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Friday, August 01, 2014         

UH FOOTBALL


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Warriors expect rising returns

After five straight victories, there's only confidence and belief in the UH locker room

By Stephen Tsai

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As a former business major who dabbled in the stock market, Hawaii football player Rodney Bradley is familiar with the top right corner.

"Everything is coming together," Bradley said of the Warriors, who are atop the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 4-0 league record. "We're only going toward that upper right-hand corner."

Several weeks ago, head coach Greg McMackin used the stock market chart to illustrate the Warriors' goal of progressing every week.

In business terms, a left-to-right diagram of a rising stock is known as a fever chart, because the lines move diagonally upward, seemingly toward the top right corner.

With five consecutive victories, the 6-2 Warriors are fever-hot entering tonight's homecoming game against Idaho. Kickoff is at 5:35 p.m.

"We're playing better because we all believe in what we're doing," McMackin said. "Everybody is on board."

 

QUANTIFYING IT ALL

One of the ways the Warriors measure progress is to compare similar nonconference opponents from 2009 and this season. For instance, they liken their 2009 regular-season finale opponent, Wisconsin, to 2010 opener Southern California. Navy is similar to Army.

In those comparisons, according to offensive line coach Gordy Shaw, the 2010 Warriors are doing well.

UH defensive coordinator Dave Aranda is more reserved in his praise, noting the Warriors struggled with "alignment and assignment" issues against USC. Too often, the Warriors were out of place, and often looked to the sideline for cues.

In the second game, Army rallied from a 21-0 deficit thanks to converting all four fourth-down situations. Each time, the Warriors clogged the tackle box; each time, the Black Knights ran a play to the perimeter.

Aranda said the preferred strategy is to show an alignment in which the tackle box is loaded, then, at the snap, scurry to the outside.

"At that state of the year, we weren't able to do that, in my opinion," Aranda said. "The guys have gotten better. We can do that now."

 

PLAYING TAKEAWAY

By following the assignments, such as the defensive ends crashing down to contain the quarterback between the tackles, the Warriors can force the tempo even if they do not get sacks. With 13 turnovers -- three fumble recoveries, 10 interceptions -- in four WAC games, the defense is taking charge.

"We're getting better, but this will be a big test," Aranda said of Idaho. "The quarterback (Nathan Enderle) is the best thrower we've seen this year. He reminds me of the USC guy (Matt Barkley). They're both very smart, and they have great touch. ... You can tell when you look at (Idaho's) offense, they have attitude and they have swagger. They have confidence, and they should."

The Warriors also are clicking on offense. After a slow start, Bradley is again a consistent threat on deep routes. That opens the way for the slotbacks, and for running back Alex Green."

"It's always been our game plan to get Rodney the ball deep to open up the underneath (routes)," quarterback Bryant Moniz said.

Last week in wet and chilly conditions at Utah State, the Warriors had difficulty with their passing game. But they still managed to move the ball and control the clock.

"I guess there are no limits to this offense if we execute," Moniz said. "We need to execute."






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