Warriors shrug off the cold weather


POSTED: Friday, October 30, 2009

RENO, Nev. » Weathering a close to 40-degree drop since their last practice didn't seem to faze the Hawaii football team yesterday.

Temperatures started in the high 40s when the Warriors began their 2-hour practice at Reno's Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and continued to dip as the overcast afternoon progressed.

But running through their final full practice before taking on Nevada tomorrow kept the Warriors warm in adjusting to the change in climate after leaving Honolulu's humidity on Wednesday.

“;This is great, this is football weather,”; said Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin, who kidded linebackers coach Cal Lee for wearing gloves during practice.

Most of the team practiced in shorts, and although the quarterbacks were given hand warmers to wear around their waist, “;I didn't think it was that cold,”; starter Bryant Moniz said. “;I don't think the weather is going to be a factor.”;

The climate is indeed forecast to warm up today and tomorrow, reaching into the high 60s, when the Warriors (2-5, 0-4 Western Athletic Conference) take on Nevada (4-3, 3-0) at Mackay Stadium.

McMackin generated a bit of heat during a defensive period when he implored the first unit to wrap up against the scouts simulating Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick and running back Vai Taua. That admonition planted targets on Inoke Funaki and Jayson Rego as they ran plays out of the Wolf Pack's pistol formation.





        » Who: Hawaii (2-5, 0-4) at Nevada (4-3, 3-0)

        » When: Tomorrow, 10:05 a.m.

        » TV/Radio: PPV Ch. 255/KKEA, 1420-AM

But keeping Kaepernick and Taua under wraps has proven especially tough for defenses during Nevada's current four-game winning streak.

Kaepernick, a 6-foot-6 junior, rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns and threw for two more scores in Nevada's 70-45 win over Idaho last week. He kept the statisticians busy in racking up 408 of Nevada's 662 yards in total offense and had scoring sprints of 61 and 75 yards.

His ability to turn the corner on the option leaves defenses with little margin for error in trying to contain the big play.

“;He's a freak of nature,”; UH linebacker Blaze Soares said. “;He's got so much speed and those long strides. Once he gets by you he's hard to catch.”;

When Kaepernick hands the ball off to Taua or Luke Lippincott, the Wolf Pack backs average nearly 7 yards per carry. The only time Taua failed to reach triple digits in rushing came in a 95-yard performance against Colorado State, which was part of Nevada's 0-3 start in which the Pack was shut out through the first six quarters of the season.

Since then Nevada has won four straight, rocketing to the top of the national rankings in rushing offense.

More memories for Tormey
Chris Tormey's nostalgia tour continues.

The Warriors' arrival in Reno again brings the UH special teams coordinator to yet another previous stop in his career. Tormey served as head coach at Nevada from 2000 to 2003 and tomorrow's game will mark Tormey's first visit to Mackay Stadium since he was replaced by current Wolf Pack coach Chris Ault, then the school's athletic director.

“;There's a little bit of mixed feelings,”; Tormey said of his return to Reno, where he went 16-31 in his second stint as a head coach.

UH's game against Washington State took Tormey back to Seattle, where he served as a Washington assistant for 15 seasons. He returned to his alma mater two weeks ago when the Warriors' visited Idaho, where Tormey worked as head coach prior to taking the job at Nevada.

Shutter makes travel squad
Freshman Cayman Shutter was a late addition to the travel roster, giving the Warriors four quarterbacks on the road trip.

The Punahou graduate joined starter Bryant Moniz and backups Shane Austin and Brent Rausch and is taking in the experience of his first college trip.

Shutter served as the scout team quarterback in yesterday's practice, making several sharp throws against the Warriors' starting defense.

McMackin said the plan remains to keep Shutter's redshirt season intact, but with Moniz (concussion) and Rausch (broken finger) coming back from injuries, he also didn't want to take a chance on running short on quarterbacks.

Defensive end Earvin Sione and receiver Mike Tinoco were also added to the travel list.

UH convergence in Reno
Tomorrow's football game is part of a tripleheader of events involving Hawaii teams on the Nevada campus.

The day begins with the UH cross country team participating in the WAC championship at Rancho San Rafael Park at 10:45 a.m.

Kickoff for the football game is set for 1:05 p.m., Pacific time at Mackay Stadium.

A short stroll down the street, the third-ranked Rainbow Wahine volleyball team takes on Nevada at the Virginia Street Gym at 7 p.m.