It may have looked like Hawaii Quarterback Cole McDonald misfired a bunch against Army last Saturday. However, Craig Stutzmann, Hawaii Assistant Coach – Passing Game Coordinator / Quarterback, said there were just three pass plays he was not happy with.

Things Coach Craig is happy with is McDonald’s release averaging 2.02 seconds after the snap for the past few games. He likes McDonald’s aggressive nature: at practice and before games coaches are calming the QB, but when it’s game time, let him go!

Rather than spotty QB play, Stutzmann showed what the receivers needed to do to make plays work better. Coach went through nearly every offensive play – all 19 minutes – explaining what each play is designed to do and how they worked . . . or didn’t.

In essence, some better route running would have taken some defensive pressure off. Some better route running would have opened the field like it supposed to have opened. Receivers had to work harder on releases from the line of scrimmage as Army was very physical there effectively corralling receivers.

Wide receiver Devan Stubblefield made his first start of the season playing well. Unlike the June Jones era where receivers stayed on the field all game since the synergy between them and the quarterback was critical, Head Coach Nick Rolovich has little problem using multiple receivers. Coach Craig explained players get fatigued with run off routes and playing full speed, and tired players are more likely to make mistakes.

Asked if he would have run any different plays, Stutzmann reported that Rolo is so receptive to suggestions before and during the game that everything is good and easy. No second guessing.

Coach Craig said we need to be disciplined to do it right every play. That is the difference between a champion and a mediocre team! Coach did like what he heard after the game from players asking “how can I get better.” They realize we have a long way to go.

Offensively It was the least productive game in terms of points, total yards, first downs, and time of possession.

Defensively Hawaii had its’ highest tackle total of 94 – well playing 41 minutes helps – with Linebacker Jahlani Tavai leading with 15 tackles / 8 solo, followed by Safety Ikem Okeke with 13 tackles / 5 solo.

With that defensive effort, the offensive coaches decided during Hawaii’s final drive that if we got the TD we would go for two points. The defense had been on the field long enough, we would win it or lose it right there . . .

Written by Gareth Sakakida