Football: Hawaii Bowl Press Conference

Little more than a day before kickoff, the Tulane Green Wave and Hawaii Warriors demonstrated their mutual respect at the Sheraton Waikiki's Ni'ihau Room.

Hawaii Bowl
Press Conference

By Paul Honda
Senior Writer
Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2002

The aloha isn't quite gone out of the
Hawaii post-season bowl industry.

In fact, when Tulane and
Hawaii met for Tuesday's ConAgra Hawaii Bowl press conference, there was plenty of appreciation and respect to share. Head coaches Chris Scelfo of Tulane and June Jones of Hawaii wore their best diplomatic hats -- ambassadors could take lessons from both -- at the cordial gathering.

When the Green Wave and Warriors kick off Wednesday,
3 p.m., at Aloha Stadium, a week of shared activities, tourist-style excursions and mutual admiration will come to a hard-hitting conclusion.

Scelfo is fully aware of his team's psyche in the comforts of warm, friendly paradise. "The
island of Oahu has treated the Tulane family exceptionally well. Obviously, tomorrow is gonna be a tremendous challenge for us as a football team. We're playing a team in their home stadium that is very well-coached. They've played extremely well all year to win 10 games against the schedule they did," he said.

"On the other hand, I think our team is excited about playing in the game tomorrow. We've got some guys we feel very confident they'll step up and play as hard and as well as we can play. I think the key to this football game for us is to play within ourselves, play Tulane football, not try to be something that we're not."

Scelfo understands the nuances of being a tourist well enough. "I think the distractions that this island has presented to us, our players have handled it well. I've offered and invitation to June and his team that we'll return the favor if they come for a week during Mardi Gras and we'll play them in the ‘Dome, and let him deal with those distractions that I've been dealing with," he quipped.

Warriors: Forget the oddsmakers
Hawaii is paying no heed to the 10-point spread made by oddsmakers. "I will say this about Tulane: They have great schemes both sides of the ball. They play very hard," Jones said. "I told our team, I just spent a week watching (them) go to Pearl Harbor, go into the different things that we've participated in with Tulane. They have inside of them what it takes to be extraordinary. They seem to be together. They don't beat themselves. We're gonna have to play our best football game to beat these guys.

Television Wonderland
Jones has often trumpeted the vision shared by ConAgra and ESPN in making this inaugural bowl game come to life. Tuesday was no different. ‘I'm thankful they stepped up. It was a roll of the dice that this was gonna be as big as it is now. I think the time slot is gonna be one of the most viewed games of the college post-season, and that's not just exciting for the schools and for our state, but for our players, and particularly for these four up here. All these guys have a chance to play at the next level. They get a chance to showcase their selves. We get a chance to showcase our state and our schools," he said.

Scelfo agreed. "It's gonna be a great game on national television. You can't exchange the exposure that our university's going to receive from this telecast and our football team," he said.

About those mobile quarterbacks
Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa views the matchup as a challenge on different levels. Tulane quarterback J.P. Losman may not have seen a linebacker with Tinoisamoa's quickness and tenacity, but the Warrior senior is wary, if not cautious. "It's harder when you have a quarterback that can move and throw the ball. I think we have a big task at hand on handling him. We're just hoping to contain him and limit him as much as possible," he said.

"Hopefully, we can stop them there, but then again, they have that running back. If he's running well, then we have another task at hand."

Musical chairs at OL
Wayne Hunter's back spasms kept him out of practice until Monday. The UH media relation office says the 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle is doubtful for the game.  

That leaves a door of opportunity open for redshirt freshman Ryan Santos, who has not started since his senior year at
Mililani High School.

Scelfo doesn't expect a major dropoff, even though
Santos will be responsible for protecting Tim Chang's blind side. "No, they've got guys that they can plug into their system. They've recruited to that system. The opportunity for someone else that's gonna be in there is gonna be the same as if they had their regular guy. They're gonna run what they do best, which got ‘em here. From a preparation standpoint, a schematic standpoint, I don't see anything changing," he said.

Part of the reason Scelfo doesn't expect slippage in
Hawaii's O-line play despite the injury to Hunter is All-American Vince Manuwai. "You've gotta have a great trigger man and a great offensive line. The one sitting over there (Manuwai) is gonna have a long, long ca

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