Quotes from the UH-Nevada game 10/25/08

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii official site
RGJ = Reno Gazette-Journal
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—————— Quotes from the UH Coaches ———————-

About the win, UH head coach Greg McMackin (Mac) said:
“I thought this was a great team win. The offense did some outstanding things and made a huge play late in the game. They were moving the ball in the second half and didn’t commit a turnover.” (UH)

“This was a great team win. The offense did some outstanding things and made a huge play late in the game.” (HSB)

Praising their special teams, Mac said:
“Our all around effort tonight was outstanding. Special teams played great and made some key plays, both on punts and kickoffs. Like I said all along, this is a team and we all have to play together to win.” (UH)

RGJ Note: “Pack punt returners Antoine Thompson and Jonathon Amaya fielded just one punt, for zero yards, and let four of them bounce and roll deep into Nevada territory. Of those four, three of the ensuing drives began inside the Pack 5. Tied at 7, the Warriors punted on back-to-back possessions to the Nevada 5 and 2, and the Pack went three-and-out on both.”

About moving Mouton to slot receiver, Mac said:
“We made some personnel changes this week. I thought Ryan Mouton played great, you don’t see too many people in Division I football play both ways like he did tonight. We needed to get another playmaker out there and it helped tonight.” (UH)

About how this win was crucial to their and Nevada’s bowl chances, Mac said:
“This was a must win. Our goal is to go to the Hawaii bowl and Nevada has that same goal. I couldn’t be prouder of our players and coaches, they did an outstanding job. We are getting better and better as a football team.” (UH)

About going for the TD at the end of the game, Mac said:
“Yep. Why not, man? I’m a defensive guy. Let’s get it on. Everybody throws it against me. Why can’t I throw it against somebody else? Let’s go to score.” (HA)

HA Note: “UH head coach Greg McMackin, in consultation with Lee and quarterback coach Nick Rolovich, decided to go “all in.””

About how they had a backup plan in case they didn’t score the TD, Mac said:
“We figured if it was incomplete, we’d rush guys on (for the field goal).” (HA)

Praising Alexander, and noting that he was able to run effectively, Mac said:
“Obviously we’ll have some evaluation to do and we’ll have to go back and look at the film, but these were quality reps in a big-game situation and he handled it really well. People might be surprised that he ran so well because he looks slow, but every time he ran tonight he got us a first down.” (HA)

HSB Note: “Inoke Funaki started and alternated series with Tyler Graunke – seeing his first game action in three weeks – in the first quarter. McMackin said the plan entering the game was to stick to those two, but the coaches called on Alexander to start the second half and he led the Warriors to a field goal on his first drive and a touchdown on his second in his most extensive action since starting the opener at Florida.”

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About how they could go for the end zone twice and still kick the FG on 4th down, Ron Lee said:
“We knew we had two shots.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Warriors advanced to the Wolf Pack 30, setting the way for a potential field-goal attempt by Dan “Iceman” Kelly. But on second down, an offensive lineman moved before the snap, and the Warriors were deducted 5 yards. While the Warriors assessed their predicament, the play clock was near expiration, and they were forced to use their final timeout with 31 seconds left.”

Praising Lane and Alexander, offensive coordinator Ron Lee said:
“I’m so proud of them, both of them. They gave us what we needed.” (HA)

About how Lane took practice much more seriously this week, Ron Lee said:
“He had a helluva week of practice. He understood that you can’t just show up and expect to do it on Saturday.” (HA)

About how Inoke might have suffered a concussion in the game, Ron Lee said:
“Hey, whatever works. Inoke was seeing stars. He might have got his bell rung again. … We tried Greg Alexander. For the amount of reps he got, he competes. It wasn’t pretty, but we got what we needed.” (HA)

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Praising Alexander’s attitude even after he was demoted after the Florida game, QB coach Nick Rolovich (Rolo) said:
“Even after Florida, he never took a step backwards, never pouted. He continued to learn. He never missed a day and he really paid attention when we looked at film. His best quality is game awareness, and he’s very, very aware of every situation in the game. I’m really happy for him because he worked hard for this.” (HA)

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About how he challenged Mike Washington before this game, WR coach Craig Stutzmann said:
“We told him, we expect more out of you. I told him ‘You’re such a quick, fast guy (and) that we need you to catch the ball and stay on your feet and really get up the field. I told him it’s a challenge. I’m going to challenge you this week. Stay on your feet, make big plays. And he answered the challenge. I feel so proud of him.” (HA)

About how Washington got crucial yards after the catch, Stutzmann said:
“He was the backbone of a lot of our drives. He made a guy miss and took it up the field and got another five yards for a first down.” (HA)

HA Note: “He made three crucial catches in the drive that increased UH’s lead to 31-17. Facing third-and-11 at the UH 21, Washington caught a pass in the left flat and bullied his way for 12 yards and the first down.”

About using Bain instead of Washington on punt returns, Stutzmann said:
“My thing is and Coach (Ikaika) Malloe’s thing is, you might get five plays returning punts, but you’re going to get 75 plays on offense. Aaron Bain did a good job, stepping in his role, stepping away from offense, being a punt returner. It was a total team effort.” (HA)

Praising Washington, Stutzmann said:
“He really did everything we asked him to do in meetings and at practice. Trust your technique; trust what you gotta do. He adjusted to the ball really well and the main thing was he was being a leader to the other guys.” (HA)

About how Lane knew that he should be playing better, Stutzmann said:
“Real competitors know what they should be doing. They know it; they feel it. It isn’t what the fans say. It comes from within and he took it upon himself to toughen up.” (HA)

About how Lane backed up his words with his improved effort in practice, Stutzmann said:
“He came in Monday and talked to us and, then, he went out and showed us he meant it in practice.” (HA)

“(Lane) worked hard this whole week. When you work that hard, good things happen. I feel so proud of him right now. Greg threw it up to him and let him make a play. What a great play. Everybody did a great job.” (HA)

About how Lane had the options of a comeback route, post, or streak on the game-winning TD, Stutzmann said:
“He had all kinds of choices. He went on a streak.” (HA)

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About Lane’s success on kickoff returns, special teams coordinator Ikaika Malloe said:
“We always knew (Lane) had the talent to do the job. We just had to make sure we gave him some room. We placed a huge emphasis on the wedge.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Former starting slotback Aaron Bain returned three punts for 25 yards. J.P. Davis downed two Tim Grasso punts near the Nevada goal line.”

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—————– Quotes from the UH Players ——————-

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About going for the TD at the end of the game, QB Greg Alexander said:
“On that last play we were in a situation where we could take a shot down field. It was either going to be a touchdown or out of bounds. Malcolm made a great play. It’s a great feeling, we battled back and made some plays down the stretch when we needed to.” (UH)

“It’s either a touchdown or an incomplete, because we’re not going to have the opportunity to stop the clock. We put it up, and Malcolm made a hell of a catch for the win.” (HSB)

“It was situation where it was going to be us or nobody.” (HSB)

“I was just trying to get us down the field to set up a field goal. But we couldn’t stop the clock so I had to go for it.” (HA)

“It was either complete it or throw it out of bounds. You can’t spike it. There was no time. We had no timeouts. I think it was a safe play.” (HA)

About how he found out just before the start of the second half that he would be playing instead of Tyler, Alexander said:
“They told me right before we were heading out of the tunnel (at halftime). So I was like, ‘Oh, all right. Cool, let’s do it.’ ” (HSB)

“I wasn’t expecting it. But I knew when they told me that I just had to go out there and do my job.” (HA)

About how he’s learned a lot since the Florida game, Alexander said:
“That’s what I was hoping for. Things went the way they did (Aug. 30 at Gainesville), but I’ve learned a lot over the past six weeks or whatever it’s been. Just taking advantage of the opportunity, I’ve learned a lot from Inoke, he’s done a fantastic job, and Tyler, he’s talked to me a lot.” (HSB)

“Going into the Florida game you feel like you know the offense, but you really don’t,” Alexander said. “After watching the past six weeks I feel like I got it down for the most part and feel more comfortable out there.” (HSB)

About his TD pass to Washington, Alexander said:
“They were playing a lot of cover two. So you’re going to get that squat corner (route). Put Mike one-on-one with the safety, he’s going to win that match every time.” (HA)

About how he didn’t have many practice reps, aside from “mental reps” to prepare for the game, Alexander said:
“I got a lot of mental reps watching Inoke. When you get in there, you can’t think about it. The o-line did a hell of a job. I had a lot of time to throw, and guys made some big catches.” (HA)

HA Note: “Thing is, Alexander did not have any tutorial sessions to work on it. The past week, Funaki and Tyler Graunke, who had not played in the previous three games, split reps with the No. 1 offense. Graunke was the quarterback for two drives last night, both in driving rain. His second possession ended with an interception.”

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About his game-winning TD, Malcolm Lane said:
“I didn’t want the game to go into overtime so I needed to make the play right there. It was a nice pass so I went up and got it. The coaches have been telling me all week to go up and make a play on the ball in those situations. He was playing me bump-and-run and I knew we had a chance.” (UH)

“I didn’t want to go to overtime. Just looking over at the sideline, everybody was tired, they fought hard and I wanted to end it there. It all came down to who wanted the ball more.” (HSB)

“That was the biggest criticism on me, coaches telling me go up and get the ball. So the whole time I saw the ball in the air, that was the No. 1 thing going through my head.” (HSB)

“I just wanted to end it right there. The team had worked too hard. They didn’t deserve to go into overtime. The team was tired. Luckily, the coach called my name.” (HA)

Praising Alexander’s throw on his TD, Lane said:
“It was a perfect pass. He couldn’t have thrown it any better than that. I just went up and it landed right in my hands.” (HA)

About his 1-on-1 battle with CB Evans on the TD, Lane said:
“It didn’t come down to executing routes. It came down to who wanted the ball more. I wanted it more than he did.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lane had wanted to run a streak pattern several times in the game. But too often, cornerback Mike Evans would force Lane inside. This time, Lane pushed past Evans’ jam and raced along the right sideline into the end zone.”

About how their theme is “trust” like how the theme last year was “believe”, Lane said:
“I just knew Greg would take a shot – there was no other choice but to. We trust in each other, that’s our motto. Just how (offensive coordinator Ron) Lee trusted in me to go up and make that play, we trusted each other. Last year it was ‘believe,’ this year it’s ‘trust.’ ” (HSB)

About how Alexander inspired their team in the game, Lane said:
“Talk about inspiring. He was running people over out there. It’s people like that making plays like that that inspires the whole team. He hasn’t been getting a lot of reps, but he showed a lot of poise out there tonight. He’s just a winner.” (HA)

About what he told the UH coaches on Monday, Lane said:
“This is my time to step up, to make plays for this team, to play to my capabilities.” (HA)

About how he needed to play better, Lane said:
“To tell you the truth, I wasn’t playing to my capabilities and I had to step it up for this team.” (HA)

“I haven’t been playing to my capabilities. I had to step it up. It was my time to lay it on the line for my teammates. They’ve been doing that for me. It was my time to step it up for them.” (HA)

About what he thought when the pass was in the air for the game-winning TD, Lane said:
“I just knew my time had come.” (HA)

“All I was thinking was ‘go get it! Go get it!’ That’s it. That’s what the coaches have been telling me was the weakest point in my game. I wasn’t going up to get the ball. So, that’s all I was thinking, ‘go up and get it; get that ball.’ knew I didn’t want (the game) to go into overtime. I knew it was my time to shine.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lane came to terms with it himself and then told the coaches as much on Monday, vowing to work harder to become the player they told him he could — and should — be.”

About how returning kickoffs got his adrenaline going, Lane said:
“That (returning kickoffs) got my mojo going again. That got me hyped.” (HA)

About the success he had on kick returns, Lane said:
“We had so many creases.” (HSB)

HA Note: “Lane, who had but 10 pass receptions to show for starts in seven games, caught six passes for 63 yards and, reprising his kickoff return role of last year, had three returns for 115 yards.”

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About how they planned to throw the ball more in this game because they weren’t scoring enough points, Mike Washington said:
“The game plan was to throw a lot a balls. We weren’t putting enough points on the board, so we went back to that old Hawaii, that run-and-shoot attacking offense and we executed the game plan (McMackin) enforced.” (HSB)

About how their game plan used routes like how they used routes last year, which suited him much better than the routes they had called in the other games this year, Washington said:
“At the beginning, I had a lot of flat routes. It’s hard to get the ball out of the flat when you have to block and make the turn. But Coach Mack (Greg McMackin) challenged me to make a play. Make the first guy miss and that’s what we did. The game plan this week was to attack down field. That’s what we’re used to. That’s what Hawai’i’s used to. I made plays today going downfield. I utilized my speed.” (HA)

About how not returning punts helped his play at WR, Washington said:
“It did help me concentrate offense. The changes kind of helped this week. It was all for the better.” (HA)

About how Alexander played well despite not getting many practice reps, Washington said:
“He just came in and led us down the field the whole second half. It’s not easy to do that when you don’t get a lot of reps. You have to be mentally strong and focused, and that’s what he did.” (HA)

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About the 16-yard pass he received to start their final drive, Ryan Mouton said:
“The route kind of broke down. I saw Greg kind of scrambling. I tried to help him out.” (HA)

About playing at slotback and nickle DB, Mouton said:
“I’m exhausted right now. We talk about having that will to win. Coach (McMackin) asked me if I could got on offense and defense. I had to keep pushing. I’m not doing it for myself. I’m doing it for all of the guys in the locker room. They want to win. I want to win just as much as they do.” (HA)

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Crediting the OL for his 9-yard TD run, his first TD since 2006, David Farmer said:
“The O-line blocked, that thing just opened up like the Red Sea. I just happened to be in there. It probably could have been anybody else and they would have been in. I was definitely not going to make a move at the goal line.” (HA)

“I want to thank them.” (HA)

HA Note: “Running back David Farmer, cleared by two ferocious blocks, scored on a 9-yard run. Center John Estes made the initial block on the middle linebacker who had replaced a defensive tackle. Left guard Laupepa Letuli finished the job.”

About the partial tear of his MCL that he suffered in training camp, Farmer said:
“It was serious enough that it sidelined me.” (HA)

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About the win and breaking the UH career tackle record, Solomon Elimimian said:
Solomon Elimimian
“I knew it was going to be a tough game tonight. It feels good to break the tackles record, that was really big to me. But overall this game was had some big moments and we made some plays that we needed to make. The offense really picked up the defense at the end.” (UH)

About how he didn’t know when he broke the record, Sol said:
“I didn’t know which hit, they told me which hit it was. When the game is going, you don’t think about records, you think about winning.” (HA)

Happy to have broken the record in a win instead of a loss, Sol said:
“It’s icing on the cake. We came out here, we fought, we won. I wouldn’t like to win any other way, and the tackling record just comes on top of that. If I got the record (in a loss Oct. 17) at Boise State, I probably wouldn’t have been happy.” (HA)

About the career tackle record (he now has 373 tackles, passing Levi Stanley’s record of 366), Sol said:
“The record means a lot to me, not because of the game, or the season, but the last four years of my life and the memories I shared with the players and coaches who have been through here.” (HA)

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About returning the fumble (caused by David Veikune) for UH’s first TD in the game, John Fonoti said:
“I was thinking of jumping on it, but when I saw Brashton (Satele) and David Veikune (occupying offensive players), I picked it up and ran.” (HA)

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Asked about being on crutches after the game, Josh Leonard said:
“My ankle got rolled with about four plays left.” (HSB)

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About his new role as punt returner, Aaron Bain said:
“You just gotta want to make the play. Once you get the ball in your hands you have to keep telling yourself you want to make the play. I don’t think there’s much difference (mentally) between playing slotback and punt returner.” (HA)

About how they worked on their punt returns a lot this week, Bain said:
“We worked on it a lot during the week, so we were scouting the punter and knew he always kicked to his right. I thought we did really well with the blocking and the whole scheme. The coaches made good calls on the returns and where to go with the ball. We got positive yardage so I’m happy.” (HA)

HA Note: “With Bain’s first return of 12 yards, he surpassed Hawai’i’s total yardage for the season. The Warriors averaged -0.3 yards per return — 12 returns for a total of minus four yards — before yesterday’s game. He finished with three returns for a total of 25 yards.”

About being replaced by Mouton at slotback, Bain said:
“it was cool. We talked about it, everything was positive. I thought (Mouton) did really well. I thought the offense did really good trying to air out the football. They were moving the ball up the field and scoring on the majority of the drives so I thought we did really well.” (HA)

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——————– Quotes from the Nevada Coaches ———————-

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About how their punt return team hurt their offense in the first half, Nevada Coach Chris Ault said:
“In the first half, our punt return team just killed us. We never had field position. It’s very difficult to win the game playing from inside the five.” (UH, RGJ)

About how bad field position stopped their offense, Ault said:
“It all goes back to field position. I don’t think our punt-return team fielded a punt all night. It’s tough to run your game plan when you’re backed up inside your 10-yard line, and I don’t know how many times we started back there. That really put our back to the wall.” (HSB)

About how their poor kickoff coverage stopped their momentum in the 2nd half, Ault said:
“The kickoff coverage, I don’t know how many returns they had that put them in great field position. There’s just no excuse for that.” (RGJ)

RGJ Note: “In the second half, the kick-coverage team took over. Nevada’s first three kickoffs of the second half – the latter two after the Pack had climbed back from that 31-17 deficit – were returned to the Hawaii 36 and to the Nevada 49 twice. Each one seemed to kill the momentum the Pack hard worked hard to gain.”

About how they lost a lot of sack chances due to missed tackles, Ault said:
“The missed tackles, we had them sacked. Especially the last series here, we had him sacked three times and didn’t make the tackles. It’s tough. No excuses.” (UH)

About UH’s final drive, Ault said:
“They did a nice job. They went with a screen game. It’s 31-31, we kick off and we got them pinned back and then we miss tackles. We had him sacked. Then they came up with a couple big plays and the next thing you know our backs are to the wall.” (UH)

“In the second half they went to their screen game to give them some confidence and they did a nice job there. But when we had them sacked, especially in that last series, we had them sacked two, maybe three times, and didn’t make the tackles. (Alexander) came up with some big plays. Next thing you know our backs are against the wall.” (RGJ)

About the loss, Ault said:
“Again, any loss is disappointing. This makes it especially disappointing coming back (from behind) like we did. We tie it up and all you got to do is hold them for whatever time it was. How we didn’t sack them and they threw the same corner route – I want to say four times – and they made big plays.” (UH)

About how their D played well in the first half and their offense played well when they started with decent field position, Ault said:
“Defensively, in the first half, we were just excellent and sporadic on offense because of field position. Second half it was a different story because the offense moved the ball and defense threw us in some real tough spots.” (UH)

“The defense in the first half was just excellent.” (RGJ)

About how their turnovers cost them, Ault said:
“The two turnovers, that was 14 points and they cashed in on both of them. I don’t know how many times we were inside the 10. Our punt return guys, I don’t think they fielded a punt all night. I don’t think they fielded one punt all night.” (UH)

About their chances now for a WAC title or bowl game, Ault said:
“It’s real tough. Our backs are against the wall, there’s no question about it. Any loss is disappointing, this one especially, especially when you come back like we did. All we’ve got to do is hold them.” (RGJ)

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——————— Quotes from the Nevada Players ————————-

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About the loss, QB Colin Kaepernick said:
“Too many missed opportunities on offense, defense and special teams.” (HSB)

Standing behind his D, Kaepernick said:
“They (the Wolf Pack defense) played as hard as they can. Everybody makes mistakes. We all stand behind them.” (HSB)

About how they are still playing for a possible WAC title and a bowl game, Kaepernick said:
“We’re still playing for the WAC title, whether it’s in our hands or not. Or a bowl game. We’re not going to send our seniors out without at least a bowl game. If we come together as a team, we can pull it out.” (HSB)

“It was too many missed opportunities on offense, defense and special teams. We didn’t play like we could today. We’re still playing for a WAC championship whether it’s in our hands or not, and we’re still playing for a bowl game. We’re not going to send our seniors out with a loss like this or a losing season.” (RGJ)

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About their fumbles that led to 14 points for UH, Vai Taua said:
“We’ve got to be able to pull this kind of game out. I fumbled the ball away and Colin fumbled (in the first half, leading to 14 UH points). I blame myself for giving up the ball and that was seven points right there. No way can I consider myself having a good game.” (HSB)

About how their offense felt on the sidelines on UH’s final drive, Taua said:
“The feeling on the bench was hope. Hope for a stop and get another chance. Just one more try, that’s all we could ask for.” (HSB)

About losing another close game, Taua said:
“It’s getting old. We’ve got to be able to pull these close ones out.” (RGJ)

RGJ Note: “The Wolf Pack, which is beginning to make a habit of losing close games, had two 100-yard rushers, piled up nearly 500 yards of offense, limited the Hawaii Warriors to 28 rushing yards, intercepted two passes and had six quarterback sacks.”

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About their success on D until Alexander came in, DE Dontay Moch said:
“The key was to put pressure on them in the backfield and make them throw a bad ball. And we wanted to shut down the run so they had nothing else to resort to.” (RGJ)

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One Response to “Quotes from the UH-Nevada game 10/25/08”

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