Hawaii Safeties Coach, Jacob Yoro, addressed the Nā Koa lunch crowd at The Willows for his first time today (Sep 25). The former Saint Louis Crusader played at the University of Montana before returning home to coach high school ball at Saint Louis. He then got the bug to coach at the college level so went off to the mainland for nine years ending up at Cal Poly before Coach Rolovich had an opening to reel him back to Hawai’i in February. Well, there was not much reeling in as Yoro was saying “yes” before Rolovich finished the invitation!

Yoro showed video on the defensive backfield’s play against Wyoming where the defense as a whole played very well. In the first quarter the Cowboys were held to 15 rushing and 10 passing yards. Hawai’i’s defense did not allow a first down in the third quarter.

Returning to the backfield, Yoro explained how well the corners and safeties were eating up the pass routes, getting hands on the receivers to thwart timing and patterns. They worked to permit only small windows for pass receiving attempts which influenced drops by Wyoming receivers.

Disguising coverages was a big part of the game plan to hamper Quarterback Josh Allen’s decision making. As Yoro put it, “the story we are telling (showing) allows us to lie.” There were shifts late in the count, there were offset formations to camouflage linebacker blitzes, and rotating safeties.

Yoro also marveled at the players he has to work with. True freshman Eugene Ford was thrown in at the corner as Rojesterman Farris III was out sick. Manu Hudson-Rasmussen paid attention to film and nearly made an interception by jumping a pass route on third and short – a play Wyoming used successfully three times in their previous game. Daniel Lewis showed his mettle by fighting under the block of a pulling guard and taking down the ball carrier. And of course, the lone senior, Treyvon Henderson, is such a leader on and off the field showing his football situational savvy.

On safety backups, Yoro talked a bit about Keala Santiago, Kalen Hicks, and Jay Dominique.

While the thin Wyoming air wreaks havoc on the lungs and Hawaii preached it as a mental issue, the defense’s stellar play kept them fresh by playing only 48 snaps, had 3 three and outs, and faced long drives of 7 plays and 10 plays. Oh, and no snacks after dinner helped, too . . . maybe.

On recruiting, Yoro said the early commit period throws them off a bit as recruits can take visits over the summer and commit during the season so the coaches have to really stay on top of everything. They had two recruits in the last home game and expect to have 6-7 this week.

Submitted by: Gareth Sakakida