the Gekko File:  Hawaii

*Given that it is Hawaii week, I figured I'd repost this.  Enjoy---Gekko


I had so much fun expressing my man love for KirkD last week that I’ve gone ahead and assembled a preview of Hawaii in this week’s Gekko Files.  The Warriors sport a prolific spread offense that emphasizes the passing attack and is modeled after the Run and Shoot that June Jones installed in the late nineties.  The Warriors enter into this season coming off a terrific 10 win season last year.  The momentum from last year was stymied by a drubbing in the Hawaii bowl at the hands of Tulsa and by the graduation of 13 starters off of the team.  This year’s Hawaii team is clearly reloading, but it sports a talent pool that many believe is the class of WAC in 2011.  This is a Warriors team that has BCS Bowl game aspirations which makes the Week 2 game at Washington its most critical match-up of the season.

More from the Gekko File after the Jump:

  • There is one interesting Hawaii / Washington connection that will resonate with tenured Husky Fans.  Keith Gilbertson attended Hawaii as an undergrad
  • Washington sports an unacceptable all-time losing record of 1-2 versus Hawaii.  The most recent embarrassment came against the 12-1, BCS Bowl bound team in 2007.  This was a game that Ty actually had the team in a position to win until they surrendered two fourth quarter TDs, including a dagger shot from Colt Brennan with just 44 seconds to play.
  • Hawaii returns just three offensive starters in 2011.  One of them, unfortunately, is QB Bryant Moniz.  Moniz is a bad ass who led the Warriors to ten wins and the best (statistical) passing attack in all of the NCAA last season.  His bottom line was over 5000 yards passing and 39 TDs.
  • Since June Jones took over in 1999 (and then handed off to McMackin in 2008), Hawaii has produced some prolific QBs the most notable of which is current CFL’er Colt Brennan.  Brian Morinz made headlines for throwing for 560 yds in a single game last  year, but people tend to forget the outrageous numbers that Timmy Chang put up <Timmy!> between 2000-2004.  In fact, Timmy! holds the NCAA record for career passing  yards with (gasp) 17,702.
  • Hawaiian is a language and a beautiful one at that.  I have many favorite phrases.  For instance, I like "Hana Hou" which means "one more time" as in "Let's score on these pansies hana hou!".  I also like "u'i" which means "beautiful" as in "Whooooeeee, that pick 6 for Parker was u'i!".  My favorite is "ono" which means "delicious" and will be heard by many a Warrior fan during the game as in "Ono! Those Dawgs are kicking our asses all over the place" (there is a certain irony in the duality of that phrase).
  • The Warriors Defense returns six starters with its two best players being Kaniela Tulpulotu at defensive tackle and Corey Paredes at linebacker.  This defense was sneaky good in the regular season, but relied on turnover margin (+12) to achieve some of its stats and they were exposed in the Hawaii Bowl after surrendering 62 points to Tulsa.  Nevertheless, analysts like the young depth of the Defense, including some big bodies on the defensive line. 
  • There have been some name-value pros that have come out of Hawaii and made an impact in the NFL.  Players like Davone Bess, Kimo von Oelhoffen, Ashley Lelie and Mark Tuinei all played for the Warriors.  The best pro Hawaii ever produced was the venerable placekicker Jason Elam.  Jason actually held the WAC record for most career points scored (397) until Kyle Brotzman of Boise St beat that record last year.  Elam is one of the most prolific kickers in NFL history and owns several significant career and single season kicking records.  Jason now moonlights as a writer having written three action adventure books, the first of which is called Monday Night Jihad which, as you might guess, is an engrossing tale about football and terrorism. If you are a fan of Faulkner, Hemingway, Cullers, Fitzgerald or BugsDodger, you'll love this next great American author
  • The Warriors are an NCAA oddity given their remote location in the Manoa Valley east of Honolulu.  Teams that schedule road games versus Hawaii are allowed a 13th game in any regular season.  This is known as the Hawaii Exemption and it allows for UH to also play a 13th game every year.  Washington has taken advantage of this exemption.  USC took advantage of it last season in what turned out to be one of the most exciting games that was played in all of college football last year.
  • This is Hawaii’s farewell tour in the WAC.  Next year they will cross over to the new Mountain West division which will give them the opportunity to get pounded regularly by the likes of Boise St and Nevada, among others.  The Mountain West is excited to add Hawaii’s incremental $2.2 million in television revenue to their coffers, although that is offset by the $3-4 million in incremental travel costs Mountain West teams will likely incur in order to play at Hawaii.
  • Seattle fans know Greg McMackin as the former Defensive Coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.  He made a name for himself as the DC for the Miami Hurricanes during the Warren Sapp/Ray Lewis in the early nineties (not in 1991).  He also made a name for himself for an ugly gay slur incident in 2009.  Some of you Northwesterners might also know him as the former head coach of the Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owl out of Klamath Falls, OR.
  • Hawaii first donned the nickname "The Rainbows" in 1923 after a victory over Oregon State that was punctuated with a rainbow forming over the field.  They became the Warriors in 2001, apparently, after repeated attempts at finding the fabled pot of gold left University administrators frustrated.  There was also an ugly backlash among the Hawaiian-Irish community given flying accusations of anti-leprechaunism, but we’ll leave that story for another post.
  • Hawaii’s greatest upset is considered by many to be their 10-7 road victory over the Huskies in 1973 – a game that some of our DawgPound friends lived to see (myself included…barely).  The Huskies were favored by more than 50 points in that game.
  • On Special Teams, the Warriors sport both a reliable kicker (Scott Enos) and a punter (Alex Dunnachie).  However, with so many of last year’s special teams players moving into starting roles, ST is an area of uncertainty for the Warriors in 2011
  • Hawaii plays an unusual five out of conference games this season including home matches vs Colorado, UC Davis, Tulane, and BYU and road matches at UW and UNLV
  • Following the Pearl Harbor attacks of 1941, graduates of the UH class of 1942 were issued gas masks as part of their commencement apparel package.  The masks served two purposes:  a precaution against another Japanese attack and protection from the stench that was emanating from the football field

Hawaii vs Washington:  A Preview

Expect Hawaii to put up some big offense against our defense despite the lack of experience on that side of the ball.  Moniz knows how to find the holes that their spread offense exposes.  He is a gambler and is prone to both exposing himself to big hits as well as making mistakes all in the name of hitting the big plays.  The Warriors won’t be able to run all that effectively against us, so they will live and die by the pass.  On the flip side, I expect Washington to try to control the ball and establish their physical advantage on the lines.  Hawaii will be breaking in some young DE’s – so look for UW to work the G-T gaps as well as the fly sweeps.  There should also be size advantages with our receivers vs their second level defense.  This might well be the game we see what Keith Price can do in the short and medium range passing game. We'll all be looking at his decision-making, his progression in his reads and his accuracy.  If he performs well, we should be able to move the ball effectively.

This is a game that Hawaii can win, but I’m guessing that they are going to make too many mistakes in between their scoring drives and I see UW pulling this one out as our physicality advantages take their toll in the fourth quarter.

Predictions:  Hawaii 33  -  Washington 41

I expect this game to be closer than most of us would care to see, but salvaged with a dominating physical performance in the fourth quarter that sees the Dawgs recapture the lead and put the game away.  Sark will note afterwards that the Huskies aren't as far along as some of our players thought they were but that it shows that we can "finish".  The UW Dawgpound erupts in debate as the pessimists clash with the optimists, Dawgfan22 tells everyone that he's ordered rose-colored glasses for the whole blog and Lear decides that he's back on the "Fire Holt" bandwagon.

Other predictions in the Gekko File:

- Polk comes back in Week 2 and splits the load with Jesse Callier and Bishop Sankey
- Price throws his first INT of the year
- Moniz gets dinged and does not finish the game
- Our D scores a TD – I’m going with a Sean Parker pick-6
- Sefarin-Jenkins catches 6 balls and puts his name in the mix for the Freshman All-American Team

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