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Warriors worry Bulldogs


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POSTED: Saturday, October 11, 2008

Now that word—and more significantly the tape—of Hawaii's retooled attack is making the rounds, countering the adjustments sure to follow is the next step for the Warriors staff.

                       
Louisiana Tech at Hawaii
Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. HST
TV: PPV, Dig. 255
Radio: 1420-AM
The line: Hawaii by 7½

"We're like mad scientists up there right now," Hawaii quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said.

The Warriors coaches tinkered with the run-and-shoot offense, implementing elements to fit the skill set of mobile junior quarterback Inoke Funaki.

The plan worked well enough last week when Funaki made plays both running and throwing in the Warriors' road upset of Fresno State.

The Warriors will try to build on that performance when they face Louisiana Tech today at Aloha Stadium.

"I'm sure they watched tape, so I'm sure they'll adjust and come with a different game plan possibly, so we have to be ready for anything," Funaki said.

Although the Warriors don't throw the ball around the park the way they used to and have a largely new cast running the modified attack, Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley sees some familiar characteristics when he studies the footage.

"It looks like the same Hawaii team," said Dooley, who admitted to losing some sleep while the Warriors were busy knocking off Fresno State last Saturday. "They're fast, they're physical, they play with a lot of confidence."

Just as the Warriors got a confidence boost with a historic road win last week, Louisiana Tech, which has never won in Honolulu, will be looking for a similar lift today coming off a 35-point loss at Boise State.

HOW THEY COMPARE

"[art]"

The following is a look at today's matchup as Hawaii looks for its seventh straight homecoming win:

When Hawaii has the ball: No quarterback questions for the Warriors this week.

The coaches gave Funaki a chance to make plays running the ball on rollouts and draw plays and he delivered an efficient performance in the win over Fresno State. He's completing 61 percent of his throws and didn't toss an interception last week.

"He's learning from mistakes, instead of worrying about them," Rolovich said.

Kealoha Pilares averages 6.4 yards each time he touches the ball and could see time at both running back and receiver as the staff looks to give the shifty sophomore even more work.

The Warriors line has stabilized over the past two weeks, but cutting down on penalties will be critical for an offense that doesn't pick up yards in bunches the way it did last year.

Louisiana Tech ranks last in the country in pass defense, giving up more than 344 yards per game, and began the week 111th in total defense.

Dooley said the Bulldogs will probably be without defensive end Kwame Jordan, their top pass rusher, who leads LaTech with five tackles for losses. Free safety Antonio Baker is 10th nationally with 10.8 tackles per game.

When Louisiana Tech has the ball: The Bulldogs have moved the ball at times this season. Getting it into the end zone has been a far tougher task.

LaTech has only five offensive touchdowns in four games and is last in the WAC in scoring and passing offense. The Bulldogs have had trouble finishing drives, converting on 60 percent of their red-zone opportunities.

The Bulldogs average 152 yards per game on the ground, led by the tandem of Daniel Porter and Patrick Jackson. Quarterback Taylor Bennett, who started at Georgia Tech last season, is completing 39 percent of his passes, with two touchdowns against five interceptions.

"We're getting more big plays than we've ever had ... we're converting more third downs than ever, but our throwing and catching consistently are bad," Dooley said. "The numbers don't lie. When you're completing 40 percent of your balls, that ain't good."

Hawaii linebacker Adam Leonard returned to practice this week after sitting out last week's game due to injury. The Warriors gave up 381 rushing yards against Fresno State, but made up for it with six takeaways.

Special teams: A trouble spot early in the season, Hawaii's special teams came through with the game-turning plays in last week's win.

The Warriors returned a kickoff for a score, recovered a fumble on a kickoff and blocked the potential game-winning field goal—and Dan Kelly connected on four field goals to win WAC player of the week honors.

Louisiana Tech punter Chris Keagle was a first-team All-WAC pick last season and is averaging 42.3 yards per kick, killing nine inside the opponents' 20.

In UH's last two games, just three of Tim Grasso's eight punts have been returned—with the coverage unit allowing just 1.3 yards per return—with three other kicks ending up inside the 15-yard line.

 

KEY MATCHUP

Hawaii special teams vs. LaTech special teams

Whichever team wins the coin flip, Hawaii coach Greg McMackin expects "a big train wreck on the first kickoff" when the Warrior and Bulldog coverage and return units collide.

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The Warriors tightened up their kick coverage in their last two games and caused a fumble in their win over Fresno State. Maintaining that aggression while minding their assignments will be a key to containing LaTech returner Phillip Livas, who leads the WAC in all-purpose yards.

Louisiana Tech has returned just five punts this season, but ranks fifth nationally with an average of 20.2 yards per attempt thanks to Livas' 57-yarder for a touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana.

Hawaii's Ryan Mouton broke loose for a 90-yard return last week and should get his opportunities as LaTech kicker Brad Oestriecher has just one touchback this season. But Louisiana Tech leads the WAC in kickoff coverage, stopping returners at the 22-yard-line on average.

 


OTHER KEY STATISTICS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

     

 

 

HawaiiCategoryLouisiana Tech
5.4Rushing first downs/game8.3
9.2Passing first downs/game7.0
2.0First downs by penalty/game1.5
5-28Interceptions-return yards4-70
41.0Punting avg.42.3
45-408Penalties-yards27-211
10-7Fumbles-lost5-3
22%Third-down conversion rate43%
50%Fourth-down conversion rate25%
33.4Pts. allowed/game26.8
171.0Rush. yds. allowed/game103.0
201.6Pass. yds. allowed/game344.5
372.6Total yards allowed/game447.5

 

       

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

     

 

 

Rushing

AYdsAvgTD
Daniel Porter, LTU512203.91
Patrick Jackson, LTU511743.22
Kealoha Pilares, UH291675.84
Inoke Funaki, UH381574.10

 

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

     

 

 

Passing

ACIYdsTD
Taylor Bennett, LTU1275036922
Inoke Funaki, UH855255763
Tyler Graunke, UH563033883

 

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

     

 

 

Receiving

RecYdsAvgTD
Phillip Livas, LTU1425017.9
0 Philip Beck, LTU 711015.70
Mike Washington, UH272429.01
Greg Salas, UH1721812.81

 

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

     

 

 

Tackles

SATotFL/S
Antonio Baker, LTU2221430/0
Deon Young, LTU1315280/0
Quin Harris, LTU620261/0.5
Stevon Howze, LTU1312250/0
Solomon Elimimian, UH1818363.5/1
David Veikune, UH2012322/0
Brashton Satele, UH1515304/1
Jameel Dowling, UH1612281/1

 

       

Louisiana Tech
2-2 (0-1 WAC)
PROBABLE STARTERS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

     

 

 

Offense
LT74Rob McGill6-6305So.
LG62Ben Harris6-4295Jr.
C60Lon Roberts6-3277So.
RG67Jared Miles6-3324So.
RT76Cudahy Harmon6-6327So.
TE43Dustin Mitchell6-4252Jr.
WR6Phillip Livas5-8175So.
WR82Philip Beck5-9190Sr.
QB13Taylor Bennett6-3217Sr.
RB23Patrick Jackson5-10203Sr.
or20Daniel Porter5-9190Jr.
U47Anthony Harris6-3242Sr.
Defense
DE91Matt Broha6-4228Fr.
DT90Mason Hitt6-1268So.
DT5D'Anthony Smith6-2300Jr.
DE85Randy Grigsby6-3242So.
SAM36Brian White6-1228Jr.
MIKE58Brannon Jackson6-1265Sr.
WILL37Quin Harris6-2235Sr.
CB35Weldon Brown5-10187Sr.
SS25Deon Young5-11197Jr.
FS34Antonio Baker5-11200Jr.
CB27Stevon Howze5-9175Sr.
Specialists
K33Brad Oestriecher5-10184Sr.
P17Chris Keagle6-0242Sr.
KR6Phillip Livas5-8175So.

82Philip Beck5-9190Sr.
PR82Philip Beck5-9190Sr.
H17Chris Keagle6-0242Sr.
DS52Thomas Graham5-10236Jr.
Schedule
DATEOPP.RESULT
Aug. 30Mississippi StateW, 22-14
Sept. 6at KansasL, 29-0
Sept. 20Southeastern LouisianaW, 41-26
Oct. 1at Boise StateL, 38-3
Todayat Hawaii
Oct. 18Idaho
Oct. 25at Army
Nov. 1Fresno State
Nov. 8at San Jose State
Nov. 15Utah State
Nov. 22at New Mexico State
Nov. 29Nevada

 

       

Hawaii
2-3 (1-1 WAC)
PROBABLE STARTERS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Offense
Z89Malcolm Lane6-1180Jr.
H5Mike Washington5-9170Sr.
LT77Aaron Kia6-5290Jr.
LG63Brysen Ginlack6-2310So.
C55John Estes6-2295Jr.
RG51Lafu Tuioti-Mariner6-0300Sr.
RT78Keoni Steinhoff6-3295Sr.
Y85Aaron Bain5-8190Sr.
X1Greg Salas6-2200So.
QB11Inoke Funaki5-11190Jr.
RB21Kealoha Pilares5-11190So.
Defense
DE94David Veikune6-3265Sr.
DT93Keala Watson6-3320Sr.
DT99Josh Leonard6-3305Sr.
DE58John Fonoti6-2255Jr.
STUB44Adam Leonard6-0235Sr.
MLB13Brashton Satele6-1255Jr.
BUCK17Solomon Elimimian6-0225Sr.
CB2Ryan Mouton5-10175Sr.
FS35Keao Monteilh5-11200Sr.
SS7Erik Robinson5-10200Sr.
CB23Calvin Roberts5-11175Sr.
Specialists
K86Dan Kelly6-3225Sr.
P49Tim Grasso5-11210Sr.
KR2Ryan Mouton5-10175Sr.
PR5Mike Washington5-9170Sr.
LS57Jake Ingram6-4235Sr.
H49Tim Grasso5-11210Sr.
SCHEDULE
DATEOPP.RESULT
Aug. 30at FloridaL, 56-10
Sept. 6Weber StateW, 36-17
Sept. 13at Oregon StateL, 45-7
Sept. 27San Jose StateL, 20-17
Oct. 4at Fresno StateW, 32-29 OT
TodayLouisiana Tech
Oct. 17at Boise State
Oct. 25Nevada
Nov. 1at Utah State
Nov. 8at New Mexico State
Nov. 22Idaho
Nov. 29Washington State
Dec. 6Cincinnati