Coach’s Luncheon Report: Mon 10/05/15

Luke Matthews

Luke Matthews, Warriors Receivers Coach, posed the question whether the Warriors’ woes were due to execution or scheme to start off today’s lunch presentation. After playing five games one would guess the problem must be rooted in the schemes and while there may be some of that, Matthews said the Warriors are playing 10-man football…..that’s when one player is not on the same page or misses an assignment and the whole play blows up. Would one player have that much of an impact when there are 10 others to cover for him? Apparently so….as we saw in today’s film clips.

Matthews showed several offensive plays that did not gain much, if any at all. The scheme was good but BSU’s corners were very aggressive so when we ran a hitch and go, too quick a release resulted in an overthrow. And BSU likes to pressure up the middle so we planned outside zone runs, but a missed block, and well, you know what resulted.

Coach Matthews pointed out what the play was designed to do and how a single error negatively impacted the play causing even more anguish when you realize what could have been. Yes, this really is a team sport…an 11-man team sport.

Of course, it did not help that we played the #7 (BSU), #11 (Wisconsin), and #14 (OSU) ranked defenses in the country! And 46 penalties in five games resulting in the loss of a lot of yards that we cannot afford to give up!

Matthews believes he can improve as a coach by being more demanding, especially of the backups; they don’t get as many reps, but must still catch the ball. Little things are being drilled into all the players constantly like not diving for balls because that slows your feet…need to catch it on the run! And receive the ball with your hands, not your chest.

When asked about the dropped balls, Matthews feels the players need more confidence catching the ball in traffic and catching contested balls more consistently. In the passing game, the whole team has to execute as a unit; it’s not just the receiver and quarterback who have to be on the same page.

In case you’re wondering, the receivers perform well in practice but we know it’s game day that matters.

On the passing schemes, we use different formations but route combinations are similar throughout the country. On blitzes, the receivers do not break off their routes;   they are running drag and underneath routes and the QB must find them. Tight ends are aligned wide to draw linebackers away from the middle giving us the chance to run the ball easier.

Matthews sees recruiting two to three receivers for next season as Quinton Pedroza and Ryan Pasoquin complete their eligibility so will need to be replaced.

San Diego State is the next opponent and Matthews expects them to be very disciplined. The Aztecs run a 3-3-5 with defensive backs filling linebacker spots and will throw you off with an unconventional look then pop into place at the snap.

To sum it up, Coach Matthews said, “There are still eight games to make a season of this.” He thanked the fans at today’s lunch for showing up and continuing to support the team.

Written by: Gareth Sakakida

Coach’s Luncheon Report: Mon 9/21/15

Don Bailey_head shot“We did what we wanted to do in the Colorado game but Ohio State was a really good football team,” said Warrior Offensive Coordinator, Don Bailey at the Nā Koa meeting on Monday.

Bailey pointed out that against UC Davis, we started seeing the effects of our offense’s speed and tempo wearing down the defense. With this system there is usually an avalanche at some point in the game where you score points. Players have to be in good shape to do this because we limit the number of players used in order to move fast.

Running back Paul Harris’ speed was evident with his 95 yard TD scamper around right end but Bailey said Harris runs well between the tackles, too. And playing with three foot wide splits between the offensive linemen also makes the defense move, further wearing them down.

On the subject of speed, Keelan Ewaliko is still learning the nuances of an outside receiver. Bailey said he is not yet sure whether that is the best position for Ewaliko… might even try him at running back.

Bailey explained that execution is most important…it is not all about speed. He wants to create the illusion of needing to go fast so the defense lines up faster and he can see what they are doing and make his call in response to that.

There are times when he wants to run plays faster or slower. Against Colorado, with a lead, Bailey wanted to slow it down. “We don’t want to play fast at any cost…we want to play smart and win” he said. Normally, Bailey can have a call going by the time the 40 second clock hits 38!

“If I want to slow it down, I call the plays slower. If we want to step it up, we have key words in a play call to snap the ball quicker” said Bailey. It is all to wear down the defense. It is a process and the players are still improving. And, as Bailey cautioned, he has to make sure the guys are ready before he puts them in. Wide Receiver Devon Stubblefield was not ready earlier so made his debut against UC Davis. Fullback Melvin Davis had to lose a few pounds before making his appearance.

Of course injuries played a role in determining timing and duration. We were beat up after Ohio State so some guys did not practice much and some remain injured.

Asked about quarterback audibles, Bailey confessed that Max Wittek has the option to do that but has not used it so far. Plays are sight adjusted so there hasn’t been a need for an audible.

On Wisconsin, Bailey assessed their defense as more aggressive than Ohio State’s since the Buckeyes can afford to just line up in a basic set with superior talent. On offense, he feels the Badgers are searching for an identity.

Hawaii’s own offense is still scratching the surface and is a little vanilla while awaiting conference play. The players are starting to appreciate preparing each week for a different defense.


Written by Gareth Sakakida

60 for 6-0 Celebration

The 1955 UH football team who traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska on September 17, 1955 and beat the Cornhuskers 6-0 for what is still considered the biggest upset in UH football history, celebrated their 60th anniversary of that unforgettable win and was recognized at the UC Davis game on September 19, 2015 at Aloha Stadium.

Nā Koa also hosted the 1955 team to a reception at Kapi’olani Community College’s O’hia Cafeteria where they joined the 2015 football team for dinner the night before the game.

60 for 6-0

Picture above: (top row, l-r) Jimmy Shizuru, Abner DeLima, Roy Price, Roy Dowd, Jerry Stothers, Louis Silva, (bottom row, l-r) Jimmy Asato (coach), Ed Kawawaki, Colin Chock, Dick Ueoka, Don Botelho, and Charlie Araki.

1955 teamBack in 1955, the Rainbows, who were as much as a 40-point underdog playing without its starting quarterback and with a travel squad of only 24 players and 4 coaches, beat the Huskers, 6-0 when just one year earlier, Nebraska blitzed UH, 50-0, at Honolulu Stadium.

Fullback Hartwell Freitas scored the game’s only touchdown. “I stepped on top of our guard and dove over,” Freitas recalled in a 2002 Advertiser story. “I landed on my head and I was in the touchdown zone.”

Freitas, a senior who had played high school football for Saint Louis, then told sophomore place-kicker Don Botelho, a Roosevelt grad: “You better make that point or nobody’s going to remember you.”

But Botelho’s kick was wide to the right. “That was the only miss I ever had in my career,” Botelho said.

The game was played in 93-degree heat before a capacity crowd of 23,000 red-clad Husker fans. “All we saw was a sea of red,” recalls Charlie Araki, the team’s right tackle and one of two players (the other being Freitas) who played the entire 60 minutes (back then they played both ways because as Araki boasts, “we were tough buggahs!”). Not only was there red in the stands, as Araki continues, “Across the field, the Nebraska team, all 80 of them, were decked out in their red uniforms warming up. They looked huge and fast. Imagine, 22 active players from Hawaii, many half the size of the Nebraska players, warming up on the opposite side of the field!” They were small and few in numbers, taking up only one corner of the field and while warming up, were subjected to heckling from the stands calling them “pineapples” and asking “are you a high school team?” and telling them to “get back on the bus now.”

But earlier in the locker room, Coach Vasconcellos read a newspaper article which referred to the game as a “scrimmage” and showed the team a check from the University of Nebraska for $25,000 – the guaranteed amount promised UH for the game which was the biggest guarantee in UH history at that time. Coach elucidated the fact that he could not accept the check if it was going to be only a scrimmage and asked the team to give Nebraska a football game by “beating the xxxx out of them.”

And that they did! Some called it a fluke, luck, and some did not believe the papers in Nebraska. But for the Territory of Hawaii, that September 17th in 1955 was the greatest upset in football history!

(excerpts from the Honolulu Advertiser Warrior Beat and “Winning the Big One” by Charlie Araki)

Submitted by: Joyce Lau

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