Injury to Alexander puts Moniz in the spotlight


POSTED: Friday, October 02, 2009

MONROE, La. » Stability at quarterback was among Hawaii's primary issues this time a year ago.

The Warriors appeared to solve that this time around, and for three-plus games, Greg Alexander provided a steady — and often spectacular — presence behind center.

But, as happens so often in football, things can change with one awkward twist.

Alexander is scheduled to have an MRI this morning to determine the extent of an injury suffered in the third quarter of Wednesday's loss at Louisiana Tech.

“;What we're looking for is if it's a MCL, it'd still be probably three to five weeks (out),”; coach Greg McMackin said yesterday afternoon. “;But if it's an ACL, (his season) would be over.”;

With backup Brent Rausch's broken finger still mending, sophomore Bryant Moniz — a transfer from Fresno City College — could find himself staring into the Fresno State defense when the Warriors (2-2, 0-1 Western Athletic Conference) return to Aloha Stadium a week from tomorrow.

“;I just have to be prepared. That's my job as a backup, to be ready whenever I'm called,”; Moniz said after Wednesday's game.

Moniz, the third-string quarterback entering the season, had thrown one Division I pass prior to entering the LaTech game late in the third quarter. He completed five passes for 109 yards in finishing out the 27-6 loss to the Bulldogs.

“;I thought he made some nice throws, but let's hope Greg's OK,”; UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said.

Suddenly thrust onto the field, Moniz took a calm demeanor into the huddle in his most extensive playing time as a Warrior.

“;I thought Moniz did some good things, stepped up in a tough situation,”; UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;Emotionally he was in a good condition. He's been waiting a long time for this opportunity.”;

Moniz was an all-state quarterback at Leilehua, then passed for 2,268 yards and 18 touchdowns as a freshman at Fresno City. He sat out the 2008 season and moved back to Hawaii, joining the Warriors for spring practice.

Rausch claimed the backup job in a competition that extended into the week of the season opener against Central Arkansas. But he hurt his throwing hand during a practice in Seattle prior to UH's win over Washington State.

That moved Moniz behind Alexander, with sophomore Shane Austin in the third spot.

“;When a guy goes down it's an opportunity for a guy like Moniz and Shane to get a lot of reps,”; Rolovich said. “;We just have to see where Rausch is, see where Greg is, and make assessment of where we are.”;

Although the Warriors' depth at quarterback is being tested, Rolovich feels more confident in the situation than last season, when the Warriors endured the growing pains of the post-Colt Brennan transition.

“;I think our third guy is better this year than probably any one of the No. 1s were last year,”; Rolovich said. “;He's put in a tremendous amount of work on his own, always coming up on his own, looks at film on his own, asks good questions.

“;It's an opportunity for him and that's what he wanted when he came to Hawaii. That's what he wanted when he went to junior college. He's the type of person to take advantage of this opportunity.”;

Though his chance may be coming, Moniz's thoughts after the game were with Alexander.

“;You never want to see anyone get hurt on your team. All we can do is just pray for him and hope it's nothing major,”; Moniz said.

D-line hurting too

The Warriors' depth at defensive tackle also thinned as they struggled to stop the run against LaTech.

Vaughn Meatoga's playing time was limited by an ankle injury that kept him out of practice most of last week. Freshman Geordon Hanohano left the game, reportedly with a strained neck. Rocky Savaiigaea made his first start and rotated with Tuika Tufaga and Haku Correa at the tackle spots.

Homeward bound

The Warriors stayed in Dallas following the game and returned to Honolulu yesterday. They'll play their first home game in 36 days when Fresno State visits Aloha Stadium on Oct. 10. The Bulldogs (1-3) have a bye this week.

“;We just didn't play our best game and we're really looking forward to going home and playing Fresno State in front of our home crowd,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said.