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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, September 27, 2001

Warriors defend red-zone offense

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Several days have passed since its 28-20 football loss at Nevada, but the University of Hawai'i football team still is being second-guessed for its red-zone attack and substitution patterns.

Here are the Warriors' responses:

• On the red-zone offense: In the area between Nevada's 20 and end zone, the Warriors managed 20 points out of a potential 42. (Nevada also scored 20 points in the red zone.)

Some have questioned whether the run-and-shoot alignment (two wideouts, two slots) has enough muscle to score from short range and if a bigger running back should be used.

But 5-foot-6, 160-pound running back Mike Bass said neither the alignment nor personnel is to blame.

"Yeah, I think I can handle the runs in the red zone, if we run them right," he said. "We messed up a lot in our execution (against Nevada). Things weren't working out."

He added, "I think people have doubts because I'm small, maybe. They want bigger backs in the red zone. But I think I can handle it."

Thero Mitchell, UH's short-yardage runner, also did not have success in the red zone. He was stopped for a 1-yard gain on a draw play.

• On substitutions: In UH coach June Jones' offensive system, receiver jobs are won in practice and "the best players play."

Except for injury or ineffective play, a starting receiver will be used every offensive down unless he requests a rest.

"There's no fatigue factor," Jones insisted. "They run all day in practice, they run all day in the game. If they get hurt, then somebody goes in for them. I don't know any team that does any different."

On defense, however, the Warriors will rotate defensive lines every four or five plays.

• Iosua ready: Defensive tackle Mike Iosua said he can move without pain and is ready to start Saturday against Rice. Iosua missed the Nevada game because of a hyper-extended right knee.

Iosua is an important player in defending the Owls' triple-option offense. The Warriors believe they need to get a strong defensive push in the middle to force the Owls outside.

"If they get you on your heels, it's going to be a long night," Iosua said.