No decisions yet on Moniz and Salas


POSTED: Thursday, November 19, 2009

Greg McMackin's philosophy when it comes to injuries is to defer to the judgment of the medical staff.

So even with the Hawaii football team's postseason hopes in survival mode, the Warriors' head coach is taking a wait-and-see approach concerning two sidelined starters.

Quarterback Bryant Moniz and receiver Greg Salas have sat out the last three days of practice resting their ailments. Earlier in the week, both targeted today's practice—the Warriors' final full workout before Saturday's game at San Jose State—as a key measuring point of their progress.

“;I'm anxious to see where they are. I hope they can practice,”; McMackin said.

Still, McMackin said he tends to stay out of such decisions.




HAWAII (4-6, 2-5 WAC) AT SAN JOSE STATE (1-8, 0-5)

        When: Saturday, 3 p.m.

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




“;What I do, and always have, is leave all of that up to the doctors,”; he said. “;Because I would not feel good to have somebody do something and get hurt over my decision, because I'm not a doctor.”;

Moniz (bruised ribs) and Salas (sprained foot) suffered their injuries in last week's win over New Mexico State and observed the last three practices. The Warriors depart for the Bay Area following this morning's practice and decisions on their availability could come down to Saturday.

“;(Team doctor Andrew) Nichols is working with those guys. They're doing everything they can to get them ready to play,”; McMackin said. “;If they can practice that would be great, but we just have to see.

“;If the doctors think there's a chance they can play Saturday, then we'll take them on the trip, treat them, and it'll be a game-time decision.”;

In the meantime, the coaching staff continues to prepare contingency plans.

Sophomore Shane Austin remained first in the rotation at quarterback yesterday, followed by Brent Rausch.

Offensive coordinator Ron Lee is considering a few options in the receiver corps in case Salas isn't back to full speed. Kealoha Pilares continued to practice at slotback yesterday, elevating Joe Avery and Mike Tinoco in the rotation at X (left) receiver.

Royce Pollard is back to full duty following his return from a leg injury last week. He worked at Z (right) receiver behind Jovonte Taylor yesterday, but could also play on the other side as well.

Ryan Henry could also move in for Salas at slotback, with Pilares remaining at wide receiver, where he's started the last four games.


Bryant returns

Cornerback Jeramy Bryant returned to the cornerback rotation at yesterday's practice, backing up freshman Kawika Ornellas on the right side of the defense.

Bryant started the first seven games of the season before hurting his arm against Boise State on Oct. 24. Ornellas has started since then and will retain that post against the Spartans.

“;(Ornellas has) really been playing well, but it's good to have another corner that's a high-quality guy,”; McMackin said.


Kick start

With each towering spiral, Alex Dunnachie's confidence soared as well.

The Warriors' freshman punter blessed with a powerful leg struggled with consistency in recent weeks. The rough stretch for the freshman from Australia included three kicks of 10 yards or less.

He broke out last weekend with three punts averaging 57.3 yards. He closed the night with a season-best 65-yarder.

“;It was about time something happened,”; Dunnachie said. “;I hit them well during practice all year, hadn't really been able to do it during the game. ... It was amazing. As soon as I hit I saw it spiral up and it was beautiful.”;

Dunnachie's leg strength was never in question. Learning the game under the Division I spotlight took some getting used to.

“;I think it's a confidence thing,”; special teams coordinator Chris Tormey said. “;The thing you have to remember is he's never played football at any level until two months ago, so it's natural he's going to have some growing pains. All along we've known the ability's there, but now it's starting to show through.”;

Teaming with the long snapper, fellow freshman Luke Ingram, Dunnachie said the goal is to get the kick away within 2 seconds of the snap. Then it's a matter of putting faith in his leg swing.

“;Going onto the field I just try to clear my mind completely,”; he said. “;I don't want to be thinking about too many things, just trust myself that I've done the work during the week to get ready for it.”;