After yesterday’s 45-minute, full-contact scrimmage at the Ching Athletic Complex, the Hawaii football team believes — scout’s honor — the future is promising.
As part of the bye-week activities, the Warriors planned on conducting the annual Scout Bowl involving redshirts and scout-team players. Because of numerous injuries, the format was changed from two teams to an offense-versus-defense format. A complicated scoring system was created for the defense, awarding points for interceptions, forced fumbles and third-down failures.
After "regulation," with the score knotted at 30, the ball was placed on the defense’s 25. If the offense scored, it won; if it didn’t, the defense prevailed.
"It was a good time to go for the double-move route," said quarterback Bryant Moniz, who served as the offense’s "head coach."
Moniz was using a walkie-talkie to communicate with video graduate assistant Dylan Linkner, who was on the roof of the adjacent athletic complex.
"It was overtime period," Moniz said. "It was time to go for it."
The plan called for right slotback Justin Clapp to run a stick pattern, in which he faked to the outside, then cut back on a post route. Clapp broke free between two safeties to catch the pass from David Graves.
"It’s a phenomenal feeling," Clapp said. "All the credit goes to the line. They had to pass-block for that. And credit goes to David for throwing a dime ball to me. It was just perfect."
Graves said: "He was so wide open I didn’t want to mess up the throw. Those are the scariest ones when they’re wide open."
Graves has been back at quarterback for two weeks after serving for more than a month as a backup safety. He played despite a broken left thumb, and a sprained finger on his right (throwing) hand.
"I’m just dinged up," he said. "It’s nothing I can’t play through."
There were several bright spots for an offense that must replace three starting receivers, four No. 1 offensive linemen, and the top two running backs after this season.
Allen Sampson, a freshman competing for playing time at slotback, and Terence Bell, a walk-on who will be a senior next year, each made a scoring catch. Bell’s touchdown was on a grab-and-sprint play that covered 75 yards.
"It was an end route, and I came across," Bell said. "I was lucky enough to see the window. Cayman (Shutter) threw a great ball. I made the rest of it happen."
Still, that play paled in comparison to running back Sterling Jackson’s 9-yard run up the gut during which three defenders were knocked to the artificial surface.
"It feels good to get out there and play," said Jackson, a walk-on who is redshirting after transferring from a junior college in July.
Jackson is 6-foot-1, weighs 228 pounds and, Moniz insists, "intimidates like Brock Lesnar."
"He has explosive speed," said Brian Smith, who coaches the running backs. "He’s a physical player. He has really good leg drive. He does a good job of running hard and finishing his runs."
There also were some impressive plays on defense. Cornerback Terry Wilson, who is about 5-9, made two key plays. He forced 6-foot-5 Darius Bright out of bounds on a jump-ball pass into the left corner of the end zone. On another play, Bell made a leaping grab near the sideline. Wilson bear-hugged Bell and tossed him out of bounds. It was ruled an incompletion.
Wilson can power clean 225 pounds. Bell weighs 180.
"Coach (Rich) Miano always teaches us to press out of bounds," Wilson said. "That’s why we go through old-school training every day."
The Warriors have three promising freshman defensive ends — Desmond Dean, Beau Yap and Marcus Malepeai. Defensive line coach Tony Tuioti said he wanted to get them on the field at the same time, so Malepeai moved to defensive tackle. Moses Samia was the other defensive tackle.
Yap was able to chase down receivers on screens. Malepeai held the point. And Samia made two of his 2.5 sacks using two-handed thrusts.
"See those clubs right there," defensive end Siaki Cravens said, pointing to Samia’s hands. "Those are 3X glove sizes right there. That’s all power. I’m pretty sure (the offensive lineman) gets nervous when he lines up in front of him. He uses those big hands and clubs people with them."
For now, Samia, an all-state catcher at Saint Louis School, is not ready to be re-fitted for a mitt.
"I’m worrying about football right now," said Samia, who will focus on football training this coming spring instead of trying out for the UH baseball team.