From scouts to stars


POSTED: Sunday, November 22, 2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. » Since breaking in together, Jon Medeiros and Shane Austin followed similar paths in their Hawaii football careers.

Both waited their turns for much of their first two years in the program, preparing for their shots to contribute.

When injuries opened opportunities this season, they jumped at the chance to put that preparation to use.

With Bryant Moniz's ribs still tender, Austin stepped in to make his first career start and managed the Hawaii offense in the Warriors' 17-10 overtime win over San Jose State last night at Spartan Stadium.

Medeiros, a backup his first two seasons, was his most frequent target of the night. Austin connected with the senior slotback 10 times for 149 yards.

“;Pretty much the same boat, he's just a little younger,”; Medeiros said after breaking the century mark for the first time in his UH career. “;We've been through ups and downs on scout (team) and as backups. It's just hard work and you have to keep pushing. No matter where you are on the depth chart you have to keep pushing.”;

Austin took most of the repetitions in practice last week while Moniz rested his bruised ribs and said he was informed of his starting job on Friday night. But he'd mentally placed himself in the role days earlier to make sure he was prepared for that possibility.

“;The way I took it the whole week was just, 'get your mind ready to be starting,'”; said Austin, the third quarterback to start for the Warriors this season. “;They told me last night I was going to be the guy, but I was ready the whole week.”;

Austin began the season as the fourth-string quarterback and saw his first significant action in relief appearances against Boise State and the previous week vs. New Mexico State. He rebounded from a fumble on UH's opening possession to complete 28 of 46 passes for 299 yards with no interceptions.

“;The main thing you take from that is he never gave up, he never flinched,”; UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;That's a tribute to his character. Now he's going to learn a lot from this game with the mistakes he had, but he also had some big-time throws.”;

Austin scored the game's first touchdown on an option play, then executed it again in overtime. The second time, he pitched the ball to running back Leon Wright-Jackson for the decisive 5-yard score.

Although he hadn't practiced the option play much, “;I felt very comfortable because we ran it a lot in high school,”; Austin said.

“;That was a big play for us in high school, that was probably one of the last times I ran it, but I still had it in the memory bank.”;

Medeiros, a quarterback himself in high school, had been a steady performer since breaking into the starting lineup following a season-ending injury to receiver Rodney Bradley.

His previous best was a nine-catch, 92-yard game against Nevada in UH's last road appearance and was in rhythm with Austin throughout last night's game.

“;Jon kept getting open and he was making some big-time catches,”; Austin said. “;There were some routes where he hadn't even broken and I just trusted that he was going to be there and he went up for the ball.”;

While Austin was victorious in his first start, whether he's first on the field next week will again depend on Moniz's status.

“;If Mo's ready, he'll play,”; head coach Greg McMackin said. “;He's not going to lose his position because of an injury.”;