Thursday, November 26, 2015         


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Coaches, media pick Warriors

By Stephen Tsai


LAS VEGAS » The last time one of quarterback Bryant Moniz's football teams was ranked No. 1 was, well, never.

"I think my junior year at Leilehua (High) we were up there, but not at the top," Moniz said.

That changed Thursday during the Western Athletic Conference's football media preview. Hawaii was ranked No. 1 in both the media and coaches preseason polls.

"It's an honor to get that recognition early in the season," said linebacker Corey Paredes, who also represented UH at the event. "We have a target on our backs now."

The Warriors, who went 10-4 in 2010, return only two offensive starters — Moniz and right wideout Royce Pollard. But UH head coach Greg McMackin said he expects left wideout Darius Bright, who redshirted last season, to improve the Warriors' four-wide attack.

McMackin said defensive tackles Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu should anchor a defense that led the nation in takeaways in 2010.

"Quite honestly, preseason polls don't mean anything," McMackin said. "You have to play your season. That's why they keep score."

He added: "If you start thinking too much of yourself, you have to look back at teams that have won a championship and then did not play well the next year. They were resting on their laurels. We're not going to do that."

Pleased to meet you

Moniz and Paredes were roommates during this trip, but they actually were introduced to each other — violently — in a high school game.

"I sacked him," said Paredes, who attended Castle High.

"I don't remember," said Moniz. "I had a lot of concussions."

Paredes said: "I was small then. But I did sack him."

Moniz said: "It was muddy. I couldn't move."

Jersey blackout

WAC coaches were in uniform agreement that the Warriors' black jerseys create problems in video scouting.

The topic came to light when it was revealed that as a condition for joining the Mountain West Conference, former WAC member Boise State agreed to not wear all-blue uniforms when playing on Bronco Stadium's blue turf. Fresno State coach Pat Hill said it made it difficult to identify Bronco players on videos.

But Hill also said that UH's black jerseys (with green numbers) also created problems in scouting.

The Warriors wore black jerseys for home games last year. Last week, they unveiled new green jerseys for home games.

State of the WAC

In his annual state-of-the-WAC address, commissioner Karl Benson noted:

» The Humanitarian Bowl in Boise will be the WAC's only guaranteed bowl for the 2012 postseason. UH, Fresno State and Nevada are in their final year of WAC membership. The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl will follow UH to the Mountain West Conference.

» Although the NCAA will penalize celebrations occurring before a ballcarrier crosses the goal line, there will be some leeway for end-zone celebrations. Benson said he does not expect players to be penalized for pointing skyward following a touchdown.

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