Archive for October, 2010

Not very special special teams/early hoops impressions

October 18th, 2010
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There’s one major component of the 5-2 University of Hawaii football team that needs to come to the party: kick and punt coverage.

The Warriors have had problems covering kicks and punts from the opening of the season, and in Saturday’s game Nevada exploited what can only be described as a weakness at this point with two big returns.

Improvement is needed or the special teams will cost the Warriors a game at some point in the second half of the season.

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Went to basketball practice today. Impressed with team size and Gib Arnold’s teaching style.

Center Douglas Kurtz is in great shape, but still needs a lot of work on his shooting skills.

Swingman Josten Thomas is a big, strong guy, and could emerge as a leader. He’s got personality, too. About two hours into the three-hour session he walked over to where I was sitting, shook my hand and asked how I was enjoying practice so far.

Tony Sellitto — the greatest basketball coach I’ve covered on a regular basis — was in attendance.

Pregame: Nevada at Hawaii

October 16th, 2010
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As I wrote in yesterday’s column, like most others I see a shootout tonight. And I see Hawaii winning because of its positive trend in forcing turnovers and Nevada’s recent penchant for fumbles. My guess for the score is Hawaii 42, Nevada 35.

A big theme this week — brought up first by UH radio voice Bobby Curran — is the notion that UH quarterback Bryant Moniz isn’t getting enough media attention for leading the nation in passing yardage and total offense.

We can have a discussion about the validity of statistics in college football (especially less than midway through the season), and probably will.

It’s still early in the season, and if Hawaii continues to win, Moniz might get more attention than the Warriors even want to deal with — especially headed into the game at Boise State if Hawaii goes in there at 7-2 and the Broncos are unbeaten and it’s for the WAC championship and Boise’s BCS hopes.

But that’s getting WAY ahead of things … there’s a potentially great game to be played this evening at Aloha Stadium. And the games at Utah State and against Idaho will not be walkovers.

As for Moniz himself, he says he’s content with doing whatever it takes to help lead the Warriors to win by being the trigger man in UH’s run-and-shoot offense. He seems to truly not be in it for attention but rather love of the game.

Moniz has an interesting story and is a candid and intelligent interview subject. But all things considered, under the radar isn’t such a bad place to be for now.

Please share your thoughts … as well as your score predictions (before kickoff, please). Same deal if you hit it on the nose: I’ll split a spam musubi with you (or some other good stuff). If you’re not in Hawaii, I’ll send you something local (and non-perishable) to eat.

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Just received a text stating that Colt Brennan plans to attend tonight’s game.

From “The Manchild” to “The Puppy”

October 11th, 2010
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Andrew Manley used to be called “The Manchild” when he was at Leilehua, leading the Mules to a state championship as a sophomore. His nickname for now, as a New Mexico State true freshman, is “The Puppy.” If his college debut last Saturday is an indicator of things to come, it won’t be long before he’s “The Big Dog.”

And he could be the second former Mule quarterback to start against Fresno State in a row, after his predecessor at Leilehua, Bryant Moniz, engineered Hawaii’s 49-27 rout at Bulldog Stadium two days ago.

“He’s in the mix,” NMSU coach DeWayne Walker said today of Manley’s chance to start against Fresno State.

Manley got the first action of his college career Saturday when he went in with about 5 minutes left and completed passes of 11 and 21 yards to set up the Aggies’ game-winning field goal against New Mexico. NMSU got its first win of the season 16-14.

Now that the red shirt is gone, what is Manley’s role, especially if injured Tanner Rust is ready to resume duty this week against Fresno State?

“We’re going to take a good look at him this week,” said  Walker, during today’s WAC teleconference. “Andrew’s a guy I’ve kind of hid. He’s a talent.

“He got in and got the job done. He proved in the last five minutes he’s capable of playing at this level.

“He has this presence. He’s pretty impressive.

“He’s just a natural thrower,” Walker added. “I call him ‘The Puppy.’ He’s a kid with instincts.”

HUGE win for the Warriors

October 9th, 2010
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Hawaii did it again at Fresno, blitzing the Bulldogs 49-27. That’s three wins in a row at Fresno State for UH, which for most other teams is a very difficult place at which to play.

How did the Warriors — who are now 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the WAC — do it this time?

With all-around great play from both offense and defense, including a tremendous second half on both sides of the ball.

UH was multi-dimensional on offense as running back Alex Green bounced back from a rough outing against LaTech to rush for 96 yards and score three touchdowns, and slotback Greg Salas continued to be Greg Salas, also scoring three touchdowns with 9 catches for 148 yards. Quarterback Bryant Moniz played another solid game, and his passes seem to have more zip on them each week.

On defense the Warriors came up with three interceptions for the second week in a row, this time with Jeramy Bryant getting two, including one he returned for a touchdown.

And UH suffered no third-quarter letdown this time … in fact, the third quarter is when the Warriors won the game, outscoring the Bulldogs 21-10 to expand their 4-point halftime lead to 35-20.

The Warriors physically dominated the Bulldogs, and that bodes well for Hawaii as it takes on Nevada’s tough prolific ground game next week.

Predict the score: Hawaii at Fresno State

October 9th, 2010
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OK, I’m going to say Fresno State 38, Hawaii 24.

The Bulldogs have been riddled with injuries, but as usual they’re deep. Quarterback Ryan Colburn is underrated, and I want to see what UH does against a team better than Charleston Southern or Louisiana Tech before drinking too much of the fruit punch.

I hope I’m wrong since my family and friends who are UH fans outnumber those who are Fresno fans by about 6,231 to 0.

There’s a very good chance my pick is wrong. I also chose Alabama and Michigan in my Football Fever picks this week and neither of those are looking very good right now.

Same as usual: Predict the  score exactly and I’ll take you to lunch. And I promise it won’t be a drive through.