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QB competition comes a bit early

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 10:01 a.m. HST, Nov 14, 2011

RENO, NEV. » The Hawaii football team returns to Honolulu this morning with more questions — and concerns — than when the Warriors left four days earlier.

Topping the list is the search for a starting quarterback following Bryant Moniz's season-ending injury.

The competition was supposed to start in the coming offseason.

Moniz and Shane Austin are seniors. David Graves, a third-year sophomore, is considered the leading contender entering the spring. Cayman Shutter and Kevin Spain are on the active roster. Transfers Jeremy Higgins and Stump Godfrey are redshirting and will be eligible in 2012. Ikaika Woolsey joins the Warriors as a grayshirt in January.

The Warriors do not plan to recruit another quarterback for the 2012 class.

Austin and Graves were bracketed at No. 2 behind Moniz. But offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said Austin was better suited to get the call Saturday night.

"I felt Shane was more accurate in practice the last two weeks," Rolovich said. "They're real close. Shane made some plays for us."

Rolovich said Austin and Graves will compete for the starting job this week.

Shutter is expected to be elevated to No. 3.

Spain is nearly fully healed from shoulder surgery in 2010.

There was hope that Royce Pollard, who has knee and ankle ailments, could have been available Saturday. If he can go against Fresno State this coming weekend, then freshman Trevor Davis might be moved back to left wideout.

Darius Bright, who had missed two games because of a variety of ailments, started at left wideout Saturday night.

On the offensive line, Brett Leonard played well at left tackle. He is expected to remain there the rest of the season. If the Warriors qualify for the Hawaii Bowl, left tackles Austin Hansen and Clayton Laurel might be available.

Hansen is serving an NCAA suspension that expires after this month. Laurel, who started nine games, has a broken arm.

Safety Leroy Lutu was on crutches after suffering an undisclosed injury Saturday night. That might open the way for true freshman Brian Clay as a backup to either strong safety Richard Torres or free safety John Hardy-Tuliau.

For now, the Warriors are focused on winning at least two of their final three games, the minimum requirement for qualifying for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

"We're going to have to step up for the last three games," linebacker Corey Paredes said.

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u808man wrote:
Aloha Warrior Nation! Its "sense of urgency time" isn't it? The UH coaching staff are doing a great job making the proper adjustments to replace injured players. This year's team is remienisent of the 2009 team. As mentioned since about two our three weeks ago, Hawai'i must win 7 to become Hawai'i Bowl eligible and at 5 wins with 3 HOME games to go, I like Hawai'i's chances. However, in my humble opinion, our Warriors need secure that bowl invitation before the BYU game....They need not make this "wait and see" season that dramatic. One game at a time (I know) but....Beat Fresno! Then Beat Tulane! Secure the Bowl invitation then Beat BYU! Let's Go to WAR-riors!
on November 13,2011 | 01:59AM
Bayman wrote:
haha...how about no chance...and lets not get to a bowl game, someone might think that it justifies having muffin around for another year...what a devastating move that would be...set the program another ten years back, as it already has been set back.
on November 13,2011 | 07:08AM
krump1_aka_protector wrote:
Please crawl back under your rock. It's always when UH is not doing well and facing a lot of adversity that trolls and haters re-surface.. I know you're not a true fan in any way, shape or form and the best thing is to ignore your meaningless comments, however, I have to occasionally spell it out because there are a number of naive bloggers that actually mistake people like you for disgruntled fans. AS daunting as the adversity is, I feel that the guys will be up to the challenge. I want Fresno State coming in here over-confident and thinking they'll have an easy time of it, since Mo went down. They don't understand that the team might be more dangerous since both Shane and David are capable of "pulling the trigger" on this offense, regardless of the O-Line inconsistencies. Wait and see and we'll see who has the last laugh.
on November 13,2011 | 08:14AM
Carolynne wrote:
they will
on November 14,2011 | 03:39AM
krump1_aka_protector wrote:
Why are you even commenting on this blog? Is it purely because you hate the team so much? How about taking that negativity elsewhere?
on November 13,2011 | 08:18AM
krump1_aka_protector wrote:
Totally agree with what you said!
on November 13,2011 | 08:01AM
Carolynne wrote:
fire Mcpuffin & tomey.
on November 13,2011 | 02:06AM
chiefs_choy wrote:
Quarterback competition next week. I would have thought this far into the season that they should know who's next in line to start. I prefer they play Graves and see what he can do against an opponent's first team D. If you're main offense is the RnS how come the top two QBs were walk-ons. I would think that if anything your QBs and receivers are players you evaluated and went after. I know a walk-on starting happens but lets look at the team and see how many are now starting. That shows the type of evaluation and recruiting the coaches are doing. Remember JJs players are mostly all gone and the team is built on Mac and his staffs recruits.
on November 13,2011 | 03:18AM
oldertimer808 wrote:
You have your head up your butt if you think recruiting is an exact science. Walkons have always been good for the program. Some players blossom later and are over looked in high school. You can bring in a 2, 3, 4 star recruit but there is no guarantees that the individual will pan out. You are not at practice everyday to make that assumption. Evaluation to the progress of each player is always an ongoing process. To insinuate that the coaches appear to have no clue in how to recruit is way off base.
on November 13,2011 | 05:06AM
uniwarrior wrote:
Austin is one of JJ's recruits. He was a walk-on because Colt decided to come back to play for his senior year and the QB scholarship went to him. When JJ left Austin earned his scholarship outright. Colt was a walk on. Moniz was a walk on. There is no reason to portray a walk on as anything less than a recruit. It shows dedication and a belief in oneself to put it on the line with no guarantees. There is no competition for QB. Austin has proven over the years that he is the best option. Graves has potential but is still green. Austin did a great job given the circumstances. Being thrown in during difficult situations over and over again he has proved he has ability, character, and poise. I remember when he came in during the USC game in the 4th Q and put on an air show for us fans. There is no question who should be leading the team these next three (maybe four) games. Austin. period case closed.
on November 13,2011 | 07:14AM
krump1_aka_protector wrote:
Well put. An experiment I'd like to see is David Graves at Hal-back in the Pistol with Austin. That should give some opponents fits because they will never know if the Half-back option or the "Wildcat" will be put into play.
on November 13,2011 | 08:29AM
NITRO08 wrote:
OK coach why don't you apply for a job at the UH sounds like you know everything. Get a life!
on November 13,2011 | 03:38PM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 13,2011 | 07:03AM
krump1_aka_protector wrote:
Then you should be on the blogs for OTHER teams like LSU, Alabama, etc. and don't need to spend any time criticizing underachieving teams.
on November 13,2011 | 08:23AM
sonnyboy wrote:
weak team playing weak schdule= hard rub.
on November 13,2011 | 02:16PM
vernchs wrote:
Sorry to see Moniz get hurt but sometimes things happen for a reason. He was having a really so-so year so this is maybe the big coach in the sky way of saying try somebody else. Since this is Mac's fourth year, most of the players are his recruits. Very average players. I doubt if there will be any NFL interest in the present crop as I feel that his recruiting sucks. Maybe we should change the strength coach too, as it appears too many injuries that I can remember in recent years. I thought Austin had a decent performance once he settled down. This is why you play the second string people as often as you can.
on November 13,2011 | 07:12AM
johngrif wrote:
Time to start Graves and give him some game experience for next year. If they are both close then play Graves. It doesn't matter much if we make the Hawaii bowl as this team doesn't deserve it.
on November 13,2011 | 08:40AM
uniwarrior wrote:
sounds like you have quit on the team for results this year. I am sure glad the team has not thrown in the towel. They fought hard until the end of the game last night. I stand proud and believe they absolutely deserve a bowl game if we are fortunate enough to qualify.
on November 13,2011 | 11:36AM
PCWarrior wrote:
Hawaii does not deserve a bowl game this year. Face it, we're junk. Lots of average players. We'd get killed AGAIN in bowl game. You gotta play Graves.
on November 13,2011 | 09:21AM
raiderfan wrote:
If UH needs to win the next 2 games to qualify for the Hawaii Bowl game then they should start Austin. He has been the back-up to 2 of the top passers in the country for the last 4 years. He has paid his dues and deserves the right to lead the team. Forget about starting the younger quarterbacks so they can get the experience for next year because UH won't stand a chance when they play in the Mountain West Conference anyway. Let Austin salvage a potential losing season into a winning one. Good luck to Moniz. It was exciting to watch a local boy from Wahiawa lead the nation in passing.
on November 13,2011 | 09:46AM
uniwarrior wrote:
right on Raiderfan. you have your head on straight. these other comments of starting Graves is just plain dumb football and probably just a bunch of his relatives spouting off hoping for a jump at next year. there are no guarantees that Graves will pull it off to start even next year. the coaches have been known to pull in JC transfers before they can do it again.
on November 13,2011 | 11:40AM
Spear wrote:
Whom to start? ...The guy with three games of eligibility or the equal guy with 2 years and three games of eligibility. ...This question is the reason coaching changes need to be made right NOW!
on November 13,2011 | 10:14AM
gshilo wrote:
If UH had better receivers like Salas and Pilares, then it wouldn't be too hard on the quarterbacks.
on November 13,2011 | 11:24AM
vernchs wrote:
When a walk-on ends up being a starter it means that your recruiting sucks. With all of the connections and film study, meetings of new players and they couldn't find a good QB than a walk-on. When June left, so did the recruiting. Most of these present players looks average playng against scrubs so next year you better get used to losing seasons again. This might be our last chance to go to a bowl game. I gotta believe that the Aloha Bowl people may pull the bowl with Hawaii having little chance of having winning seasons.
on November 13,2011 | 11:38AM
islandsun wrote:
Play Austin and if he struggles give Graves a shot without hesitation. Good time to play others that have shown promise too. Losing a bowl game in Hawaii is going to make recruiting even harder than it is now for UH. Donoman is in the spotlight real soon.
on November 13,2011 | 01:44PM
sonnyboy wrote:
on November 13,2011 | 02:11PM
frontman wrote:
Moniz's season should have ended 6 games ago. What a loser. Hiesman candidate, LOL. This team does not deserve a bowl bid even if, with home cooked officiating in the last three games, they win out. They won't but who knows. New coaches. Back to basics football and better recruits. Go Bows.
on November 13,2011 | 02:38PM
Manapua_Man wrote:
Hmmm.... who to play at QB now? This is harder than Fantasy Football.
on November 13,2011 | 03:54PM