It’s WAC Season For The Warriors
Friday - September 30, 2009
The University of Hawaii football season is three games in, and I’m reminded of two of the verities in college football.
Road games are difficult and losses are painful.
And the closer the loss, the more painful it is.
The Warriors are still stinging from the 34-33 defeat at the hands of the UNLV Rebels. As always in a game this close, the “what ifs” are hard to clear from the mind.
Best to get that done because the conference opener against Louisiana Tech in Ruston is here and promises to be difficult.
It’s weird to be playing on a Wednesday, but ESPN is creating a bunch of made-for-television games, and this is Hawaii’s turn.
“In 40 years of coaching, I’ve never had a Wednesday game,” says head coach Greg McMackin. “We had to figure out an approach.”
The coaches decided to give players an extra two days rest,and then proceed as if it’s a regular week.
Louisiana Tech loomed in the off-season as a contender for the conference title - the Bulldogs return all of their offensive line, a fleet running back in Daniel Porter, and a willingness to run the ball till you find a way to stop them. They’re big and physical on defense - the top seven defensive linemen are back, and each linebacker had five or more starts last year. But they’ve been a little disappointing so far, losing by almost 20 points to Auburn and Navy on the road. That doesn’t mean the Dogs won’t be tough, but they’re not yet where they’d hoped to be.
Hawaii will be well served to get a handle on La Tech’s running game. If the Warriors can turn this into a throwing contest, it will be to Hawaii’s advantage. What will not work well would be to let the Bulldogs control the football as UNLV did in the third quarter. But Hawaii should get back John Fonoti and Paipai Falemalu on the defensive line, and that will help.
They’ll also need to generate some pressure on quarterback Ross Jenkins, who comes off a career-best passing performance against Nicholls State.
And when UH has the football, it’s imperative that the O line continues to play well.
“This is by far the best defensive front we’ve seen so far,” says offensive line coach Gordy Shaw. “We’ve gotten better each game and that has to be the case for this one.” Hawaii’s passing game is very good and could get better - only three receivers are really involved so far - and Greg Alexander has superb numbers, but he can improve his accuracy, particularly on long throws to speedy Rodney Bradley. What once looked like a certain loss now looks like a possible win, but only if Hawaii brings it’s A game.
The Rainbow Warrior basketball season is about to get under way, and this should be easily Bob Nash’s best team, mainly because very specific needs were addressed in recruiting.
Last year Hawaii couldn’t shoot threes at all, allowing defenses to concentrate on shutting down Rod Flemings and Bill Amis. Now they’ve got a pair of sharpshooters in Dwain Williams and Jeremy Lay, both of whom are small but quick combo guards.
And they needed a post defender and got 7-foot, 260-pound Brazilian Douglas Kurtz, who looks very good in workouts, especially on the glass.
This team will be exciting and could contend in the WAC. Season tickets for both the men and Rainbow Wahine are on sale now.
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