UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Warriors hoping Funaki can fill the void
Hawaii quarterback Inoke Funaki gets chance with Tyler Graunke out
An injury to a teammate means a heavier work load for Hawaii quarterback Inoke Funaki in the final week of spring practice.
With Tyler Graunke sidelined due to a hand injury, Funaki is getting more repetitions as the backup to senior Colt Brennan for the last three practices of the spring.
The Kahuku graduate split the snaps with Brennan yesterday and continues the process of learning the intricacies of the UH offense.
FOOTBALL OHANA FESTIVAL
» Contests and activities for fans, autograph and photo sessions with UH players, team practice
» Saturday, 5-8:30 p.m.
» Aloha Stadium
» Parking and admission: Free
"You always have to be ready, whether I'm two, three or four," Funaki said. "Whenever they need me hopefully I can be ready.
"I feel I'm getting more comfortable, getting more used to seeing what the defense gives you and being able to react to it."
Though an injury to his throwing hand ended Tyler Graunke's spring a little early, the timing gives Hawaii's backup quarterback a chance to heal and prepare for fall camp.
It also means a bit more work for sophomore Inoke Funaki for the rest of spring practice.
Funaki moved up a spot behind starter Colt Brennan -- if only for a few days -- with the events of the week serving as a reminder of how quickly roles can change.
"Just like Coach was saying, I just have to make sure I'm ready because that could happen at any time, in practice or in a game later on in the season," the sophomore from Kahuku said. "I just have to make sure I'm ready, or whoever is behind (Brennan), so things can keep rolling."
Graunke suffered the injury on Monday and didn't attend yesterday morning's practice while Brennan and Funaki took all of the snaps in the seven-on-seven and team periods.
The team's last on-campus workout of the spring was scheduled for this morning and the Warriors have their 15th and final practice at the Football Ohana Festival on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Funaki served a two-year mission in the Dominican Republic after guiding Kahuku to two state championships. He made his college debut last season and saw occasional mop-up duty at quarterback. He was also the holder on field goals and extra points. He completed six of 12 passes for 128 yards and ran the ball 10 times for 34 yards as a redshirt freshman.
With a seasoned Brennan returning for his senior year, the backup quarterbacks were given more repetitions this spring, providing Funaki a greater opportunity to learn by doing rather than as an observer.
"Experience is the best teacher," Funaki said after greeting Kahuku coach Reggie Torres, who watched yesterday's practice.
"They're always teaching us stuff in the classroom, showing us video on what to do. But getting out there and making mistakes definitely helps you to learn how to not make the same mistakes.
"I'm learning and getting more experience. The longer I stay here, the more I see, and the more I see the more I'm able to anticipate things."
Graunke was injured during a drill late in Monday's practice when his throwing hand hit defensive lineman Siave Seti while following through on a pass.
An MRI of Graunke's right hand showed there wasn't a break and he'll treat it by resting it for a few weeks.
Seti's spirits were pretty low in the days following Monday's practice as the play weighed on the senior's mind. He said defensive coordinator Greg McMackin and Brennan offered some words of encouragement, though he hadn't yet had a chance to talk to Graunke.
"It was just one of those plays, everything was going so fast," Seti said. "I just happened to put my hand up, I was doing the drill, and hit Tyler on the throwing arm.
"I really feel bad because he's a really good quarterback. I'm really sorry about that and I wanted to apologize to my whole team and apologize to Graunke."
Receiver Davone Bess, a quarterback in high school, switched roles for a few minutes early in yesterday's practice to help out during passing drills.
"He's been lobbying for a double pass the last two years," quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said. "He's actually a pretty good thrower."