The squares on the University of Hawaii football calendar are not circled.
There are no win-or-make-die-dead games, no matchups that require a countdown clock.
Against top-ranked Ohio State last week, the Rainbow Warriors embraced the philosophy that, no matter the outcome, each game only counts as one. The approach was rolled over to Saturday’s game against UC Davis, an 0-2 FCS opponent.
"We’re concerned about ourselves," said middle linebacker Julian Gener, who follows the team motto that each week the Warriors are preparing for a "faceless" opponent.
"It doesn’t matter who we play," offensive coordinator Don Bailey said, "all we worry about is our execution and what we’re trying to do."
In the 38-0 loss at Ohio Stadium, the Warriors dropped seven catchable balls, committed four turnovers — including a pick-it-up-six fumble return — and amassed 85 passing yards.
"I don’t think I’ve ever thrown for under 100 yards in 22 years of coaching," Bailey said. "That hurts. Obviously, (that was) an emphasis for the week."
Against the Buckeyes, the Warriors had fair protection (one sack allowed on a busted assignment in the first half) and spurts of solid runs. But an offense that promised to play fast and furious is averaging 66.5 plays per game and a snap every 23.1 seconds. The first step is maintaining possession.
"We can’t put the ball on the ground," Bailey said. "Simple, right? The rest will take care of itself. We gotta focus. We don’t want to harp on (mistakes). We have to perform no matter what quarter, what game. Every Saturday is performance."
The Warriors also are not dwelling on injuries or ailments. Last week, Gener was scratched five minutes before the Warriors were set to enter the field.
"I never worry about it because they can get hurt in one play, then they’re gone," defensive coordinator Tom Mason said. "You’ve got to get the next guy ready to play."
Bailey said: "Next guy up, let’s go. We don’t have time to wait. Get treatment. Get back as fast as guys can. The next guy has to perform, but the expectation is the same."
The Aggies are on their fourth attempt to reach the program’s 500th victory. The milestone has been in storage following losses to Nevada and South Dakota State to open the season.
The record "is not indicative of what kind of team we are," UCD quarterback Ben Scott said. "We’re a really good football team. We shot ourselves in the foot (against SDSU). I had four turnovers last week. It’s hard when you turn the ball over, a false start inside the 10-yard line, holding penalties. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go to Hawaii and play a good football game against them."