FIELD POSITION is on the mind of Hawaii Special Teams and Tight Ends Coach Mayur Chaudhari, otherwise known as Coach Mayur. For today’s Coach’s Lunch at Willows, Coach Mayur brought clips of the San Jose State game in all phases – special teams, offense, and defense because as he explained, they all affect each other.

Field position + Momentum = Points is stressed from the beginning of the game until the final whistle.

On kickoffs, Chaudhari opts to kick it high and to a quarter of the field aiming to affect a stop inside the 25 yard line. “The offense has less than a 25% chance of scoring any points when they start inside the 25.” Chaudhari regards kickoff coverage as a defensive play where everyone has gap responsibilities. Lots of people think it is a matter of running down the field and whacking somebody, but as he explained, it is very involved.

It was not just luck that when Hawaii had to kick off from our own 20 (twice) due to excessive celebration penalties, we were not hurt by it. Hawaii’s coverage was so good on the first such kick that we stopped the returner inside the 30 yard line. A squibbler was called for the next with the returner fumbling with the ball for limited return yardage.

When San Jose opted to kick off into the end zone where Hawaii started on the 25, it was okay with Coach Mayur because from the 25, the offense could throw and open up the game.

Coach wanted Hawaii’s punts dropped inside the 10 yard line where it changed the calls on offense as they were limited in what they could reasonably try. Chaudhari also called for sky punts since watching film indicated the Spartan returner had a tendency to fumble those.

On punt returns, Coach is aware everyone wants a big return, but he first wants possession, and lauded John Ursua’s play! Spartan punts also landed too close to, and then into, the end zone giving the Warriors the ball on the 20 yard line.

Hawaii has different punt packages as well. When Rigo Sanchez had to punt standing at the end line, Chaudhari put in the “jumbo” with three linemen forming the shield. And Sanchez’s punts are so well placed that the coverage team is spurred on to down the ball or make a quick stop.

Kick defense had good plays too with a blocked field goal. The best part of that block was that no one went after to recover the ball and players were waving everyone off giving the offense the ball on the 33 rather than the 10 yard line. Chaudhari’s “man tree” 6′ 7″ freshman Viane Moala got the block. He almost blocked San Jose’s first field goal attempt as well. Chaudhari said they noticed the kicker had a low trajectory (a result of watching film) so Moala was placed in the middle on those attempts.

The defense came up big in the game stopping the Spartans several times with short fields. The three interceptions were great; one each by Trayvon Henderson, Jalen Rogers, and Jamal Mayo. But Chaudhari marveled at the 13 hits Hawaii laid on the quarterback.

Oh, and Coach Mayur’s mantra which he calls the “Special Teams edge” is

  1. Together “The Team, The Team, The Team;”
  2. We are trained;
  3. All about the ball;
  4. We make winning decisions;
  5. We are assignment perfect;
  6. We are situational masters; and
  7. Play with perfect effort.

A final quote from coach, “Great football teams have no starters.”

Homecoming against the University of Nevada Las Vegas is next with a running JC quarterback bolstered by power formations using a fullback and two tightends.

Written by: Gareth Sakakida