Wide receiver Darius Bright and linebacker Aaron Brown were reinstated after coach Greg McMackin and athletic director Jim Donovan completed an internal investigation into their Sept. 28 arrests.
Both players were held out of Hawaii's 34-17 victory over Colorado, but they will play when the Warriors visit Washington on Sept. 10.
Bright and Brown were charged with third-degree assault following a fight inside a Waikiki nightclub less than a week before the season opener. McMackin said Brown will start at weak-side linebacker and Bright, who has had a turf toe injury since July, will rotate with Allen Sampson at left wideout. The Star-Advertiser reported that McMackin is expected to impose community-service requirements on both players.
"To me, they served their punishment and they'll have some things to do," McMackin said. "They're back on the football team. We handled it and it's family business and we are going to do what we think is right and do what is right for our family and our football team, and that's where we are."
Brown is a proven player who will solidify a defense that already looked good without him against Colorado. Bright is a big target at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, and he could have just as much of an impact on offense.
Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz led the nation in passing and touchdowns last season, but he threw for just 178 yards and one touchdown against the Buffaloes. Moniz misfired on six of his first seven pass attempts but made up for it with his feet, rushing for a career-high 121 yards and three touchdowns.
Moniz is working behind a new offensive line with a new running back and a new set of receivers. Timing and precision in the passing game will improve and McMackin said Moniz's running ability will add another dimension to the offense, forcing opponents to defend the Warriors differently than they have in the past.
"We could have thrown the ball more, but we were getting it on the run and it's called the run and shoot, and we proved it last year," McMackin said. "We wanted to throw the ball to set up the run, but if we can get it on the run then we will take that, too. (Moniz) has the ability and he is faster than he has ever been, so people aren't going to be able to do what they did in the past."
--The Hawaii athletic department is using social networking to promote QB Bryant Moniz, creating a fan page to drum up interest at Facebook.com/BryantMonizForHeisman. Moniz led the nation in passing (360 yards per game) and touchdowns (39) last season. He has been named to HeismanPundit.com's Watch List as well as watch lists for the Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award.
--WR Royce Pollard, LB Corey Paredes, S Richard Torres and Moniz were named team captains in a vote by players. All four came into the program as walk-ons.
--Hawaii's walk-on program, overseen by associate head coach Rich Miano, has produced a number of outstanding players over the years, including current Moniz and 2007 Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan. Miano, himself a former walk-on, spent 11 seasons in the NFL.
SERIES HISTORY: Hawaii leads Washington 2-1 (last meeting, 2007, 35-28 Hawaii).
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: Hawaii led the nation in passing at 394.3 yards per game last season and ranked in the top three nationally for the 11th time in the last 12 years. The Warriors lost three key receivers from last year's team and had just 178 passing yards in a season-opening victory over Colorado, but history suggests they will get the passing game going. With improved timing and the addition of WR Darius Bright, QB Bryant Moniz may be able to get the run-and-shoot firing against a Washington defense that was exposed by Eastern Washington in Week 1. Moniz rushed for a career-high 121 yards against Colorado. He'll run some more against the Huskies, but only when he isn't testing Washington's secondary with his arm.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: Hawaii's high-flying offense generated most of the headlines last season, but the Warriors were quietly setting records on defense as well. They led the nation in turnovers forced (38) and tied a single-season school record with five defensive touchdowns. They also ranked second in the nation with 23 interceptions and ninth with 15 fumble recoveries. The Warriors return six starters from that unit, including three of their top four tacklers, and it showed against Colorado. Hawaii held the Buffaloes to 240 yards total offense and 17 rushing yards. They forced three fumbles and made one interception.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I felt that we played great defense. When a team talks everyday about coming and running it down our throat, getting the first punch, and really focus on being physical and our defense forced them to 17 yards (rushing), seven sacks, and they got 240 yards total. I know we are not getting a lot of credit down there ... but I'm going to credit our players for playing good defense." -- Hawaii coach Greg McMackin, on his defense's performance against Colorado.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL:
THIS WEEK'S GAME: This is just the fourth time Hawaii and Washington have met. The Warriors prevailed 35-28 in Honolulu in 2007 when QB Colt Brennan completed a short touchdown pass to Ryan Grice-Mullen with 44 seconds remaining. Brennan completed 42 of 50 passes for 442 yards, helping the Warriors rally from a 28-7 deficit. The Huskies lone victory in the series was a 53-13 win in the Poi Bowl in Honolulu in 1938.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Warriors want to iron out some wrinkles in the passing game and may have a willing host in Washington. The Huskies were torched through the air in their season opener. Eastern Washington QB Bo Mitchell passed for 473 yards and three touchdowns and nearly upset the Huskies on their home field. Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz led the nation in passing and touchdowns last season. He will undoubtedly take his shots at the Washington secondary, and the outcome of the game may depend on what kind of rhythm he can establish with his new receivers.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
QB Bryant Moniz -- The senior quarterback put up modest passing numbers with 178 yards but rushed for a career-high 121 yard and three touchdowns in a season-opening victory over Colorado. Will Moniz have his running shoes on again when the Warriors visit Washington or will he let it fly against a suspect secondary?
WR Darius Bright -- The 6-foot-4, 230-pound junior receiver will make his much-anticipated Warrior debut against the Huskies. Bright will rotate with Allen Sampson at left wideout. It remains to be seen how much he'll be slowed by a turf toe injury sustained in July. Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said Bright
DE Paipai Falemalu -- The 6-foot-3, 245-pound junior had six tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss in the victory over Colorado, helping the Warriors hold the Buffaloes to 17 rushing yards on 28 attempts. Falemalu appeared in all 14 games as a sophomore last season, recording 35 tackles and five sacks.
--QB Bryant Moniz and DE Paipai Falemalu received Western Athletic Conference player of the week honors following their performances against Colorado. Moniz completed 20 of 33 passes for 178 yards, rushed for a career-high 121 yards and accounted for four touchdowns against the Buffaloes. Falemalu had six tackles and three tackles for a loss, including two sacks.
--The Star-Advertiser reported that right OG Chauncy Winchester-Makainai was on crutches in the days after the Colorado game. Winchester-Makainai had an MRI on his right knee but said he expected to make the trip to Washington and UNLV.
Warriors looking at another Pac-12 surprise?
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