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Shaw will have UH O-line ready for Badgers


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POSTED: Friday, December 04, 2009

Gordy Shaw tends to see red when Wisconsin comes to town.

Coaching at neighboring Minnesota for 14 years, Shaw developed frosty feelings for the Badgers in their annual battles for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

So preparing for Hawaii's regular-season finale as the Warriors' offensive line coach has rekindled some of those feelings from his Big Ten days.

“;It's been an interesting week,”; Shaw said. “;I've probably had over 50 e-mails from ex-players I coached at Minnesota saying, 'Go get 'em coach. We know what you're like in a Wisconsin week.' I've toned it down a bit.”;

               

     

 

WISCONSIN (8-3) AT HAWAII (6-6)

        Where: Aloha Stadium
       

When: 6:30 p.m. tomorrow

       

TV: ESPN2

       

Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

       

 

       

Even so, Shaw shouldn't have any problem getting his players revved up to face the Badgers (8-3) tomorrow night at Aloha Stadium.

The Warriors' 23 seniors will be honored after the game. By then, Hawaii's postseason fate will have been determined, as the Warriors (6-6) need a win to qualify for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, which would be the program's fourth straight postseason appearance.

Given the high stakes and surrounding emotions, the Warriors are looking to channel the energy onto the field when kickoff rolls around.

“;They have to have high energy and high intensity right from the start and carry that through,”; McMackin said yesterday after the Warriors' final full practice of the regular season.

Shaw's group will be among the positions hit hardest by graduation, as four offensive line starters—center John Estes, guards Raphael Ieru and Ray Hisatake and left tackle Aaron Kia—will participate in the postgame ceremony, with sophomore right tackle Austin Hansen the lone underclassman of the group.

But for now, the Warriors' attention is trained squarely on those hours immediately preceding the festivities.

“;This game isn't just for the seniors,”; Ieru said. “;It's for the young guys getting them to a bowl game and letting them experience how it feels so they can continue that tradition. That's all we're focused on, just the game right now.”;

The Warriors began the season with an all-senior line until Laupepa Letuli suffered a knee injury in late September and will petition for another year of eligibility.

But with Hansen stepping in and the four seniors playing nearly every snap this season, the Warriors have developed the continuity essential to effective line play.

“;It's a tribute to how hard they worked this summer and got themselves physically ready to play this season,”; Shaw said. “;There's no question it's been a much easier job adjusting our scheme week to week with the same guys.”;

In scouting Wisconsin this week, Shaw sees much the same style of play he worked against all those years in Minnesota. Among his biggest concerns in this year's version will be defensive ends O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt.

Schofield (6-foot-3, 248 pounds) leads the Big Ten and ranks fourth nationally with 20 1/2 tackles for loss, including a team-high eight sacks. Watt has 10 1/2 stops behind the line. Hansen and Kia will get a heavy dose of both, as the Badgers' ends tend to switch sides throughout the game.

Behind them, Bryant Moniz will try to maintain the touch he showed in his return from injury last week, when he threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Navy. The Warriors' fourth straight victory set up tomorrow's all-or-nothing scenario.

“;We respect all our opponents, but we never fear anyone,”; Moniz said. “;It's just 11-on-11 and we have to keep playing our game. Don't feel like we have to do anything special, just do what we've been doing these past four games.”;

Said Ieru: “;We know we're a good team when we come together, play disciplined, play physical, play nasty, and keep that brotherly bond we've had since the beginning.”;