Funaki will start
After leading Hawaii to two scoring drives late in a loss at Florida, junior Inoke Funaki will get a shot to start at quarterback when the Warriors face Weber State on Saturday.
Kahuku alum elevated to starting quarterback for Hawaii
"I thought Inoke Funaki really earned an opportunity to play this week against Weber State," UH head coach Greg McMackin said after the team returned to Honolulu yesterday.
Funaki was third in the rotation last week behind junior college transfers Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch. Both newcomers struggled in UH's 56-10 loss to the fifth-ranked Gators and Funaki finished off the day by leading the Warriors to a field goal and a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
McMackin maintained he wasn't disappointed in Alexander and Rausch, but was swayed by Funaki's performance late in the game. The Kahuku graduate scrambled out of trouble on several occasions and completed eight of 11 passes for 110 yards with an interception and a 13-yard touchdown pass to Greg Salas.
"Inoke really made the most of the opportunity when he was given a chance," said McMackin, who discussed the decision with offensive coordinator Ron Lee and quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich.
With senior Tyler Graunke ineligible at the start of fall camp, Funaki entered the season as the only Warriors quarterback with Division I experience. But after a tight competition in camp, first Rausch, then Alexander took turns atop the depth chart leading up to the season opener.
"I was proud of him because the other two guys got the opportunity and he was a team player and tried to find a role on the team and tried to help the other quarterbacks," McMackin said.
Graunke was reinstated to the team last week, and "we're obviously going to try to get a look at him, but he's way behind right now," McMackin said after Saturday's game.
Funaki led Kahuku High School to two state championships and served a two-year Mormon mission before joining the UH program in 2005.
Funaki's promotion means Saturday's 6:05 p.m. matchup with Weber State will feature a meeting of two local quarterbacks. Saint Louis graduate Cameron Higgins went 17-for-27 for 286 yards and two touchdowns in Weber State's 62-6 win over Montana-Western last Thursday.