“We didn’t get it done; we have to get better. All I know what to do is practice harder. Michael Jordan practiced so hard the game was easy…that’s what we have to do.”
Wynn lauded the defense which played lights out. They got to the quarterback, held a Pac 12 team to 21 points and that should be enough to win.
The scripted offensive plays were all pass plays to open the game since Colorado liked to load the box and play man. Still, Wynn likes to have balance so after throwing, Hawaii ran a bunch. Running back Steven Lakalaka averaged 6 yards a carry on 19 tries.
After the first half where Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey went 9 of 20 for 56 yards, Jeremy Higgins started the second half and went 4 for 17 for 66 yards before leaving with what is now diagnosed as a broken left (throwing) hand. The bedeviling thing is Hawaii’s quarterbacks look fine in practice and warm ups. Wynn said he would be losing his mind if our quarterbacks did that (game performance) in practice!
Woolsey went back in because he is believed to be the best chance to win. Wynn said he did not want to just go down the line to number three. The team was still trying to win and Woolsey represented that best chance. He had thrown just one interception in four games, but is trying to take care of the ball and becoming very conservative. He doesn’t take chances like he did in Fall camp.
Compared to Woolsey’s 70 yard pass out over the end zone on a Hail Mary attempt, Jeremy Higgins’ throws look weak, but that is because he palms the ball according to Wynn. He said he has never come across that before, and the ball does not come out as quick as it could like that. However, in the weight room, Higgins is as strong as anybody!
To rate the quarterbacks, Wynn first looks at proper footwork, then finishing run plays, decision making, and finally production. This is a production oriented business he said.
Right now Woolsey has some mechanical issues tapping his feet rapidly while in the pocket. Quarterbacks should be pretty still or maybe move up a few inches. Low center snaps also account for some timing issues. With Kody Afusia’s snapping hand injured Brendan Urban will be the guy.
As a quarterback with the University of Utah, Wynn underwent four shoulder operations then medically retired from the game. Norm Chow became Hawaii’s head coach in Wynn’s senior year, and came over the year after.
As a young coach Wynn said it is tough, you have to be thick skinned. “I hate to lose more than I love to win” he said. On the way home from Colorado he said “I did not want to talk to anyone, I was pretty pissed. When I got back I watched game film and was pissed again!” Wynn has had a bleeding ulcer so has to develop perspective on the game just being a game.
Then again, even he admitted it is hard to tell a football player to lay down. This came out when he talked about how valuable Scott Harding is and the need for him to protect himself.
Speaking of value, Wynn also praised the Service (scout) Team for their hard work every day without public notoriety. To mimic the opponent, Service Team members watch a lot of film of players’ techniques that they need to project on the practice field.
Woolsey and Taylor Graham will be numbers one and two preparing for the Rice game after a bye with Beau Riley stepping up as number three.
Written by Gareth Sakakida
Running Backs Coach Wayne Moses joined the Rainbow Warriors in April to extend his 32 year coaching career. His last tour of duty ended when Army Head Coach Rich Ellerson was let go. Moses is a University of Washington graduate but admits to having “history” only with entities who sign his paycheck….he is a Rainbow Warrior!
Coach Moses said “we are looking for a healthy option,” pointing out Joey Iosefa’s four to six week injury and the fact that Steven Lakalaka is also banged up after a gritty 32 carry work shift.
Diocemy Saint Juste and Dominique Small were to spell Lakalaka but when they got dinged up, Lakalaka kept going back in. After Small took a run East – West instead of North – South, then fumbled on his next play, he was sat down.
The constant effort took its toll when Lakalaka also fumbled late in the final quarter. Fortunately, unsung hero Tight End Harold Moleni was there to recover the fumble with half the Northern Iowa defense clawing at him.
Coach Moses said you have four pressure points on the ball when carrying it, five when you are going into a pile….anything less makes you susceptible to fumbling.
Quarterbacks Ikaika Woolsey and Jeremy Higgins had to field a number of low snaps which may have contributed to the offense’s timing woes. Starting Center Kody Afusia was injured in the second series of the Warrior’s opening game and is not expected to return to action for a couple more weeks.
Higgins replaced Woolsey late in the fourth quarter giving Woolsey a chance to step back and see things from a different perspective. But he is still the starting quarterback.
Punt team play continued doing a great job of flip-flopping field position. Moses showed film of one punt where Scott Harding booted near our goal line which ending up on the Panther’s 20 yard line.
On kickoff returns, if a kicker makes a tackle it is a successful return and Keelan Ewaliko nearly took it to that point.
Asked how the coaches planned to handle the altitude in Colorado, Moses said “we‘re not telling them (the players)!” If they made a big deal about it, it will be a big deal. They need to use more of the guys they bring to play, keeping the guys fresh. They’re not bringing them along to fill hotel rooms!
Written by: Gareth Sakakida
Amid a rousing stream of questions and comments on the officiating in Saturday’s game against Oregon State, all Defensive Coordinator Kevin Clune cared to say was “don’t let the refs dictate your game!”
Clune agreed there were lots of penalties but they were better than last year’s, a lot of which were not smart plays. Many fouls this year have been due to hard play and he does not want to dampen the players’ aggressiveness.
Most of the game’s highlights were created by the Special Teams and Clune was eager to point out players’ unselfish play in doing their job so others could do theirs like making tackles and blocking a punt.
Lance Williams was able to block the punt thanks to Calen Friel and Penitito Faalologo relentlessly bashing the Beaver triumvirate protecting the punter. Their physical play was so effective that the three blockers pinched in on the charging pair giving Williams the opportunity to slip by the human car wreak and stuff the punt.
A few plays later, Williams recovered a kick-off fumble by OSU when a mission bound Dee Maggitt stripped the ball free. Clune pointed out the play by Josh Donovan to force the play inside where Maggitt was taking aim.
Clune addressed the switching of defensive linemen Kennedy Tulimasealii and Moses Samia inside – outside saying all the linemen cross train to be able to do all jobs. With the injury to Jerrol Garcia-Williams, the linebackers will rotate and the next man up (Lance Williams – sound familiar?) has to perform.
Clune is very excited about this team which he feels is better than the one he had upon arrival at Utah State. He feels we can be a top three defense in the conference if we keep to the standard of training and play. Asked about the younger players, Clune commented that defensive back Nick Nelson and defensive lineman Kaaumoana Gifford could really be special.
Being a California native has made Clune’s transition to Hawaii’s lifestyle very easy. He grew up near, and on, the water so it was the Utah environment that was a struggle. He appreciates the warm support and great food of the islands.
Finally, Clune warned that the Northern Iowa Panthers have a good NFL type back, tall offensive linemen, and throw the ball frequently with three wide receivers.
Written by: Gareth Sakakida