Look­ing for­ward, back with War­riors

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS - By STEPHEN TSAI

You’ve got ques­tions about the Univer­sity of Hawaii foot­ball team? We found some of the an­swers.

Ques­tion: What are the Rain­bow War­riors’ con­cerns about West­ern Carolina, Satur­day’s FCS op­po­nent?

An­swer: “I re­ally like their of­fen­sive scheme,” UH coach Nick Rolovich said. “I think they cause a lot of prob­lems for de­fenses. They get to pre­pare for a lot of dif­fer­ent things — not only per­son­nel groups, but they’ll run zone read, triple op­tion. In the games I’ve watched, they have well-timed and well-ex­e­cuted trick plays, which I’m sure they’ll bring to us. We have to be ready for ev­ery­thing. I like their quar­ter­back. I like their run­ning back. We can say all we want about what league they play in. That doesn’t mean they’re bad foot­ball play­ers. We can say, ‘oh, they only won two games last year.’ That doesn’t have any­thing to do with what they are this year. I know they have enough play­mak­ers to cause us enough prob­lems that we can’t take a day off or not ap­proach this like any other game.” YOU GOT QUES­TIONS? If you have ques­tions about the UH foot­ball team fol­low­ing each game, we will try to an­swer them. Sub­mit your ques­tions to beat writer Stephen Tsai ei­ther on his

pop­u­lar War­rior Beat blog on Hawai­i­War­rior­World. com or via email at st­sai@starad­ver­tiser.com. Ev­ery Wed­nes­day after UH plays dur­ing the foot­ball season, Tsai will an­swer a few of the ques­tions in the print edition of the Honolulu Star-Ad­ver­tiser.

Q: How did the War­riors cel­e­brate the season-open­ing vic­tory?

A: In a tra­di­tion dat­ing 20 years, the War­riors were al­lowed to or­der omelets with their train­ing-ta­ble break­fast on Mon­day morn­ing. “It’s a sym­bol of their achieve­ment,” Rolovich said. “It’s the same eggs. It’s the same meat. Maybe a little new veg­eta­bles. It’s been a sym­bol for prob­a­bly two decades around here. When we won, we got omelets. It re­minds them of all the hard work that went into get­ting that win. And it prob­a­bly sends them into the next week with a good men­tal­ity. It’s not so much the nu­tri­tional value or some­body mak­ing you a per­son­al­ized omelet, but, ‘hey, this is a re­ward for win­ning, and I’m OK with win­ning.’ “

When Rolovich was a UH quar­ter­back in 2001, he bought boxes of pizza for the of­fen­sive line­men after games in which the of­fense pro­duced at least 300 pass­ing yards. “It was the cheap­est thing I could af­ford to feed those guys and fill them up, but we made a deal, ‘I’ll buy you pizza on Mon­day if we throw for 300 and win a game,’ ” Rolovich said. “There were a lot of piz­zas go­ing out in 2001.”

At Rolovich’s sug­ges­tion, Colt Bren­nan re­vived the tra­di­tion in 2005. Bryant Moniz, who had worked de­liv­er­ing piz­zas in the off­sea­son, ful­filled the same prom­ise. This past Mon­day, Papa John’s do­nated the snacks.

“Again, the sym­bol­ism of suc­cess, should give them pos­i­tiv­ity mov­ing for­ward,” Rolovich said.

Q: Is there a con­cern about Dru Brown un­der-throw­ing re­ceivers?

A: “The two that I un­der-threw — the one to Isa­iah (Bernard) and the one to A.B., (Am­mon Barker) — I’ve just got to throw it,” Brown said. “That’s just an ex­am­ple of me try­ing to place it. You’ll hear it all the time: ‘Don’t place it, just throw it.’That’s what I’ve got to do (to) it. I didn’t throw a con­victed ball. That’s kind of hard to ex­plain. That’s just a mis­take on me. Am­mon was in the right spot. Isa­iah was in the right spot. If I had made those throws, we prob­a­bly would have won by a little bit more. At this level, all the quar­ter­backs can make the throws. It just comes down to throw­ing it. It’s that sim­ple.”

Q: Is the plan to give Dio­cemy Saint Juste the ma­jor­ity of the snaps for the rush­ing game, or to work in other run­ners to share the load?

A: Of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Brian Smith prefers the three-back ro­ta­tion to not tax a fea­tured run­ner and to pro­vide more op­tions. Ryan Tuia­soa was used in short-yardage sit­u­a­tions against UMass. With the game’s flow and sit­u­a­tions, Fred­die Holly III and Eli­jah Dale were not able to get any car­ries, but they will be counted on this season. Fresh­men Miles Reed and Hek­ili Keli­iliki are in the “de­vel­op­ment mode” but are not ruled out from play­ing this season.

Smith said Saint Juste has proven, if needed, to be an “ev­ery-down back for us. He’s good in pass pro­tec­tion. He’s out­stand­ing in the run game. … If there are sit­u­a­tions where we need to get him out to keep him fresh, it would be when we’re us­ing Ryan in our short-yardage pack­ages.”

Q: Will Rolovich bring back hel­met stick­ers?

A: “Yes,” Rolovich said. “The hel­met stick­ers will go on this week­end.”

Q: Who will be this week’s hon­orary cap­tain?

A: Isa’ako “Isaac” Sopoaga, a for­mer UH and NFL de­fen­sive tackle, will get the hon­ors.

Q: What lessons were learned from last year’s travel itin­er­ary?

A: In ad­vance of last year’s game against Michi­gan, the War­riors prac­ticed on the day they ar­rived. “That was the worst prac­tice of the year, that first one in Michi­gan,” Rolovich said.

For the Mas­sachusetts trip, the War­riors had a walk-through on the day they ar­rived, then a full prac­tice the fol­low­ing day. Rolovich said it was ben­e­fi­cial to al­low the play­ers to have “more of a men­tal day” be­fore re­sum­ing the usual prac­tice schedule.

Q: Is of­fen­sive line­man Fred Ulu-Perry, who did not play in the sec­ond half against UMass, avail­able to play this week?

A: “Yes,” Rolovich said.

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