Warriors feed off Bulldog barkers
By Kalani Wilhelm
Special to RSN
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2002
Quarterback Timmy Chang is looking forward to this week's game against Fresno State and didn't shy away from saying what he thought of the Bulldogs and their fans.
"They're flat out cocky," Chang said. "They walk like they're cocky. The fans talk like they're cocky."
Chang, coming off of his best performance of the season, is aware of the rivalry with the Bulldogs. The rivalry began in 1999 when UH quarterback Dan Robinson connected with Craig Stutzmann in 1999 to help clinch a share of the Western Athletic Conference title and continued last season when Ashley Lelie jumped sky high to catch the game winning score from quarterback Nick Rolovich.
"I haven't been involved in it at all," said the sophomore signal caller. "As quarterback, I have a say on how we're going to put it to them. Putting it to them would mean so much."
Warrior D: Ready for Disrespect
A fraternity house is located right across the street from the practice field where Fresno frat boys and their keg of beer stand on a rooftop shouting obscenities. Many of the Warrior players refer to the visiting locker room as small as a sardine can and as unsanitary as many public restrooms. The walk from the locker room to Bulldog Stadium is so dreadful that little children come up with better swear words than the parents who are encouraging them.
But for the Warrior defense they wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's crazy up there but it kind of motivates us to play better. It doesn't scare us like it would other people," said senior middle linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa. "Whenever they yell I take it like they want to see something out of us."
Tinoisamoa said the defensive unit is aware of the hostile environment in Fresno. "We didn't play as well as we should have. This year we're going to block that all out and hopefully get our game on."
Middle linebacker Chris Brown echoes the sentiment of his linebacker mate.
"It's a long, long walkway. People spit on you. Everyone is barking at you. Even the geeky looking guys," said Brown. "It gets us pissed off."
Junior defensive end Kevin Jackson remembers the treatment Hawaii received in 2000. Jackson is one player looking forward to reacquaint himself with the Fresno faithful.
"It was fun. They set up a dog house with a dog cemetery. We're prepared for it. We know about it now. We know what to expect."
Jackson jokingly acknowledged the fact that he is particular anxious to say hello to the fraternity member you stands on top of the roof. "We'll make sure we say hello to him this time," Jackson said.
Junior defensive end Houston Ala didn't suit up for practice but he did participate in line running drills under the direction of Assistant Strength Coordinator Mel DeLaura. Ala, the team leader in sacks (four), is still recovering from an injury.
"I don't think it looks like he's ready to play tomorrow but we'll see," said DeLaura. "I'm trying to get him where he's not just standing around watching drills."
Ala's progress will continue to be evaluated by team trainers Wednesday. It is unknown on whether or not Ala will travel with the team to Fresno State.
Following Tuesday's practice Head Coach June Jones announced that quarterback Timmy Chang defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, and special teams player Keith Bhonapha received game balls for their performances in Hawaii's. The Warriors will depart for Fresno after Wednesday morning's practice.