UH springs 'sack plan' on FSU
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
FRESNO, Calif. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa called it the "sack plan" and when he lobbied for it this week, he found a willing listener in University of Hawai'i defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa.
"Pisa has been after me to use it and this was the right week," Lempa said of a scheme that produced five quarterback sacks against the nation's biggest (320 pound average) offensive line in a 31-21 victory over Fresno State.
Officially it is what Lempa calls the "solid maci-peel" defense but since the Warriors employed it last year to success, Tinoisamoa has come to call it the "sack plan."
Lempa says, "it means we line up with three down linemen over center and the two guards and we send the middle linebacker at one gap and the outside guys peel back and release."
"We haven't run it since last year and we knew it was something different; something they hadn't seen on film and we put it in this week," said Tinoisamoa, who got one of the sacks. "We needed something for third down to switch up on them."
"We executed it well; it seemed like everyone came free and they couldn't stop us," Tinosamoa said.
The Bulldogs had surrendered 17 sacks in eight previous games.
Assist from Rolovich: Quarterback Tim Chang said he found additional inspiration in former quarterback Nick Rolovich, the man he backed up much of last season.
"Having Rolo there on the sidelines was a real boost," Chang said. "I learned a lot about toughness from him last year, watching him.
"When I threw that interception (in the fourth quarter) he was there telling me not to dwell on it and just go get 'em. That meant a lot because I knew he had confidence in me."
Said Rolovich: "Timmy's really coming through for this team it is great to see him take them down the field."
Injury report: For the first time this season, the Warriors did not lose a frontline player for future games to injury, UH officials said.
In seven previous games, the Warriors lost at least one each game.
"Home" crowd: An estimated 1,200 UH fans those from Hawai'i and living on the Mainland attended a pre-game tailgate party at Fresno State hosted by the North California Hawai'i Chamber of Commerce, the UH Foundation and the Na Koa Football Club.
Hawaiian music, free beer, 600 ti leaves and several hundred lei greeted party-goers.
Scouting: Nine scouts from eight different NFL teams were on hand for the game, FSU officials said.
Basketball: Fresno State was announced as the host site for the 2004 men's and women's WAC Basketball Tournament.
The choice was made by the WAC Board of Directors which had already awarded 2003 to Tulsa.
Familiar faces in the crowd: Several former Warriors, including Gary Allen, Kurt Kafentzis, Kyle Kafentzis and Steve Lehor showed up for the game.