Mules Release Not-so-secret Weapon: Attack 30 Defense
The Most Valuable Player on the 2010 Leilehua football team just may be the Mules’ defensive scheme itself.
Labeled “Attack 30 defense” by its creator, defensive coordinator Mark Kurisu, the unorthodox scheme is here to stay, according to head coach Nolan Tokuda.
No surprise there. As they say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“Mark is a genius,” Tokuda said of Kurisu, on staff since 1998 and defensive coordinator since 2003. “He makes things look easy for our kids.”
Things don’t look so easy for opposing offenses — at least when Leilehua is in Attack 30 mode. Confusion is the prevailing theme for offensive lines that have tried to block the Mules when in the scheme. They first unveiled it in the second half of the Kamehameha game — mostly in passing downs — and shut out the Warriors the last 24 minutes.
A more glaring example of its effectiveness came in week three, when they trailed a good Campbell team 20-0 in the first half before pulling out a 36-20 victory.
“We stuck with Attack 30 the whole way,” said Tokuda, whose team had won five in a row entering the weekend.
When in the scheme, the defensive front is often a couple yards off of the ball before the snap and in perpet- ual motion, creating confusion for offensive linemen who are suddenly unsure of what their key is when the play is set in motion. Whether they’re coming with a three-or fourman rush is also hard to tell.
“It looks pretty crazy at times,” Tokuda admitted. “You want the (opposing offensive) linemen to think instead of react. It makes them play slow. Mostly we use it in passing downs, but we use it against the run as well.”
Kurisu’s resources included University of Idaho defensive line coach Eti Ena, who has ties to Hawaii. “Mark met with him in the spring in Idaho, and he also talked to several coaches who use threeman fronts (in a 3-4 scheme) as well as taking some ideas from his own playing days at Linfield,” Tokuda explained. “He and our defensive coach- es have put in a ton of work.”
Assisting Kurisu are Tui Alailima, Matt Sumiya, Garry Nakamura, Len Nakasone, Afa Aliilua and Avi Faaloua.
Entering last weekend’s OIA Red West finale with Mililani, the Mules are yielding only 181.5 yards per game (92.6 on the ground and only 83.3 yards through the air) and giving up 16 points per outing.
On both sides of the ball, Tokuda is pleased with the unselfishness and commitment to team. This year’s team is akin to a rock band without a lead singer.
“An individual star can be shut down, but no one can shut down an entire team,” he said. “We’re not playing our best football yet — that’s the good thing. But if the kids continue to lean on each other, we’ll be fine. You don’t see eye-popping numbers for our guys (statistically), but if we continue to play as a team, we’ll be successful that way.”
The Mules have a bye this week and will host a playoff game next weekend.