Looking forward, back with Warriors
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.