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This unacceptable loss really hits home

By Dave Reardon


You can talk about flukey plays and maybe a bad official’s call here and there that went the other way. Because there were some. To the credit of University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin and his players, they didn’t do that. They didn’t make excuses; they accepted accountability.

But let’s boil down to its essence Saturday’s come-from-ahead 35-31 loss (and for the sake of this discussion it doesn’t really matter that much who the opponent was, but for the record it’s game and gutty Utah State). One word keeps coming to mind: unacceptable.

If you have any stake at all in UH football, whether it be emotional or financial, whether you are a casual fan or season-ticket holder, or even just a good old state taxpayer who doesn’t know the difference between a football and a grapefruit but subsidizes this program, you all deserve better.

The fans shouldn’t have had to see a second half that was like watching the Titanic sink — but while moored at its home port. That should never happen at Aloha Stadium.

And those three words are key to the point. At Aloha Stadium.

Many of you disagree, but I think it’s OK for the Warriors to win ugly on the road, like they did at Idaho. Just get out of there with the “W,” any way you can.

Home is a different matter. Good teams don’t blow three-touchdown leads at home, especially against a visiting club that hasn’t been able to finish all season. Home is supposed to be where the heart is. But even though we know the Warriors are banged up, we have to credit the Aggies for rallying behind a backup quarterback after a scary injury to their starter.

But this is about Hawaii. Before this game, I thought I’d finally figured out the 2011 team: They’ll win at home (3-0 coming in Saturday), and anything’s possible on the road.

You can forget about the bad losses at UNLV and San Jose State if you could count on wins at home. Before this, you could imagine a win at Nevada if you thought about the fine effort at LaTech.

But now, after this difficult home loss, it’s hard to count on future success anywhere. A Hawaii Bowl berth? The required two more wins are do-able, but after Saturday’s collapse and a mounting injury list, who can say for sure?

Yes, some breaks went against them. But the Warriors failed to apply the knockout punch, and they had several chances to do so. Missed opportunities early in the game came back to haunt, also, such as coming up empty after linebacker Aaron Brown’s interception gave UH the ball in Utah State territory three plays into the game. That chance was squandered.

The players promise better.

“We definitely don’t feel like this is acceptable,” said quarterback Bryant Moniz.

In earlier losses, the defense performed well. But this time Utah State’s offense gained momentum and took control.

“There’s no reason why we should have lost,” linebacker Corey Paredes said. “It’s all on us. Chips fell their way, but we never made a big play when we needed one.”

A team with leaders like Paredes and Moniz won’t fall apart from inside.

“I’m not going to just let my senior season slip away without swinging,” Moniz said. “Just give me 10 guys who want to play, and we’ll get in there and fight.”

But the question is if that will be enough — especially with the toughest road game of the season looming next week and an increasing number of injuries to starters.

“Basically they made plays and we didn’t make plays,” McMackin said. “There’s no excuse for that. I’m really at a loss for words.”

There is one word. Unacceptable.


Reach Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com or 529-4783.

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ski3779 wrote:
Thank goodness, for Ferd Lewis and you, Dave Reardon, for having the guts to write these kinds of articles, cause Stephen Tsai DOES NOT have the guts to do it. All he does is write excuses of why the Warriors played the way they did, and excuses of why they lost. Why Stephen Tsai is still on the StarAdverstiser staff is beyond me.
on November 6,2011 | 01:25AM
Dave_Reardon wrote:
Stephen's job is different. Part of my and Ferd's job is to write opinions. Stephen's is to report what happened. He works hard at it.
on November 6,2011 | 10:15AM
kailua000 wrote:
Exactly. Its like Fox news - the news is good, the opinion shows lean right; CNN - news is good, the opinion shows lean to the left. I like it t hat way because then everyone can get information and make their own opinions. Unfortunately no positive opinions are going to come out of this game. good article Dave
on November 6,2011 | 10:24AM
Bayman wrote:
It took you an extra week Dave, but you are finally coming around...last week you were blinded by a win...(weak and lame as it was)...now you too see the change is needed. One more things, its nice to accept blame, but now its becoming the accepted norm...how about taking action to correct them, instead of admitting to bad game....tired of hearing it...just win.
on November 6,2011 | 04:05AM
Dave_Reardon wrote:
I actually posed the question of whether a change should be made two years ago. But that would've been very, very expensive since the coach would have to be paid for the remaining three years in his contract if you let him go. Even now with one year left it sounds like no one wants to put up the money to buy him out.
on November 6,2011 | 10:12AM
Bayman wrote:
i missed that two years ago...but i agree two years ago, they should have let him go...we were all blinded by last year...fluke.
on November 6,2011 | 10:55AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Dave, isn't that the job of Na Koa? Those guys should be able to raise the bucks "li' dat", right? That is why they're there, right?
on November 6,2011 | 11:02AM
Dave_Reardon wrote:
Usually that's the way it works. That's the way it works in a lot of programs. Boosters pony up money to buy out the guy they want out.
on November 6,2011 | 12:58PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Dave, is it that the Na Koa members "don't want to" put up the money to buy him out, or just "can't"? Seems like big time programs in UH's situation do that sort of thing at the drop and/or passing of a hat.
on November 6,2011 | 03:51PM
Dave_Reardon wrote:
I haven't polled big-money boosters, and probably won't. But people who travel in those circles on a regular basis tell me times are tough all over, and no one wants to put up the money. I address this topic in tomorrow's column, in a manner which I hope at least some of you will find amusing.
on November 6,2011 | 07:12PM
Amosilatus wrote:
I find Stephen Tsai's articles interesting. They reflect a deep understanding of football--much deeper than most sportswriters. The articles also reflect a thoughtful and level-headed person, who thinks before he speaks. Some people publicy criticize him in venues like this, but really, do you think Mr. Reardon wants to hear praise by way of criticism of Mr. Tsai? I doubt it. I'm pretty sure the truth is: Mr. Reardon has a healthy respect for Mr. Tsai.
on November 6,2011 | 05:59AM
bleedgreen wrote:
When is coach Mac going to get it? Moniz cannot throw the long ball. This limits the offensive schemes and defenses adjust. Against Idaho, Moniz played great in the final winning drive, but not often enough. I really don't want Hawaii to be invited to the Hawaii Bowl. Not this year with the team playing the way they are. Look at the past two bowl appearances: Tulsa (2010) 62-35; Notre Dame (2008) 49-21. It shows you where the program is. Do you want to see another blowout on a national stage? I don't.
on November 6,2011 | 07:35AM
Anonymous wrote:
Well, with another nationally televised game next week against Nevada, count on UH to blow it in huge fashion. Think about it...every nationally televised game that UH has been in has been a loss and an embarrassing one at that. I already purchased tickets for the BYU game but coming from a neighbor island, I'm thinking twice about all the money involved to watch Hawaii's only D-1 team live in a very possibly losing effort. Just the attendance at last night's game (26,000) shows the lack of interest in the performance of this year's team. Too much pre-season hype about taking the WAC championship even before the season started. Too many injuries before the season started...let alone injuries week after week. Who knows what team will show up next week on the road or even at home...embarrassing. The coaching staff starting with Mac needs a soul-deep evaluation. MWC next year? The way this team is performing, Aloha Stadium will probably have more empty seats than occupied ones next year. My taxes subsidize the UH athletic programs and this one really seems to be a waste of money.
on November 6,2011 | 08:37AM
Fergster wrote:
Yes Dave. The loss is unacceptable. To me it seems as though some of the players are throwing the game. Why? Look at the first half at how UH played. This game was a must win to have a chance to tie for WAC champion. There was no need to come back in the second half and lay a really big egg like that against Utah State at home for goodness sake. They did the same thing at San Jose and UNLV. With the way this team is losing there is no way they will make the bowl game. If they do I won't go to watch them. Why? Because I'm so pissed off at them. No I don't gamble on sporting events. I'm a season ticket holder. I think UH is full of great coaches. Maybe the best coaching staff the past 20 years. Why are they losing to bottom dwellers? Is it coaching? Is it the players? I blame the players for their effort or lack there of. I blame the coaches for preparation or lack there of. Fix it or leave.
on November 6,2011 | 08:39AM
Bishop5 wrote:
Start the coaching search now.
on November 6,2011 | 08:50AM
Anonymous wrote:
One other thing Dave. I don't know if the run & shoot is the best offense for UH to run. I heard it from JJ and every coach on UH that said it takes time, reps, and many years of experience to get it right. What UH needs is something simple so that anyone coming to UH can play at the max level needed to win ballgames. If they stay with the run & shoot they will need at least two years to become descent at it since we will have a new QB, receivers, and OL. Our receiving core will be the most experienced of the group but look at how they are playing with a senior QB that knows this offense better than most QB's who have played in it, (according to the coaches). I say we move on if UH can't win out. I know they can't win out. It's not in their DNA. They only know how to lose and be inconsistent. They do it best of all the teams in the NCAA. I love them but they just tick me off.
on November 6,2011 | 08:53AM
locomoko wrote:
wouldn't an offense that simple be easy to defend?
on November 6,2011 | 11:24AM
ninabina wrote:
Mac and staff, are they in over their heads in their Div.1 positions of responsibility? Do powers who responsible for selection of present staff need to rethink entire staff? Good guys, but maybe some should be in Div.2 and others good assistants positions, not coordinators. Players are the ones on the field not executing but how much improvement in coaching staff can alleviate collapse? From where I sit in stands, do not accurately know whats or who is responsible. Just puzzling the way team has lost. Still will remain supportive, for deserting the ship does not help at this time.
on November 6,2011 | 10:56AM
cglyama wrote:
Two points. (1) getting fooled twice in a game on fake punts, (2) inability to make adjustments. Players have to make the plays, but these things are on the coaches.
on November 6,2011 | 12:21PM
sonnyboy wrote:
I agree that recent performances of OUR football are unacceptable. The football fans of the state of Hawaii deserve better, this is OUR only team. Perhaps we the silent majority need to have OUR voices heard toward the UH administration, and see to it that changes are made to the current football staff. The administration made two critical mistakes earlier by letting June Jones get away and then by hiring Mcmackin. Let's start a petition or a call-in drive to the AD and the Administration that the current football situation is UNACCEPTABLE!
on November 6,2011 | 12:24PM
FOW wrote:
Experienced QB, inexperienced line and recievers equal a so so season. With the addition of injuries to the O-line and receivers it made it even more difficult to have continuity. The defense has been carrying the ball since day one, and I think they finally ran out of gas. Next year with this season under their belt, the O-line should be better, but now the defense may be suspect. The coaching staff is doing all they can with what they have available. Now it comes down to recruiting for next year and the future. With UH joing the MWC next year, recruiting should be easier for the coaches. All this talk about changing the coaching staff will not help the recruiting process, so I suggest we see what happens next year. This talk could do the football team more harm than good.
on November 6,2011 | 05:07PM
Tagawoods wrote:
Great word Dave, UNACCEPTABLE! Ironically or coincidentally K5 shows the 1989 UH-BYU game to remind everyone what it was like on Saturday nights in Halawa before. No premium seats or premium parking, no signage on the field, no distracting blaring music being played during warm ups, no promotions on the field, or video from an old cult film as an introduction, games started at 7:30 Hawaii time, and wow 50,000 people showed up in support of the program. The talent of the student athletes was not better or worse than it is now, the product on the field was not better or worse than it is now. Bob Wagner was the coach not rock star June Jones. If you build it, they will come. What is this coach building? And who will want to come after this? 26,000 turnstile count wasn't all because of the weather. Wake up Jim Donovan. You remember how it was before, you were there. Is this what you want UH football to be? Totally agree with you Dave. UNACCEPTABLE!
on November 6,2011 | 08:48PM
UHFAN1984 wrote:
Amazing All you fly by nights including you Mr.Reardon. Just last year 2010 Coach won a WAC title and 9 games into 2011 you want to fire him. Crazy UH football has won or shared 4 WAC championships in 3 of those years they had losing records in the WAC and finished 6th and 8th The coaches were Bob Wagner and June Jones not bad coaches at all and they weren't fired. The only coach to take hawaii back to a bowl game after a Championship season is the guy you want to fire and if he take the team to a bowl game he will be the only coach in UH HISTORY to do that twice in a row. So cut the guy some slack and let the season play out
on November 7,2011 | 06:46PM