CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Cornerback Myron Newberry covered a receiver during practice yesterday. The Warriors have given up more than 30 points three times this season.
‘D’ is A-OK with McMackin
At first-glance, the points-allowed number is somewhat alarming.
Forty-four points on the road at Louisiana Tech.
Thirty-seven against a winless Utah State team with the third-longest losing streak in the country.
Thirty-five last week at San Jose State.
That's 116 points in three games. Yet at the same time, Hawaii's defense ranks 28th in the country in total defense, eighth in sacks and 11th in turnovers gained.
The bye this week has given coach Greg McMackin time to look back at the first seven games of his second tenure as defensive coordinator of the Warriors.
Is he concerned about the point totals? Hardly.
"I think they're real skewed," McMackin said of the "points allowed" statistic. "I don't worry about it at all."
For one reason, the defense hasn't been on the field for three touchdown returns the Warriors have given up this year.
Hawaii has also built big leads in at least three different games this year where the starting unit was taken out early.
"If you go back on some of those games, our second and third string was in, so I don't think those stats really say much about our defense," linebacker Blaze Soares said.
Margin of victory, and how important it is, has been a hot topic for teams trying to impress voters in order to move up in the Bowl Championship Series rankings.
When the BCS concept first came around, margin of victory was part of the criteria. Since then, it has been removed, but at least one of the computer polls used in the rankings still weighs its numbers based on game scores.
Either way, it bears no significance toward the primary goal of Hawaii's defense.
"It's to get the offense back on the field," McMackin said. "It's not about points or yards or any of that."
You do that by forcing turnovers and stopping opponents on third down. Hawaii has been exceptional at both, with 18 takeaways and a WAC-low 29.7 third-down-conversion-allowed percentage.
"Our goal on third down is 37 percent and we're below that," McMackin said. "The thing we weren't doing early is sudden change. We don't want to give up a touchdown on a sudden change. Field goals sometimes you're forced to live with."
Quarterback Colt Brennan has accepted an invitation to play in the 2008 Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 26 in Mobile. Ala.
"That's so cool. It's the best (bowl) you can get invited to," Brennan said after practice yesterday. "It's really the best opportunity for me to get a chance for people to look at me and assess me and get all those stereotypes thrown out the window."
The game will be televised nationally on the NFL Network.
The invite probably means Brennan will not play in the '08 Hula Bowl, which is two weeks earlier at Aloha Stadium.
"(The Senior Bowl) is the only one I have been invited to," he said. "I would think that's the only one I would probably play in."
Some Warriors go pad-less
A few notable names were at practice yesterday, but did not dress in football pads.
The list includes defensive backs Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas, receiver Davone Bess, defensive lineman Karl Noa, along with Soares.
A handful of starters are using the bye week to get rested up as Hawaii prepares for a difficult stretch run that includes games against Boise State, Fresno State and Washington.