JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Warriors will make their first visit to the Superdome today when they go through their final walk-through.
Offense gets silent treatment
NEW ORLEANS » Maybe it's laughable to compare the Louisiana Superdome with the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.
One is a 72,003-seat facility dripping with history, home to Super Bowls, national championship games and mega-concerts. The other is, well, the Kibbie Dome.
But when it comes to playing indoor football, the 23,000-seat home of the Idaho Vandals is the only point of reference for Hawaii as the Warriors make final preparations for tomorrow's Allstate Sugar Bowl against Georgia.
As soon as UH quarterback Colt Brennan heard the Warriors were headed here, he said he was excited to play indoors with pristine climate conditions. But with a full house, including perhaps 50,000 Georgia fans, noise becomes a factor, especially for the Warriors offense.
That could force UH to use a silent count -- rather than the regular voice signals -- to get its plays started.
"We can only speculate now (on crowd noise)," Brennan said. "We've put all the silent counts in, all the checks. We have different types of them and we just have to wait to see how loud it is during the game.
"Obviously it will be nice if we can go on our normal count. Our normal count's easy. But we've done nothing but silent counts the past three weeks and we're very prepared for it."
Slotback Ryan Grice-Mullins said he doesn't expect any communication problems.
"We feel Aloha Stadium can be as loud as anywhere in the nation," Grice-Mullins said. "We played at Boise, where it's loud, we pretty much know how to play when it's loud. We don't have to change too much.
"I'm sure (the noise) might come into play a little bit. It all depends, you never know until you get there."
Right tackle Keoni Steinhoff said he expects the noise will mean adjustments for Georgia, too.
"They don't play in domes, we don't play in domes," he said. "The atmosphere is going to be crazy, more noise. Playing-wise I think it will be an even matchup. There's going to be loud cheering both sides, so it'll be a crazy game.
"The silent count for this game is going to be a big factor, 75,000 people," said Steinhoff, noting the tactic wasn't needed at Idaho. "This game we're going to have to use it a lot more in the red zone and stuff. It'll be loud. Because when we played the Vandals it was a lot less people and it was very loud. The sound doesn't have anywhere to go. It stays in that building."
Heat could also figure in, since the climate-controlled warmth in the Superdome can dehydrate and fatigue players faster than chilly weather in a typical outdoors game. But both teams are from places where it is warm most of the season.
"Yeah, there was a little bit of a fatigue factor (due to the heat) at Idaho," Steinhoff said. "And we had to warm up because it was cold (outside). Throughout the game it got better."
Grice-Mullins said the Warriors should be acclimated because they've been working out indoors all week.
"Practicing in here in this dome (the Saints practice facility in Metairie) it's been getting a little hot up in here," Grice-Mullins said. "That helps out a lot. I'm pretty sure it's a little hotter than if we'd be outside, but not much."
Defensive tackle Mike Lafaele said any concerns the Warriors have about playing in the Superdome would be addressed at today's walk-through, their first visit to the iconic stadium.
"We're going to go test it out tomorrow at the dome and see how it is," he said. "I'm pretty sure we're in pretty good shape for this game."