This week’s Nā Koa Coach’s Lunch at The Willows began with an Awareness Test given by Special Teams Coordinator Mayur Chaudhari. Coach showed a video clip and asked everyone to count the number of passes the white team made while in a serpentine with another team doing the same. And, oh by the way, “did you see the moonwalking bear?” What??? There was a lot going on so it wasn’t hard to miss.

This “test” was to demonstrate what’s going on during the heat of a game and it had to do with Coach Chaudhari’s presentation which was focused on one player….Senior Defensive End David Manoa and the exploits and responsibilities as a Rainbow Warrior.

Let’s start at Defensive End where we know Manoa best. Defense gets the play call; Manoa looks at the formation facing him, listens to the count cadence, then looks at the blocker before him and senses the type of block being laid on him – is it really pass, or is it a run, or is it a fake run and pass after all?

This happens on each defensive play mind you! So now, where does he cover? Who is his man? Manoa has a lot of different things to think about so his level of awareness needs to be up there.

Then, hey, he gets to line up as an inside linebacker on a blitz. But this time something is happening in the backfield that hadn’t shown up on film before….how to adjust?

Whew! Now the offense is on the field so he can take a break! But, guess who is on the punt team? Manoa must now get tips from the defensive huddle, watch the situation, and be close to Coach Chaudhari in case of a punt. Oh yeah, in case of a field goal attempt too!

What’s this? Yay…offense scores a touchdown! Guess who is on the PAT team? Okay, okay….got to get ready to go back on defense but first more work on the Kickoff team!

Not much time to be spent in the defensive huddle or resting on the bench!

How Manoa can keep all the various situations and techniques going round and round in his head is amazing. Coach Chaudhari said it’s AWARENESS.

Coach put a team mantra on the screen:

Tougher It Gets, The Better We Play

Clear, Load, and Target

Stay In The Moment

Play Together

The Team, The Team, The Team

That explains how David Manoa does the things he does as a Rainbow Warrior for the University of Hawai’i football team.

On to the Q&A section….

During the lightning delay on Saturday, Coach Chaudhari said the team did the Ha’a in the locker room and went over corrections in their respective groups. Generally during halftime all the coaches get together for 30 seconds to confer then break into their defense and offense groups.

Concerned about quarterback Dru Brown’s getting hit so much, a fan asked where the QB’s focus is during a play. Coach said Coaches Stutzmann and Rolovich like the triggerman to see how to distribute the ball downfield versus focusing on what is right in front of him.

On Punter Stan Gaudion’s line drive kicks, Coach Chaudhari said some are intentional and it is a difficult thing to move in one direction and make a kick go in another. The objective is to keep the ball away from the returner and cover the punt. Besides, a lot of the line drives are wobbly and makes the returner unsure of the catch.Gaudion tells Coach he can punt the ball a lot further, but Coach reminds him not to outkick the coverage. Whereas Rigoberto Sanchez had a of experience kicking and developed a good hang time, Gaudion is playing American football for the first time so we do different things…for now.

Written by Gareth Sakakida