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McMackin promises changes


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Greg McMackin said the Hawaii football team is not in panic mode.

But the Warriors head coach indicated there will be changes coming leading up to Saturday's Western Athletic Conference game against Nevada at Aloha Stadium.

 

""
Greg McMackin:
Changes are coming
to the Warriors'
struggling offense

  Those adjustments will be implemented in practices closed to the public as UH (3-4, 2-2 WAC) works to bounce back from last week's 27-7 loss at Boise State and prepares for the Wolf Pack (4-3, 2-1), the WAC's highest-scoring team.

Hawaii's bowl hopes hinge on winning at least four of its last six regular-season games. McMackin said during his weekly press conference that the Warriors could shake up an offense averaging 19 points per game, but maintained that "we're not going to panic and I hope the fans don't panic."

Warriors quarterback Inoke Funaki tied a school record with five interceptions last week, but McMackin reiterated that he remains the Warriors starter, although the roles in the backfield as well as other positions could be altered.

                       
UH FOOTBALL
Nevada (4-3, 2-1 WAC) at Hawaii (3-4, 2-2), Saturday, 6:05 p.m., Aloha Stadium. TV: Oceanic PPV Ch. 255; Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

"It's not all on Inoke's back," McMackin said. "It's not just the quarterback, it's receivers dropping balls, it's not blocking certain guys, it's a combination of things. We're going to make some moves."

One of the significant changes on offense will be necessitated by injury with running back Kealoha Pilares out with a sprained foot he suffered in the first quarter against Boise State. Pilares has been among the Warriors' most productive offensive weapons this season with a team-high five touchdowns.

Even though the mobile Funaki remains the Warriors starter, the duties may not be exclusively his with backups Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch more suited to operate the passing attack.

"We're going to get a pure passer ready, and do some things with Inoke and change some personnel and give him some more weapons," McMackin said.

Funaki was under pressure for much of last week's game and the offensive line could be altered after giving up seven sacks last week. McMackin also mentioned that the Warriors have "one receiver that's making plays."

"We knew that we were up against a couple of good defensive ends (against Boise State), but we're going to open things up a little bit too, and we're going to be doing some things to keep the rush off of us," McMackin said.

"We've met all weekend and we're not changing a whole lot of things, but we're going to try to tighten some things up."

McMackin said senior Tyler Graunke, who piloted Hawaii to a dramatic win in Reno last season is "physically not able to play right now," and remains the fourth quarterback.

"If he was the best quarterback, he would be playing," McMackin said. "I want to win games. He beat Nevada last year, but he's not the same quarterback he was when he beat Nevada."

 

After further review ......

In the moments after last Friday's game, McMackin said he should have attempted a field goal on fourth and 1 at the Broncos' 15 on UH's first possession of the game.

He reversed field again yesterday, sticking by the decision to go for the first down, which ended with Pilares being dropped for a 3-yard loss on an option play.

"We needed to go and if I had it to do over I would have gone for it," McMackin said.

 

Unhappy returns

The Warriors rank at or near the bottom of the national rankings in punt and kickoff returns and McMackin said he's pulling cornerback Ryan Mouton off kickoff return duty until the blocking scheme is tightened up.

"It's a suicide mission and he's getting beat to heck. We've got to get that together," McMackin said. "Maybe somebody I'm upset with, I'll put him back on kickoff return. If somebody's late for a meeting they're going to be our kickoff return guy."

Mouton ranks seventh in the WAC in kickoff returns and took one 90 yards for a touchdown against Fresno State. He returned two kicks last week before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Malcolm Lane took over those duties, averaging 15.3 yards on three returns.

UH is last in the country in punt returns with a total of minus-4 yards on 12 returns this season.

 

Bowl talk

The WAC reached an agreement with the San Diego County Union Poinsettia Bowl to send a team to the game if the Pac-10 doesn't have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its spot, the league announced yesterday.

The Poinsettia Bowl's primary agreement calls for the seventh-team from the Pac-10 to play the second selection from the Mountain West Conference.

Hawaii is slated to play in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl if the Warriors are bowl eligible. The WAC also has tie-ins with the New Mexico Bowl and the Roady's Humanitarian Bowl.