Reviews mixed on UH byes
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Depending on who you ask, the value of having two byes in three weeks wavers.
Hawaii (8-0, 5-0 Western Athletic Conference), ranked 14th in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings, is in the middle of a stretch where it plays just once in 28 days.
For some, the extended rest is a plus no matter how long it lasts.
"I always think byes late in the season are (good)," Hawaii coach June Jones said.
For others, it's a drought that they wish wasn't happening.
"I don't like having byes," Hawaii offensive line/special teams coach Dennis McKnight said. "I think it takes away momentum and stuff you have."
Hawaii's overtime thriller against San Jose State seems like a blast from the past by now, but it was only two games ago.
The good part is the Warriors should be well rested for the most important stretch run in school history.
A WAC title and possible BCS bowl bid hang in the balance.
The quartet of nationally televised games begins Nov. 10 against Fresno State, a game that will air on ESPN2.
The time off has allowed certain Warriors to recover from nagging injuries, but it isn't all fun and games during the bye weeks.
"Everybody thinks we have rest and stuff, but it's just another practice week for us," starting right tackle Keoni Steinhoff said. "We come out here every day, practice, weight room, running, all that kind of stuff.
"Relaxing isn't necessarily on my schedule."
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If Keith AhSoon has any more games go the way last week's did, he may have to revisit the rule book.
Hawaii's starting left tackle was whistled for three holding calls against New Mexico State, and he wasn't happy about them.
"Maybe we need to have some referee session or something to get to know what's holding," AhSoon said. "I was disappointed (with the calls), man, but at the same time I had to keep my composure."
The offensive line was one of Hawaii's biggest question marks when the season began. AhSoon and opposite tackle Keoni Steinhoff have helped stabilize a unit that has given up 27 sacks in eight games in a pass-happy offense.
The Warriors yielded just one sack to the Aggies on Saturday, but were whistled for 13 penalties that accounted for more than 140 yards.
Not all of that was on the offensive line, but they were flagged for four holding penalties.
Offensive line coach Dennis McKnight shared AhSoon's frustration about some of the calls.
"What they call holding and what I call holding, obviously we're on different pages," McKnight said. "To me, an ass-kicking where you put a guy on his back on a flat-ass pancake block is not holding."
McKnight has said all season that game experience and repetitions were the main ways his young unit would improve.
The Warriors are going through their second bye in three weeks, and while McKnight isn't happy with the time off, the line is still getting plenty of work done.
"The one good thing about it is we practice against the No. 1 sack team in our conference every day," McKnight said. "I think our defense, with the way they blitz and come after us, is the best work we can get."
Just as the coaches differ in their opinions on Hawaii's lengthy amount of time between games, AhSoon and Steinhoff have their different views on it as well.
"I think another bye week for more hard work in practice is important to us," Steinhoff said. "We still need to improve our blocking schemes."
"It kind of bothers me," AhSoon countered. "Once you're in that routine of going out there every Saturday, it's a good thing. It's hard for someone like me who's anxious to play."
The discussion will become moot when Hawaii meets Fresno State on Nov. 10 and plays its final four regular-season games in a span of just 22 days.
"It's going to be a dogfight to the end," Steinhoff said.
Hawaii-Fresno on ESPN2
Hawaii's home game Nov. 10 against Fresno State will be broadcast nationally by ESPN2, Western Athletic Commissioner Karl Benson said yesterday morning.
But ESPN will black out the game in Hawaii and the Fresno area, leaving existing local broadcasts in place. The Hawaii broadcast will still be a pay-per-view game.
The Aloha Stadium game will still start at 6:05 p.m.
All four regular-season games left for the Warriors will be on national TV.
"We're so glad that we were able to work out the various details with ESPN in order to deliver this game to a national television audience," UH athletic director Herman Frazier said. "Having our last four football games on national television, including three at home, will really highlight our program and provide wonderful exposure for the state of Hawaii."