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Moniz ready for his biggest test today


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POSTED: Saturday, October 10, 2009

So far, Bryant Moniz has handled the pressure of being the starting quarterback for the University of Hawaii.

How Moniz and the Warriors react to the heat Fresno State will try to apply will be a key to the outcome of today's Western Athletic Conference game at Aloha Stadium.

Moniz—who was playing at Fresno City College two years ago—will make his first Division I start for the Warriors (2-2, 0-1 WAC) a week after Greg Alexander underwent surgery to repair a season-ending knee injury.

Claiming the starting job heading into the rivalry game with the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-1) means stepping into the brightest spotlight he's played under since leading Leilehua into the state championship game as a high school sophomore.

“;I think back then I was a lot more nervous. Fifteen years old, I was very nervous,”; Moniz recalled earlier this week. “;I guess I got used to it, got more comfortable.”;

Keeping Moniz relaxed in the pocket will require the Warriors holding off the Bulldogs' pass rush long enough for him to locate his receivers.

After seven sacks contributed to UH's lowest point output since 2004 in a 27-6 loss at Louisiana Tech last week, the Warriors expect Fresno State to test Moniz's poise.

“;Especially after we got some pressure last week, I think we have to anticipate them at least trying,”; UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;Especially with a new quarterback, to see how he reacts.”;

“;We all have to do our jobs to help him out,”; center John Estes said. “;It's going to be a team effort to win.”;

Moving into the starting role gave Moniz a heightened media profile and the majority of the snaps in practice this week. Rolovich saw him go through some ups and downs the past few days, but said he ended “;on fire”; on Thursday, UH's final full practice of the week.

“;He understands the offense very well, he goes through his progressions, uses his eyes to move the defenders,”; said slotback Kealoha Pilares, the Warriors' leader in receptions. “;He allows us to make plays as receivers.”;

               

     

 

WAC FOOTBALL

        Fresno State (1-3, 0-1) at Hawaii (2-2, 0-1)
       

When: Today, 5 p.m.

       

Where: Aloha Stadium TV: PPV, Dig. 255 Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM Line: Fresno State by 10

       

But as accurate as he has been, Moniz's composure has impressed his teammates just as much.

“;That's the first thing I noticed when he stepped into the huddle,”; Pilares said. “;He's just really calm and I don't think he's really bothered by anything. It's going to be his first game and he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders, so that attribute is going to come out.”;

The latest renewal of the WAC's second-longest-running rivalry (Fresno State-San Jose State is the longest) features offenses ranked among the nation's elite. Hawaii ranks third in passing offense; Fresno State holds the same spot in rushing and is seventh in total offense.

UH junior Greg Salas leads the country in receiving (150.2 yards per game), while Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews is second in ground yardage (148 ypg).

If Moniz can move the chains—thus keeping Fresno State's running game off the field—that takes pressure off a defense trying to atone for the 449-yard performance at Louisiana Tech.

“;If you're not motivated already to step up and change what's going on, you shouldn't be playing right now,”; defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea said. “;If you're not motivated right now, I don't know what's wrong with you.

“;Everybody has to swarm to the ball, and make plays. That's what our defense is built on—playing hard, playing emotional and making gang tackles.”;

Today's game will be Hawaii's first at Aloha Stadium since opening the season against Central Arkansas 36 days ago. The Warriors have dropped two of three road games since then. The current series is tied at 20-20-1, but more importantly, a win here could dictate the conference season for both teams.

“;It's going to be a great, tough ballgame, these always are,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said. “;This is a rivalry, it's always settled right at the end, and it's going to be a street fight.”;

UH assists in relief effort

UH student-athletes will be assisting in the American Red Cross' “;Operation Uplift”; at today's game. Members of the baseball, softball and basketball teams will be accepting donations at the stadium gates to aid in disaster relief efforts in the Pacific region.

Probable starters

HAWAII

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

     

     

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

 

Offense
Z81Royce Pollard6-1175
Y21Kealoha Pilares5-11200
LT77Aaron Kia6-5290
LG64Ray Hisatake6-3315
C55John Estes6-3300
RG74Raphael Ieru6-2315
RT66Adrian Thomas6-6310
H1Greg Salas6-2200
X3Rodney Bradley6-0190
QB17Bryant Moniz6-0190
RB23Leon Wright-Jackson6-1215

 

       

Defense
DE90Elliott Purcell6-3255
DT92Rocky Savaiigaea6-2305
DT49Tuika Tufaga6-2285
DE58Fetaiagogo Fonoti6-2255
SLB59R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane5-11225
MLB53Blaze Soares6-1245
BLB41Corey Paredes5-11230
CB4Tank Hopkins5-9165
SAM9Spencer Smith5-11205
FS43Mana Silva6-1220
CB18Jeramy Bryant5-10

180
       

 

       

Specialists
PK20Scott Enos5-9180
P31Alex Dunnachie6-3235
Snap45Luke Ingram6-5210
Hold11Inoke Funaki5-11205
KR81Royce Pollard6-1175
PR88Ryan Henry5-9

170
       

 

       

FRESNO STATE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

     

     

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

     

       

       

       

       

       

     

 

Offense
WR6Chastin West6-1215
LT70Bryce Harris6-6295
LG79Devon Cunningham6-6350
C74Joe Bernardi6-2280
RG69Andrew Jackson6-5295
RT60Kenny Wiggins6-7310
TE49Vince Pascoe6-0230
FB48Reynard Camp5-11270
TB21Ryan Mathews5-11220
QB15Ryan Colburn6-3220
WR2Seyi Ajirotutu6-4210

 

       

Defense
DE43Chris Carter6-2230
NT65Chase McEntee6-3285
DT93Chris Lewis6-3260
DE92Kenny Borg6-3245
OLB53Kyle Knox6-1215
MLB54Ben Jacobs6-3225
OLB55Nico Herron6-3240
CB24Desia Dunn5-9190
SS3Moses Harris5-11205
FS20Lorne Bell5-10200
or19Marvin Haynes6-1205
CB28A.J. Jefferson6-0

190
       

 

       

Specialists
PK35Kevin Goessling6-0190
KO35Andrew Shapiro6-1180
Punt42Robert Malone6-2225
LS58Bobby Shepard6-2235
Hold42Robert Malone6-2225
PR6Chastin West6-1215
KR28A.J. Jefferson6-0190
 6Chastin West6-1

215