UH’s Best Team and Worst Fans

Bobby Curran
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Friday - November 03, 2006
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Following the University of Hawaii Warriors’ demolition of Idaho last Saturday, a number of situations are evolving. Hawaii can claim with statistical support that it has the best offense in these United States. It is tops in scoring, total offense, and has the nation’s most efficient passer in quarterback Colt Brennan.

The Warriors have totaled 185 points in their last three games. They will continue to receive ascending votes in both coaches and writers polls.

The Hawaii defense is flying around, coming up with big plays and forcing turnovers. More importantly, they are scoring off those turnovers.

The special teams are the best they’ve been in years. The return game, as evidenced by Ross Dickerson’s 100-yard kicoff return, is sharp. Punt and kickoff coverage have been outstanding. I’d say the punting is very good, but how would you know? Kurt Milne is hardly ever called upon. The only blemish has been the ongoing difficulties between long snapper and holder on extra points and field goals.

There are two scary parts to this success.

The first is that as good as the Warriors have been, they can get better - and probably will.

The second is that at last Saturday’s homecoming game there were still fewer than 30,000 fans at the stadium. The crowd that attended was excellent. They were loud, and when Idaho had the ball in the red zone, they were positively disruptive. I have long believed that the attendance is most influenced by the product on the field.

Now I’m not so sure.

This is starting to look like the best team in school history. It is certainly the most exciting. I can’t remember a Hawaii team with so many excellent players. Colt Brennan is the best QB ever to wear a Hawaii uniform, and I’m not sure it’s even close. Nate Ilaoa does things with the football that almost seem impossible. The offensive line features at least two players who are destined for the NFL, and the receiving corps is magical.

On defense, Mel Purcell and Ikaika Alama-Francis are huge playmakers, and nose tackle Michael Lafaele is a beast. Leonard Peters has the best combination of size and speed to ever play in the UH secondary, and Adam Leonard is on his way to being the Warriors’best-ever line-backer. He’s already on a par with past greats such as Mark Odom, Jeff Ulbrich and Pisa Tinoisamoa.

How in the world can this team not be drawing 30,000 fans?

I’ve heard all the reasons, but to not come watch this team is to miss out on something truly special. This is the Fab Five in basketball, the 1980 baseball team, the Yuval Katz-led men’s volleyball team. This is a team we’ll be talking about 30 years down the road.

As far as winning out is concerned, the home crowd can have a great effect on the last few home games. If Hawaii takes care of business as expected on the road at Utah State this Saturday, they will be 7-2 and ready to take on Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, Purdue and Oregon State. The teams will be, coincidentally, better each week. Failure to attend them may mean you’ll be missing out on water cooler conversation for the next three decades.

Oregon State’s victory over USC last week has complicated the bowl scenario for the Pac-10. Right now, the Beavers could finish sixth along with Washington, UCLA, Washington State and Arizona State. While it’s technically possible that OSU could be sent back to Honolulu three weeks after playing here on Dec. 2, I’ve been told that as a practical matter it won’t happen. The Pac-10 will shift another bowl eligible team to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

This is all heady stuff. Wouldn’t it be terrific if the fan support the rest of the year matches the quality of the Warriors’ effort?

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