[ UH FOOTBALL ]
to grow teeth
Hawaii's Cavanaugh shuffles
his line and says he wants
his players to prove
they want to start
The Hawaii offensive line shuffle continued yesterday and the end is not in sight with a game at Southern California in 10 days.
At yesterday's practice, the first group, from left to right, was true freshman Jeremy Inferrera, second-year freshman Samson Satele, sophomore Derek Faavi, junior Uriah Moenoa and sophomore Brandon Eaton.
Three starters from Saturday's 40-17 victory against Appalachian State are off the front line. Senior left guard Shayne Kajioka, junior right guard Phil Kauffman and second-year freshman Dane Uperesa were cast aside, at least temporarily.
"We're looking for five guys to get on the same page and get after people," line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. "We'll see. I like Phil Kauffman. He had a good game against Appalachian State. We've talked about Uriah at right tackle, too.
"Whether you call it demotion, promotion, whatever. It's how they respond. They know what they got to do. So now do they do it everyday in practice? Do you get after it? Do you make a stand? Do you fight?"
Hard to tell the Warriors generated 450 yards Saturday. But the line gave up three sacks.
"We just didn't physically play the way we should've played," head coach June Jones said. "Offensive linemen have to learn to trust their technique. We practice that all the time. Sometimes in the game they unwind and forget that. Whoever can master the technique, the offensive lineman or the defensive lineman, is going to win that battle."
If there's a surprise newcomer to the first five, it's Eaton. The 6-foot-3, 301-pound sophomore showed potential as a true freshman, but didn't progress quickly last spring. He had a much better fall camp, and played well at right tackle in the second half Saturday.
"I think I'm finally settling in at one position," said Eaton, who has been tried at every line spot at least once. "I played right tackle in high school and I feel more comfortable there."
There's no guarantee he'll remain the starter. Uperesa is considered a talent; Cavanaugh just wants to see him get meaner. And the coach wants Kajioka -- who started 13 games last year -- to fine-tune his technique.
"We've got some guys with great talent, but they've got to compete and get after people. I'm not talking about being maulers and cavemen," Cavanaugh said. "I think right now Kaj has got some things to work on. He's gotta handle it the right way and come back and fight hard and show us we're making a mistake."
Chang-ese: Junior quarterback Tim Chang returned to the spotlight yesterday after completing his one-game suspension for playing in last year's Hawaii Bowl while academically ineligible. He showed he hasn't lost any zip on his passes, and he can still turn a colorful phrase.
On facing Southern California's defense: "They're as big as you, and stronger than you and run just as fast as you. It's like looking at a big scary monster. But they're going to have to face our pass offense and we're going to see how good they really are. If they're good, they shut us out, if they're not, we blow them out."
On the seriousness of the game: "We're not going to Disneyland, we're not going to Magic Mountain. We're going to the Coliseum, which I think is in the ghetto. We're going to have to go up there with a business-like attitude."
Nate wants in: Junior slot receiver Nate Ilaoa, who tore his right ACL on Saturday, said he played through a similar injury in high school.
"It was homecoming. Couldn't miss that one," he said.
Ilaoa said he will fully test the knee Monday.
"There's a chance we're going to lose him for the year," Jones said. "That would be a huge loss."
BACK TO TOP
Carroll trying to keep
Trojans from being distracted
LOS ANGELES >> Impressive as it was, Southern California coach Pete Carroll wants to make sure the Trojans don't get too giddy over their opening victory.
USC, which hosts Hawaii on Sept. 13, picked up right where it left off last season, beating Auburn 23-0 on the road on Saturday. The win, which moved the Trojans up four spots to No. 4 in the national rankings, was their ninth in a row.
"We're really pleased to get off to that kind of start and get off to a big day at Auburn. A lot of good things happened, a bunch of positive things and a lot of opportunities for us to teach our football kids how to get better in all areas," Carroll said yesterday.
"Hopefully we can put that game in its place, take it in stride and get really directed and pumped up for coming home. It's a big deal to us, to play our first home game. We know that to have a great season, you have to be strong at home."
USC plays BYU (1-0) at the Coliseum on Saturday, then is home again against Hawaii (1-0).
The Trojans were underdogs at Auburn, but showed they could handle the hostile crowd, the pressure of playing on national television, and the Tigers, who entered the game ranked No. 6.
This weekend, USC will be at home and is favored by three touchdowns, so Carroll is concerned about a letdown.
"That's always a thought," he said. "However, we need to find out if this year's team understands how to stay focused and come back. We really learned how to do that the last couple of years. I'm proud of that, that we could play on a consistent basis.
"That is paramount to our success, if we can figure that out and not be up and down with our performance. We need to stay focused, not just for BYU, but to handle it all the way down the schedule."
Carroll mentioned a number of young players he thought played well against Auburn, including quarterback Matt Leinart, a redshirt sophomore who has taken over for Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.
Leinart, who played in three games last season but didn't throw a pass, was 17-for-30 for 192 yards and a touchdown at Auburn and didn't commit a turnover.
"He managed the whole thing extremely well, played like a poised upperclassman and veteran guy, we were thrilled about that," Carroll said.
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow, a former high school coach in Hawaii, was similarly impressed.
"I thought the Auburn game was outstanding for our young quarterback and our young football players," Chow said. "In what you would expect from a quarterback in managing a game, he was terrific.
"Unfortunately, we can't linger on that and enjoy it. The next one is coming up," added Chow, a longtime assistant at BYU before joining Carroll's staff at USC.
The Trojans finished fourth in the final poll last season -- Carroll's second as their coach -- going 11-2 including a surprisingly easy 38-17 win over Iowa in the Orange Bowl.