Star-Bulletin Sports

Wednesday, October 17, 2001


Warriors ‘D’ looking for
a repeat performance

Hawaii goes to Tulsa hoping for
another solid defensive effort

By Dave Reardon

The run-and-shoot offense works better with a search-and-destroy defense.

Well, that's true for any offense. Like Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said, it's hard to lose when you get five turnovers. The Warriors have done that two weeks in a row and have two wins to show for it.

UH Football But UH's pass-happy attack -- which doesn't eat the clock and can be turnover-prone itself -- can use all the assistance it gets from a defense that takes the ball away from opponents and scores points on its own.

Last Saturday the Warriors' defense grabbed control of the game with three touchdowns on interceptions. The offense finished off Texas-El Paso as UH won 66-7.

Hawaii hopes for more of the same at Tulsa this Saturday. The Warriors (3-2, 2-2 WAC) go in as 7-point favorites against the Golden Hurricane (1-4, 0-3).

"It really helps when you get more opportunities to get out there (on offense)," senior slotback Craig Stutzmann said. "Especially with the kind of offense we run, we're going to have a couple three-and-outs, but then we can go two plays and score like we did in the third quarter."

Saturday's game was like a boxing match, or mismatch, Stutzmann said.

"Those steady punches, combos, came in from the defense and then the offense comes in and gives that right hook," Stutzmann said. "We didn't throw the haymaker before this week. This week we threw multiple haymakers.

"I think the fans liked it. Hopefully we can carry the confidence to the next game."

That was lots of fun, but Stutzmann said it's time for the Warriors to forget about it.

"I think today we were a little bit lackadaisical. We've got to clear out what we did last week, because it's good for only one game," Stutzmann said. "We've got to go out the next game and put up another 60 points if we have to. But if not, just have a good showing and win. That's the bottom line."

Some Warriors were thinking about the future just minutes after the UTEP blowout.

"All right! 66-0," a player shouted in the locker room.

"66-7," linebacker Bobby Morgan corrected. His tone indicated he knows the Warriors are far from perfect, and still need to improve.

Junior defensive end Laanui Correa said that "7" eats at the UH defense. The Warriors gave up a season-low 244 yards, but it bothers Correa that 72 of them came on a 10-play scoring drive. He knows that as UH's schedule gets tougher in the coming weeks, such drives could be deadly -- as they were in losses to Nevada and Rice.

Correa was asked to nit-pick.

"We did some good things, but that one touchdown haunts us right now," Correa said. "We thought we'd play a perfect game, but they had that one good drive and it's really bothering us. They took it to us, ran the ball up our gut the whole way down the field. So that's really, really, bothering us right now. We were able to regroup after that, but ..."

Tulsa has shuffled quarterbacks Josh Blankenship and true freshman Tyler Gooch. Gooch, with whom the Hurricane like to run the option, is out Saturday with a deep lower-leg bruise.

Blankenship operates a short passing game which hasn't been very effective this season, although the junior has completed 62.4 percent of his passes.

"We're banged up on the offensive line and that takes away from our consistency," Tulsa coach Keith Burns said. "But if we spend a lot of time worried about being 1-4, we're going to be 1-5."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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