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
“Our best wasn’t good enough (losing 17-16 on Saturday)” said Special Teams Coach Chris “Demo” Demarest. “We are not satisfied and will push players until we get to the point where we are winning game in and game out.”
Part of the plan to accomplish this is coaching players to “do your 1/11th….do your job so someone else can do theirs and don’t do someone else’s job.” When players do someone else’s job in a desire to make a big play, they find themselves out of position and place someone else out of position.
Coach Demarest illustrated that with the highlight film of the game against the Washington Huskies. He showed where two defensive players moved inside of their contain position on the UW touchdown scoring reverse play. Not only did the players pinch too far in allowing a lane to form for the wide receiver running the reverse, but one of the out-of-position players was actually run into by the corner back doing his job trailing the runner preventing a possible tackle.
On the 91 yard touchdown pass, it was not so much a case of someone being out of position but more as a defensive player being detained (the defensive player’s back was nearly facing the UW quarterback) just long enough for the pass to be thrown.
The offense was hurt by the loss of three impact receivers before the season but the young and new receivers did well, especially with yards after catch (YAC) which accounted for successful third down plays. Running back Joey Iosefa carried the ball 30 times gaining 154 yards. His running mate was only Steven Lakalaka with nine carries as Diocemy St. Juste was held out of backfield action.
Special teams had a stellar game against two dangerous returners. Place kicker Tyler Hadden hit on three of four field goal attempts and hit on his only PAT attempt, accounting for 10 of Hawaii’s 16 points. Hadden averaged 65 yards on his kick offs and kept the returner off-balance going left, right, and deep…all by design.
Punter Scott Harding hit two punts inside the 20 yard line: one on the two yard line and one on the eight versus Washington who had a net punt return of minus one yard for the game! Harding’s Australian rugby kicking style caused the Huskie returner to fumble one punt and get hit hard on another.
Demarest is looking for another Australian rules football player who can replace Harding next year. Asked about Harding’s chances in the National Football League, Demarest reminded everyone that rugby style punting is not permitted in the NFL. As a punt returner Harding has sure hands, and as a slot receiver he runs good routes.
The kickoff teams (coverage and return) get special motivation as Demarest stresses that the teams start the game and set the momentum of the game right away. The kickoff coverage team’s goal is to keep opponents inside their 20 yard line.
On the up side, Coach Demarest feels the offense, defense, and special teams feel like one family. It took three years to re-build and get things to gel. The strength program is upgrading the players, the defense has bought into the system, and transferring the reps in practice onto the field of play.
Written by Gareth Sakakida