Warriors wrap it up with spring game


POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010

The last play of practice on Wednesday served as prelude for the Hawaii football team's spring finale tonight.

On the first play of an overtime drill, Shane Austin lofted a pass to Royce Pollard for a touchdown to cap the Warriors' final full practice of spring ball.

The competition between the offense and defense now rolls into the annual Warrior Bowl scrimmage at Ching Field.

“;There'll be some smack-talking,”; Austin said. “;There's definitely guys who are competitive on both sides of the ball. It'll be fun, there'll be some sparks flying.”;

An autograph session is scheduled for 5-6 p.m. Practice starts at 7 and the evening will feature a situational scrimmage. The Warriors will work on various down-and-distance situations as well as overtime and 2-minute drill scenarios.

The Warriors have had similar full-tackling scrimmages the last three Saturdays, but tonight's offers a chance to perform under the lights and leave a final impression with the coaches as they craft the depth chart and the roster going into fall camp in August.

The Warriors have 116 players on the spring roster and will have to make room for about 25 newcomers to get to the fall-camp limit of 105.

“;To these guys it's all competition and a lot of them are competing for jobs,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said, “;competing to make the 105 to go to fall, competing for their own positions. I think that's why we've had a good attitude out there, everyone's competing for their job.”;

The offense will be led by a group of quarterbacks who have jockeyed for position in the absence of returning starter Bryant Moniz, who is expected to rejoin the competition in fall camp after missing most of the spring on personal leave.

The defense spent the early portion of spring ball evaluating players and installing schemes and focused on refining the details in recent practices. Along the way, they've also worked to establish an aggressive identity in forcing turnovers.

“;There's been a lot of emotion in our scrimmages both offensively and defensively, so it's fun,”; defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said. “;I look back to last spring and we were struggling to keep up ... and it kind of leaked into the season. I like where we're at now with the confidence level and the swagger is starting to come back.”;

Injuries have thinned the Warriors in the secondary, which could give some of those vying for spots on the fall roster extended playing time. The linebacker corps added to its number this week with players who had missed most of the spring and Aranda is hoping to give players such as Art Laurel, Alema Tachibana and Aulola Tonga a look tonight.

Traffic advisory

With three athletic events tonight, UH officials expect heavy traffic in and around the lower campus. Along with the football scrimmage, the softball team hosts Fresno State at 6 p.m. and the baseball team faces Nevada at 6:30.

Tailgating and watching the events from the parking structure will be prohibited. HPD officers will be patrolling the structure to enforce the rule. Parking is $5 and will be available from 4 p.m.

The Ching Field bleachers hold about 800 and fans are encouraged to bring chairs and mats for seating on the grass and asphalt areas. Concession stands will be open.