Craig Stutzmann, Hawai’i football quarterbacks coach and passing coordinator, was grateful for being invited to speak to Nā Koa after the UTM game rather than the Michigan game….“It’s always easier to talk to people after a win!”

Stutzmann delved into the intricacies of Hawai’i’s pass option offense through the videos, explaining the success of certain plays based on the tendencies of the defensive backs. Certain defenders did not move their feet well and some switched to watching the slots early in the play. Hawai’i was able to take advantage of those tendencies to hoist TD passes.

Coach emphasized wanting the quarterbacks to anticipate throwing to a window, to get their hips back, and release the ball sooner. He called it: Flash – Flip Hips – Deliver. They have to trust their technique to enable the quick decisions and plays.

Not using deep drops for the quarterbacks comes from Stutzmann’s experiences where having more than 20 deep drops resulted in losses.

Stutzmann wants three things from players out of practice: (1) accept the coaching; (2) use their brain; and (3) retain knowledge because they cannot practice every play. In fact, Ikaika Woolsey read certain keys on a read option play that he recognized from the Cal game and made it work for Tui Unga’s TD pass.

About Dru Brown, Stutzmann said his plays were not as effective this game so they kept Woolsey in the game. “We don’t want to make crucial decisions based on feelings” cautioned Stutzman. “Woolsey gives us the best opportunity to win based on video evidence and what we see.” Over the past nine years he has coached at seven colleges and has learned to trust his eyes.

There are only so many reps that can take place in a practice. One of the hardest thing for coaches to figure out is who gets how many reps. And because it is more limited for the backups, Stutzmann said he hopes they are pissed with having less reps for that’s the kind of players he wants – not those who are happy with what they get.

Having different types of running backs sharing in game reps is valuable. Lakalaka being a downhill runner is relied on for inside zone runs and Diocemy Sainte Juste being shifty and just plain fast sets the two off nicely. The different types of running changes the angle of attack in linebacker flows creating a chance for mistakes.

A number of Freshmen have seen playing time. Though Stutzmann could not recall how many he said, “Hey, we recruited them….why save them for the next coaching staff?” He acknowledged not redshirting his freshman year and opined that doing so helped him be prepared for what June Jones brought in.

Some notable true Freshmen with playing time include Kalakaua Timoteo (WR), Jeremiah Pritchard (LB), and Keala Santiago (DB). Stutzmann explained their depth chart is on a white board with magnets that can easily go up and down.

Center Leo Koloamatangi has had some soft snaps and high ones, too. He is an analytical person by nature said Stutzmann, and there are so many things to observe that he sometimes loses focus on the snaps. Besides, this is Leo’s first time at that position!

As for Tight Ends, Stutzmann characterized Tui Unga as one who plays with reckless abandon, competitiveness, and fiery. Dakota Torres runs well for someone his size and has nice soft hands. Kaiwi Chung has made the switch from center to TE / H Back.

Why are there so many starters on the Special Teams? That situation surprised Stutzmann as well. He reported that in his day with the UH team there were many quality walk- ons to fill the Special Team ranks. Now, so many Division 1AA schools recruit here with full scholarships we no longer have that quality walk-on population.

The short kickoffs are a decision made by Special Teams coach Mayur Chaudhari. Since the kickoff is spotted five yards closer, kick it through the end zone and the opponent gets the ball at the 25 yard line. Kicking it shorter and HIGHER and to the hash tries to keep the opposition inside the 25.

The QUIET post victory locker room….ooooooh do we have a team that doesn’t care? Or one with doom and gloom permeating the environs? Take it easy! Stutzmann felt players want to do well so much that those who missed plays were sorry, even brooding. The players want to be good, want to do things right. As Stutz said, “I’d rather be a pissed off winner.”


Written by: Gareth Sakakida