Dillard accepts new role with Bulldogs
The Louisiana Tech safety ran for 155 yards against Hawaii as a running back last season
When Hawaii encountered Mark Dillard 13 months ago, he was a Louisiana Tech running back, and he ran all over the visiting Warriors in Ruston, La.
This time Dillard will try to help stop the nation's most productive offense on its home field.
LOUISIANA TECH AT HAWAII
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Saturday, 6:05 p.m. (Stadium gates open at 3 p.m.)
TV: Live (and rebroadcast at 10:30 p.m.) on pay per view (Dig. 255). Call 625-8100 on Oahu or (808) 643-2337 statewide. Delayed free on Sunday, 10 a.m. on KFVE (Ch. 5).
Radio: KKEA (1420-AM)
Parking: $5. Lot gates open at 2:30 p.m. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Shuttles are from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and approximately 1 hour after game ends. Parking also at Radford High School ($3, no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
Stadium security: Fanny packs, purses and backpacks and handbags will be permitted subject to check. No illegal contraband, weapons, fireworks, coolers, cans, bottles, air horns, noisemakers, umbrellas, outside food and or beverages are allowed inside the stadium gates.
Tickets: $5-38. Available online at hawaiiathletics.com, by phone at 944-2697 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or at the Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium, UH Campus Center, RainbowTique at Ward Center and Windward Community College's OCET office.
Student buses: Four free buses will pick up students in front of Gateway House (2653 Dole Street), leave for the stadium at 4 p.m. and return 30 minutes after the game ends.
Promotions: UH season-ticket holders in football, men's or women's basketball or women's volleyball receive two tickets for the price of one. These purchases must be made online at hawaiiathletics.com or from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center, prior to gameday. Also, active and reserve members of the armed services receive the same discount. In addition to the Stan Sheriff Center, the military discount can be attained at the Aloha Stadium box office.
Dillard got 155 of his 672 rushing yards for the 2005 season against UH, including touchdowns of 59 and 32 yards as the Bulldogs rolled to a 46-14 win.
The high-flying Warriors (7-2, 5-1 WAC) are expected to turn the tables Saturday at Aloha Stadium and cruise to their sev
enth straight win -- a feat Hawaii hasn't achieved since 1984.
The Bulldogs (3-6, 1-3) will try to slow UH with Dillard playing the strong safety position LaTech calls "Dog." He knows it's a big challenge.
"It's like their passing game is so crisp. The receivers always get open and the quarterback is always on point," said Dillard, while on the 3-hour bus ride to Dallas prior to the 8-hour flight to Honolulu last night. "The quarterback is able to scramble and get outside. Hopefully we can slow down the game."
That might be hard to do, considering how many injuries the LaTech defense has endured this year -- especially the secondary.
Three of the Bulldogs' top five defensive backs are out, and Dillard has been bothered by a sternum injury the past three weeks.
Dillard manages to remain optimistic, and doesn't regret his move from running back.
"It was a thing I had to do for our team, I know we have a lot of good running backs and I really didn't mind moving over to safety. Everything worked out for the best. Our running game is working well," the 5-foot-11, 222-pound junior said.
Pedersen moving up:
UH second-year freshman Erik Pedersen got a lot of reps with the first team yesterday at buck linebacker. Solomon Elimimian is a solid starter there, but Pedersen is listed as No. 2 on the depth chart and is progressing quickly after moving from safety last month.
"It's working out. Whatever gets me on the field," said Pedersen, who played one game at linebacker in high school at Palos Verdes, Calif.
Pedersen, who is listed at 6-feet and 197 pounds, got in for a few downs at Utah State last week.
"It gave me a chance to be out there on the field doing something. I waited awhile. Just glad I got in, got a chance," he said.
Starting safety Leonard Peters said he will test his knee in practice today after declaring it "unstable" yesterday. He said he thinks it will be solid enough by Saturday to play.
That's what he told coach June Jones.
Jones: "Any better, Leonard?"
Jones: "Tomorrow then?"
As for his torn rib cartilage from the beginning of the season, that is still bothersome at times.
"It's OK today, three days after the game. In between that time it's pretty sore," Peters said.
You help me, I'll help you:
Offensive linemen remain brothers, even when one is moved to the defense.
Guard Larry Sauafea was shifted to defensive end Monday to help out because of injuries. Yesterday during practice he perfectly anticipated an option-left by quarterback Colt Brennan and slid all the way over from the other side of the line to stymie the play for no gain.
"That's the last time I tell you the play," shouted right tackle Dane Uperesa.
Uperesa laughed afterward.
"He tells me theirs, too," he said.
Where's the crowd?:
UH had distributed 24,400 tickets for Saturday's game at the end of business yesterday.
The Warriors' largest crowd in four home games this year is 29,427 that showed for the Oct. 7 game against Nevada.
UH has completed its road schedule and finishes out the regular season with four home games. Hawaii has won five straight at home going back to the finale against San Diego State last season.