“I’ve never really left” said Mark Banker, who coached for Hawaii under Bob Wagner in 1995 and is now the assistant head coach and inside linebackers coach. After leaving Hawaii, Banker was a frequent visitor as the Hawaii recruiter for Nebraska, Oregon State, Stanford and USC. He always wanted to coach again in Hawaii and finally got the opportunity this year.

Although not happy with defensive mistakes and giving up some big plays against Rice, Banker was happy that defense was able to play without the “crutch” of a big lead and make big plays at critical times.

Banker pointed out the play of Kaimana Padello saying that the very undersized Padello has the “biggest heart” and plays with great technique and passion.

Defensive tackle Blessman Taala is not a typical freshman looking and playing much older. He is only going to get better.

Linebacker Penei Pavihi who was named the team’s defensive player of the game made two game changing plays. Banker said Pavihi is “a wonderful human being and a pleasure to coach”.

On the caused fumble, Pavihi and the other inside backer had a stunt in the A gaps, with Pavihi reading the center and making a split-second decision on which gap to hit. He timed it perfectly and caused the big fumble.

Pavihi also was very instrumental on the 4th and goal stop. He was lined up on the outside and knifed in behind the tight end and tackle sacrificing his body to take out both the pulling guard and lead blocking fullback giving the running back no room to run.

Army’s option game is different from Navy’s. The Navy offense runs through its talented quarterback. Army is much more dependent on its fullback. Army also has a better passing game.

Arizona, Oregon and several local high schools are among Banker’s recruiting responsibilities.

Written by: Mike Lum