UH, Miami in 'bowl game'
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Tonight's football game between Miami (Ohio) and host Hawai'i is more than a blind date involving recently jilted teams.
WHEN: Hawai'i vs. Miami-Ohio, 6:05 p.m.today WHERE: Aloha Stadium TICKETS: $19 sideline, $15 south end zone, $15 north end zone adult, $11 north end zone senior citizen (65-older), and students, $3 UH Super Rooter Parking: $3 Gates open: 2:30 p.m. parking lot, 3 p.m. turnstile Radio: Live on KCCN (1420 AM), with pre-game starting at 4:30 p.m. TV: K5 at 10 p.m., delayed
Miami (Ohio) at Hawai'i
WHEN: Hawai'i vs. Miami-Ohio, 6:05 p.m.today
WHERE: Aloha Stadium
TICKETS: $19 sideline, $15 south end zone, $15 north end zone adult, $11 north end zone senior citizen (65-older), and students, $3 UH Super Rooter
Gates open: 2:30 p.m. parking lot, 3 p.m. turnstile
Radio: Live on KCCN (1420 AM), with pre-game starting at 4:30 p.m.
TV: K5 at 10 p.m., delayed
Last week, the RedHawks and Warriors who have never met in football suffered disheartening losses. Miami, which had won its previous seven, missed a chance to play in the Mid-American Conference championship game. UH blew an opportunity to possibly share in a Western Athletic Conference title.
But the RedHawks (7-3) and Warriors (6-3) remain hopeful of still securing berths in postseason bowls. The RedHawks have two games remaining, the Warriors three.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said he is working to place the Warriors in a bowl, should they meet the NCAA bowl requirement of a winning regular-season record. Benson said the postseason picture will not be clarified until at least Dec. 1.
"There is time," Benson said. "There is no bowl for Hawai'i today, but there may be one tomorrow."
Said UH quarterback Nick Rolovich: "Anything can happen."
The RedHawks have treated the game seriously, practicing for two hours Thursday, the day after their arrival. Hoeppner barred Aloha Stadium workers from watching practice. Two tourists were denied permission to take a picture of the stadium field while the RedHawks worked out.
Hoeppner, who played in two World Football League games in Hawai'i in 1974, issued curfews and restrictions for his players.
Soon after arriving, Hoeppner said, "I told the players the setting is distracting. You can't think of (doing) anything that I already haven't thought of. I've been here twice as a player. So don't do it."
When asked if he had fun during his visit as a player, Hoeppner smiled and said, "I had a great time."
Here's a look at tonight's game:
WR80 Jason Branch (6-6, 218, Jr.)
WR4 Eddie Tillitz (5-9, 174, Jr.)
WR13 Chauncey Henry (6-1 206, Jr.)
TE84 Robert Frazier (6-4, 246, Sr.)
QB7 Ben Roethlisberger (6-5, 209, Fr.)
The buzz: My, how things have changed in three years. In 1998, Roethlisberger was a wide receiver in high school and the RedHawks were using a run-oriented offense. The following year, Hoeppner was promoted after 13 years as a Miami assistant, and he installed a spread passing attack. He also beat Ohio State and Duke to sign Roethlisberger, who transformed into Ohio's top high school quarterback.
Miami likes to spread its offense from hashmark to hashmark, then set up wide receiver screens or deep patterns. Branch is the possession receiver. Reserve Michael Larkin, second cousin to baseball's Barry Larkin, is the burner, averaging 21.5 yards per catch. Five of Larkin's 22 receptions have gone for touchdowns.
Frazier is strictly a pass blocker. Matt Brandt, who is used in double tight end formations, is a short-yardage receiver.
But the key is Roethlisberger, who has a good arm and is a decent scrambler.
LT78 Joe Costello (6-6, 318, Sr.)
LG54 Frank Smith (6-3, 285, So.)
C77 Paul Thaler (6-3, 292, Sr.)
RG63 Justin Smith (6-5, 290, Jr.)
RT71 Ben Herrell (6-7, 296, So.)
FB32 Julian Goodman (6-1, 241, Sr.)
TB25 Steve Little (5-10, 207, Sr.)
The buzz: There's nothing tricky about the running game, which consists mostly of inside runs off of traps and counter traps. Two things: The fullback is always used as a blocker and, for diversion, Roethlisberger will run quarterback draws or options.
Miami's defensive front
LE92 Bob Petrovic (6-5, 246, Sr.)
LT96 Gino DiGiandomenico (6-4, 277, Sr.)
RT56 Ryan Terry (6-2, 327, Jr.)
RE57 Phil Smith (6-1, 246, So.)
OLB17 Matt Robillard (6-3, 220, Jr.)
MLB3 Terrell Jones (5-9, 210, So.)
OLB21 Eddie Price (5-11, 221, Jr.)
The buzz: There are two ways to attack the run-and-shoot pressure the quarterback or the receivers and the RedHawks' prefer Plan A. They often call for "smash blitzes," in which they will send linebackers in tandem. The four down linemen are strong and quick, particularly the defensive tackles. Jones' sole job is to tail the UH running back.
CB18 Milt Bowen (6-2, 206, Jr.)
SS19 Matt Pusateri (5-11, 195, Fr.)
FS5 Rod Clark (5-8, 188, Sr.)
CB1 Michael Adams (5-9, 177, Sr.)
The buzz: In these belt-tightening times, bargains can be found in the secondary, where the cornerbacks also double as blitzers. Bowen is tall and fast enough to present problems for UH wideout Ashley Lelie.
PK26 Jared Parseghian (5-10, 186, Fr.)
P16 Mike Wafzig (6-4, 220, Fr.)
The buzz: After struggling, Andy Brumbergs ceded the kicking job to Parseghian, the great nephew of coaching legend Ara Parseghian. Parseghian has converted three of his seven field-goal attempts. His longest is 34 yards. In all, RedHawk kickers have missed 10 of 15 field-goal attempts.
LWR18 Justin Colbert (5-7, 160, Jr.)
LSB85 Channon Harris (5-8, 151, Sr.)
RSB2 Craig Stutzmann (5-11, 194, Sr.)
RWR8 Ashley Lelie (6-3, 187, Jr.)
QB12 Nick Rolovich (6-2, 200, Sr.)
The buzz: Rolovich has earned the right to talk trash. Twice a week, UH quarterbacks will try to launch footballs into a trash bin from about 35 yards. This seemingly innocuous competition is actually a drill designed to teach quarterbacks, off a three-step drop, to throw fade passes with the correct arc. Rolovich has mastered the technique, as evidenced by his well-placed lobs to Lelie and Colbert during games.
LT53 Lui Fuata (6-2, 313, Jr.)
LG76 Manly Kanoa III (6-4, 320, Sr.)
C66 Brian Smith (6-2, 284, Sr.)
RG65 Vince Manuwai (6-2, 285, Jr.)
RT69 Uriah Moenoa (6-4, 331, Fr.)
RB1 Mike Bass (5-6, 158, Fr.)
RB24 Thero Mitchell (5-10, 215, Jr.)
The buzz: What makes UH a difficult team to scout other than the perceptiveness of media relations director Lois Manin, who has weeded out spies from 100 yards away is the practice routines. When the Warriors work on running plays, for instance, the running backs, offensive linemen, receivers and quarterbacks practice separately on their assignments. For five minutes each day, the linemen and running backs will work together. Even if opposing spies could sneak past Manin, they wouldn't be able to see the whole picture of a UH running play during practices.
Hawai'i's defensive front
LE58 La'anui Correa (6-4, 267, Jr.)
LT70 Mike Iosua (6-3, 272, Sr.)
RT92 Lance Samuseva (5-11, 285, So.)
RE6 Joe Correia (6-2, 240, Sr.)
SLB44 Matt Wright (6-1, 222, Jr.)
MLB54 Chris Brown (6-2, 258, Jr.)
WLB46 Keani Alapa (6-0, 222, So.)
The buzz: The Warriors' need for speed is apparent when they enter their second consecutive game without injured right end Travis Laboy (sprained left ankle and right shoulder) and weakside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa (stress fracture in right fibula). With both speed blitzers in the lineup, the Warriors were able to send four or five defenders after the quarterback, freeing a player to drop into pass coverage or clog the running lanes. Now, the Warriors will have to send an extra defender. The Warriors are 5-1 when Laboy, who runs 40 yards in 4.6 seconds, and Tinoisamoa, who has a team-high 61 tackles, start.
LCB17 Kelvin Millhouse (6-1, 198, So.)
FS/NB12 Nate Jackson (5-10, 163, Sr.)
FS2 Robert Grant (6-1, 191, Sr.)
SS3 Jacob Espiau (5-10, 196, Sr.)
RCB33 Hyrum Peters (5-8, 190, So.)
The buzz: Despite missing three games because of an injury, Millhouse is second in the WAC with four interceptions. This is Millhouse's first full season as a defensive back. He was a wide receiver at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana, Calif., and a reserve defensive back in his one season at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. He redshirted last season. Millhouse played tentatively at the beginning of the season, often giving receivers cushion on short routes, but coaches now say he is playing with confidence and aggression.
PK47 Justin Ayat (5-11, 203, Fr.)
P49 Mat McBriar (6-1, 202, So.)
The buzz: For McBriar, the biggest adjustment from Australian Rules Football, a sport he played in his native Melbourne, is the amount of steps he takes before kicking. In Australian football, he took a running start about 15 steps before kicking. At UH, he punts after 2 or 2 1/2 steps. He remains in shape by stretching, but not doing leg lifts.