UH Offensive Line Coach Mark Weber, who spoke at today’s Nā Koa luncheon at Willows, is having a blast in Hawai’i…“a great place to be and great guys to coach.” He said the players work hard, compete hard, and love to play football.

Weber said this is the first time he recalls starting two true freshmen in his career. Add to that the fact that three of the starting five were not here during the summer. The first time he knew we had a great bunch of players was in the last series against Army where the players just KNEW they were going to score.

They knew they could win this past weekend, too and are disappointed with the loss because they wanted to make history. They don’t like that they lost and didn’t like the WAY they lost. “We did not have to be perfect but we had to play fundamentally sound. We did not do that enough. Sometimes our pad level was too high; sometimes we did not hit with our hips.”

Coach Weber said not many teams beat BYU at home. He remembered his time at Utah State a couple years ago when the Aggies beat BYU in Provo for the first time in 38 years!

Hawai’i was flagged twice for ineligible receiver downfield on RPO plays. Since O linemen cannot see which option is being used, Weber said they key on the linebacker who comes downhill on a handoff. However, Cougar linebackers were standing still making it more difficult to discern what option was being run.

Among Weber’s 36 years of coaching is a stint at BYU from 2007-2012. He was amazed to see a half dozen players he recruited still on the team (BYU players average 25 years of age)!

Of note was Cougar DE/LB Corbin Kaufusi who tallied eight tackles including two sacks. Weber first saw Kaufusi out of high school as a 6’7″ 240 lb. offensive lineman. Weber felt Kaufusi was a little light for an O lineman but thought he might grow…yeah, to 6’9″ 270!!

So in 36 years Coach Weber coached at Nevada, Utah State, Fresno State, UNLV…all upcoming foes. And get this…PAC 12 schools Oregon State and UCLA…both foes in the coming two years.

Coach Weber is known to have asked Hawai’i’s staff whether we run a system or a bunch of football plays. Asked what he meant by that Weber explained in a system you adjust to what a defense does. You learn solutions to defensive generated issues. A system could have four to five base run plays and a couple of pass protections. It is a consistent foundation from which players gain repetition which develops better technique and targeting fronts. Our players can tell you what the base runs and protections are AND they know the answers.

If you are merely running a bunch of plays you do different things to counter defensive successes like using a tight end or using motion but those things change the characteristic of play on the offensive front.

Although having no say on the quarterback selection, Weber did address someone questioning why we did not change the QB in the second half. Weber said Cole McDonald is a tough player, sustaining four sacks. You don’t want to jerk a player in and out and blow his confidence. You want to stick with a player until he cannot produce.

On Nevada, Weber reported they have a couple of 300 pound linemen but also have a lot of athletic “twitchy” players who will pose a challenge. The Wolfpack play an aggressive odd front and have a really good Defensive End and Outside Linebacker to contend with.

Written by Gareth Sakakida