Hawaii's Erik Robinson, bottom, and Jameel Dowling tackled Florida's Brandon James.
Warriors must regroup fast
The buildup grew through spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp.
But with a highly anticipated visit to Florida now history, the Hawaii football team doesn't have much time to dwell on the lopsided season-opening loss to the Gators.
The Warriors (0-1) are scheduled to use Labor Day for conditioning and reviewing the footage of their 56-10 defeat as they turn their attention to Saturday's home opener against Weber State (1-0).
And the performance against the Gators left the Warriors eager to get back to work.
"We came in with confidence ... unfortunately we came up short and it's very disappointing," senior receiver Mike Washington said after the game. "I took it to heart, but we have to get ready to move on to the next game. It's definitely got me fired up. Big time."
After returning to Honolulu on a flight from Atlanta yesterday afternoon, UH coach Greg McMackin said the Warriors offense will be under the leadership of Inoke Funaki when UH faces the Wildcats of the Big Sky Conference in a pivotal home date sandwiched between the opener at Florida and next week's trip to Oregon State.
Funaki's performance in leading the Warriors to a field goal and a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Florida convinced McMackin, offensive coordinator Ron Lee and quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich to elevate Funaki to the top spot ahead of junior college transfers Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch.
"He made plays and that's the key," Lee said. "He did some nice things and moved the team."
As for the loss to Florida, McMackin saw some positives at the beginning and the end of the game. It was the 30 minutes in between that dictated the outcome as McMackin became the third straight UH head coach to lose in his debut.
"I thought we played solid in the first quarter and I was happy with the effort they gave in the fourth quarter," McMackin said. "But we have to eliminate the mistakes we had in the second and third quarters."
Those mistakes included six interceptions - two taken back for touchdowns - and a punt return for a score as the Gators evenly split their scoring in those two periods.
Meanwhile, the quarterbacks and receivers will spend the week working to iron out some of the kinks that contributed to a passing game that accounted for 181 yards and four picks.
"We did some good things, but we also had some breakdowns with our routes," Lee said.
The Warriors didn't get out of Florida unscathed health-wise. Offensive lineman Laupepa Letuli left the game with a shoulder injury and running back Daniel Libre left Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on crutches with an ankle injury.
Receiver Greg Salas suffered a fracture in his hand, but remained in the game and scored UH's lone touchdown.
Ticket deals abound
Students in the UH system will receive a free ticket to Saturday's game.
Students can pick up their ticket at the Stan Sheriff Center box office (open Monday-Friday) by showing their valid UH identification card. Free bus service will be provided from the Manoa campus to Aloha Stadium.
Military members can also receive tickets at half price (maximum of eight) by showing a valid military ID at the Aloha Stadium box office on game day or at the Sheriff Center box office during the week.
"Hawaii 5-0" returns
The Warriors will again enter Aloha Stadium to the band playing "Hawaii 5-0" this season. In recent years, the team's entrance was accompanied by theme music played over the public address system with starters introduced individually.