Despite mixed results on the first week of the new student ticket initiative at its athletic events, the University of Hawaii said it was encouraged by the turnouts.
UH said 1,024 students took advantage of the free tickets and attended Saturday’s football victory over Charleston Southern at Aloha Stadium.
Meanwhile, 221 students claimed free tickets for the women’s volleyball match with Utah State on Thursday and 222 attended the Friday night victory over Nevada.
"It is a good beginning, but our goal is still to get more students out to our (events)," said athletic director Jim Donovan. "We had more students fill the (football) buses than we’ve ever had."
All 14 UH-chartered buses from campus to Aloha Stadium were filled, the school said. In the past it has run eight to 12 buses per game.
"Coach (Greg) McMackin said he was pleased with the students’ support at the football game and the players noticed it," Donovan said.
But while the volleyball totals were nearly triple last year’s average of about 80 per match when students paid a reduced price, the football turnout was down more than 500 from last year’s average.
UH officials attributed the decline to the lack of marquee value with the Football Championship Subdivision team.
The UH Board of Regents this summer approved a $50 per semester assessment on students, which is calculated to add $1.85 million per year to the athletic department budget after it begins in January 2011.
In the interim, the athletic department began providing free tickets to the students at football games beginning with the Charleston Southern game.
UH said 1,653 students attended the season opener with nationally ranked Southern California even though they had to purchase tickets. Last year UH averaged 1,611 students per football game.
A spokesman for the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii did not respond to e-mail requests for comment.
Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin said it will be a "game-day" decision whether left wideout Rodney Bradley plays in Saturday’s Western Athletic Conference opener against Louisiana Tech.
Bradley said he suffered what he termed a "strained" left hamstring in the first half of a 66-7 rout of Charleston Southern.
He is undergoing ice treatment and electrical-stimulation therapy. Bradley is not expected to practice today. McMackin listed Bradley’s availability as "questionable."
Bradley’s top understudy, Joe Avery, was treated for dizziness after landing awkwardly in Saturday’s game. It is believed he suffered from dehydration, and not a head injury. Yesterday, Avery said he expects to play against the Bulldogs.
If both are unavailable, right wideout Billy Ray Stutzmann will move to the left side, according to offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich.
"Billy Ray showed he could play either side," Rolovich said. "We’ll see where Joe Avery is (health-wise)."
Rolovich said Mike Tinoco and Terrance Bell can play left wideout. Rolovich said backup slotback Dustin Blount is deserving of an expanded role.
"I’d like to take a look at Dustin (at wideout)," Rolovich said. "He’s good at middle screens. I think he’ll be good when he gets the ball in his hands. He’ll make people miss. We’ll look at all options."
A last-resort option, Rolovich conceded, would be to move left slotback Greg Salas to wideout.
CENTERS OF ATTENTION
Centers Matagisila Lefiti and Bronson Tiwanak each received a passing grade against Charleston Southern, meaning they will continue to platoon for at least another week.
Lefiti, who was the No. 1 center in spring training, underwent foot surgery in May and did not make a snap until this past Saturday’s game. Tiwanak started UH’s first three games in Lefiti’s absence.
"We’ll see how practice works out this week," offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said. He said Lefiti played 42 snaps.
"He’ll be the first guy to tell you he was dog-assed tired after the game," Shaw said of Lefiti. "Playing football is a different kind of shape than running (sprints of) 10s and 20s and 30s and 40s."
Shaw said left guard Brysen "Bula" Ginlack was limited to 29 plays because of a minor injury.
The Warriors are expected to get a boost when Brett Leonard is cleared to play this week. Leonard missed the first four UH games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
Leonard thought he would receive clearance last week, but was told he needed another week of rehabilitation.
"I trust (the doctor) more than I trust myself," said Leonard, who can play all of the line positions.
ROSEHILL OUT FOR YEAR
Running back Hogan Rosehill will miss the rest of the season after suffering a noncontact knee injury against Charleston Southern.
That ends plans for running back Jordan Monico to move to linebacker. Monico leads the UH kickoff team with 10 tackles.