UH Football Ups And Downs

With homecoming this weekend, the realities of building a football program have set in.

Predictably, a portion of the fan base is angry and upset; others understand that the foundation for a solid program takes time to build and needs to be nurtured constantly. Sometimes the same fan alternates between these emotions.

There is pain associated with installing new systems that were not what the present roster was recruited to play. Add to that a lack of depth at several positions, throw in a number of devastating injuries, and you have a handful of lopsided losses that test the mettle of the hardiest supporters. And it doesn’t appear that the solution is available in the short term.

There have been some positives that are noteworthy. We are not seeing the raft of personal fouls that have plagued some Hawaii teams of recent vintage. The team has consistently played hard and effort has been a constant. But all that pales against the sting of blowout defeats.

USA’s Jason Dufner reacts after making a putt to win a foresomes match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sept. 28

USA’s Jason Dufner reacts after making a putt to win a foresomes match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Sept. 28
AP photo

The answers to the problems are not immediate. Current players will gain necessary experience through on-the-job training. The inexperienced offensive line, for example, starts two freshmen and two sophomores.

They will be together for the next two years, and their current struggles will morph into a strength. But it will be time-consuming and hard-earned. Some of the young players on defense who have been pressed into action prematurely because of injury will be all the better for the experience, but that won’t help them stop the run in the present.

And, most importantly, the recruiting process that targets the best local talent earlier, and will involve every member of the staff, is a lynchpin to future success. No one can predict whether Norm Chow will get the program to the pinnacle, but the path has been laid out, the work is ongoing and signing day in February may be your best indicator of where the program is headed.

* The Sunday massacre at Medinah that saw the U.S. squander a 10-6 advantage to allow victory for Europe has provoked much thought on the future of U.S. teams. Even though a single match going differently would have preserved an American victory, it did seem that the older members of the team con tributed far less than expected. Among Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, there was little to cheer for. On the other end of the spectrum, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson were terrific. We may well have seen the changing of the guard, and you can only wonder if the next American captain will look to the young when he makes his picks. You didn’t need to be an expert analyst to see that wisdom and experience were trumped by youth and vigor. In two years’ time, the traveling circus of the Ryder Cup moves to Gleneagles, Scotland.