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Friday, December 24, 2010

Game Day: Hawaii Bowl, UPDATE: VIDEO: News catchup

GO WARRIORS!!!!!!!! Missed the past few days of Hawaii Bowl articles, and now there's like 25 of them. Just been really busy. Anyway, here's some great pre-game reading!

Stephen Tsai's gameday preview has breakdowns of the offense, defense and special teams of both UH and Tulsa.

Tsai writes that the Warriors have extra incentive to go out with a victory today.
McMackin wants a more hopeful ending than the finishes to the past three seasons -- blowout losses to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, to Notre Dame in the Hawaii Bowl and to Wisconsin in the 2009 regular-season finale.

"Coach said: 'You're only as good as your last game,'" quarterback Bryant Moniz said. "Right now, we're pretty good because we beat UNLV in our last game. If we lose this game, that's how we'll be remembered for the offseason, and it's a long offseason. I know we're working hard to make it different this year."
Eric Bailey of Tulsa World previews the game.
"They have a great understanding of pass concepts and coverage concepts," TU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said. "They do a great job of spacing the field from sideline to sideline and spacing the field and getting you to run sideline to sideline and then hit you vertical."

Patterson said his unit has had good workouts leading up to Friday's game.

"It's been the best two weeks of preparation we've had all season long, with the attention to detail," Patterson said. "I'm excited to watch them play."
Bailey takes a look at matchups to watch. Here's one of them:
Coaching

Todd Graham (left) and his staff have played their best football games in bowls when they have had weeks to prepare. They beat a ranked Ball State team two years ago and put up the largest margin of victory (56 points) in NCAA bowl history in a win over Bowling Green. Hawaii isn't a MAC team, however. Third-year coach Greg McMackin will be trying to guide the Warriors to their first bowl victory since 2006. Hawaii is playing with its highest confidence since advancing to the Sugar Bowl under June Jones.

Edge: TU
John Klein of Tulsa World takes a look at the similarity in Hawaii's and Tulsa's paths to this game.
The Golden Hurricane and Warriors suffered through an unexpected bowl-less season in 2009.

Then, the start to this season was similar. A rough patch was followed by a quick finish that was led by terrific offense.

So, TU and Hawaii, who finished the season in peak form, will play on Friday in a potentially fantastic offensive bowl game.
Here are some previews from national publications:

Jaymes Song of The AP

Bill Trocchi of Sports Illustrated
Final analysis: Hawaii moved the ball on pretty much everyone but Boise State and put up a scary 600-plus yards in its final three games of the season. Against a shaky Tulsa defense, there's a good chance that streak will extend to four. Kinne will undoubtedly lead Tulsa to some points, but Moniz and the home-field advantage will be too much for the Golden Hurricane to overcome.

The pick: Hawaii 55, Tulsa 31
Rivals.com

Andrea Adelson of ESPN.com, along with some keys to the game and some game notes.

Perseverance pays off as LaCount gets first start for Warriors, by Stephen Tsai
LaCount is part of the shakeup to the left side of the UH offense. Billy Ray Stutzmann will start at left wideout ahead of Rodney Bradley, and Brett Leonard will open at left guard in place of Brysen "Bula" Ginlack.

It is LaCount who has conquered the most obstacles en route to a starting job.
Warriors learn today who's eligible to play, has some news and notes by Tsai and Jason Kaneshiro. Mouse Davis is undecided about coming back for the 2011 season, the seniors reflect on their last practice, etc. As for eligibility, guess we find out today.

Via Eric Bailey, Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson has some pretty funny comments about his time in Hawaii.



Jason Kaneshiro profiles Damaris Johnson.

Bailey profiles TU receiver Trae Johnson.

Pilares ready for risk-taking returns, by Tsai
"I'm not fair-catching anything," said Pilares, who is expected to be the Warriors' punt returner in Friday's Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

The past three games, the Warriors have returned two of 21 punts for zero yards. Greg Salas, UH's leading receiver, was instructed to fair catch every punt.
o_O

A really long headline, by Stephen Tsai, who writes about Spencer Smith mentoring John Hardy-Tuliau.
While continuing to recover from a fractured right forearm, Smith has served as a mentor to freshman John Hardy-Tuliau.

When Smith is not playing, he is the de facto assistant coach.

"I'll tell Spencer: 'Just watch John,' " associate head coach Rich Miano said. "Spencer has done a good job mentoring John all season long. I know John looks up to his work ethic."
Tulsa World has more news and notes.

Coach Graham still at Tulsa, but it might not last for long, by Ferd Lewis

C-USA and MWC discuss a bond beyond bowl games, by Lewis
A united approach to a Bowl Championship Series automatic-qualifying berth has been among the most intriguing possibilities since neither currently has automatic status.

"There is still some level of interest in talking about that between the two conferences," Banowsky said. "Where the conversation ultimately goes, I think, is way too early to tell. But I think as long as folks are interested in exploring that idea, we'll continue to do that."
Had it hung together, WAC might have been a contender, by Lewis
Benson had proposed a plan that would have, essentially, made the 16-team WAC two conferences in one, preserving regional rivalries, scaling back travel and combining strengths. But the presidents, who call the shots, had shorter attention spans and other ideas.

Less than five months ago Benson had the WAC on the verge of regaining BYU and, who knows, maybe even getting San Diego State, Nevada-Las Vegas and Texas-El Paso back, not to mention possibly retaining Boise State. The WAC was maybe 48 to 72 hours from a major turnaround and a promising future when the conference members pledged solidarity.

"The Project" is what Nevada president Milton Glick had excitedly dubbed it — just before helping to betray it by jumping ship.
UPDATE: Here's the news video from the past two days....

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