Friendly football rivalry set to begin
|||Tomey says UH ties no advantage|
|||Tomey's wake-up call recalled|
|||UH coach always scheming|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
SAN JOSE, Calif. — They brought out their best linen and finest china for last night's gathering of University of Hawai'i alumni at the Hyatt San Jose.
There were tasty pupus, stories and tall tales between long-lost friends — everything, it seems, except an appearance by the San Jose State's football coaching staff.
The Spartans, who host UH in today's Western Athletic Conference football game, have formed their own UH alumni chapter. SJSU head coach Dick Tomey is UH's winningest Division I-A coach. Offensive coordinator Ken Margerum and co-defensive coordinator Tom Williams were UH assistant coaches. Spartan assistants Joe Seumalo and Brent Brennan were UH graduate assistants. Video coordinator Doug Osumi served in the same position at Manoa.
Tomey, who still owns a home in Kahala, said, "It will be great to see so many friends."
He added: "There's a lot of, you could say distractions, to go along with it. Right now our focus, and what gets us excited, is that we're going to play a game and we're trying to take another step as a football team."
So far, Tomey's first season as SJSU head coach has been a six-game wobble. Since winning the opener against Division I-AA Eastern Washington, the Spartans have lost five in a row, including three to WAC opponents. There have been difficulties implementing Tomey's famed Desert Swarm defense. The West Coast offense is struggling for direction.
"It's frustrating but it's not discouraging," Tomey said. "We have to keep working to try and get better. The future is now. We're trying to have as good a football team as we can right now for our seniors who have worked so hard and given so much to the program."
At age 67, Tomey said: "I'm in it for the long haul. We're trying to build a program. You'd like to have success right away, and it's frustrating we haven't won more."
Tomey, who was hired in December, has not had a full recruiting season. It took him nearly two months to complete his coaching staff. One of his targets was offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, who was with UH at the time. Cavanaugh is now at Oregon State.
"We tried hard to get Cav," Tomey said. "We tried hard to see if we could interest him in San Jose State."
Tomey also was unsuccessful in recruiting quarterback Colt Brennan, who joined UH as a walk-on in August. Brennan leads the WAC in passing (332.2 yards per game). Colt Brennan and Brent Brennan are cousins.
"We were very interested in Colt," Tomey said. "June and his staff did a great job of recruiting Colt."
"It was nothing against coach Tomey," Brennan said. "I have a great deal of respect for coach Tomey. My family has a great relationship with him. But Hawai'i is where I wanted to go. I didn't let my family or outside influences determine my decision. I wanted to make my own choice, and Hawai'i is where I wanted to go. It's safe to say I made a pretty good decision, for my part."
While the Spartans are a loss away from a losing season, the Warriors (2-4, 2-2 in the WAC) are fighting for a bowl berth. They need to win at least five of their remaining six games to meet the bowl-eligible minimum of a winning regular season.
"We're two big upsets away from making this a special season," Brennan said. "We've got San Jose now. We've got to focus on them."
With a 5-hour, non-stop flight to San Jose, this is the most convenient of the Warriors' five road trips. UH coach June Jones is keeping the players on Hawai'i time, serving breakfast at 11 a.m. Pacific time and lunch at 3. "The travel schedule is what I copied from (Tomey)," said Jones, who was an assistant on Tomey's 1983 UH staff. "We do everything about like how he did it."
The Warriors appeared to be refreshed yesterday. Several went to a nearby mall. Some took turns in the hotel's outdoor jacuzzi. Others napped on the poolside lounge chairs. The Warriors had a spirited walk-through practice yesterday afternoon.
"I like being on the road," Brennan said. "It's like taking a mini-vacation, and you get to play a football game. What can be better than that?"
Smith had a long run of 44 yards among his 18 carries, and Jason Peters added 111 yards on just nine carries to lead UCF to 286 yards rushing.
The Golden Eagles put the game away with a 73-yard drive that was capped by a 20-yard field goal by Darren McCaleb with 50 seconds to play.
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.