Moniz, Salas still uncertain


POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009

Yesterday's practice did very little to reveal the status of Hawaii's primary offensive players heading into tomorrow's game against San Jose State.

The availability of quarterback Bryant Moniz and wide receiver Greg Salas is still up in the air, according to head coach Greg McMackin, whose Warriors (4-6, 2-5 Western Athletic Conference) need a win against the Spartans (1-8, 0-5) to remain in contention for a bowl game.

“;(Moniz) will be a game-time decision, same thing for Salas,”; McMackin said. “;(Backup Shane Austin) had a great practice. He's an excellent quarterback, and if we need him, I have complete confidence in Shane. Always have.”;

Moniz (ribs) didn't practice after throwing a few balls in warm-ups. Salas, the nation's leading receiver, was limited in drills and didn't wear pads as he tries to recover from a foot injury.

“;We'll see what (Moniz) can do tomorrow when we get up there,”; quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said.





        Who: Hawaii (4-6, 2-5 WAC) at San Jose State (1-8, 0-5)

When: Tomorrow, 3 p.m.


TV: PPV, Ch. 255


Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM




Austin took the majority of the reps at quarterback, with Brent Rausch backing him up, and looked sharp in 11-on-11 drills, drawing a lot of cheers from his offensive mates.

“;I think he's prepared for this, and I think he senses the opportunity,”; Rolovich said. “;It's been a long time coming, and if the stars are aligned, he's going to get his chance.”;

Hawaii's confidence level has grown following back-to-back wins at home. But to continue the momentum, the Warriors will have to parlay that into success on the road, where they are only 1-4 this year and winless in three conference games.

“;Just keep getting better and keep playing together and doing their responsibilities,”; McMackin said. “;They've gotten a lot better at that and we have to continue to do that.”;


Picking up the pace

Mana Silva's background throwing passes has come in handy in defending against them.

Silva played quarterback growing up and into his freshman year at Oregon State. He shifted to safety when he transferred to Hawaii and often calls on his experience on offense.

“;I can kind of feel what (quarterbacks) feel and see, and read their eyes and break on the ball,”; Silva said.

His knack for finding the ball has the junior atop the WAC and tied for eighth in the country with five interceptions, picking off a pass in both of the Warriors' last two games.

“;His peripheral vision is excellent, has a good feel for route combinations, and probably has a good understanding of what the quarterback's read progression is,”; said assistant coach Chris Tormey.

San Jose State has struggled to find the end zone this season, ranking 118th out of 120 FBS team in scoring offense (13.6 points per game) and scoring 16 touchdowns in nine games. But the Warriors remain wary of Dick Tomey's penchant for trickery. Last year, the Spartans executed a double pass for a 77-yard touchdown in the first quarter of SJSU's 20-17 win at Aloha Stadium.

“;They should be coming out to play and we just need to be a sound defense and eliminate the big plays,”; Silva said. “;Last year we gave up a few right off the bat. They might come out with some tricks and we just have to be disciplined.”;


Rested Navy team awaits

When the Warriors return home from San Jose, Calif., they'll have to get ready for a well-rested Navy team that has its first bye of the season this week.

Former Hawaii quarterback and Radford High graduate Ken Niumatalolo is 16-9 since taking over as head coach and welcomed an extra week to get ready for his homecoming at Aloha Stadium.

“;With 11 straight weeks (with a game), we definitely needed it,”; Niumatalolo said yesterday. “;We needed this rest not only physically, but emotionally to kind of take a step back from things.”;

The Midshipmen (8-3) have already accepted a bid to play in the Texas Bowl, clinching a berth in that game with a 23-21 victory over Notre Dame two weeks ago.

The Star-Bulletin's Jason Kaneshiro contributed to this report.