WAC voters go with Boise


POSTED: Thursday, July 30, 2009

SALT LAKE CITY » Greg McMackin can see where the voters are coming from.

But while the coaches and media members around the Western Athletic Conference picked Hawaii fifth in the preseason football polls, the second-year head coach views the Warriors' prospects for the coming season from a slightly different perspective.

“;Right now we're an unknown team. We have some unknown players and inexperienced guys,”; McMackin said yesterday. “;I can understand what they're thinking, but no one knows this team like our coaches know this team. Every team has a personality and this team has a good work ethic.

“;That's why you play the games, to see how it plays out.”;

The Warriors, coming off a 7-7 campaign in McMackin's first season, trailed WAC favorite Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State and Louisiana Tech in the polls released yesterday at the WAC Football Preview.

Hawaii was followed by San Jose State, Utah State, New Mexico State and Idaho in the coaches poll. The media poll had Idaho eighth and NMSU ninth.

McMackin and Hawaii seniors John Estes and Brashton Satele arrived in Salt Lake City yesterday and will meet with the media this morning.

“;There aren't any household names,”; said Satele, part of a defense replacing nine starters. “;No one knows us so we have to go out every week and show people who we are.”;





        1. Boise State: The defending champion Broncos have lost one WAC game in the last three years and remain heavy favorites.

2. Nevada: Colin Kaepernick, WAC preseason offensive player of year, returns to trigger the Pistol, but 'D' will be key.


T3. Fresno State: Bulldogs are young at quarterback and offensive line, but have experienced, explosive receivers.


T3. Louisiana Tech: Derek Dooley has expectations climbing in Ruston after last year's 5-1 finish.


5. Hawaii: The Warriors return an experienced offense, but are rebuilding on defense in Greg McMackin's second year.


6. San Jose State: Dick Tomey says Spartans are “;on a trajectory that's unmistakably positive”; with DE Carl Ihenacho leading the way.


7. Utah State: First-year coach Gary Andersen has a weapon in quarterback Diondre Borel.


8. New Mexico State: With new helmets and a new coach (DeWayne Walker), the Aggies hope a fresh start offers better days in Las Cruces.


9. Idaho: The Vandals have just three wins over the last two seasons.


Note: Voting was based on a poll of WAC coaches. Capsule information provided by Star-Bulletin staff writer Jason Kaneshiro.




Estes is among the Warriors' most recognizable returnees as a three-year starter and an All-America candidate at center. He'll trigger a Hawaii offense entering the season with greater confidence after last year's roller-coaster transition year, when the Warriors finished second in the WAC and closed the season with a loss to Notre Dame in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

“;We know what we've got and what kind of team we can be if we'll stick together and work hard as a team,”; Estes said.

Boise State, the league champion six of the last seven years, remains the clear favorite, drawing eight first-place votes among the coaches (who are not allowed to vote for their own teams) and topping the ballots of 55 of the 58 media members who voted.

While Boise State has gone 23-1 in WAC play during Chris Petersen's three years as head coach and appear in the top 15 in four preseason publications, the Broncos have become adept at ignoring the outside noise.

“;You definitely have to keep your blinders on and never fall into the hype,”; said senior cornerback Kyle Wilson, the preseason defensive player of the year. “;I really don't think we get too much respect nationally and outside of the conference. That's why we're going to continue to play with this chip on our shoulder, continue to play hungry.”;

The remaining first-place votes went to Nevada, which is second in both polls. The Wolf Pack return quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the preseason offensive player of the year, as well as eight starters on defense.

Kaepernick, a dangerous runner, missed spring practice while recovering from an ankle injury and has worked on improving his accuracy throwing the ball over the summer.

“;The more I've been throwing the more consistent I've gotten with throwing all the different routes, throwing touch passes, deep balls,”; said Kaepernick, among the busiest players during yesterday's interview sessions. “;I want to be able to put the ball wherever I want it.”;

Fresno State remains among the top three while breaking in a new quarterback this season. Louisiana Tech is looking to build on the momentum of last year's 5-1 finish that included a bowl win.

“;The expectations are high as they've ever been and we embrace that,”; said LaTech quarterback Ross Jenkins, who went 6-2 as the starter last year.





        First-place votes in parentheses.



















































1. Boise State (8)64
2. Nevada (1)55
3. Fresno State45
3. LaTech45
5. Hawaii36
6. San Jose State34
7. Utah State21
8. New Mexico St.13
9. Idaho11



1. Boise St. (55)519
2. Nevada (3)444
3. Fresno State365
4. LaTech360
5. Hawaii275
6. San Jose State263
7. Utah State170
8. Idaho110
9. New Mexico St.104