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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, August 30, 2001

Montana plans running start for 2001 season

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The University of Hawai'i's football schedule features something old (this is Miami of Ohio's 113th football season), new (Boise State joins the Western Athletic Conference), borrowed (former UH coach Bob Wagner is Texas-El Paso's defensive coordinator) and definitely blue (Brigham Young).

Here's a look:

• Sept. 8 vs. Montana (War Memorial Stadium).

John Edwards, who was 3-0 as a starter last season, won the starting job at quarterback. Edwards is regarded as athletic, but not always accurate.

Yohance Humphery, who is Montana's career rushing leader with 2,412 yards, is expected to receive more carries in an offense that ran 45 percent of the time last season. To find Humphery, look for Thatcher Szalay, a mobile left guard.

• Sept. 15 at Nevada

After being pushed around in its first year in the WAC, Nevada invested in a weight program. Under new strength coach John Archer, who used to work with the Nebraska football team, the Wolf Pack now has seven players who can bench press at least 400 pounds; last year, the Wolf Pack had only two.

• Sept. 29 vs. Rice (Aloha Stadium).

In training camp, the Owls lost starting quarterback Jeremy Hurd and defensive tackle B.J. Forguson. Hurd, who has been timed at 4.3 seconds over 40 yards, is regarded as the Owls' fastest quarterback in coach Ken Hatfield's eight seasons at Rice.

Kyle Herm is a more accurate passer, but he "doesn't have 4.28 speed," Hatfield said. "That's the difference between them."

Rice now must live up to its promise of throwing more from its triple-option formation.

• Oct. 6 at Southern Methodist (Gerald Ford Stadium).

After three consecutive losing seasons, the Mustangs seek a turnaround, putting their trust in quarterback Kelan Luker. Luker, who won two Texas high school championships, has had a strong training camp. Luker played sparingly as a freshman in 1999 and redshirt last season. Now, SMU coach Mike Cavan said, "We're looking forward to him being the leader of the football team."

The Mustangs will need to play well, considering the amount of criticism aimed at Cavan.

• Oct. 13 vs. Texas-El Paso (Aloha Stadium).

The Miners are a mixture of patience and suspense. Fifth-year senior Wesley Phillips, whose father (Wade Phillips) and grandfather (Bum Phillips) were NFL coaches, finally is the No. 1 quarterback.

Phillips, who has attempted 26 passes in four years, has fit into an offense that is expected to become more balanced. The Miners passed 43 percent of the time last year.

The defense is a mystery. Coordinator Bob Wagner has been mum on his plans, even keeping administrators in the dark.

• Oct. 20 at Tulsa (Skelly Stadium).

Tulsa uses a two-linebacker scheme and, at the moment, both starters (Michael Dulaney and Jorma Bailey) are out with broken thumbs. The best defensive lineman, Sam Rayburn, is woozy after suffering two concussions, and defensive end Brad Hawkins has a nasty stomach virus that prevents him from practicing for more than 15 minutes at a time.

Still, Donald Shoals is a double-threat at wideout and punt returner, and quarterback Josh Blankenship is poised for a breakout season.

• Oct. 26 vs. Fresno State (Aloha Stadium).

Even UH's first weekday home game since 1998 should be a minor inconvenience for the Bulldogs, who played at Colorado this past Sunday and face nonconference road games at Wisconsin and Colorado State.

The Bulldogs, led by quarterback David Carr, are not only talented, they're marketable. Fresno State sold a school-record 31,650 season tickets, and this Sunday's game against Oregon State should draw nearly 43,000, a Bulldog Stadium record. And that's with sideline tickets going for a specially priced $45 apiece.

• Nov. 3 vs. San Jose State (Aloha Stadium).

Running back Deonce Whitaker's return has been overshadowed by the arrival of Fitz Hill, one of five African-American Division I head football coaches, and the lion-hearted comeback of safety Neil Parry, who remains on the roster after undergoing surgery to amputate just below his right knee. Parry, who is not participating in contact drills, attends every practice and has been included on the travel roster for Saturday's game against Southern California.

Whitaker, who was academically ineligible as freshman, was granted an extra year after earning a bachelor's degree this month. Whitaker was fourth nationally in rushing (1,577 yards) last season.

• Nov. 10 vs. Boise State (Aloha Stadium).

The Broncos, who were a I-AA member six years ago, open their first season in the WAC with a returning starter at every offensive position except quarterback. OK, that's a significant exception. But Ryan Dinwiddie has played well in training camp, although the true test comes Saturday against South Carolina.

The departure of the Broncos' two cornerbacks also marked the end of the 4-2-5 defensive scheme. The Broncos will use a more traditional 4-3 alignment this year.

• Nov. 17 vs. Miami, Ohio (Aloha Stadium).

During a 14-year span, Woody Hayes, Ara Parseghian and Bo Schembechler were Miami (Ohio) coaches. Paul Brown was once an assistant.

Miami has been successful on the road. Since 1997, Miami is 19-7 in road games, including 7-3 against nonconference opponents.

• Nov. 23 or 24 vs. Air Force (Aloha Stadium).

Two years ago, Keith Boyea was dismissed for violating the Academy's honor code. He was re-admitted last year and, this month, was named the starting quarterback. Little surprise that Boyea is a graduate of Air Force's Combat Survival Training program.

• Dec. 1 vs. Brigham Young (Aloha Stadium).

The change in head coaches, from retired LaVelle Edwards to Gary Crowton, did not hurt the offense, which scored 70 against Tulane last week. Crowton has decided to expand BYU's recruiting base — he is targeting Texas and Florida — and re-establish a foothold in Hawai'i. Aaron Francisco, a former Kahuku High standout, started at safety last week.

. . . .

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously indicated that the UH team's Nevada game on Sept. 15 would be played at home.