Hawaii Offensive Line Coach Chris Naeole’s no-nonsense style was on full display as he started the Nā Koa meeting as soon as he arrived, assessed some video, answered questions, made us laugh, and had us done in record time.
Naeole showed video from all three phases of the game including good plays and not-so-good plays. The “not so’s” did not apply to special teams as all were positive and yes, he showed more than just Paul Harris’s 75 yard kickoff return.
There was praise for defensive lineman Kaimana Padello, a freshman walk-on from Mililani High School who sliced through the line and caught the UNLV running back from behind at the line of scrimmage as he was headed the other way. Padello also slipped in between the shield blockers on a punt to tip the ball and dramatically shortened the punt. Naeole admitted Padello is undersized but wished for 24 more just like him.
We then came to Dru Brown who Naeole said is doing a good job. He also said that Quarterback Coach Craig Stutzman has a tough job with a lot of young QBs. Both coaches communicate constantly with each other during the game.
Questions on pass play calling told of Marcus Kemp’s size mismatch over whatever defensive back was on him and Hawaii tried to take advantage of that which resulted in taking a few shots downfield, but just did not get some calls they felt were justified.
Naeole was proud of the dearth of personal foul penalties compared to past games. However, on the offensive side he lamented on the recent number of ineligible receiver downfield calls. He said we run a read option offense so have the linemen run block and usually if you remain within a two-three yard zone you are okay but referees have been making a lot of penalty calls. Receiving holding penalties on offense is part of the game but what really gets Naeole going are the false starts.
Naeole feels Dejon Allen is best at guard but he is also their best athlete with great feet so is needed at left tackle.
Asked about recruiting in the Pacific, Naeole said they picked up three players from the region and hope to get three more next year. He wants to recruit more from Samoa (it helps that defensive line coach Legi Suiaunoa is from Samoa), New Zealand, as well as Fiji.
Naeole summed everything up with “I have no favorites…I like my job!”
Written by Gareth Sakakida