Sunday, November 4, 2001
[ UH WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]
If football doesn't work out for Chris Brown, he could take up fortune telling.
Browns belief spurs on Laboy
UH finds a way past San Jose
By Jason Kaneshiro
He already has a believer on the Hawaii defense in Travis Laboy.
When Laboy's chronic hamstring injury flared up early this week, the sophomore defensive end turned to his all-seeing teammate for some advice.
"He said 'Chris, I don't know if I can go,' " Brown recalled after last night's 34-10 win over San Jose State. "I said, 'Travis you're going to have a game. You're going to have a great game, because he's so fast and he can shut down guys.'
"He's like, 'I don't know,' but I said, 'Listen to me, trust me.' And now he's thanking me."
Laboy, who aggravated the injury in the third quarter of last week's game against Fresno State, proved Brown prophetic as a disruptive force for the Warrior defense.
The 6-foot-5, 253-pound Laboy spent much of the evening in the San Jose State backfield as he tallied 9 tackles, three for losses totaling 16 yards. He also recorded three hurries of Spartan quarterback Clint Carlson and a sack for 10 yards.
"Chris is truly inspirational to me," Laboy said. "I told him before the game, 'I'm not coming out (of the game) unless you come out.' And I knew he wasn't coming out. I owe a lot to my teammates, because I look up to my teammates."
Laboy, who said his hamstring was about 70 percent last night, held up his part of the bargain as one of the few every-down players in a defensive package that freely shuttles players in and out of the game. The only thing that sent him to the sidelines was a broken clip on his helmet in the third quarter.
The San Jose State offensive line couldn't handle Laboy's speed and quickness as he shot through gaps to get into the backfield. Even when he wasn't making tackles, he herded Spartan ballcarriers to his teammates in pursuit.
The scheme helped the Warriors limit the Spartans to 124 yards rushing. San Jose State racked up 285 yards on the ground in its 57-48 win over Hawaii last year.
"This team last year embarrassed us with that running play where they pull the guard and tackle," Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said. "We were trying to do some things to occupy those two players or try to catch them from the backside. And (Laboy) is quick enough to beat the tight end and get in the backfield and make plays like that.
"He's still a secret weapon for some people. He's a good football player and the more he plays the more he'll develop."
Laboy's presence helped set up one of the game's biggest plays. Laboy was in Carlson's facemask as the quarterback lobbed a pass into the end zone that was intercepted by Jacob Espiau in the third quarter with Hawaii leading 13-10.
Laboy's performance was just part of a Hawaii defensive effort that kept the Spartans at arms' length until the offense could jump in to provide the knockout blow with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
After three quarters, San Jose State held the time of possession advantage 32:07 to 12:53 for Hawaii. Still, the Warriors effectively shut down a Spartan attack that racked up 746 yards last week against Tulsa with a defense that has sparked Hawaii's current five-game winning streak.
"It's unreal, we're like a family out there," Brown said. "All of us are going to war with our brothers and there's no weak link on the whole defense. You feel everybody can play so you have no worries when you step on that field."
Ka Leo O Hawaii