Energy and the desire to win overcomes in the game of football, particularly when teams are pretty evenly matched. That was expressed by Defensive Backs Coach Abraham Elimimian at today’s Coach’s Lunch at Willows.

Does this Hawai’i football team of ours have energy and desire? It was evident earlier in the season when you would see the majority of players celebrating and excited about positive results, especially on defense…offense desires an even keel (until they score that is).

Recently, however, the exuberance may have started to dull so in practice coaches look into their players’ eyes to ensure they remain engaged. That is exactly what Coach Elimimian does with his charges….he looks into their eyes during practice and wants see looks that tell the other team “it ain’t gonna happen today!” Elimimian said Jahlani Tavai had that look… that he wanted to rip someone’s (upper body part) off!

In any case, the joy returned in full force on the blocked PAT return for two points at this past Saturday’s Homecoming game against San Jose State. Caught on tape was players’ jubilation including two, who played pivotal roles in the block, racing down the sideline “high five-ing” each other.

That play was one of the “Turning Point” plays featured in the tape Coach Elimimian showed the Na Koa lunch crowd today. He showed how Meffy Koloatangi, Viane Moala, and Eperoni Moananu pinched-in to get penetration so Moala could get up in the air and block the PAT. Then came the great bounce and Rojesterman Farris II’s jaunt to the end zone to create the four point spread.

Another Turning Point was on the Hawai’i 1 yard line when coaches called for the defensive line to pinch the gap in an attempt to get the Spartan O line to jump and sure enough, it worked! So a defensive play to create an illegal procedure call… imagine that!

While Hawai’i announcers marveled at the number of offensive pass interferences called (three against San Jose), Elimimian confided talking to the officials before the game and clueing them in on tendencies certain Spartan receivers had to push off.

A question on why special teams seem to be losing discipline in their lane integrity coming down the field on kick offs, coach said it is something that is worked on every day. Thing is, you have guys who are “crazy in a way” on those teams and you want that – you want guys with their hair on fire coming down the field – so sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to.

And that applies to everyone. Every day the coaches are working to fix assignments, harping on penalties!

You must do things right in practice…work hard and listen. Junior defensive back Terrance Sayles did just that. In a one-on-one practice session he kept up with receivers Keelan Ewaliko and Kalakaua Timoteo. He used his speed to close against an open receiver and dived for an interception.

Guess what? After that, he started against San Jose.

Elimimian said NFL coaches love to have Hawai’i players because they “play the game like it is supposed to be played.”

Written by: Gareth Sakakida