Every other team in the Hawai'i Athletic department includes the "Rainbow" in their name. Not Football.What the Cats have to do.
These guys are called the Warriors and don't you forget it.
Their Head Coach, June Jones, came to Hawaii from looking to reverse the program's mini slide. I knew we could win here when I took the job in 1999, was his comment when he arrived, and he's recorded two 9 win seasons and a 10 win season in 2002 since.
He's kept Hawai'i on track with good recruiting and a high powered run and shoot offensive attack built around good players. He's been able to get kids to travel west 4 more hours to play in his system, and he's even pulled up the team GPA in the process.
So on the the game...
Hawai'i's Passing Attack is going to be the biggest obstacle to an NU victory. Last week, Timmy Chang [UH Photo right] hit 74% [23 of 31] of this passes for 376 yards and 6 TDs. Four TDs went to one receiver, WAC offensive Player of the Week, Jason Rivers.
The 3 starting WRs all average over 10 yards per catch with one, Britton Komine averaging 15.1.
If you're not careful, the Warriors can strike hard and fast - Chang passed for 4 TDs in the 2nd quarter last week - including 21 unanswered points that put them ahead to stay.
The Warriors also have a reasonable running game. Starter Michael Brewster [Left] has 599 yards over 10 games, he averages 6.5 yards per carry in an offense that doesn't run much. West Keliikipi has also played in 9 games, averaging 5.1 ypc, and Kainoa Akina averages 8.5. These guys can run when Chang is shut down.
The only blot on the recent record was 3 interceptions by Idaho. Chang was also sacked twice during the win last Saturday.
But the Rainbow Warriors are dealing with a lot of injuries and other distractions; Center Uriah Moena is injured and is very doubtful, his backup Samson Satele, missed Wedensday's practice due to "personal" reasons. The regular starter is out for the season.
Linebacker Ikaika Cuman's ankle hasn't healed that well either, he's considered "Iffy" for the game. Three defensive starters, CB Abraham Elimimian, LB Tanavasa Moe, and LB Ikaika Curnan, sat out last week, but are expected back for Saturday night's contest on a limited basis.
So, we could see a little rust onthe Hawai'i defense, especially up front where the NU running game likes to go. The Warriors may also shuffle their linebackers around, as we learned early in the season, linebacker shuffles can lead to open receivers around the line of scrimmage.
Lately, we've been running a lot to our strong side left, over Trai Essex and Taylor Jones - Hawai'i is talking about putting one of the better returning LBs on the strong side, leaving one of the younger guys on the weak side - its another opportunity for the Cats running game.
But the revived Hawaii defense recorded 10 sacks against Idaho last week, and shut them down in the second half. On the season, Hawaii's defense has 26 sacks, while they've only allowed 15. They also forced lots of fumbles 14 on the way to a 5-1 at home record this year.
The only dark spot on the Hawaii team is that two players, not starters, are either off the team or very vocally contemplating transfer -- not a great background for a winning program.
Chuck Herron, a big NU fan who regularly writes on the NU Sports List has a few facts to consider:
- Their O-line - 285 pounds per man. Our D-line - 294 pounds per man. Our D-line ought to be able to move their O-line, and keep alot of pressure on Mr. Chang.So here we go, another spread 'em out, throw it up team. Should be either a wild whooley TCU type game, or a really low scoring defensive battle. The Cats are favored but...
- Our O-line - 312 pounds per man. Their D-line - 281 pounds per man. Our O-line should push around their D-line, and open up some hughr holes for Noah.
- The Passing offenses are really close - #4 Hawaii averages 318 yards per game [11.4 ypr], NU averages 230 yer game, but 11.0 per passing attempt.
- Where we really win out is in the rushing game - 168.1 ypg, while they averate 95 yards per game.
- Our defense is almost 100 yards better than they are, but they've given up 50 TDs.
- Five teams have rushed for over 275 yards, one team, Fresno outrushed them 503 to 106. Rice out rushed Hawaii 405 yards to 7, and Boise State ran 50 times for 430 yards.
Read enought? - Thanks Chuck
I'll bet on the wild and whooley this week.
- Rush Timmy Chang, rush him hard, rush him all night, run
him around the field. Give him a chance to study the view of the
Hawaiian sky from the middle of the field.
- Break out the Buldozers early and run Noah Herron North-South, attack that Hawai'i D-line with our big front 5.
- NU CB Marvin Ward & Co. has to do to Jason Rivers what they did to Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield - shut him down.
- Please, cut down the flags...[see, I've asked nicely]
- Score TDs, not Field Goals after long drives. [one from Chuck]
- Remember that this Rainbow Warrior team also has a bowl on the line - they're going to play hard to whup up this Big 10 team on their home turf.
The Game is on ESPN + [or Gameplan on your computer] - in Chicago its WBBM-TV 2 -
starting at 10 PM [Wildcat Time] and will also be on WGN.
We'll be chatting at the same spot
Beat 'em All!
|Talk about it on the Purple Boards