HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sensing the team falling into what he described as a bit of a 'lull,' University of Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich stopped Thursday's spring practice to urge his team to refocus.
"We asked the boys what they wanted to do, and they responded," Rolovich told reporters at the completion of the two hour session.
For Rolovich, the early focus of his return to Manoa has been about more than just fixing the football-related issues that relegated the team to a 3-10 record in 2015. It's as much about changing the mindset, he says, as it is about changing an offensive or defensive system.
"I keep hearing, this group of young men, they know how to lose. And I tell them, 'That's what people think of you,'" said Rolovich. "When we're on that brink, where we were today... They caught themselves. And when they start doing that, we're making strides in the right direction."
As Rolovich tells it, correcting that mentality is something that's been on his mind since his first day on the job.
"I walked into that first team meeting and said, 'Holy smokes.' I'd never seen that kind of look on a Hawaii football player's face," said Rolovich. "I had some talk I wanted to go over, but it just went off course. It doesnt matter what we do, we've got to fix that first. And we've seen some wins."
As the team continues to install portions of its new schemes, Rolovich acknowledges that the team's ability to wear full pads during Saturday's practice will provide his team an opportunity to continue refining that competitive mindset.
"Practice will be a little different, there will be some inserted competition periods, but for the most part, what we did today, just with pads on," Rolovich said.
Rolovich expects the team's next several practices to focus more on repeating plays that have already been taught, rather than trying to teach new ones.
"Scheme wise it's probably pretty heavy, heavier than it needed to be," said Rolovich. "We probably don't need to install a whole lot more in spring, as long as we get good at this stuff."
The team's next practice is scheduled for Saturday morning.