LOGAN, Utah » You, again?
It is probably how the University of Hawaii defensive coaching staff and Utah State offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin start their conversations these days.
Wherever the well-traveled Baldwin goes in his college coaching football odyssey, inevitably, it seems, the twain have been fated to meet.
"We keep running into each other," said UH associate head coach Rich Miano. "I mean, he was at San Jose State, Michigan State, maybe even Tulsa and, now, here (Utah State)."
Said Baldwin, "it seems like they are the team I most run into."
Baldwin holds a 4-3 edge as a head coach (San Jose State) and offensive coordinator (Michigan State and Utah State) against UH.
"It has been a great series, a good rivalry," Baldwin said.
And, a high scoring one.
Baldwin’s teams have averaged 42.4 points against UH, including 62-41 (UH over San Jose State in 1999), 57-48 (San Jose over UH in 2000 ) and 41-38 (UH over Michigan State in 2004) shootouts. Even last year’s renewal, a 49-36 Warriors victory, had its moments.
"That’s the kind of a rivalry you enjoy being part of," Baldwin said.
Well, maybe except for the 2004 loss, in which the Spartans had 598 yards total offense and still lost. "I’ve never seen one team get (16) penalties and the other only (five)," Baldwin said.
"He (Baldwin) is a smart offensive coordinator whose offense presents so many problems for a defense," Miano said. "What is amazing is that he’s taken a little from every place he’s been (offensively) and put it all together so well. He gives you so much to defend."
Open week not much help
There has been much talk this week about how an open date last week should have helped give the Aggies an edge in preparing for UH.
For example, "We got a great week of practice in preparing for Hawaii and it will only get better from here," tight end Kellen Bartlett said this week. "We should be very well prepared to face this team."
But history suggests preparation is one thing and winning is another.
Since June Jones brought the run-and-shoot offense to UH in 1999, the opponents who have had an open date prior to playing UH are just 9-14 against the Warriors.
Kafentzis in the house
One of the pillar families of modern UH football, the Kafentzises, will be well represented with nearly 20 members at today’s game.
Eight members of the family lettered for UH and three of them — Sean, Kyle and Kurt — who have ties in Utah were on hand to renew friendships yesterday.
Sellout not expected
Even with homecoming and the naming of the field at Romney Stadium after the late Merlin Olsen, USU officials say it will be difficult to fill the 25,000-seat stadium today.
"It is the opening of deer-hunting season," a spokesman said. "We usually try to get that date as a road game, but it didn’t work out this year."
They predict a crowd of 18,000-20,000.
Deer are so prevalent hereabouts roads carry frequent warnings to watch out for their crossings.
The forecast in Logan today, where the game kicks off at 3 p.m. Utah time, is for highs in the mid-50s with widespread showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.