CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keao Monteilh, right, suffered a shoulder injury against New Mexico State and will miss the rest of Hawaii's season.
Warriors’ Monteilh to miss rest of season
A shoulder injury will keep Hawaii safety Keao Monteilh on the sideline for the remainder of the Warriors' season.
But that doesn't mean the junior won't try to stay involved in helping the Warriors (8-0, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference) through a defining stretch run.
"I'll still go out there and help and support the guys," Monteilh said yesterday after an examination confirmed he suffered a fracture in his left shoulder suffered in last Saturday's game against New Mexico State, ending his junior season.
"It won't be fun sitting out and just watching. But as long as I get a (WAC championship) ring and the boys get it done I'll be happy. And it's an opportunity for someone else to get in there."
Monteilh suffered the injury making a hit while trying to break up a pass that resulted in NMSU's lone touchdown in UH's 50-13 win. Monteilh was told the injury could take six to eight weeks to heal, and hopes to "make an appearance" in a bowl game at the end of the season.
A cornerback early in his career, Monteilh had started all eight games at free safety this season, recording 19 tackles and two interceptions. But his contributions go beyond the stat sheet.
"He's kind of a captain back there," UH coach June Jones said. "He lines people up and he really is just a good football player, made a lot of things happen, was really kind of coming into his own and found his spot on the team."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Coach June Jones called Keao Monteilh "kind of" captain of the Warriors' defensive backfield.
Although Monteilh was the starter, Desmond Thomas has seen significant playing time in the Warriors' packages featuring five defensive backs. He started two games, including last Saturday, and will enter next week's game with Fresno State fourth on the team with 35 total tackles and one interception.
"Getting good reps throughout the season has helped. I know I'm ready," said Thomas, who participated in yesterday morning's conditioning session despite a thigh bruise.
"When the first guy goes down the next guy has to step up and be ready. Hopefully if I get in there we don't miss a beat."
The Warriors have two weeks to come up with a plan to fill the void and Jones said junior Erik Robinson and freshman Spencer Smith could work into the rotation. Ryan Mouton, who returned from a knee injury and played extensively in nickel situations last week, could also factor in.
The news was a bit better for linebacker and special teams contributor Rustin Saole. What was initially thought to be a season-ending knee injury, was diagnosed as a strained medial collateral ligament and he could return in three weeks.
Running back Leon Wright-Jackson had a bruised knee that isn't expected to keep him out of action.
By Greg McMackin's measure, Hawaii's defensive performance on Saturday was one for the books, or, rather, the board.
For 14 years, the UH defensive coordinator has displayed a list of nine goals for the defense. Until Saturday, no team had filled all nine items in a game.
"I had the Miami Hurricanes who were No. 1 in the country in total defense, passing defense and scoring defense, and there was always one or two that we didn't get done," McMackin said. "That was a special effort. I've had some really good teams and nobody's accomplished that."
The list starts with "win" and ends with "score/setup score." In between are limits for scoring (17 points or fewer), stopping the run (3.4 yards per carry or less), big plays (no running plays more than 20 yards and no passes more than 30), third-down success (37 percent or under), forcing three and outs, and not allowing a touchdown after turnovers.
"They're realistic goals and they're all goals to get the offense back on the field," McMackin said.
McMackin credited defensive assistants George Lumpkin, Jeff Reinebold, Cal Lee and Rich Miano, and graduate assistant Terry Duffield for preparing their individual units for a New Mexico State team that entered the game seventh in the country in passing offense.
"It's a great accomplishment for the team in reaching those goals and it says a lot about the coaches, that everybody's understanding what they need to do and where they need to be," safety Jake Patek said.
More air time?
With three of UH's final four games already scheduled to be shown on ESPN or ESPN2, next week's game against Fresno State could be added to the list today.
"All I can tell you is they were discussing it and trying to find a way to make it happen," WAC commissioner Karl Benson said.
Tickets going fast
UH's game with defending WAC champion Boise State on Nov. 23 has been announced as a sellout, with fewer than 300 student tickets remaining for the game.
The school also announced that fewer than 11,000 tickets are available to the general public for next week's game against Fresno State and fewer than 8,000 remain for the Dec. 1 regular-season finale against Washington.