comscore UH offense experiences rain, then shines | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

UH offense experiences rain, then shines

Honolulu Star-Advertiser logo
Unlimited access to premium stories for as low as $12.95 /mo.
Get It Now
    20150820-1404 UH FB PRACTICE This is the UH football team practice at Aloha Stadium. Head coach is Norm Chow, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks coach is Don Bailey and Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers coach is Tom Mason. Just as practice started, the rain poured down in buckets. PHOTO BY DENNIS ODA. AUG. 20, 2015.
These days, it seems, the University of Hawaii football playbooks should include weather maps.
On Wednesday, the Rainbow Warriors practiced in 93-degree heat on their grass field. On Thursday, there was a heavy downpour for the early sessions at Aloha Stadium.
The rain left the turf soaked, the footballs heavy, and the coaches grinning.
"It was a perfect opportunity," said coach Norm Chow, who has emphasized conquering adversity this training camp. "Our mantra is: ‘We’re going to play.’ We’re going to play all over this dag-gone country at different times (this season). We said we’re going to play through all this no matter what."
Slotback Dylan Collie said: "It’s times like this when you actually prove if you’re a Division I football player or not. (Adverse weather is) the type of stuff that’s always going to happen. No matter where we are, no matter what the weather is, no matter what we’re wearing, we’re going to go out and play football."
The Warriors, in full gear, ran 48 scrimmage-like plays in various down-and-distance situations. Quarterback Max Wittek was 4-for-6 for 28 yards and a touchdown. Diocemy Saint Juste ran 46 yards for a touchdown. Collie and wideouts Keelan Ewaliko and Devan Stubblefield each scored on pass plays.
"I liked some of our execution," offensive coordinator Don Bailey said. "I like the way we approached it even though it was pouring down rain."
On second-and-9, Saint Juste took a handoff, sprinted around right end, and sped to the end zone to complete the 46-yard play. After crossing the goal line, Saint Juste crumpled in a heap, apparently suffering a hamstring ailment.
"I’m fine," Saint Juste insisted afterward.
Of his quickness, Saint Juste said, "I didn’t turn it on yet. That was just a glimpse of it."
Ewaliko, a former track standout at Baldwin High, showed his speed when he caught a pass from Ikaika Woolsey in the right flat and outraced the defense for a 50-yard touchdown.
"He’s definitely a quick guy," Woolsey said. "You just have to give him the ball and let him do what he do. Obviously, that big score shows the kind of speed he has."
Ewaliko said: "I came out here focused on making plays — watching the ball, catching the ball, focusing on the ball."
Collie’s scoring catch came on a third-and-goal play from the 1. On a man-to-man route against press coverage, Collie ran an out pattern a stride inside the end zone.
"It was a great throw by Max (Wittek)," Collie said. "I’m glad Max trusts me enough to throw it into the window like that."
On the ensuing series, Stubblefield caught a pass and was knocked down by safety Trey Linton at the 3. On the next play, Woolsey went back to Stubblefield, this time for the touchdown.
"He’s really progressed," Bailey said of Stubblefield, who has fully recovered from a knee injury that sidelined him in 2014. "He’s getting more confidence."
To be sure, there were setbacks. Running back Steven Lakalaka aggravated a shoulder injury. He was scheduled to be evaluated on Thursday night.
There also were two fumbles on handoff exchanges. But Chow, Bailey and Wittek said those mishaps are easily correctable.
"The conditions may have had a little to do with that," Wittek said. "For the most part, I think we’re doing a good job. To be a crisp, efficient offense, we’ve got to eliminate those things. But I think once we do that, we’re going to be a pretty dang good offense."
As Wittek exited the field, he admitted, "You kind of look around and you imagine people filling up this place, and it’s a good feeling. We’re excited. We can’t wait to play in front of a great Hawaii crowd. I think we’re all itching for that moment."
Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up