UH avoids bachi ball
Some Warriors find good-luck habits help before the big game
» Warriors' streak continues
University of Hawaii football fans might recall where quarterback Colt Brennan was at the end of the Warriors' nail-biting 45-44 overtime victory at Louisiana Tech last month.
The Heisman Trophy candidate sat alone on the sidelines, head down, not daring to look toward the Joe Aillet Stadium field as the Bulldogs went for a game-winning 2-point conversion that would have ended Hawaii's hopes for an undefeated season.
As it turns out, that was deliberate -- Brennan tries to keep himself as busy as possible while he's not making plays. When that's impossible (like at LaTech), a towel draped over his head acts as a backup.
"Whenever I feel I find myself rooting for the defense, sitting there watching every play, it just seems like I jinx the defense," Brennan explained. "It seems like when I'm not paying attention, the defense gets a big turnover."
Cornerback Gerard Lewis batted down quarterback Zac Champion's pass attempt, Brennan looked up with a relieved grin and the Warriors celebrated on the field.
While the team isn't rife with superstitious players, most have quirks unique to them. For example, sophomore linebacker Josh Rice insists on lacing up his shoes right before left.
"(It goes back to) high school," Rice said. "Just started doing it, and if I put my left shoe on before my right I'd feel funny and have to take them off."
Food, on either game days or the night prior, is a common thread.
Slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins considers himself a redeemed man in that regard since his freshman year.
"One thing I did change -- when I was a freshman, I used to barely eat, because I didn't want to be stuffed before the games," the junior said. "Then I realized we don't play until three hours after we eat, and every game I used to be hungry right before the game starts. Now I make sure I get myself as full as possible and by the time the game starts I got the energy to play at the highest level."
But for the record, he laces up left before right. And he needs a fresh pair of gloves marked with his jersey number (1) before every game.
Brennan won't touch eggs or bacon on game days, going back to his childhood.
"It's just something as a kid, my dad on my first two football games, he got me eggs and bacon and we got blasted, so I never ate eggs and bacon since then ever again."
Defensive end Francis Maka (left before right) watches a good-luck video on his iPod from his girlfriend. Fellow end Karl Noa, who married his wife, Kehau, in July, slips his wedding ring under his glove during games.
"Ever since I started putting on gloves (this season), I've been wearing my ring under the glove," Noa said. "If I take off the gloves I'm sure to take off the ring. Just to have my wife (Kehau) with me."
He also reflects on the past, watching film from previous games, even last season when the defense was aligned differently.
"Just to see and go through what I was thinking at that time, get back into that mentality I was in when I was playing well," Noa said. "I do that from time to time."
Conversely, linebacker Adam Leonard meditates on the future.
"Before the game, I relax, don't really listen to music, but just think about what's going to happen, and just visualize myself making big plays in the game, doing great things," he said.
As for doing anything special during the Warriors' winning streak and undefeated season, Brennan summed it up best.
"Umm, no man, just trying to ... not lose."