The Rainbow Warriors will again be an underdog (AFA -3.0) on their home field when Air Force arrives on Saturday. That means Hawai’i will have to brace for the triple option, something they have a good deal of experience with, with last years games against Navy and Army. In some ways, the offense is the other side of the same coin as the run and shoot. You don’t see it very often, and it’s very difficult to prepare for because your scout team can’t run a reasonable facsimile of it.
Defending the option, coaches love to say it’s all about alignment and assignment. If you are assigned the pitch man, you dare not leave him to go after the QB. The Falcons have had 20 different players carry the ball, but there are 6 main ones. The 2 biggest threats are Taven Birdow (75.2 ypg, and 4.6 ypc) and Kadin Remsberg (73.3 ypg and 5.6 ypc) at tailback and DJ Hammond (41.5 ypg and 4.8 ypc). Hammond has also run for 8 TD’s. Hammond is 30-60 passing for 655 yards and 5 TD’s against 3 INT’s. In one game, the Falcons threw 3 passes! The O-line is small, but nimble; none of the lineman are 300 lbs.
Defensively, the Falcons will mostly try to keep everything in front of them by playing coverage. You won’t see a lot of man to man, or blitzing. They’re betting on you making a mistake before you get to the end zone. Their best defender is LB Kyle Johnson, who carries a 3.94 GPA as a management major with a Spanish minor, and is 14th in his class academically.
UH needs to move on mentally from their disappointing performance in Boise. They can take some comfort in the fact that the voluminous mistakes they made are eminently fixable. They can’t afford the fumbles, drops, and penalties that plagued them last week. The good news is that they came out of Boise relatively healthy. A key on both sides of the ball is patience. The way to get off the field against the Falcons’ offense is to force them into obvious passing situations on 3rd down, which means being stout against the run on 1st and 2nd down.
Offensively, you need to avoid penalties, and take the short gains that the Falcons allow. This is a terrific opportunity for Cole McDonald as well as Cedric Byrd, JoJo Ward, and Jared Smart. And don’t be surprised if Jason Matthew Sharsh figures in big as he is so smart at finding holes in zones. Steadiness will win the day.
By Bobby Curran | The Voice of Rainbow Warrior Football