A near sell out crowd watched mesmerized, and some in bewilderment, as Hawaii Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich showed film on UH’s pass play arsenal complete with code terms and route choices . . . all of which will remain within the walls of the packed meeting room.
Coach Rolo likened many of the plays to the vaunted run and shoot orchestrated by former Head Coach June Jones. Speaking of former coaches, Dan Morrison was in town for a couple of weeks witnessing practices and commented, “the ball hardly touched the ground.”
Quarterback work changed a little by having the back ups stand behind the live QB and mime the same play; footwork, pass selection, etc., thereby getting 16 reps versus only the live QB getting reps while others absorb mental reps on the sideline.
Other practice concepts seeing modifications include taking a day off after the coaching staff realized they had run through everything they wanted and felt good about the results, and not having a practice right after a long trek to a game site. Last year’s practice after arriving in Ann Arbor was the “worst of the year.”
Travel itself is different when numbers for specific squads had to be rethought because one kicker (last year’s Rigo Sanchez) is now staffed by three kickers.
A new season naturally brings excitement from new faces and skills, but Coach really likes how some old players are really stepping up their game so far. Linebacker Rashaan Falemalu coming off of injuries, his Red Raider brother Safety Keala Santiago, and Kicker Alex Trifonovitch are all making an impact.
Coach Rolo reported that the defensive line would be thin for the rest of the year. He would like to have 2-3 more big bodies on both lines, which is why it was gratifying that Coach Chris Naeole (offensive line) recognizing the defense needed some shoring up has Eperone Moananu return to the D this year.
The thin line has Defensive Coordinator, Legi Suiaunoa, putting in odd (front) packages making use of the stellar and deep roster of linebackers.
Asked about local recruits, Coach Rolo reported we are “way ahead of last year” (no local recruits). There are 3-4 commits and others being talked to. Even if recruits have committed, Coach will ask if it is OK to continue talking to them. He says you can sometimes hear it in their voice that they are not sure (about their commits).
Coach has a history of local players’ activity or non-activity on the mainland teams they played for going back decades.
“We’re not going to tell local recruits where they have to go, but this place can be a better fit for our local players.”