowl last December without having completed enough credits in the fall. UH also loses its most experienced offensive lineman, as Moenoa is out of the starting lineup with a bruised right Achilles' tendon. They are the only two Hawaii offensive returnees who started all 14 games last year.

In the past, losing two key players might have meant serious trouble for Hawaii. But UH coach June Jones said he goes into his fifth season with enough trained depth to handle the unexpected. And he believes in Whieldon's ability as a leader -- if not as a pass slinger on the same level with Chang, who has thrown for 8,615 yards in a 27-game career.

"He gets more reps every day and he gets better and better," Jones said of Whieldon, a junior college transfer from Orange County, Calif., who UH tried to recruit out of high school. "I'm anxious to see him play. He's very competitive and loves the game."

Still, this isn't Whieldon's game to win as much as it's his not to lose. At least until he gets settled in, the Warriors can be expected to go more horizontal than vertical with short and medium passes to Britton Komine, Nate Ilaoa, Chad Owens and Jeremiah Cockheran. Those four receivers helped Hawaii generate the second-most passing yards per game in the nation last fall (386.1).

Also, running backs Mike Bass, Michael Brewster, West Keliikipi and John West might get more totes than usual to help Whieldon get comfortable.

"Everybody's got to pick up their game and we have to do well in all phases to win," said Jones, using one of his standard lines when a starter is not available.

Kauffman, a previously unheralded fourth-year junior, became a key figure in training camp, pushing for a starting spot at either center or right guard. Moenoa, an effervescent but portly talent, reported to camp weighing a pound for each day of the year. He lost more than 20 in camp, but also yielded his starting spot to Kauffman this week when trainers held him out of practice most of the week.

Kauffman joins an inexperienced offensive line that includes second-year freshmen Samson Satele at left tackle and Dane Uperesa at right tackle.

"I trust all the guys we've got," offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. "I think anyone from the first 10 can do the job, but you don't really know until they get in there in a game."

Cavanaugh is wary of the Mountaineers' effective defensive ends.

"K.T. Stovall's a helluva player. So is Leon Moore at the other end. Two seniors going against two freshmen. I know Sam and Dane are looking forward to the challenge. As long as they mentally battle guys and grow up quick, good things will happen for us," Cavanaugh said.

While Chang and Moenoa are locks to return to the starting lineup at USC on Sept. 13, tonight's game gives their understudies a chance to get some experience without risking a loss.

That line of thinking is for those with memories that don't go back to 2000, when a UH team hyped as much as this one was embarrassed 45-20 by Portland State -- Jones' alma mater ... and a Division I-AA team, just like Appalachian State. So Jones warns his players about taking a school lightly just because they don't have as many scholarship players.

"We beat Montana only after trailing midway through the second quarter (in the 2001 opener)," Jones said. "So they're just like everybody else we play. We talk about that all the time."

When asked for specifics, Jones said he likes the ferocity with which the Mountaineers play.

"They play very hard, every play to the end," Jones said. "They've got real good team speed. They can run around and they got good motors. They've got two or three really talented defensive players. They've got some defensive linemen, linebackers and corners that can really play."

Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore is worried about how his defense will stand up to the Warriors' offense, since the Mountaineers don't see many sophisticated passing attacks in the Southern Conference.

"The closest thing would be Marshall (which beat ASU 50-17 last year when Byron Leftwich passed for 469 yards and four touchdowns)," Moore said. "In our league a couple years ago Chattanooga tried something like the run-and-shoot. But they did not have near the people that Hawaii's got."

Moore hopes he has enough speed in the secondary to keep up with UH's four- and five-receiver routes. True freshman Jeremy Wiggins, a speedster Florida State wanted, and linebacker Daniel Traylor will be keys, he said.

"Football's become so much about groupings. If they send in two tight ends you do this, four wideouts do that. Because they use all those wideouts all the time, we'll just use that group," Moore said. "It's easier that you know what the groups are. But they're so diverse in what they do, they create mismatches and get fast guys on slow guys.

"We're not cover people very much, but we worked hard to try to simulate their offense."

UH's defense -- led by a potentially dominant frontline featuring tackle Isaac Sopoaga and an experienced secondary -- will be tested by an Appalachian State offense that is likely to try anything with elusive sophomore quarterback Richie Williams.

"I think offensively they're going to be very difficult, a lot of option. Their quarterback runs a lot of nakeds and boots and option. And we haven't played against that very well."

Moore laughed when it was suggested the Mountaineers might be able to create mismatches of their own when they have the ball.

"Advantages? No. This is one of the best defenses we'll see all year," Moore said yesterday after his team completed its second Aloha Stadium practice since arriving Thursday afternoon. "We might not see another one as good. If you get caught up talking about how flashy and neat the run-and-shoot is, you run the risk of forgetting about their great defense."

UH senior safety Hyrum Peters said it won't matter what the Mountaineers throw at the Warriors -- and if it happens to be passes, Peters said ASU is in serious trouble.

"There's no way they can throw the ball on us," Peters said on Wednesday. "So all we have to do is stop the run and we win the game."


Probable starters


SE 6 Sterling Hayward 6-0 180 Sr.
TE 80 Daniel Bettis 6-2 240 So.
LT 61 Michael Porter 6-4 260 Sr.
LG 77 Ricky Epps 6-1 260 Fr.
or 64 Daniel Utley 6-3 325 Jr.
C 78 Ross Grall 6-0 280 Jr.
RG 70 Jeremy Robertson 6-3 285 Fr.
or 71 Brian Billings 5-10 315 Jr.
RT 75 Grant Oliver 6-4 284 Sr.
FL 22 Davon Fowlkes 5-7 165 Jr.
QB 7 Richie Williams 6-2 175 So.
FB 40 Stewart Adams 6-1 230 So.
RB 24 Sean Jackson 5-6 155 Sr.
LE 93 K.T. Stovall 6-2 245 Sr.
LT 95 Omarr Byrom 6-1 250 Fr.
RT 99 George Carr 6-3 285 Fr.
RE 90 Leon Moore 6-3 240 Fr.
SLB 21 Daniel Traylor 6-1 215 Sr.
MLB 55 Jerelle Carter 5-10 220 Jr.
WLB 36 Sam Smalls 5-10 230 Jr.
LCB 15 Jay Lyles 6-0 165 Jr.
SS 8 Jeremy Wiggins 5-10 180 Fr.
FS 13 Michael King 6-1 200 Fr.
RCB 3 Derrick Black 5-8 180 Sr.
Snap 53 Jimmy King 6-1 200 Sr.
Hold 85 Nate McKinney 5-11 220 Sr.
PK 25 Erik Rockhold 5-8 180 Sr.
P 85 Nate McKinney 5-11 220 Sr.
KR 9 Jermaine Little 5-10 170 Jr.
and 3 Derrick Black 5-8 180 Sr.
PR 22 Davon Fowlkes 5-7 165 Jr.


LWR 84 Britton Komine 5-8 187 Jr.
LSR 2 Chad Owens 5-9 174 Jr.
LT 64 Samson Satele 6-3 289 Fr.
LG 77 Shayne Kajioka 6-3 302 Sr.
C 59 Derek Faavi 6-1 273 So.
RG 69 Phil Kauffman 6-1 291 Jr.
RT 72 Dane Uperesa 6-5 318 Fr.
RSR 4 Nate Ilaoa 5-9 211 So.
RWR 19 Jeremiah Cockheran 6-0 190 Sr.
QB 8 Jason Whieldon 6-0 191 Sr.
RB 20 John West 5-10 180 Sr.
or 1 Mike Bass 5-7 174 Jr.
or 6 Michael Brewster 5-6 180 Jr.
or 16 West Keliikipi 6-1 266 Fr.
LE 93 Houston Ala 5-11 260 Sr.
LT 97 Isaac Sopoaga 6-3 336 Sr.
RT 92 Lance Samuseva 6-0 309 Sr.
RE 11 Kevin Jackson 6-4 245 Sr.
OLB 46 Keani Alapa 6-1 229 Sr.
ILB 54 Chad Kalilimoku 5-11 240 Sr.
OLB 51 Ikaika Curnan 5-11 218 So.
CB 37 Abraham Elimimian 5-10 173 Jr.
SS 33 Hyrum Peters 5-8 188 Sr.
FS 42 Leonard Peters 6-1 181 So.
CB 3 Kelvin Millhouse 6-1 206 Sr.
P 25 Kurt Milne 6-0 204 Fr.
PK 47 Justin Ayat 5-11 205 Jr.
Snap 45 Tanuvasa Moe 6-0 220 So.
PR 2 Chad Owens 5-9 174 Jr.
KR 82 Ross Dickerson 5-10 172 Fr.
or 2 Chad Owens 5-9 174 Jr.
H 8 Jason Whieldon 6-0 191 Sr.



Today at Hawaii
Sept. 6 Eastern Kentucky
Sept. 20 Morehead State
Sept. 27 at The Citadel
Oct. 4 East Tennessee State
Oct. 11 at Furman
Oct. 18 Georgia Southern
Oct. 25 at Wofford
Nov. 1 Chattanooga
Nov. 8 at Elon
Nov. 15 Western Carolina


Today Appalachian State
Sept. 13 at USC
Sept. 19 at UNLV
Sept. 27 Rice
Oct. 4 at Tulsa
Oct. 11 Fresno State
Oct. 18 at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 25 at UTEP
Nov. 1 at San Jose State
Nov. 15 at Nevada
Nov. 22 Army
Nov. 29 Alabama
Dec. 6 Boise State


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