Tuesday, October 6, 2015         


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Warriors are loose, ready for Boise State

By Stephen Tsai


BOISE, IDAHO » For the first time in several weeks, it appeared the Hawaii football team had suffered a defensive lapse.

During yesterday's closed practice at Meridian High School, a man, hiding behind a fence, was spotted trying to video the Warriors' drills.

Tommy Heffernan, the Warriors' strength and conditioning coach, was summoned. He sprinted toward the man, who, in a panic, packed his video equipment quickly and fled.

As Heffernan returned to the field, he was greeted with rousing applause.

"That was an awesome play," linebacker Corey Paredes said. "That was awesome to see Coach Tommy on that 50-yard burst. That guy immediately got scared."

Head coach Greg McMackin said: "The only thing Tommy didn't do was jump over the fence. I thought he'd do a flip over the fence."

Heffernan said words sometimes are more powerful than actions.

"I told him to get out," Heffernan said, smiling, "and he got out."

That was the only dramatic moment in the Warriors' final full-length practice in preparation for tomorrow's nationally televised road game against second-ranked Boise State. The Warriors will have a walk-through session today at Bronco Stadium.

The Warriors went through their menu of offensive plays. Right tackle Laupepa Letuli, who has missed the past three games because of a sprained ankle, worked with the first-unit offensive line.

McMackin said it will be a "game-day" decision whether right slotback Kealoha Pilares will start against the Broncos. Pilares is recovering from a strained left hamstring.

The defense, which has forced 17 turnovers in five Western Athletic Conference games, was impressive during the practice, which lasted a little more than 2 hours.

Paredes, who has three interceptions in the past two games, picked off three passes during 7-on-7 drills.

"How about that?" said Mouse Davis, who coaches the UH receivers. "We're thinking he can play the slot."

Paredes chuckled at the suggestion, although he admitted he was named to the 2006 all-state team as an all-purpose player.

"I was a receiver in high school," said Paredes, a Castle graduate. "That's why I was disappointed in the balls I dropped in earlier games."

Left slotback Greg Salas said: "He told me he played receiver in high school. I told him: 'You're about to move back with all of the plays you're making.' We're about to put him into the slot. He's doing great. He's having a great year."

Paredes said the defense has worked hard on reading plays and trying to force turnovers. Several of the defensive backs run pass routes before each practice. The Warriors spend a session each practice working on stripping away the football from ballcarriers.

"We're trying to get the ball," Paredes said. "You have to practice how you're going to play. You cannot expect to get that stuff in the game if you cannot get it in practice."

McMackin said he was pleased with the pace of the players.

"I thought it was a really good practice," McMackin said. "Their speed was good. We played fast, on both sides of the ball."

Because of roster limitations, the second-unit players had to serve as the scout team, simulating Boise State's players.

"We got a good look," McMackin said. "We did a lot of good things in practice."

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