Hawaii could use a few more Warriors
Listened to it on the radio and watched it twice on TV, and I've got a few thoughts about that thing Saturday on the West Coast that was a competitive football game for about 15 minutes (no, not USC-Ohio State).
First of all, not a bad day for the home state guys, other than the ones wearing green.
The best performance by a quarterback with Hawaii ties was in the broadcast booth. Former Saint Louis and Washington State star Jason Gesser is raw but entertaining. He might irritate some with his Rex Hudler-like enthusiasm and humor, but his insights are sharp and he'll improve with experience. He wants to coach, so his broadcast career may end up on hold.
OK, you want to talk about current players. Wouldn't Kahuku grad Al Afalava look good in the Hawaii secondary? His hit on Aaron Bain that led to UH's only touchdown looked clean on the tube, which gets me to thinking Afalava is being profiled by officials for previous deeds.
UNLV's Malo Taumua made the big play in the upset of Arizona State, blocking a kick. It's doubtful one guy could cure what ails the Hawaii special teams, but it'd still be nice for UH fans if this Aiea grad had gone to Manoa with his high school teammates, Rocky Savaiigaea and R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane.
Then there's Kaluka Maiava, a starting linebacker on the USC defense some tout as the fastest - if not best - ever. The Baldwin alum made the sweetest block of the day, pounding Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman into the Coliseum turf on Rey Maualuga's pick six.
Back to the Warriors, who need major repairs before Dick Tomey and his San Jose State Spartans come to town following a sorely needed bye.
Offense: I'm all for the idea of a horizontal game and screens and shovels to slow down the blitzes. It took a while against Washington last year, but it finally worked and opened up other things.
But injuries to the quarterbacks, running backs and line have slowed development of the offense. Some receivers who are counted upon seem to disappear for quarters at a time, even entire games.
Four quarterbacks have been designated No. 1 in the past month. And the latest, Tyler Graunke, is injured. Some of it is circumstantial, but the bottom line is unacceptable instability heading into conference play.
Defense: This is supposed to be the focal point of the team and hold things together until the offense gets up to speed. Major malfunctions in the other two phases have put the defense in tough spots, but this group was supposed to deal with it. So far, it often hasn't.
Special teams: Didn't think they could get worse than last week, but they did.
Overall so far, one good half against Weber State, one good quarter against Florida and one good drive against Oregon State.
If things don't improve, we may be looking at Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl against Oregon State.