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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Blaze, Wisconsin Previews, Etc.

Blaze Soares is today's guest on the Tsai & Wai Warrior Beat Show, today at 11am HST. Stephen Tsai is giving away two tickets to the Wisconsin game to one of the readers whose question is asked on the show.

Tsai writes about the injuries Blaze Soares has had to overcome.
In 2007, there were whispers that Soares' career would end because of a painful stinger and shoulder injury.

"I couldn't even lift my arm," said Soares, who played that season virtually one-armed.

Then last year, on the second day of training camp, he suffered torn ligaments in the base of his left calf.

The doctors gave him two choices: 1) undergo surgery, or 2) undergo intensive physical therapy. Both would require him to miss the rest of the season, with no assurances he would ever be able to play again.
Jason Kaneshiro profiles Blaze as well.
After a year away from the field, the Castle graduate hasn't missed a start this season and enters the week leading the Warriors with 96 total tackles, including two sacks, and logged his first career interception against New Mexico State on Nov. 14.

"Some athletes cannot play after they tear their Achilles'. What he's done is close to a miracle," UH defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Cal Lee said. "The doctor and the trainers and the guys who worked on him to get him ready for this year, they have to be congratulated.
Sam Oleson has a preview of the UH-Wisconsin game up on the Bleacher Report.
Coming off their discouraging loss to Northwestern, the Badgers need this game if they hope to have any momentum going into a bowl game.

With Oklahoma State's loss to Oklahoma, either Iowa or Penn State will surely be invited to a BCS bowl, and Wisconsin is all but guaranteed a bid to the Outback Bowl if they can defeat Hawaii.

Even though their surroundings may suggest otherwise, this game will be anything but a vacation for Wisconsin.

No, the WAC Warriors are no powerhouse, but let's not kid ourselves, neither are the Badgers.

Hawaii is averaging 24 points and nearly 500 yards a game, certainly not a good sign for Wisconsin's reeling defense.
Radio announcer Matt Lepay previews the game on UWBadgers.com.
Under Barry Alvarez, the Badgers visited Hawaii in years when the Warriors were struggling. In 1996, Ron Dayne was a man among boys, rushing for 339 yards in a 59-10 rout. Had Dayne played more in the second half, he could have rushed for 500 yards with ease. In 2000, the Badgers rolled to a 34-18 victory, overcoming some frustrating early penalty calls along the way. In 2005, the game was tight in the third quarter before Wisconsin pulled away to a 41-24 victory.

This game could be much more difficult. In the previous two visits, the Badgers faced quarterbacks Colt Brennan and Timmy Chang. This year it is Bryant Moniz, who has played well after starter Greg Alexander went down with a season-ending knee injury early in the season. The Warriors love to throw the ball, which will make for another tough test for the UW defense. The Hawaii defense also is playing well of late, shutting down Navy's triple-option offense in the second half.
UWBadgers.com also has some game notes.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews the Warriors' season.

Potrykus also has a UH scouting report. Here's what he writes about the UH special teams:
The Warriors do not excel on special teams. Kicker Scott Enos has made just one of five field-goal attempts from 40 yards or longer and is 11 for 18 overall, with two kicks blocked. Punter Alex Dunnachie, who averages 37.6 yards per punt, often uses a rugby-style kick. He doesn't get much hang time, so if UW's David Gilreath can field a punt he could break off another long return. However, Dunnachie has allowed only six returns on 36 punts this season. The Warriors' return units are average, which means UW shouldn't get burned this week.
Jim Polzin of The Capital Times talks to Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez about his attempts to move the game to Madison, and about the possibility of future games in Hawaii.
UW coach Bret Bielema said earlier this week he'd like the series to continue but acknowledged that might be difficult in this economy.

As part of budget cuts announced last December, travel outside the contiguous 48 states is temporarily prohibited for all sports. The trip to Hawaii and the UW men's basketball trip to Maui for a tournament last month were allowed because the contracts were signed before the restrictions were put in place.

Alvarez started the series with Hawaii because "it was something we wanted to do so that everyone that came through our program had a chance to go there once."

Although a return trip to Hawaii in 2013 or '14 seems unlikely,

Alvarez wasn't ready to rule it out.

"I'm not ready to make that statement right now," he said. "Right now, we've put the brakes on anyone taking foreign trips and trips like this. You just have to be so cognizant of the budget and the economy. If things stay the same, then we certainly aren't going to do it."
Ferd Lewis writes that not as many Wisconsin fans will be flying in for this game as they had in previous matchups.
Estimates are that the turnout of Badger faithful for Saturday's game against the University of Hawai'i will be down "30-to-40" percent from past years.

An estimated 4,000 are expected to be on hand for the game, down from an estimated 6,000 fans here for the Badgers' last appearance, a 41-24 win over UH in 2005.
Ferd Lewis writes about SMU's imminent return to Aloha Stadium after 25 years.
In slightly less time than it took to build H-3, the Mustangs will celebrate a journey unique in NCAA major college football history with their Dec. 24 appearance in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl against a WAC opponent. That will be UH, if the Warriors beat Wisconsin, likely Nevada, if they don't.
And Dave Reardon profiles former UH player Walter Santiago, a coach for Kahuku, and his son, a corner for Kamehameha.
Walter Santiago says he and his father of the same name are "super close."

Dad agrees, but this week they're giving each other some space. Pops is the offensive coordinator at Kahuku. Son starts at cornerback for Kamehameha. The Red Raiders and Warriors duel Friday for a state football championship.


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