[ WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]
RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii's Michael Brewster, who scored twice Saturday, ran past Florida Atlantic's Quincy Skinner in the first quarter.
UH has time to
stew on loss
The Warriors don’t play again
until Sept. 18, when they open
the WAC season at Rice
Abraham Elimimian isn't looking forward to the next two weeks, but he believes it is better this way. Two long weeks can be enough time to absorb all the bitterness of a loss, and then flush it out and prepare for it not to happen again.
Hawaii has no football game this weekend after Saturday's stunning 35-28 overtime loss to Florida Atlantic that opened the Warriors' season. The next one is at Rice for the Western Athletic Conference opener on Sept. 18.
"It's going to be a tough two weeks," said Elimimian, a senior cornerback and team captain. "But I'm kind of glad we have two weeks. It'll be good. This taste is so bad, and we have to remember it. We need time to get ready for Rice, because they're a different kind of team that presents a different set of problems."
Elimimian intercepted two passes Saturday, running his career total to nine, four off the school career record of 13 shared by Keone Jardine and Kelvin Millhouse. He also picked up a contusion on his right bicep, a dinged right ankle and a lot of general soreness from the physical Owls.
"It's sad, but it's over," he said. "This isn't the time for pointing fingers. We just have to execute and do the little things right. We had lots of chances and didn't capitalize."
The last thing the Warriors want to do now is start sliding down the slippery slope of accepting losing, even just a little bit. That can also happen with an extra week after a loss. UH last lost its season opener in 2000 to Portland State. Hawaii had a bye after that, then went and lost at Texas-El Paso. The Warriors lost their first four games on the way to a 3-9 season.
But losing the opener doesn't have to mean a losing season. In 1999, coach June Jones' first year, Hawaii was pummeled by USC, 62-7, in the first game, which also happened to be UH's 19th loss in a row. Then Hawaii won its next four games on the way to a magical 9-4 season.
Jones is confident this team will be more like the 1999 squad than the 2000 version.
"When I looked at the tape (yesterday) morning, that's the best we've played in a first ballgame since I've been here," Jones said. "So I don't feel as bad after looking at the tape. To have three take-aways and no turnovers and lose, that happens about 2 percent of the time. We didn't do something with a couple of those, and we didn't convert our third downs -- that hurt us."
Dropped passes and missed tackles plagued the Warriors.
"It's unusual," Jones said of passes dropped by the usually dependable Chad Owens and Britton Komine. "I don't think I've seen those guys drop balls in games since I've been here. Those things come and go, you've just got to mentally get through it. They weren't the reasons we lost the game."
They contributed to it, though, as did some sloppy tackling.
"You've got to take angles and trust your own speed and be smart. I think we took bad angles," Jones said. "But we played really hard. They had a great player in No. 84 (Anthony Crissinger-Hill). He's gonna not only play at the next level, but he'll be a star at the next level."
UH couldn't stop Crissinger-Hill, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound tight end. The junior caught 15 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, including the 31-yarder with 23 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.
"Two guys beat us. The quarterback (Jared Allen) and 84," Elimimian said. "If 84 wasn't there, I don't think they even score."
Jones said Florida Atlantic's defense "hit as hard as anyone we've played, and they would finish one or two in the WAC.
"I knew that looking at the tape (before the game), but it's hard to convince anyone."
Running back Michael Brewster had his helmet knocked off at one point by the FAU defenders. But he didn't let that bother him, and he was an offensive bright spot for Hawaii. In addition to contributing to the offensive line's effort that allowed no sacks, Brewster rushed for touchdowns of 10 and 12 yards.
"I wish we could play one today and get that bad taste out of our mouth," he said. "But two weeks will give us more time to see what we did wrong, see where we can fix it."
Injury update: Senior slotback Se'e Poumele could be out of practice for quite a while with a severely strained right hamstring, as well as a back injury. It is not known if we will be available for the Rice game. He was replaced during Saturday's game by Gerald Welch.
Freshman running back Chris Cole and sophomore running back Ryan Stickler were hurt on special teams. Cole sprained his left ankle and Stickler suffered a right-shoulder sprain. Both are day to day.
Practice schedule: Jones said he will stick to the usual practice schedule this week, despite the bye.
"We'll go Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, then we'll see about the weekend," he said.