Bye comes at perfect time for Warriors

The bye week couldn't have come at a better time for Hawaii. The Warriors showed tremendous improvement over the past two weeks, and now they can use some time to heal assorted injuries afflicting key personnel groups.

Hawaii fell to 1-2 with back-to-back road losses against Washington and UNLV, but coach Greg McMackin was pleased with the progress his team made in subsequent victories over UC Davis and Louisiana Tech. Quarterback Bryant Moniz passed for 834 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in those two games, demonstrating much better rhythm and timing with his receivers than he did over the first three weeks of the season.

The Warriors still feel they have work to do before they visit San Jose State on Oct. 14, so they'll spend the bye week working on things they believe they should be doing better.

"The bye week is perfect timing because we have to do a couple of things," McMackin said. "You want to improve on everything."

Special teams will be one area of emphasis. Freshman kicker Tyler Hadden has made 12 of 14 extra-point attempts and 2 of 4 field-goal attempts, the lowest conversion rates in the Western Athletic Conference. He had a 52-yard field-goal attempt blocked and missed an extra point in the victory over Louisiana Tech.

"Obviously, we have had two kicks blocked and we've really got to get deep into that and get the right people in there," McMackin said. "We have to get that corrected."

The Warriors will also try to shore up their pass coverage after watching opposing quarterbacks pass for over 300 yards in two of their first five games. Nick Isham, a 17-year-old freshman, passed for 305 yards in a losing effort for Louisiana Tech.

Hawaii coaches also will spend time working with their offensive linemen. Injuries have taken a toll on an already young and inexperienced unit. McMackin noted that he had four freshmen on the line against Louisiana Tech.

"It was a physical game and we've got some guys hurt in the ballgame, and we've got some other players that are hurt, (so) it is a really good time for us (to have a bye)," McMackin said. "We're going to be able to work with some of our younger players, and I think it is a good time."


--Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said his team would not get much time off during the bye week. The Warriors were scheduled to practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before taking Saturday and Sunday off. McMackin said "Game Plan Tuesday" would be moved up to Friday, giving the Warriors two extra days to prepare for their Oct. 14 game against San Jose State.
--Freshman RB Joey Iosefa had the best game of his brief career against Louisiana Tech and would like to keep rolling coming out of the bye week. Iosefa had a career-high 99 yards on 16 carries against the Bulldogs. He went into the game with 47 yards on 23 carries. Iosefa could add an important element to Hawaii's offense is he continues to run the ball like he did against Louisiana Tech after the bye week.
--QB Bryant Moniz and WR Royce Pollard go into the bye week as the top passing duo in the Western Athletic Conference. Moniz leads the WAC in passing (315.6 ypg) and pass efficiency (150.7). Pollard is second in receptions per game (6.6) and receiving yards per game (110).

BYE WEEK MISSION: Hawaii hopes to use its bye week to get healthy and get better after going 3-2 over the first five weeks. Coach Greg McMackin is pleased with the progress his offense has shown in recent weeks, but there are other areas that need improvement. Special teams is one of them. K Tyler Hadden has made 12 of 14 extra-point attempts and 2 of 4 field-goal attempts, the lowest conversion rates in the Western Athletic Conference.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Warriors will jump right back into Western Athletic Conference play when they return to action at San Jose State on Oct. 14. QB Bryant Moniz threw for a school-record 560 yards in just over three quarters, helping Hawaii roll to a 41-7 victory over San Jose State last season. This one might not be that easy. The Spartans snapped a 13-game losing streak with a win over New Mexico State on Sept 24 and beat Colorado State on Oct. 1, ending a string of 16 consecutive road losses and 18 consecutive nonconference road losses.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Now it's like every game's a championship game for us because when you play in the WAC, if you lose you're pretty much almost done, so we're really trying to focus on taking it one game at a time. We didn't look past this game because we knew this was going to be a tough challenge for us and now we have to fly up to San Jose in a couple weeks and not look past them."
-- Hawaii S Richard Torres following the 44-26 victory over Louisiana Tech on Oct. 1.


SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Hawaii's vaunted run-and-shoot offense produced 100 points in the past two games after looking ordinary in a Sept. 17 loss to UNLV. Senior QB Bryant Moniz has developed timing and rhythm with a new set of receivers, which is particularly impressive given that he's operating behind a young, inexperienced and now injury-depleted offensive line. The Warriors got very little from their running backs over the first four games, but freshman Joey Iosefa rushed for 99 yards in an Oct. 1 victory over Colorado State.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Hawaii's defensive front is putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and effectively stopping the run, but pass defense could use some improvement. The Warriors are first in the Western Athletic Conference in scoring defense (27.4 ppg), rush defense (93.2 ypg), sacks (19) and interceptions (6), and second in total defense (327 ypg) and takeaways (9), but they are sixth in pass defense (233.8 ypg). Nick Isham, Louisiana Tech's 17-year-old freshman quarterback, threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns against Hawaii.


--WR Jeremiah Ostrowski has missed the last three games with a foot injury, but Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said he should be back when the Warriors visit San Jose State Oct. 14. McMackin said Ostrowski would start when he returns, but Justin Clapp, who has filled in quite nicely for Ostrowski, will continue "to play a lot of football."
--RB Sterling Jackson is nursing a sore shoulder and did not play against Louisiana Tech. Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said Jackson could have played had he been needed, but coaches elected to rest him.
--QB Stump Godfrey will return to practice this week after being given time off due to a family emergency, the Star Advertiser reported. Godfrey is redshirting this season.
--RB Will Gregory and RB Jared Leaf, both freshmen, are redshirting this season. Gregory was the 46th-rated running back in the country as a senior at Dominguez High in Compton, Calif., where he rushed for over 700 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven games. Leaf rushed for 1,381 yards and 19 touchdowns at Alhambra High in Martinez, Calif., last season.
--LB Corey Paredes hurt his knee against Louisiana Tech but returned to the game.

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