With new quarterbacks and all new starting receivers, Hawaii gained just 241 yards. Mike Washington had four catches for 18 yards.
Run and shoots! Offense sputters with new cast
GAINESVILLE, Fla. » An inexperienced Hawaii offense expected growing pains and playing the fifth-ranked team in the country tends to amplify those aches.
With Colt Brennan and four starting receivers gone, a largely new cast found some success early in the season opener against Florida. But that promising beginning came to a startling end thanks in part to six turnovers that set the tone for a 56-10 loss yesterday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Junior Greg Alexander, making the leap from junior-college ball to facing the No. 5 Gators, struggled for much of his UH debut in going 11-for-21 with two interceptions and finishing with 57 yards.
Alexander's first interception short-circuited a promising drive and the second was returned for a touchdown. Brent Rausch replaced him in the third quarter and also had a pick taken back for a score.
Funaki entered the game with the outcome long since decided and made a few plays by scrambling out of trouble and accounted for UH's lone touchdown of a rough afternoon.
"I went out there and played a piss-poor game and that can't happen again," Alexander said. "I put the defense in some tough situations. The two picks for touchdowns, I had a fumble and gave them great field position, So that's on me. We can't put the defense in a tough spot like that."
The Warriors tried to play keep-away from Florida's offensive playmakers in the first quarter by feeding running backs Leon Wright-Jackson and Daniel Libre on handoffs and shovel passes.
But the passing game remains the identity of the Warriors' run-and-shoot offense, and downfield gains were few against the Florida defense.
"We have to throw the ball," UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. "The running game was great, but we didn't make the big play in the passing game. We have to make some plays through the air, that's us."
Said Alexander: "We wanted to shorten the game in the first quarter, get a feel for things. Short throws, running the ball. We were moving the ball well and started having some turnovers, they got the momentum, after that you saw what happened."
Wright-Jackson ended up as UH's most productive receiver, picking up 39 yards. Greg Salas, part of the Warriors' new starting quartet, had four catches for 33 yards and the Warriors' lone touchdown in an offense dependent on the quarterbacks and receivers making the same reads at the line of scrimmage.
"This is a complicated offense, and we played against one of the best teams in the country," UH coach Greg McMackin said.
"I have to look at the film. I don't know if it's the quarterback's fault or the receiver's fault. The receivers have to run the package, too."
So with 12 games left, starting with Saturday's game against Weber State, where does the UH offense go from here?
"We go back to work," Lee said. "The coaches have to do a better job of getting the guys ready and we have to take it one practice at a time."