Warriors’ Rausch has tired arm
Junior Greg Alexander fills in at QB
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Sophomore Brent Rausch, designated Hawaii's starting quarterback last week, sat out practice yesterday with a strained right throwing arm.
Coach Greg McMackin said Rausch initially began feeling pain in his arm earlier this week, and it gradually became worse each day.
"The thing is, he told me a couple of days ago that his lower arm was bothering him," McMackin said. "Now (the pain) is up to his biceps. We don't want to take any chances."
Rausch, who's been put through a blitz of activity since winning the starting job, says he'll be back in action today, although he may not participate in the entire practice.
"I'll get warmed up (today) and throw a little bit," Rausch said. "I'm not really going to run all the drills and everything, but by Monday I'll be 100 percent."
McMackin echoed those sentiments, expecting the quarterback to be fine by next week. He's still the projected starter when the Warriors face Florida in seven days.
"I don't think it's anything to be worried about," McMackin said. "We just think it's a strain and it's not a big thing."
If it is, McMackin was quick to point out, "We've got two other guys who can throw the ball, too."
Junior Greg Alexander seems to be next in line in case the injury is worse than expected. He took the majority of the reps in yesterday's practice, with Inoke Funaki serving as the backup.
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This is why there's no time to be disappointed.
Greg Alexander said all the right things and went about his business the right way after teammate Brent Rausch was named the Warriors' starting quarterback to open the 2008 season last week.
Yet, behind the poised, stern look of the transfer from Santa Rosa College, there had to be a bit of disappointment at not winning the job.
But college football is a crazy sport, and with Rausch missing practice yesterday with a strained right throwing arm, Alexander found himself back at the helm taking the majority of reps as the No. 1 guy in practice.
"It went pretty good," Alexander said. "I threw a couple picks there (near the end) and I've got to eliminate those, but other than that it's been a pretty good day."
Judging by the amount of work Alexander and junior Inoke Funaki received yesterday, it seemed clear that Alexander has won the backup job when Rausch returns, although coach Greg McMackin says they are still in the process of deciding.
"All the other quarterbacks have been getting equal reps, because we've been deciding between two and three," he said.
Losing a lot of the workload he got while the starting job was still up in the air was an adjustment for Alexander, who admitted to being much more comfortable getting extended reps yesterday.
"The more reps you get, the more you can get into a rhythm and the more you get a feel for everything that is going on, especially with pocket presence and everything like that," Alexander said. "So obviously the more you play the better you feel you get."
Alexander took close to 80 percent of the reps in team drills and at one point, completed nine straight passes.
With practice winding down for the day, Alexander led the offense on a 2-minute drill inside the 5-yard line.
Wanting to end the session on a high note, Alexander was hoping for a touchdown, but showed his maturity, taking what the defense gave him and throwing the ball away instead of making a costly turnover, as has been a problem for the quarterbacks during camp.
"Obviously, you get down inside the red zone you want to score some points, but you have to be smart down there," Alexander said. "Everything's faster and sometimes when it's not there you have to eat it and just take the three points."
Rausch was in uniform for all of yesterday's practice and did what he could to encourage his teammates, but admitted it was difficult not being out there.
"It sucks I had to sit there," Rausch said. "I was just trying to help my guys and help get them ready, too. I hate sitting on the sidelines and hate watching everybody else throw the ball, but it's OK. Stuff like this happens."
After the morning practice session ended, Alexander's work still wasn't done.
The Warriors met on the field to practice the ha'a for the second straight day, and Alexander seemed to have the dance down fairly well, although he doesn't plan to be in the middle of it come game day.
"I don't fit in real well so I'll probably be in the back when we do it," the 6-foot-4, 240-pound junior said.
As for whether the ha'a or the offense is harder to pick up, Alexander smiled and said, "It's pretty even. They're both pretty tough."