“I hope that is the last ovation I get for a loss” quipped Head Football Coach Nick Rolovich as the Nā Koa introductory applause was quieting at our Monday Coach’s Lunch. He said he received more positive texts about the game than he expected.
Coach Rolo was clearly excited about the offense’s play feeling they could have rolled up 600 yards (we had 482) and two more touchdowns. Our problem was turnovers and tackling. We missed 19 tackles resulting in 150 yards Rolo lamented.
Offense was a bright spot and that was evident from the record 51 offensive plays evaluated from the Hawaii – Cal game. The review was excruciatingly revealing as Coach Rolo pointed out the little things missed that could have resulted in big things, and bigger things. Rolo flatly stated we could have easily had a 400 yard passing game versus the 234 we garnered.
Asked why no other quarterbacks saw action – Ikaika Woolsey is the only QB with Division I experience – Rolo said he doesn’t want Woolsey looking over his shoulder while playing the game. Additionally, Woolsey needs all the game reps he can get. He will grow a lot from watching the film Rolo avowed.
Leo Koloamatangi, a tackle and guard in past seasons, opened at center as the staff looked for a vocal leader. The new center was credited with a fumble recovery when Saint Juste lost the handle after a run and Koloamatangi dove for it a little late, but as Koloamatangi told Rolo, “I just took it from him (a Cal Bear).”
Although Steven Lakalaka is a back that is trusted to pass protect, he had a great series of runs with 11 carries for 61 yards and a score to bolster Hawaii’s possession in the third quarter. That is about all you saw of him though as he plays his role, and the rotation rolls on.
Coach Rolo was especially happy watching the sidelines erupt as Marcus Kemp tiptoed his way down the sideline for a 39 yard scoring reception. He appreciated Woolsey’s effort streaking downfield on Diocemy Saint Juste’s 53 yard scamper, pointing the way to go and getting in the way of a defender.
Coach Rolo reported the team is very healthy and is due to have players return to the playing roster. Danny Mulanga is one who missed the game because of paperwork problems. He is a citizen of the Congo which had a period of elections and were not issuing travel papers.
No doubt, things are bright. Rolo estimated the offense converted 57 percent of their third down plays. Special Teams need to improve, it is not good watching your kicker make a saving tackle. And the defense is just learning a new system which boosted another team’s ranking from 111 in the nation to 11 the subsequent year.
Rolo said, “the players see the game should have been a fight until the fourth quarter.” Attitude and morale are high.