Quotes from the UH-SJSU game 9/27/08

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
AP = Associated Press
UH = UH Athletics official site
SJMN = San Jose Mercury News
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——————– Quotes from the UH coaches ————————–

About how turnovers cost them the game, Mack said:
“You can’t win when you turn the ball over six times. San Jose was an excellent football team and I really saw some improvement from our football team. I thought the defense played their tails off.” (UH)

“You can’t win a ballgame when you turn the ball over six times.” (HSB)

“I thought every phase on our team improved, except we threw six turnovers. That’s one that got away from us and I’m very disappointed in that.” (HSB)

“Defensively we kept answering the challenge. The 13 points we gave up in the second half were all off turnovers. I thought we did a great job holding San Jose on quick-change possessions.” (UH, HSB)

“We got beat. We sort of gave it away. We sort of beat ourselves. You can’t win a ball game when you turn it over six times.” (SJMN)

Praising their OL, Mack said:
“Our offensive line played very well against a San Jose defensive front that is one of the best in conference. I thought we did some things well on offense, but again, you can’t turn the ball over six times.” (UH)

About how they won last season despite giving up 6 turnovers at Idaho and 5 turnovers at San Jose, Mack said:
“We did it last year, but we were getting turnovers, also. We’re going to lead the world in turnovers — that’s what we have to improve on.” (HSB)
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About switching their offense to fit with Inoke’s strengths, Ron Lee said:
“(Graunke) was still struggling (in practices), and Funaki had a couple of good weeks of practices.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Warriors also went with quarterback Inoke Funaki, who is best when he is on the move. The past two weeks — UH had a bye last weekend — were spent honing a revised offense with Funaki in mind. The Warriors added bootlegs, rollouts and, when the defense cramped the tackle box, play-action passes.”

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——————– Quotes from the UH players ————————–

About how they need to stick together, Sol and Adam Leonard told the team after the game:
“No pointing fingers. Unless you played a perfect game, don’t dare look at anyone else’s performance. We’ve all got to evaluate ourselves.” (HSB)

About how they need to focus on Fresno State now, Adam said:
“We talked about not pointing a finger at anyone. Nobody played a perfect game, we all win together and lose together. We are going to learn from this game, we can’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We have to get prepared for Fresno State.” (UH)
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About how they were excited at halftime with their 17-7 lead, Inoke said:
“(At halftime) we felt good. You know we were excited, we wanted to keep the intensity up and keep trying to move the ball. The second half I thought our offense did well. It’s just me.” (HSB)

About his INT on their first drive of the 2nd half, Inoke said:
“Yoda was there. I just underthrew it.” (HA)

About his final INT, where he thought that Salas was supposed to run a fade-and-stop route but Salas ran by CB Coye Francies, Inoke said;
“It was a bad communication. He was going over the top, and I was thinking he would come back for it.” (HA)

About how his turnovers put the defense into tough situations, Inoke said:
“For the defense it was bad, very, very bad situations. No matter who you play, you don’t give them any rest and you give the other team good field position, you’re not gonna win.” (HSB)

Taking responsibility for the loss, Inoke said:
“I take responsibility for it. The ball slipped out of my hand (on the fumble). The picks, so many. It doesn’t matter who you play, you turn the ball over that many times, and then you give your defense no rest … it was a tough loss.” (HA)

“I feel like a big part of it was me, all the turnovers. Our defense did all that, our defense came out firing. We turned the ball over, too many turnovers in that second half. … You turn the ball over that many times … you can’t win.” (HSB)
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After the game, Tyler said:
“We lost as a team. It sucks.” (HA)

About how they didn’t take care of the ball, Tyler said:
“It’s nobody’s fault, it’s just that we had the ball in our hands and it’s up to us what we do with it. Gotta do the right thing and we haven’t been. Tonight, we did the same thing, we lost, and we didn’t take care of the ball, didn’t score.” (HSB)

About how he struggled in the game, Tyler said:
“I couldn’t get it done. I got put in a situation to get it done, to win the game, and I didn’t. My hand had nothing to do with it. I felt fine.” (HA)

“I had a chance to win it, a chance to lead the team to victory but I blew it. Or, we blew it as a team. It just doesn’t feel good, same feeling at Oregon, at Florida. Just doesn’t feel good to lose.” (HSB)

About his first drive, which ended in a missed 55-yard FG, Tyler said:
“I had to read every throw and made a couple bad ones, a couple good ones, but … we were in field-goal range, then I took a sack, and that kind of messed us up. I’ll take the fall for that because half the linemen heard the wrong call and that’s my fault for not speaking up in the huddle.” (HSB)
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About how their 6 turnovers cost them the game, John Estes said:
“We can’t turn the ball over six times. That’s what it came down to. They didn’t beat us. We beat ourselves.” (HA)

About how their turnovers kept making things hard for their D, Estes said:
“We kept putting our defense in bad positions. Our defense played (its) ass off. They (the Spartans) had the ball at the 20-yard line, the 30-yard line, the 10-yard line.” (HA)
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About how they improved on offense this game, Aaron Bain (Yoda) said:
“They capitalized on some big plays and they made some defensive adjustments in the second half. I think tonight we continued to show improvements on offense and we came together as a team. Coach told us and we know we can’t win with that amount of turnovers.” (UH)
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About how he suffered what is thought to be a concussion while scoring his second TD, Pilares said:
“I got hit on the top of the head.” (HA)
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About how he suffered a concussion during their first drive of the game, Malcolm Lane said:
“I was just out of it, I was dizzy and out of it. I feel OK right now.” (HSB)
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About how their turnovers made it hard on their D, Sol said:
“We have no excuses. That’s our motto. We love the challenge.” (HA)

HA Note: “At one point the UH defense held the Spartans from scoring on nine consecutive series. But a Warrior offense that ranks 119th in turnover differential was unable to put much breathing room between it and the Spartans and it came back to haunt the Warriors.”

About how their play on defense carried over from last year, Sol said:
“We played together, we played with emotion and we played with love for each other. That’s what carried us all last year. In practice, we came together as brothers and took it on ourselves to understand that if they can’t score, they can’t win, no matter what kind of field position they have. Our defense has got to lead this team, and that’s what we’re going to do. Tonight, the team fed off of us. The crowd had our back the whole night. It’s fun playing with love for each other. This team grew as a team tonight. We might not have won in the stats, but we earned a lot of victories in other areas tonight.” (HA)

About how their defense played well in the game, Sol said:
“This is always sort of a rivalry game. The emotions were high throughout the game and games like this are always going to be tough. The emotions helped us tonight, I think that was one of our best defensive games.” (UH)
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About how he hates to lose, Adam Leonard said:
“I don’t hate a lot of things in this life, but I hate losing. No matter how it comes, whether it’s a blowout or a close loss.” (HSB)
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About how their defense played well, Keala Watson said:
“I think we finally woke up to the fact that we play a big role in this team’s success. You play how you practice, and we’ve been practicing with a lot of emotion and intensity these last couple of weeks. That’s what we brought out there on the field.” (HA)

“That’s what defined the defense tonight. We came out ready to play.” (HA)
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About how the plays they were making on defense got their defense even more excited, Keao Monteilh said:
“We were just trying to defend our (Western Athletic Conference) championship. They were coming into our house and trying to take it from us, so we had to do what we had to do. Every time somebody made a big play, we got pumped.” (HA)
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About how his left triceps was reinjured and he could possibly be lost for the season, Rocky Savaiigaea said:
“They said I tore it again. I won’t know anything until I get it looked at tomorrow, but I heard it pop.” (HA)
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About his miss on the 55-yard attempt, Kelly said:
“It was a 100 percent shank. It was just a bad kick on my part. I over-thought the kick. I came in too fast. As soon as I kicked it, I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.” (HA)

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——————– Quotes from the SJSU coaches ———————–

After the game, coach Dick Tomey said:
“The toughest thing, is to win in the fourth quarter on the road … and against a team that has had a bye week.” (HA)

HA Note: “So, for the first time in 10 games over three season, there was jubilation flowing in the visitors’ locker room in Halawa. For the first time in 16 WAC games over three seasons, somebody other than UH had something to celebrate. And did.”

About how this was a great win for their team, Tomey said:
“It was just a great win for us. We had lost two games in the fourth quarter on the road, and we were playing the defending champions – a team that has won 15-straight conference games. The team that won was going to be in first and the team that lost was going to be last. We just shut them out in the second half and made so many plays on defense. We didn’t have a take away and they had too many. I just credit our guys for battling in the fourth quarter on the road and getting the win.” (UH)

“We have a really good kicker and he kicked two amazing field goals. It was just a great win for us. We had lost two games in the fourth quarter on the road and we’re playing the defending champions who won 15 straight.” (SJMN)

Happy with their play on special teams, Tomey said:
“I just thought we needed a touchdown; we had good field position. If we didn’t make it the ball was going to be down there. So I think that was a good chance. We had a good chance to complete the ball; we had someone open. We have a good kicker. His kick offs are unbelievable and he kicked two amazing field goals late in the game – long field goals – to win. He’s one of the best around. Everything he does really helps us. But just a great team effort overall. The offense did not turn over the ball. The kicking game was tremendous. Kick off coverage, punt coverage, field goals, that’s the best job we’ve done on the kicking game. Hawaii’s going to have a really good team. They’re going to win a lot of games. And I think San Jose State is going to have a really good team too.” (UH)

About the pressure their DL was able to apply, Tomey said:
“We had a bunch of sacks. I don’t know how many, but we had a bunch. We had five? Six? We have some good ends. But they doubled (Carl) Ihenacho, who’s our best guy. It freed up some other guys. Guys that haven’t played much like Pablo Garcia, who came into play and did a great job. And Mo Marah came in. We had a lot of guys make plays that haven’t played before.” (UH)

About their halftime adjustments, Tomey said:
“We made a few adjustments (at halftime) to help us with the shovel pass because they gashed us with a couple things. Inoke’s ability to run was real difficult. But we have a good defense; guys with the ability to make plays. We have some secondary guys with good instincts. We have a real disciplined team; we did not turn the ball over in a tough environment. When Kyle Reed was in, he had a lot of pressure on him. He was able to manage the game enough to be a winner. So I’m really thrilled about that.” (UH)

Asked if he thought it would take 6 turnovers for SJSU to finally be UH after 7 losses, Tomey said:
“I don’t give a bleep. We won a close game in the fourth quarter.” (HA)

About the 6 turnovers, the most that SJSU has forced while he has been the head coach there, Tomey said:
“We have a good defense and we have some guys that can make plays. We have some secondary guys who have some good instincts and we have a real disciplined team.” (HA)

About how they avoided turnovers while UH had too many, Tomey said (I think that Tomey said “giveaway” but the reporter wrote “takeaway’):
“We shut them out in the second half and just made so many plays on defense. We didn’t have a takeaway, and they had too many.” (SJMN)

About how UH didn’t score in the second half, something that hadn’t happened at Aloha Stadium since 1998 (before JJ came to UH), Tomey said:
“We shut them out in the second half and just made so many plays on defense. I credit our guys for battling in the fourth quarter and getting the win on the road.” (HSB)

Praising Strubeck for the two long FGs, Tomey said:
“He’s one of the best around. He said (tonight) wasn’t nearly as hard as having all your teammates around you hitting you in the head. We gave him the game ball. He just rallied to the cause.” (HSB)

AP Note: “Early in the third, Spartans coach Dick Tomey chose to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Warriors 16 instead of attempting a 33-yard field goal that could have trimmed the lead to a touchdown. They didn’t make the first down.”

About the 50-yard FG that Strubeck hit (his previous season-high was 41 yards and he had already missed a 47-yard FG in the game), Tomey said:
“If you stand back there and see how far that is, it’s a damn long way. On the road, with the crowd and the fact that he missed some this year. That really was huge for us.” (HSB)

“The [kick] previous to [the 50-yard] had plenty of leg. And at that time we thought we’d take a swing at it. But he has been a terrific kicker for us. And the way we practice is that we get the guys around the kicker and we throw things at him, and we have people jumping up and down. So that (50 yarder) is not nearly as hard as having your teammates throw things at you, hitting you in the head. We just gave him the game ball and he rallied to the cause. And if you stand back there at fifty yards, that’s a damn long one, on the road with the crowd. But he made two in a row.” (UH)
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About how he encouraged the defense even though UH was moving the ball in the first half, defensive coordinator Keith Burns said:
“I told (our team) to just keep playing. We’ve got a code that we play by defensively and just had to stick to it and play hard. It was a great team win, a great team effort.” (HA)

“We just stuck to what we believe in. We played with a great deal of pride. We have this defensive motto called The Code and it showed up in the second half.” (HSB)

About how they have struggled against UH’s offense in the past, Burns said:
“You know, we’ve gotten lit up for five, six touchdowns in the past (against Hawai’i), but (our team) believed in themselves and that’s the most special thing about this win.” (HA)

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——————– Quotes from the SJSU players ————————

About how they never gave up on Strubeck despite his struggles this season, QB Kyle Reed said:
“We never gave up on him. We knew he had it in him. He made big plays for us.” (HA)
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About how he hit FGs to tie and win the game, Jared Strubeck said:
“It felt great.” (HA)

“I made it for the team. I had to do my part. I was happy to contribute.” (HA)

Happy that Coach Tomey didn’t lose faith in him despite how he had missed 5 of 8 FGs before this game, Strubeck said:
“It feels great knowing Coach still believes in me. It was such a dire situation and we needed a kick even though I’ve struggled.” (HSB)

HA Note “Strubeck tied it at 17 with a career-long field goal of 50 yards with 9:32 to play. It also was the Spartans’ farthest field goal in 13 years. He then won it with 1:49 remaining when his attempt from 47 yards was true.”

About how his teammates prepared him in practice so that the crowd would not bother him, Strubeck said:
“The guys on our team know what to do to get to me. All the noise here is just white noise. The guys on my team — they know exactly what to say.” (HSB)

About how he was 3-for-9 on FGs before his two long FGs to tie and win the game, Strubeck said:
“Was I really that bad?” (HSB)
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About how their scouting of UH led to his INT of UH’s first offensive play of the second half, safety Kyle Flynn said:
“We went over that play this week and we knew that they would send one guy to the flat and the slotback to the corner. Our linebacker covered the flat, so I went to the corner and that’s where he threw it.” (HA)

Praising their front 7 on D, Flynn said:
“The front seven (on defense) played a whole new game — with a whole new attitude — in the second half, they really made the difference for us. They put pressure on them and (the secondary) was able to come up with some turnovers.” (HA)
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About how it is hard to beat UH at home, backup OL Steve Lightsy (who graduated from Kahuku) said:
“It’s a tough game playing against Hawaii at home. Words can’t even say what it’s like to come here and win.” (HSB)
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—————— Quotes from others ———————–

About Colt’s love for Hawaii, Terry Brennan said:
“He has a strong relationship with Hawai’i, and I think he wants to keep a part of himself here.” (HA)

Betsy Brennan said that not having Colt play in the UH game made the experience of watching it:
“a little less stressful. I still screamed my head off.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Brennans were happy to see so many of their son’s jerseys being worn by UH fans. The Brennans met with UH coaches and players during the team’s walk-through and had dinner with friends from the department.”

About how Colt hasn’t been playing much, Terry Brennan laughed and said:
“At least he’s got a great seat to all the games.” (HA)

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