University of Hawaii football coach Norm Chow said there is no “quarterback situation,” reaffirming that Ikaika Woolsey remains No. 1.
“Ikaika is the guy,” Chow said. “I don’t know what anybody (else) says, but there’s no quarterback situation. Ikaika gives us the best chance to win.”
Chow said that assessment is based on evaluations the past nine months.
On Saturday against Northern Iowa, Woolsey, a third-year sophomore, completed 14 of 30 passes for 188 yards. But 102 of those yards came on throws of 52 yards to slotback Scott Harding and 50 yards to wideout Marcus Kemp. It was estimated Woolsey misfired on three passes to wide-open receivers, including a play on which wideout Ammon Barker sneaked behind the safety.
“We can’t afford to miss that,” Chow said.
Jeremy Higgins, a fifthyear senior, was summoned to replace Woolsey in the third quarter.
Higgins was 3-for-6 for 37 yards — one pass was dropped — to close out the Warriors’ 27-24 victory over Northern Iowa.
Chow praised Higgins, but said Woolsey will start in Saturday’s road game against Colorado. The Warriors depart Thursday afternoon.
Chow admittedly prefers a wide-open attack, but said he stuck to the basics against UNI because the game dictated a strategy based on defense and field position. The Warriors rushed on 15 of 16 firstdown plays in the second half.
“You want to make big things happen,” Chow said. “But when you turn around, (the Panthers) made mistakes (on two lost fumbles) that cost them 10 points in the ballgame. I didn’t want that to happen to us.”
The Warriors turned to the rush game in which their best runner — Joey Iosefa — was on crutches because of a fractured right ankle. Steven Lakalaka, a sophomore, carried 32 times for 124 yards, including a 30yard scoring run.
“He played well,” Chow said of Lakalaka. “He played through some soreness. Now we have to find the next guy.”
Running back Dominique Small, who lost a fumble after absorbing a big hit, and Diocemy Saint Juste are “chipped up,” Chow said.
Chow said his staff is considering several options, including moving slotback Keelan Ewaliko to running back. Ewaliko had a 17-yard run on a reverse. But Ewaliko is needed to ease Harding’s workload at slotback. Harding also is the punter, punt returner and a handsteam member for receiving on-side kicks.
“We’ll figure it out,” Chow said.
Chow said cornerback Nick Nelson and safety Trayvon Henderson did not play because of ailments. Linebacker Tevita Lataimua is being evaluated for a leg injury.