CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tyler Graunke has had his ups and downs this season as Hawaii's backup quarterback. He says he's ready to start if the Warriors need him against Nevada on Friday.
It might be Graunke time for UH
One admits he wasn't prepared to do his job last week, and the other said he isn't looking forward to the chill of Reno.
But Hawaii backup quarterbacks Tyler Graunke and Inoke Funaki vow to be ready if needed when the Warriors (9-0, 6-0 WAC) try to complete an unbeaten road season at Nevada (5-4, 3-2) on Friday.
Starter Colt Brennan watched practice yesterday as he awaits medical clearance. Funaki took the bulk of the reps.
"(Graunke's) played in games and he's gotten a lot of practice time," Jones said. "Tyler's gotten a lot of reps and that's why we want to get Inok' caught up.
"We do what we have to do to get ready to play. Tyler knows what to do. So we're just trying to get them both ready. If they both need to play you want to make sure they know what to do. There could be a role for both of them (Friday)."
Graunke has had his ups and downs in three seasons as Brennan's backup. Last Saturday night was not one for his scrapbook.
The junior took over after Brennan went down with a concussion with 10:43 left in the fourth quarter. He completed his lone pass for 14 yards, but otherwise failed to move the team, rushing three times for a net loss of 4 yards. He recovered his own fumble on his first play, and was also sacked for a 5-yard loss. The Warriors held on for a 37-30 win.
Graunke was asked yesterday if he was ready to play Saturday.
"Honestly, no. I didn't think I was going in and I got nervous once my number got called," he said. "I was a little shaky and got tingly all over, but it's all good. I didn't get to warm-up, run or throw at all. Kind of shaken. But I can't be doing that, I gotta be ready whenever I'm called upon."
Graunke performed well last season as Brennan's backup. He completed 32 of 43 passes for 501 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. This season he is 44-for-72 for 734 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He played extensively in two games because of an ankle injury to Brennan earlier in the season.
Funaki, a sophomore, has completed 10 of 15 passes for 136 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions this season after limited duty last fall.
He has also rushed nine times for 49 yards and no touchdowns. Graunke has netted 10 yards in 11 rushing attempts with two touchdowns.
The extended forecast for Reno on Friday is a high of 59 degrees and a low of 33 with partly cloudy skies. Graunke and Funaki have little experience playing in cold weather.
"I'm from Tucson, Ariz., and I'm in Hawaii," Graunke said. "I'll layer a lot and I'll keep moving around on the sidelines to be ready."
Kahuku graduate Funaki spent a year living in Utah when he was a junior high school student.
"I had a couple games in the cold there and it wasn't fun. It was snowing and stuff and there was ice. I guess it depends on the person. I'm a local boy, an island boy," Funaki said. "I'm not very fond of the cold weather. To go from here it will be super cold playing in that kind of weather."
They want their friend and team leader ready to play Friday, but Graunke and Funaki also look forward to the opportunity to lead the Warriors.
"Look, he's back joking around already," Funaki said of Brennan. "I hope he's OK for the game. But we have a short week. If he's not (cleared) or something happens in the game, hopefully Tyler and I will be ready to help the team pick up where he left off."
Starting receivers Davone Bess, C.J. Hawthorne and Jason Rivers did not practice yesterday. Bess has a minor ankle problem, Hawthorne is dealing with a tight hamstring, and Rivers has a sore back. ... San Jose State receiver Kevin Jurovich, Boise State linebacker Dallas Dobbs and Fresno State kick returner A.J. Jefferson (98-yard kickoff return against UH) were named the WAC Players of the Week.