Second chances pay off


POSTED: Tuesday, October 28, 2008

From the very start, last-second calls have been part of Greg Alexander's tenure with the Hawaii football program.

Hawaii at Utah State, Saturday, 9 a.m. Hawaii time, TV: Oceanic PPV Ch. 255; Radio: KKEA 1420-AM.

Despite piling up impressive passing numbers in junior college, Alexander was a quarterback without a destination as signing day approached in February.

Eventually, he heard from a former assistant of a rival JC—newly hired Hawaii quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich—and committed to the Warriors with a few days to spare before the start of the signing period.

“;It was surprising,”; Rolovich said of Alexander's availability late in the recruiting calendar. “;For what he did at the junior college level not to be heavily recruited, we weren't really sure why that was happening.”;



;[Preview]  UH Coach McMackin discusses Nevada win

Press conference with Coach McMackin on last weekend's victory over Nevada.


Watch ]





  Alexander arrived in Hawaii in the summer and after a brief tenure as the Warriors' starting quarterback in August, he patiently played the waiting game again for a seven-week span.

And it was another unexpected call that sent him to the highlight moment of his UH career so far.

Informed he'd take over the Warriors offense to start the second half just before leaving the locker room, Alexander led the UH to a 38-31 win over Nevada, passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with 20 seconds left.

His performance off the bench earned him Western Athletic Conference player of the week honors yesterday and a spot in UH's quarterback rotation for Saturday's game at Utah State.

Alexander and Inoke Funaki are expected to share the role when the Warriors (4-4, 3-2 WAC) face the Aggies (1-7, 1-3) in Logan, Utah.

“;We haven't talked (about) who's starting,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said at his weekly press conference.

“;I really liked how (Alexander) handled the pressure at the end of the ballgame. Looking right into a guy's eyes, that's why I've always coached on the sidelines, you know their emotion. He was a cool guy on the sideline and was focused.”;

Alexander threw for 71 touchdowns in two seasons at Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College and Rolovich had seen him in action while coaching at City College of San Francisco.

Yet the scholarship offers weren't exactly rolling in as he looked to move up to Division I.

“;It was frustrating,”; Alexander recalled. “;I was walking around town and everybody's asking me where are you going? I'm like, 'I don't know, stop asking me.' So I tried to stay in my house as much as I could.”;

He was given the starting nod just before the season opener at Florida and was replaced after throwing two interceptions in a lopsided loss to the Gators.

In the interim between the Florida game to tossing the winning TD against Nevada, Alexander studied the offense from the backup perspective.

“;I wanted to get back on the field and the only way I was going to be able to do that was I was learning from Inoke and Tyler (Graunke) and trying to get my mental reps,”; Alexander said.

“;I wasn't really expecting to play on Saturday ... but you have to stay prepared and prepare like you're going to play.”;


Lane comes through

For Malcolm Lane, being on the receiving end of the winning touchdown was sweetened by some of his struggles earlier in his junior season.

“;It's been hard for our offense to get on a roll and I haven't been stepping up and doing my job like the rest of the team's been doing their jobs,”; Lane said. “;I felt like I was letting the team down, and just had to turn it around.”;

He delivered on Saturday with six catches, none bigger than the 24-yarder from Alexander at the end.

Although the catch happened in an instant, Lane said waiting for the ball to come down “;took forever.”;

While the pass hung in the air, Lane said some of the criticism he'd faced rushed through his mind.

“;Everybody was doubting. I just wanted to go up and get that ball so bad, and it worked out perfect,”; Lane said.

“;I'm so happy (offensive coordinator Ron Lee) trusted me and called the play for me. I owe a lot to him that he had the trust in me and gave me a chance.”;


Injury update

McMackin said running back/slotback Kealoha Pilares is hoping to be ready for the Warriors' road trip. Pilares sat out last week's game with a sprained foot. The initial prognosis had him missing three weeks.

McMackin said he was told Pilares would be out another game, “;but right now (Pilares is) thinking he'll be back,”; McMackin said.

Defensive tackle Josh Leonard's ankle injury isn't expected to keep him out of action this week.