Coach Mac Is Missing Shigematsu

Sean Shigemitsu

Despite a pair of early losses, the University of Hawaii Warriors have rebounded with a couple of wins that have resembled their successful style in recent seasons.

UH put up 100 points combined in two victories over UC Davis and then Louisiana Tech in the WAC conference opener.

The team has managed to do so without the services of Kapa’a’s Sean Shigematsu, who began the season as the team’s starting right tackle.

After redshirting his freshman season last year, the former KIF four-sport athlete impressed the UH coaching staff in practice with his size and mobility. He was in the starting lineup for the team’s 3417 win over Colorado in the season opener before damaging both his ACL and MCL in a 40-32 loss at Washington.

I asked head coach Greg McMackin about the effects of losing Shigematsu and what he expects of the young, talented lineman in the future.

“(Shigematsu) was starting for us, he was really doing a great job. It really has hurt us because I think he’s going to be a great player, and if he continues to improve, (he will) play at the next level,” McMackin said.

When the UH staff first caught a glimpse of Shigematsu at the 2009 All Poly Camp on Oahu, they saw his raw ability. Now the coaches have seen the dedication he has put into becoming a better, stronger player.

UH coach Greg McMackin says Sean Shigematsu can play ‘at the next level’. UH Athletics photos

“He’s a great athlete. He grew from 250 pounds because he was an allaround athlete to 315 pounds, and he can still move,” McMackin said. “He earned a starting position for us this year.”

Having been around the game for as long as he has, McMackin said his reaction to losing a starter for the season has not changed much. He relies on the next guy on the depth chart to contribute and help the team.

“You just go on to the next player,” he said. “Whoever the next player is has to step up and get the job done.”

As far as the team’s current status, it sits at 3-2 after a bye week before conference play resumes.

There is real reason to think that, despite a headscratching 40-20 defeat at the hands of UNLV Sept. 17, Hawaii can run the table in a WAC conference that no longer includes fifth-ranked Boise State.

McMackin said that, after the UNLV loss, he “told the guys we got knocked down, we need to stand back up.”

So far, they have stood up and provided some knockouts of their own.

Four Kaua’i players Vaughn Meatoga, Kenny Estes, Siasau Matagiese and Jett Jasper remain in the active UH lineup.

The team returns to action Friday on national TV as it takes on the San Jose State Spartans at 3 p.m. on ESPN.