There’s still hope for the Warriors this season
Friday - October 03, 2008
The UH season is four games in, and we’ve all now received a reality check. This season requires a great deal of rebuilding on offense, where eight starters moved on after the Sugar Bowl, including four of the most productive players in the history of the program. There will be no WAC championship, as Hawaii is not going to beat both Fresno State and Boise State on the road, and no team wins the WAC with two conference losses. There will be no easy wins. Every game will be a grind and require Hawaii to reverse its turnover situation.
Now for the good news. The Warriors have improved drastically on special teams. Against San Jose State, kick-off coverage was excellent, punt overage did not surrender a single yard on returns, and players were knocking Spartans all over the field. There were no major errors, and San Jose’s fake punt was sussed out and snuffed.
The defensive effort was the best in years. The Warriors gave up a trick play for 77 yards and a touchdown, but otherwise surrendered only 160 yards for the game. They got a great push up front, sideline to sideline intensity from the linebackers and big plays from the secondary. They responded extremely well to the sudden changes caused by the six turnovers. Cornerback Ryan Mouton symbolized the effort, suffering injured ribs and still making huge plays in the back end. The pass he broke up in the end zone against the 6-foot-5 Terrance Williams was NFL caliber. There’s no getting around it being a costly loss, but there were plenty of bright spots.
The offense needs to take care of the football, and quarterback play must take a quantum leap forward. This may sound crazy, but if Hawaii can avoid losing the turnover battle at Fresno, they’ll be in the game with a chance to win in the fourth quarter.
The first NFL firing victim was St. Louis Ram coach Scott Linehan, replaced by interim coach Jim Haslett. Shortly after, Lane Kiffin was shown the door in Oakland. By Super Bowl week, there could be a bunch more vacancies. I’m seeing a level of dissatisfaction in Cleveland, Cincy, Kansas City, Houston and Detroit. Some of these coaches may want to attend a job fair.
The Jets are feeling very good about the acquisition of Brett Favre. His career high six TD passes against Arizona are strong evidence that there’s still a lot left in that good ol’ boy’s gas tank. It’s enough to make me break out the Wranglers!
There’s a reason USC is always in the conversation in the Pete Carroll era when people talk about national title games. I’m not sure he’s any better than a lot of coaches at schemes and adjustments, but very few can stay with him when it comes to recruiting. He goes out and gets the best players in the country. After losing on Thursday to Oregon State, Carroll and linebacker coach Ken Norton Jr. jumped on a plane to Hawaii, watched Punahou and Kamehameha from the sidelines on Friday, then flew right back to SoCal after the game.
All to let linebacker Manti Teo and his family know they care. That kind of energy is why USC gets one of the best classes in the country year after year.
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