Warrior Report

Hawaii's Leonard Peters, top, and Houston Ala couldn't keep Tulsa's Uril Parrish out of the end zone yesterday in the fourth quarter.

Defense doesn’t
dish it out

TULSA, Okla. -- You could hear Hyrum Peters screaming through the closed door. You couldn't hear what he was saying, but you knew it wasn't nice.

It was probably about how he didn't want another season like 2000, his freshman year when UH went 3-9, about how 9-3 and 10-4 is a lot more fun, but how much work and focus it takes.

Hawaii's defensive captain addressed his teammates after the Warriors' 27-16 loss at Tulsa last night, and it was obvious he wasn't handing out lollipops and game balls.

A few minutes later, in a funeral-home-like setting, Peters talked to reporters about opportunities -- mostly the ones that never happened because the defense didn't create them.

A major part of UH's defensive philosophy is getting the ball back to the offense, preferably by turnover.

But the Warriors did not do that.

"We needed someone to be a hero out there on defense. We knew what we needed, to make a big play. We needed a turnover. Last week we had five or six (five, as UH beat Rice 41-21). This week we didn't get one," Peters said. "We had some sacks, but that doesn't count as a big play. We needed to get the ball back, get the offense going with a turnover and hopefully the offense scores."

Peters is as frustrated with himself as he is with his teammates. Last year he intercepted four passes and caused a fumble on his way to first-team Western Athletic Conference honors. So far this season, he has a pick against Appalachian State on Aug. 30, and that's it.

He was in on six tackles last night, and the Warriors got some solid play out of linebackers Ikaika Curnan (14 tackles) and Chad Kalilimoku (12 stops), as well as defensive end Travis LaBoy (nine tackles, including two for loss).

"I thought all in all we played well in the first half on defense except for a couple of the gimmick plays," UH coach June Jones said. "We didn't tackle as well as we should have in the second half."

Defensive line coach Vantz Singletary said it was too early to evaluate how much the Warriors missed Isaac Sopoaga's (out with a knee injury) intimidating presence at defensive tackle.

"I don't know if it hurt a whole lot. I have to see the tape," Singletary said. "But I think Lui (Fuga) played pretty good."

As Peters knows, though, the bottom line is if Hawaii is going to yield 426 yards, like last night -- the most it's allowed this season, even more than against USC -- it has to come up with turnovers.

Peters wouldn't talk about what he told the team, but from the tone through the closed door, it sounded like a good dose of tough-love leadership.

He said the time is long past to forget the hype. The Warriors are 1-1 in the WAC and have a treacherous road ahead of them (literally, with stops at Louisiana Tech, San Jose State and Nevada coming), not to mention Saturday's Aloha Stadium date with Fresno State.

"We just got to think we're the underdog no matter what people think of us. If people think that we're good, OK, but we just have to ignore that and think about our own stuff, playing the game," Peters said. "To me, we had (last night's game won), and just like one of those things where we coulda, shoulda, woulda.

"Now we just have to let it go."


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