To travel that far and execute a comeback victory late in the game shows the direction our players are going and the trust they have in each other said Associate Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Brian Smith at today’s Nā Koa Coach’s Lunch.
A second consecutive near sell out at today’s luncheon was treated to highlight video clips of offense…big surprise! Yet, Smith still had a defensive question (last play of the game) thrown at him to which he deferred to Defensive Coordinator Legi Suiaunoa who is next week’s scheduled speaker.
Coach Rolo started something new this year, as a tribute to former head coach Larry Price, that he’s calling the “Katoosh Award!” Coach Brian showed the video of the three winners. Running Back Diocemy Saint Juste was the offense awardee for his pancake block of a blitzing linebacker on Dru Brown’s touchdown scamper. Linebacker Jeremiah Pritchard won it on defense for blasting a Minuteman receiver after a short gain. And on special teams it was Tight End Dayton Furuta who, at 230 pounds, was one of the first players down the field on a kick off and pile drove a blocker into the kick returner.
Speaking of new. Freshman Offensive Lineman Brandon Kipper had a role in Hawaii’s Jumbo Packages. Smith said Kipper, a champion heavy weight wrestler out of Idaho, “is smart, competitive, and catching on quickly to what we want to do on defense.”
Although not new players, new positions popped up for Metuuisela Unga who played deep safety on a suspected Hail Mary attempt and for Dejon Allen who showed up on the D line.
Not new players, nor new positions, but not expected to play were Offensive Linemen J.R. Hensley and Matt Norman. They entered the game in the first half after losing Chris Posa to a disqualification and Fred Ulu-Perry to a suspected injury. Smith attributed the actions to losing composure but the line calmed down after seeing how the Minutemen were rushing them.
Smith said the offense will be doing more with personnel groups, evidenced by Kalakaua Timoteo being in their four wide package. The offense also added new wrinkles to their schemes but you won’t see another hook and lateral attempted any time soon.
Also coming in the future, but not too often, is the substitution of Saint Juste who has the physical toughness to play nearly the whole game. Besides, he is very good at pass protection (evidence the Katoosh Award!). Ryan Tuiasoa spelled Saint Juste a few times in the Jumbo Package mostly successfully. Fred Holly is also coming along and just needs a little more time.
Not everything came up roses though as Smith reported the coaching staff was not happy with personal foul penalties, some execution, 12 players on the field, and 10 special teams players on the field. Smith admitted the biggest challenge after a win is correcting execution errors. He said we left a lot of yards on the field.
Coaches spend a lot of time with players and the staff so knowing each other really helps to share ideas and formulate the offense. Having Coach Rolo, Smith, and Craig Stutzmann (all former team mates) as the top offensive staff also helps in staying positive, a coaching must when teaching players.