GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan said No. 24 Wisconsin will need to adjust defensively against the Warriors.
Brennan likes what he sees in Wisconsin D
WISCONSIN'S DEFENSE allowed more than 500 yards in five of its first 11 games this season. Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan said the Warriors can be that productive if the 24th-ranked Badgers don't do something different than what he's seen on tape.
The teams meet Friday at 4 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.
"You can definitely see they have some issues they need to deal with playing us," Brennan said after yesterday morning's practice. "The things they've been doing lately, they're going to have to make some adjustments and some changes. You can't run a defense the way they do against an offense like ours."
Piling up yards hasn't been a problem for UH's run-and-shoot this fall, but crossing the goal line hasn't been a given. The Warriors (4-6) are 11th in the nation with 468.0 yards per game in offense, but only 44th in scoring with 29.5 points per game.
Wisconsin's defense presents a similar anomaly, since it is 102nd in the nation with a per-game yield of 431.3 yards, but relatively stingy when it comes to points allowed at 25.0 per game, which is 53rd.
Brennan said the Badgers (8-3) are designed to stop traditional Big Ten-style rushing offenses, not passing attacks like that of UH.
"They have DBs who are used to coming up and filling holes and making plays on running backs and kind of ignoring the receivers," Brennan said.
"They're going to have to sit back now and play zone and see a lot of different things that they're not as much used to. That's a huge advantage playing off that. But we have to do the right things and make the right reads to break down the defenses they play."
Both teams had last week off. It was the first bye of the season for Wisconsin, and Badgers coach Barry Alvarez said it gave his defense time to prepare for the run-and-shoot, but it is an incorrect assumption that Wisconsin has no experience against spread offenses.
"Thank goodness we've had some time off and we've had a couple extra days to practice it and teach and make our guys more familiar with the system," said Alvarez, who is coaching his last regular-season game for Wisconsin after 16 seasons. "Offensively, it's very similar to what we've seen in a number of schools -- one back, no back, four wides, no tight ends. We've seen more of that than we've seen traditional offenses."
Outside linebacker Dontez Sanders said the Badgers gave up too many big plays this season, but held up well in the red zone.
"We missed a lot of tackles and gave up some deep balls," Sanders said. "But we are used to spread teams. We played Northwestern, Purdue and Michigan State. We've seen both."
Brennan, who is No. 2 in the nation in passing yards per game with 357.2, said it's hard for a team like Wisconsin to simulate UH's offense in practice.
"They don't have five little receivers on their scout team to do what we do," Brennan said.
Purcell still out: UH defensive end Mel Purcell -- a key in the Warriors' attempt to slow Wisconsin's rushing attack -- did not practice again yesterday due to a sore elbow.
"Hopefully tomorrow," defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said. "It would be good to have him."
Renolds Fruean would likely start if Purcell can't.
Kick returner A.J. Martinez received the result of his MRI, and there is no ligament damage to his knee.
He is day-to-day with a knee bruise.
Badgers arrive: The Wisconsin contingent landed yesterday. The Badgers -- 80 players strong, including local products Donovan Raiola and James Kamoku -- went straight to Aloha Stadium for a light workout before setting up headquarters at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki.
"The surface is pretty much the same as we play on at home," running back Brian Calhoun said of the Aloha Stadium FieldTurf.
"I think our speed players like it."
UH says thanks: Friday is "Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Night."
Fans with season tickets for football, basketball, and/or women's volleyball get 50 percent off additional ticket purchases for this game (non-premium areas and a maximum of six tickets). This offer is available at the Stan Sheriff Center Box Office today only.