The mid-term exam has been graded, and left slotback Greg Salas is the first Hawaii receiver to earn a perfect score this football season.
In the past weekend’s 27-21 victory over Nevada — the midway point in the 13-game regular season — Salas caught all 11 passes in which he was the primary receiver.
"I have to give credit to Mo for putting it on the money and giving me the opportunity," Salas said of quarterback Bryant Moniz. "The o-line, too, for giving me the time. They did a great job."
Salas entered that game having caught 72.5 percent of the passes when he was primary receiver — a statistic that is impacted by deflections, tips, errant passes and drops.
But Salas was able to find openings on screens, corner routes, slants and post patterns. His most productive play was the screen — "Lanai" or "Radford," depending on which side it is run — in which he would curl into the flat, then follow slotback Kealoha Pilares’ lead block.
"I just have to read which way (Pilares) is blocking," Salas said. "I know he’s going to do a good job kicking it out one way or another. I have to read that, make my move, and run. It’s pretty easy."
Offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said he considers the play to be a "long handoff."
"As long as we’re accurate on the throw, and he gets a block, we’ll get a lot of yards," Rolovich said.
Against Nevada, Salas’ yards-after-catch average was 11.0.
The best play came on the Warriors’ final scoring drive, when Moniz escaped the grasp of defensive end Dontay Moch, rolled to his left, and made an off-balanced throw to Salas.
"I saw when he was getting sacked, he was not going to look (toward the original route)," Salas recalled. "I did my best to break away and get into his vision. I started waving my hand. There was a lot of open field out there. It worked out good."
Moniz said: "It was one of those throws. You can’t really practice that. You don’t practice throwing off balance. You just throw. And Greg has a knack of getting open when the original play breaks down."
Walker reserves 72 tickets
Defensive back Lewis Walker has reserved 72 tickets for friends and family members for the Utah State game.
Walker was raised in Salt Lake City, about 90 miles from the Aggies’ Logan campus.
Walker said he began his ticket-gathering campaign in early September. Each player is allotted four tickets; Walker received donations from several teammates. He is the only Utah-raised player on the Warriors’ travel roster.
Walker said there are several other friends who will buy their own tickets.
Walker said his high school baseball and football coaches will be attending with their families. An uncle is traveling from California.
"It’s exciting to get back home and really play in front of my family and friends," Walker said.
Walker, who was limited to special teams because of a minor injury the past two games, said he is available to play cornerback and nickel back.
"My family will be happy seeing me on the field," Walker said. "They’re happy that I’m doing something I love to do at the next level. I’m happy to be at a university and playing football."
Hafoka replaces Hanohano
Defensive tackle David Hafoka was added to the travel squad for Saturday’s game.
The Warriors practiced yesterday morning, then departed in the afternoon for their third road trip of the season.
Hafoka is the injury replacement for defensive tackle Geordon Hanohano, who has a tweaked knee.
"Now it’s my turn to help out the team," said Hafoka, who did not play last season because of a lower-back injury. He underwent successful surgery during the offseason and is poised to play at defensive left tackle.
Offensive tackle Clayton Laurel also was added to the travel roster as insurance. Right tackle Laupepa Letuli is day-to-day because of a sprained right ankle. If Letuli is limited, then Kainoa LaCount will open at right tackle.
Also, it was ruled that linebacker Po’okela Ahmad did not suffer a concussion against Nevada, and has been cleared to play, a UH spokesman said.