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UH QBs getting healthier


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POSTED: Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two visits to the doctor. Two positive evaluations for Hawaii quarterbacks.

Bryant Moniz was examined after suffering a concussion against Boise State last weekend and said he'll be ready for the Warriors' game at Nevada on Saturday.

“;Everything's good, so hopefully I get out there on the field this week,”; said Moniz, the Warriors' starter for the last three games. “;I think I should be 100 percent come Saturday.”;

Brent Rausch, the Warriors' top backup to begin the season, received medical clearance and took his first repetitions since breaking a bone in the pinkie of his throwing hand during practice on Sept. 10.

Moniz sat out the final three quarters against Boise State and didn't take any snaps during a light practice for the Warriors offense yesterday afternoon, but said he'll be back in practice, “;at least by Wednesday, that's for sure.”;

During his press conference yesterday, UH head coach Greg McMackin said Moniz would retain his top spot on the depth chart if he's medically cleared, followed by Shane Austin and Rausch.

Austin, who finished the game with Moniz sidelined, took the majority of the snaps yesterday and was backed up by Rausch, who was anxious to return to the practice rotation.

“;I'm just going to show up to practice and it's not really up to me how many reps I get. They're just going to toss me in there and see how it goes,”; said Rausch, who is still getting used to throwing with the last two fingers of his hand taped together.

With the statuses of Moniz and Rausch still pending, Austin began the day as the Warriors' top quarterback after making his debut last Saturday. He completed 22 of 36 passes for 174 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in UH's 54-9 loss to Boise State.

“;It's not the easiest opponent to have your first game against, but it's good to get the experience in,”; Austin said. “;Now I know what to expect in that situation and I can prepare for that next time.

“;I felt fine, I didn't feel nervous, I felt ready to go in there and I think there were some good things that came out of it. But there's definitely a lot of stuff for me to work on, obviously.”;

The Warriors' fortunes of the last month have made the cliche of backups being “;one snap away”; from seeing playing time all too relevant.

Moniz stepped in after Greg Alexander suffered a season-ending knee injury at Louisiana Tech. Then last week, Austin got the call when a hit left Moniz woozy. For Austin, it was the first game action since his senior season at Rio Mesa (Calif.) High School in 2006.

“;If they need me to go, I'm ready to go,”; Austin said. “;I'll be mentally prepared and physically prepared for this game at Nevada. This is going to be a tough test for us, but we have to come out there ready to play.”;

Rausch edged Moniz in the competition to serve as Alexander's backup in preseason practices, but suffered the injury during a practice in Seattle prior to the game against Washington State.

Though unable to throw, Rausch has worked to keep up with the game plans and stay involved with the quarterbacks in meetings.

“;He hasn't thrown a ball competitively in a while. He's warmed up a little bit to test it out, but it's been six weeks now,”; quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;We have to see what kind of rust there is, if any, and where he is mind-set-wise.”;

With Rausch providing some depth, plans to give running back Inoke Funaki more action at quarterback in practice could be shelved.

McMackin is also hopeful defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga will return this week after missing the last two games due to a sprained ankle.

Focus on turnovers

McMackin doesn't often advocate full-speed hitting in practice, but indicated he'll make an exception this week to address the Warriors' plummeting turnover ratio.

After UH fumbled the ball away three times against Boise State on Saturday, McMackin said the Warriors are “;going to have to go live on that”; with a drill to reinforce ball security on offense and stripping the ball loose on defense.

“;We're going to have two defensive players and one offensive player and I pray that we don't get hurt,”; McMackin said. “;It's something you do in preseason, but we can't fumble the ball like that.”;

UH has fumbled seven times in the past four games, losing six. The defense has one fumble recovery in the past five games.

“;We've got to work together to get that solved and we've got to do that this week, because it's a disease,”; McMackin said. “;Right now it's a disease and we've lost five games.”;