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Iosefa upbeat despite struggles

By Jason Kaneshiro


There's a pretty good chance Joey Iosefa won't see this.

Even if the Hawaii running back does happen to glance at the Sports section, he probably won't pay it much mind.

With discontent swirling around the University of Hawaii football program in a season of struggle thus far, Iosefa said the focus remains fixed on moving forward as a unit while keeping perceptions on the periphery.

"I don't read the newspaper or listen to any of that, I just have to do what I have to do," Iosefa said. "We just have to not worry about what happens outside, the main thing is us. If we believe in ourselves and what we're doing, I think we're going to be successful."

Wins have been elusive for the Warriors in a 1-6 season to date and they continue to search for their first Mountain West Conference victory going into Saturday's game at Fresno State (6-3, 4-1). The season has been rough on Iosefa individually as well. He has battled a stubborn foot injury that sidelined him for four games. The sophomore returned in last week's loss at Colorado State and, consistent with his running style, is motivated by driving ahead.

"It's not what we expected, but we're still all in this thing together," Iosefa said after a practice this week. "I feel this is the closest team I've been with. So it's more exciting seeing my brothers not even quitting and keep playing.

"In practice today everybody was hyped up," Iosefa added. "We're excited, we love to play, we believe in ourselves. This team is close and everybody is on the same page no matter what the record is."

Through the trials, Iosefa's upbeat demeanor remains constant, boosted by his return to the field after missing most of the first half of the season. He ran for a career high 106 yards on 22 carries against Colorado State, becoming the first UH player to run for triple digits since Bryant Moniz went for 120 against Colorado to open the 2011 season. The last running back to accomplish the feat was Alex Green in 2010. Iosefa combined with Will Gregory and John Lister to lead a rushing attack that generated 193 yards.

"I was super excited to finally get that chance to help out the team. It feels so good to be part of the team on the field," said Iosefa, who averages 4 yards on his 47 carries this season. "My hat goes off to the O-line for the great job up front and to the receivers for blocking the safeties. Everybody does their job, good things happen."

While freely distributing credit for the yardage total, Iosefa accepted responsibility for a second-quarter fumble that eventually led to a Colorado State score, and contributed to a turn in momentum after UH took an early lead.

"That's something I've been working on this whole week," he said. "It's not an excuse for me, missing a couple games. … As a running back that's the main important thing, the ball. I've been working on that the whole offseason. No excuse. It's something I have to get better at."

Iosefa said he had some pain in his foot after the game but it was gone by the time the Warriors resumed practice in advance of their trip to Fresno State. The rivalry with the Bulldogs bridged the programs' migration from the Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West, though their fortunes have diverged under first-year coaches.

Tim DeRuyter, formerly the defensive coordinator at Texas A&M, took over the Fresno State program this season and the Bulldogs enter the week second in the league in total defense and fourth in rushing defense. The Bulldogs yield 171.1 yards per game on the ground and have surrendered 12 rushing touchdowns in nine games, five coming in a loss to Oregon on Sept. 8. Nose guard Andy Jennings is tied for the MWC lead with 10 tackles for loss.

"They're a really solid front, they're really good athletes," Iosefa said. "We have to really work on ourselves and get mentally ready."

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hunebasami wrote:
Winning doesn't always go to the swiftess or the strongest but to the one who believe they can. Nice to see the men of UH still believe. Now they just need a new coach.
on November 2,2012 | 05:19AM
dt44 wrote:
I don't believe changing coaches will solve all the problems. Give the man a break will you? First time as a head coach, you might think no excuses but it's not as easy as one might think. At least you got to give him a fair chance to recruit his type of players and develop them. Have patience, they say good things come to those who wait, so we just need to have faith in changes for the better.
on November 2,2012 | 06:26AM
EyeKea wrote:
I believe we will be seeing something similar to the Dick Tomey era, we will win games but will fall short of winning the conference and bowl games. The key for Chow's success here will be his ability to successfully recruit above average athletes and coach them to play with discipline. As I see it now, we don't lack for talent on defense, we lack depth and experience because of injuries. We definitely need a higher caliber QB than what we have now. The backups were recuited for a different system, but they all have one thing in common, they were recruited to pass. Schroeder may be a smart QB, but he lacks the athleticism and arm strength. We have decent running backs but don't have the kind of o-line that can provide consistency, and our receivers really suck. I'm hoping for better results next year, but I don't expect a 12-0 or 11-1 team for a very long time.
on November 2,2012 | 07:01AM
hunebasami wrote:
Same as Von. Same start and same ending. Old men with old memories. Time has past them by but they don't believe, yet.They will in time. The future is with the young. With new ideas and lots of energy.
on November 2,2012 | 01:29PM
hunebasami wrote:
They didn't give Mac. He was still playing with what June left him. Did we hire a pro or a beginner. If he is a pro then no excuses. If a beginner then become an assitance coach. We play against lots of first year coach who are winning when the program was losing. Some of them never coached before. Look at New Mexico who beat us. He was a sports announcer.
on November 2,2012 | 01:22PM
Malani wrote:
Right now alot of money being lost. How much more by wating for this Coach to groom and dress his team?
on November 2,2012 | 06:57AM
hunebasami wrote:
You will pay with subsidies because we have Chow. Watch what red looks like.
on November 2,2012 | 01:30PM
Hiroaki23 wrote:
If Schroeder plays the whole game then the 33 1/2 point spread will be more like 44 or something. Like EyeKea said, Schroeder is not athletic enough nor has the arm strength. Graves as a senior and part time starter deserves to play out the season-fell real bad for him.
on November 2,2012 | 02:06PM
fka wrote:
Agree with you Hiroaki23,Graves deserves to play,I too feel very bad for him.
on November 2,2012 | 06:36PM
connie wrote:
Joey Iosefa. Think Al Noga playing RB. Join in line with other great UHawaii backs. David Toloumu, Hekoti Fakava, Nuu Faaola, Junior Lopati. Gary Allen, Anthony Edgar, Travis Sims, Dane Macaurthur, Wilbert Haslip, James Fenderson, Norris Birdsong, . And in the way back machine Larry Sheerer, Tui Ala, Arnold Morgado, Albert Holmes, Nolle Smith, Tommy Kaulukukui. UHawaii had a tradition of RB way before Timmy and Colt. The only number retired at the UHawaii is 32 worn by RB Thomas Kaulukukui. Bring back the glory and tradition of UHawaii Football. Go Bows.
on November 2,2012 | 02:11PM
NotNasti wrote:
Haters gonna hate! As for me, I buy my season tickets, make my donation to Na Koa and hope for the best. I'm much happier that way.
on November 2,2012 | 04:18PM
Infamous_Hawaii wrote:
I buy tickets from scalpers for 10$ a pop. Cause that's all the tickets are really worth. Also I don't know how they can charge us PPV for a junk team. As long as Chow is the captain of this ship I hope everyone is wearing their life jackets.
on November 2,2012 | 11:04PM
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