Coaches Luncheon – 11/24/14

Kevin Clune2Defensive coordinator Kevin Clune was the guest speaker at the final Na Koa Coaches lunch of the year.

While the game came down to the last play, Clune pointed out how every play was important and why assignment responsibility and tremendous effort on every play is so important to winning a game.

After Scott Harding muffed a punt deep in our territory in the second quarter, several plays keep us in the game.  Beau Yap beat an offensive tackle on a slant and stuffed a running play forcing UNLV to attempt a field goal.  Then Kennedy Tulimasealii and Moses Samia pushed UNLV’s left guard back on the field goal attempt and Samia was able to block the kick.   Without those plays happening in the second quarter, the final play wouldn’t have mattered.

Asked about Tuliamasealii, Clune said the UNLV game was his best so far.  He can get better, but is maturing quickly.

Having Julian Gener finally back from his injury really helped the defense especially against the run.

Nick Nelson is a true freshmen corner and they are high on him.  He’ll learn from his mistakes.

Fresno’s offense is more balanced than last year since Derek Carr and most of his receivers graduated.  They are running the ball well and have played much better late in the season.

On defense they are looking for a blend of JC and high school recruits.  They are about 2/3rds done with commitments.

Head coach Norm Chow also spoke to the gathering reiterating his appreciation for the support of Na Koa’s members.

Chow talked about the last two plays of the game.  On the second to last play, Ikaika Woolsey missed tight end Tui Unga on a 4 Verticals play.  The play is designed for the WRs to run fade routes, one of the inside receivers to run a seam route and the other inside receiver to run a post.  Unga ran the post on the second to last play and Woolsey missed.

Woolsey wanted to run the 4 Verticals play again, so on the last play they kept the same formation but flipped the inside routes.  Donnie King ran the post, but was double covered.  Woolsey saw that and looked for Marcus Kemp who had posted up his defender for the game winning pass.

Chow said he was so happy for the players to be rewarded for their efforts.  He talked about King who as a walk-on who had to catch a bus from Kapolei every day to get to practice.  It was so gratifying for Chow that King could play a big part in the win making the 22 yard reception on the last drive.

With a slim chance to get into the Mountain West Championship game, Chow said they can only focus on controlling what they can control.  That is beating Fresno at Fresno.

Chow said one year when he was with the Tennessee Titans, nine things had to happen for the Titans to get into the playoffs.  Eight happened but the Titans didn’t win their game and they didn’t make the playoffs.  A lesson learned that he will make sure our team understands.

Written by: Mike Lum

Coach’s Luncheon Report: 11/17/14

Norm ChowDidn’t it feel just great to see all the freaky football trajectories, drops, and misfortunes happen to the other guy for a change? We finally got our breaks and had things go our way overall…and that’s all that mattered! Here’s to it happening for a couple more weeks…and yet a couple more…to you of little faith!

Head Coach Norm Chow spoke to the Na Koa lunch meeting crowd, sans game film, and in the place of Defensive Coordinator Kevin Clune (who was told to get some rest and then have the defensive plan against UNLV ready by 3:00pm today) all due to the equipment problem in mid-flight and subsequent delayed flight to bring the boys and coaches back home today at 5:00 a.m. That’s 5:00am Monday instead of 1:30pm Sunday mind you!

It was quite an ordeal…yet the players remained professional, and with the assistance of Hawaiian Airlines, was able to be bused back to the hotel where they had lunch, dinner, was able to rest, shower, and even got in film review of the San Jose State game before returning to the airport for their midnight flight (which ended up also being slightly delayed) to Honolulu.

But, between you and me I’ll vote for the difficulties AFTER the game and let opponents deal with difficulties and bad mojo DURING the game.

Chow said he could tell by the practice last Tuesday that the boys would play hard for the seniors. The team had vowed to do so after the Colorado State game. And play hard they did…denying SJSU a score in seven drives inside the 25 yard line; blocking two field goal attempts; denying SJSU with an interception on the goal line; and getting that ONE long drive (14 plays) in the second quarter resulting in the game’s lone touchdown; AND ending a 17 game road loss skid! As Coach put it, “it’s not just a monkey…we finally got the gorilla off our back!”

The kick blocks were a long time coming as Special Teams Coach Chris Demarest exhorts his teams every week showing they’re so close….so close. “Demo” constantly looks for weaknesses in opponent’s kicking teams conjuring up ways to take advantage of them.

Chow said Iosefa is still a little tentative after coming back from his injury. If you watch the replays he seems to stop or slow down before hitting the line many times.

Oh, and don’t forget Scott Harding punting six times, one being muffed for a Hawaii recovered fumble, and one downed on the 2 yard line. A total of three punts were downed inside the 20. Chow plans on sending Coach Demo to Australia after the season is done to look for more players.

Asked about recruiting Chow replied, “we need depth.” He said the difference between the Pac 12 and Mountain West is depth. Last week Hawaii traveled with three inside linebackers and two quarterbacks….that’s all we have!

Chow feels the public can help recruit Hawaii players to stay home by being positive about the University of Hawaii. The coaching staff has their eyes on many players even if you don’t see them on the sidelines as they are limited to seeing a team only once. And if that team is playing another team they haven’t seen, they still cannot go to the game!

This week’s UNLV game is Senior Night and of Hawaii’s 21 seniors, one is in graduate school, 16 will graduate in December, three will graduate in the Spring, and one the following semester. Coach Chow thanked Na Koa for funding summer school tuition for the players which helps with the graduation rate. He lamented that at other schools the summer school is given to players whereas in Hawaii the program has to pay for it.

After the UNLV game, the next time you can see the Warriors in Hawaii as a team will be at the Awards Banquet on Sunday, December 7, on the Soccer practice field.  A registration form is accessible on this website under the News & Events tab.

 

Written by: Gareth Sakakida

Coach’s Luncheon Report: 11/10/14

Kurt GouveiaKurt Gouveia has not lost his local storytelling style.

Despite nearly a 30 year absence from Hawaii, the Rainbow Warrior Inside Linebackers Coach led a serious and oftentimes humorous (as only local style can) discussion through the Colorado State game film before today’s Na Koa lunch crowd.

Gouveia showed, as he put it, the good and the bad plays against CSU. Gouveia said, “the inspiring thing is the players are trying their best.” Which is evident on the film, or as he stated, “the eye in the sky does not lie.” He said the team’s effort gives motivation to his coaching journey with these young men.

Gouveia pointed out the players’ body language on the film: is that player “busting” to the ball? Does he want to be the first guy to make the play? Or is he “jogging” to the ball waiting for someone else to make the play? It was starkly evident on film.

He watches body language on the field as well: is the player fatigued; is it too much for a player; IS HE TIRED OF FOOTBALL? Tired of football? That is something inconceivable to Gouveia who stresses to players to play for the love of the game because for him, he feels truly blessed to have been able to play the game he loves, and to have that game support his family.

But now he is in a position to impart his knowledge to young players. Being a coach makes him feel responsible and it is also a source of pride…pride to do his best to elicit effort and attitude from his players; to make them want to do more than the coaches ask; to RISE ABOVE THE COACHING!

(By now we see why Gouveia did not need to use the microphone!)

Gouveia complimented the players, especially those from Coach Greg MacMackin’s era who have gone through so many changes in team culture, style, and techniques. He said sometimes we forget how good they are, and sometimes they forget how good they are.

Gouveia gave top props to the Special Teams and Scott Harding in particular. He pointed out the two punts downed inside the 5 yard line where “we should score points” whether by a defensive score, or the ball going back to our offense to effect a score. Well, there was a safety on one, and a near intercepted pass on the other. Harding also had another punt that was fumbled and recovered by Hawaii, resulting in a field goal.

Coach also mentioned he has never been around a Special Teams coach like Chris Demarest who’s demanded standard of play is higher than anyone else.

Asked whether Joey Iosefa’s workload was too much in his re-debut game, Gouveia did not think so. He said Joey is looked up to for his leadership; he is respected; and the players feel Joey will get the first down…Joey will make something happen. It is beneficial to have him on the field.

Against San Jose State, Iosefa is expected to pull a heavier load. The Spartans have a good defensive unit so power running will be relied upon to give the defense the rest they need between series to be effective.

Gouveia’s recruiting territory is the West so he monitors Waianae, Nanakuli, Campbell, Kapolei, etc. He also covers spots on the Windward side. When looking for players, the physical stats can get in the way so Gouveia asks himself, “Is he a football player?” If yes, “That is who I want!!!”

 

Written by: Gareth Sakakida

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