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Ralphie greets Warriors

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 3:18 a.m. HST, Sep 18, 2010

BOULDER, COLO. » Like the eve of every road game, the Hawaii football team yesterday had a walk-through at the opposing team's stadium.

Head coach Greg McMackin wore slippers. "Like I always do the day before a game," McMackin said.

But this time, the Warriors were greeted by a 1,200-pound buffalo who can reach speeds of 25 mph. Ralphie V is the mascot of Colorado, the Warriors' nonconference opponent today. Ralphie V is female, and the latest in a line of bison to represent the Buffaloes.

Ralphie was donated to the university by television and sports mogul Ted Turner.

And yesterday, Ralphie was brought to Folsom Field in her customized trailer, which bears her name on the side panels. Kept behind a portable fence, with a handler on each side, Ralphie was introduced to each Warrior.

"They all got to see Ralphie," said McMackin, who brought teams to Colorado when he was the defensive coordinator at Miami and Texas Tech. "They won't be scared when Ralphie comes by."

Ralphie leads the Buffaloes out to the field before the starts of the game and the second half.

She just turned 4, and "lives in an undisclosed location," CU spokesman David Plati said.

Colorado, which has some of the loudest fans, gets stirred into a frenzy when Ralphie leads the charge onto the field.

"At Texas Tech," McMackin recalled, "we had a crazy linebacker. ... He had said he was going to tackle Ralphie, head up. But when it came around, he chickened out."

After training the past week in Las Vegas, where they relocated following the road game against Army in West Point, N.Y., the Warriors arrived in Denver yesterday afternoon. They went directly to Folsom Field to check out the playing surface and backdrop.

"It's a beautiful facility," UH assistant coach Mouse Davis said. "It's grown since I was last here. The stadium is bigger, and the field is grass. The stadium used to be small with artificial turf. If you like grass, it's better. If you like bigger, it's better."

After that, the team checked into a hotel about 10 miles from Boulder.

"We did a lot of work (in Las Vegas), just like we would have if we were in Hawaii," McMackin said. "We haven't changed anything."

During this 13-day road trip, the Warriors answered several concerns, such as the uncertainty of the offensive line.

"We've made a lot of progress," McMackin said.

After two solid performances, the offensive line is drawing praise.

"It's all a matter of opinion," left tackle Austin Hansen said. "Everyone wants to give us a lot more credit than we deserve right now. Before, it was more popular to knock us. Now it's more popular to give us more credit. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. We're playing hard. We'll see how that goes."

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