Quotes from the UH-Idaho game 11/22/08

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii Official Site
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———————- Quotes from the UH coaches —————————

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About how they needed to win this game for their bowl chances, Mac said:
“It was a must win game. They are smart players, I didn’t have to say anything, they all knew it was a big game. Everybody knew what we had to do tonight. It was important that we played a total game and I felt we did that.” (UH)

“I thought we played a real total game.” (HA)

About how their offense is improving and their defense got turnovers and stops on 4th down, Mac said:
“Offensively I think we are getting better and better. Greg is really coming along and the offensive playbook is opening up. I was proud of the defense, we got some turnovers and had some big fourth down stops. After the opening drive we made some adjustments and we were able to get some pressure on them.” (UH)

About how Alexander’s increased confidence is improving their whole offense, Mac said:
“I thought we played a real total game. Greg is really coming along, and you can see it in practice. He is really confident and the whole offense is starting to have a swagger.” (UH)

“Offensively, I think we are getting better and better. Greg is really coming along, and you can see it in practice. He is really confident and the whole offense is starting to have a swagger.” (HA)

“Greg Alexander’s really bringing us together. The package is just opening up to him and he’s exciting everybody. The offense has a swagger now.” (HSB)

About how Alexander has thrown 116 passes without an INT, Mac said:
“That is what we were hoping to see from him and it comes with game (repetitions).” (HA)

About Alexander, Mac said:
“He’s a run-and-shoot quarterback.” (HSB)

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Praising Alexander’s play in the game, UH QB coach Nick Rolovich said:
“I think he did a very good job. He probably should have been a little more accurate on the big throws, but as far as decision-making, he’s very mature and his game awareness has been, and is, great.” (HA)

About Alexander’s 2nd TD pass to Lane, Rolo said:
“That was very good. He checked the safety, he liked the read — he did everything right — and as he has success, he’s seeing how things are working and things that we talk about are starting to work and I think he’s going to be on a roll for the rest of the year.” (HA)

Asked if their record would be better if they had given Alexander more of a chance to learn through playing time early in the season, Rolo said:
“I think we would’ve gotten through, but you never know. We needed to get a couple of wins to get in position for a bowl game.” (HSB)

About how Alexander worked hard at learning the offense even when he wasn’t getting playing time, Rolo said:
“It’s a tribute to him that he was still learning (after getting benched following the opener). It’s a tribute to his character. When Inoke and Tyler were getting the reps, every time I looked at him he was paying attention, taking mental notes.” (HSB)

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Asked if the defensive front helped the DBs or if the DBs helped the defensive front (7 sacks, 3 INTs), Rich Miano said:
“It was both.” (HA)

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About how they had only 8 sacks in their first 7 games, but have had 19 sacks in their last 4 games, DE coach Dave Aranda said:
“It’s been a sore spot for us. We’ve been working real hard for a game like this all season long where we get guys playing free and having fun and letting loose. It was good to see.” (HSB)

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

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About how their players on offense are communicating better and working well together, QB Greg Alexander said:
“I think the main thing is that we are all communicating well on offense and we are getting on the same page. It becomes a lot easier when everyone is on the same page. We need to win the next game to be where we want to be. We still have some work to do and we have to focus on Washington State now.” (UH)

“I think the main thing is that we are all communicating well on offense and we are getting on the same page. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. I don’t know if I’m seeing the whole offense but I think overall, everyone is feeling more comfortable.” (HA)

“The main thing is everybody’s just communicating and everybody’s starting to understand what’s going on. The past couple of weeks we’ve been executing pretty well. We worked really hard in practice. … everybody’s on the same page and it’s starting to show.” (HSB)

About having Rausch take over for him with the game in hand with 11 minutes and 25 seconds left, Alexander said:
“It is a lot more fun being on the sidelines in the fourth quarter than in the first one, I’ll tell you that.” (HA)

About how he understands the offense so much better now than during the Florida game, Alexander said:
“At first (in the Florida game) you think you know what you’re doing, but you really don’t. It takes time.” (HA)

About how he learned by watching Inoke and Tyler, Alexander said:
“I learned a lot in that time. Watching Inoke (Funaki) and Tyler (Graunke), you pick up things. It is like my redshirt year in junior college. I tell people that was where I progressed the most in JC.” (HA)

“When I redshirted my first year of JC, that’s when I learned the most about football. I got to see how things develop, how things work. And coming here, this offense is so sophisticated, you almost have to sit back and watch to learn it. I probably wasn’t ready for the Florida game.” (HSB)

About his 116 passes without on INT (no INTs since the season opener against Florida!), Alexander said:
“I just want to try and not throw another pick this season. I pride myself on not turning the ball over. It’s something I think about and work hard at.” (HA)

About his 82-yard TD pass to Lane, Alexander said:
“In pre-snap it looked like a winner. (Lane) had a great release. I just threw it to him.” (HA)

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About his extra work with Alexander paid off on his 82-yard pass reception, Lane said:
“On that big play, Greg put the ball right on the money. Greg and I stayed after practice and worked on throwing with a wet ball and being prepared for the rain.” (UH)

“We came out here today and it wasn’t even raining, so I knew today — without the rain — we were definitely going to have a good day today and he played his (butt) off.” (HA)

On that pass, Lane said that CB Eric Hunter:
“tried to bump-and-run me. I caught him off the jam. I lunged, and I threw him out of my way. I got up on top of him the first 10 yards.” (HA)

“I love when a corner plays bump-and-run at me. As soon as I beat him I just looked back for the ball and I knew Greg was going to put it on the money.” (HSB)

About how Alexander placed that pass well so that he could run after catching it, Lane said:
“He didn’t lob it or throw it too far. He just put it right there on the money so I could catch it and run.” (HA)

“(Greg) saw that I had my man beat by about five yards, he just put it right there on the money and let me outrun the cornerback. Greg did an unbelievable job.” (HA)

About how working against their defense has helped their offense prepare for games, Malcolm Lane said:
“I think our defense has really helped our offense come along. They give us great looks every day in practice and it makes us a lot better when we face other teams.” (UH)

About how their improvement on offense shows up in their practices vs. their D, Lane said:
“You see it in practice. At the start of the year our defense was just kicking our butts every day. Now, we can give the defense a hard time and that’s saying something since we have a great defense.” (HA)

About what looked like a throat-slashing gesture after his 2nd TD that resulted in a 15-yard penalty, Lane said:
“I wasn’t going like, ‘I’ll kill you.’ It was nothing like that. It was dumb on my part. It was a stupid mistake. It was an emotional mistake. I totally apologize, and I take 100 percent (responsibility) for my actions.” (HA)

HA Note: “After the touchdown, Lane was caught on the JumboTron making a hand-waving gesture across his neck. He received a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty, and a scolding from McMackin. Lane said the gesture was to show the game “was over” and not a throat-slashing signal.”

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About making his first career start when he entered the game instead of Lane, Royce Pollard said:
“It felt pretty good. Malcolm went in on kickoff return and I’m not sure what happened, but they told me to go in. I wasn’t too nervous, I was ready to play, I was ready to go.” (HA)

Note: Pollard caught a 12-yard pass on their first play from scrimmage.

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About the blocking on his 2-yard TD run, Kealoha Pilares said:
“I could have walked in.” (HA)

About his knee injury in the 3rd quarter (he did not return to the game), Pilares said:
“I just banged my knee, nothing major. I just hit it on the turf, came down hard on it.” (HA)

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About how they went away from their game plan to blitz after Mouton got hurt, so their DL had to apply the pressure, DE David Veikune said:
“It was just four-man pressure. The coaches emphasized that. We did a lot of stunts. Stunts with d-ends and tackles. Stunts with two tackles. Basic stunts. It wasn’t rocket science.” (HA)

About how their team is playing well, Veikune said:
“Everyone played great. We’re all starting to click right now, offense and defense.” (HA)

About how Idaho’s offensive changes forced them to adjust during the game, Veikune said:
“A lot of stuff that we were preparing for they didn’t do. It took us a drive or two to get used to it and then we got it going.” (HSB)

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About how their DL wanted to put pressure on Idaho’s QB, Keala Watson said:
“We came out and wanted to establish a presence on the defensive line. We wanted to step up as a unit and get after the quarterback. At this point in the season we are all comfortable with each other and we know our assignments, so it makes it easier to just get after it.” (UH)

About how the bye week motivated them, Watson said:
“I was thinking about last week, when I was sitting at home instead of being on the field where I belong. All I could do was watch football on TV. Coming back this week, everybody had a chip on their shoulder. We were hungry to play.” (HA)

“I think it was the bye week where last Saturday when we were all sitting at home doing nothing, away from the field where we belong. We came out here with the attitude that we want to establish a presence on the D-line.” (HSB)

“We were all jacked up ready to play coming off a bye week where we were sitting around watching football instead of playing. This week we brought the mentality that we all wanted to make something happen.” (HSB)

“When you go a week without playing football, it kind of puts poison in your blood. Guys were running around making plays, just putting their bodies in the line of fire to help the team out. Defensively, we came out to play tonight. We try to do that every game, but tonight was special.” (HA)

HA Note: “In a pre-game meeting, defensive line coach Dave Aranda challenged the defensive tackles to take control of the trenches. The players added to it with this dare: the defensive line would buy a lunch for the player with the most sacks. Defensive tackles Keala Watson and Josh Leonard each finished with a team-high two sacks.”

About how their D tries to get turnovers and set up their offense for scores, Watson said:
“Because we supposedly have a lot of talent on defense, we try to set it up for the offense and put them in a position to make plays. That’s what you call team play.” (HA)

Feeling that this was the best they have played this season, Watson said:
“I would think (that’s the best we’ve played). A lot of guys have gotten a lot of playing time and we’ve gotten comfortable at our positions. Now guys are always fresh and we can make a lot of plays.” (HSB)

About his personal foul penalty on a sack that would have ended an Idaho drive, Watson said:
“That was just that poison in my blood getting to my head. That was my fault.” (HA)

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Happy to be able to play after missing the past 2 games due to an ankle injury, DT Josh Leonard said:
“it felt good being out there. All of the d-tackles knew the pressure was on us. The coaching staff challenged us. They told us the big part of the game was for us to dominate in the middle. We met the challenge.” (HA)

About how they went into pass-rush mode once they got ahead by a good margin, Josh said:
“Coach McMackin challenged the D-line today and said it was all up to us. As soon as our offense got up on them a little bit, it gave them no option but to throw. We just went to the pass rush and didn’t worry about their rush.” (HA)

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About how they can play more aggressively on defense when their offense is dong well, Solomon Elimimian said:
“We made some plays tonight. When the offense is clicking like tonight, it allows us to gamble and try to make some big plays, and we were able to. It was a great team effort tonight.” (UH)

About how the whole team contributed to the win, Sol said:
“Everyone was helping each other. This was a team win.” (HA)

About how they needed the win to get to the Hawaii Bowl, Sol said:
“We had a purpose this game. (The Vandals) were trying to take something we wanted, that’s to go to the Hawaii Bowl.” (HSB)

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About the play of their D, Adam Leonard said:
“Our DBs played the run well with the linebackers and had a good overall sense of the D-Line. There were a lot of four-man rushes where the coaches just said, ‘It’s on you: If you want to get the quarterback, go and get the quarterback.’ ” (HA)

About how the bye week helped their D, Adam said:
“We went back to having fun in practice. Guys were focused, but we also got back to enjoying football. You saw that tonight. Guys were just flying out there having fun and enjoying our time together. As a team, we wanted to make a statement for the rest of the season, When teams look at that game film, we want to make sure that we put the right mark for ourselves and show what we can do. That’s what we did tonight.” (HA)

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About the INT he returned to the 2-yard-line on Idaho’s first drive of the 2nd quarter, Jameel Dowling said:
“The d-linemen made the play. They put on so much pressure. All I had to do was cover a receiver.” (HA)

About how their defense did their jobs well, Dowling said:
“The D-line had a lot of pressure and we did our job, we played our alignment and assignment.” (HSB)

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About his diving INT off a Dowling deflection, Desmond Thomas said:
“It wasn’t me. The Lord gave me the eyes to see that. I asked the Lord to use me, and the opportunity came.” (HA)

About replacing Mouton after he was injured, Thomas said:
“I didn’t expect to play this much.” (HA)

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About how he was injured when recovering a fumble late in the first quarter, Ryan Mouton said:
“Somebody made a great hit, the ball popped out, I picked it up, I started making a move, but I was down. This guy kept rolling and my foot got caught in the ground and he just rolled up on it. I’m all right though.” (HA)

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About his 25-yard kickoff return, Richard Torres said:
“I caught the ball and I saw a white jersey coming at me, so I ducked down to take the hit. But he missed, and all I saw was open field.” (HA)

About the face-mask penalty called on him, Torres (who wears #19) said:
“I didn’t touch him. After the call, (the referee) said, ‘Maybe it was 14 or 24?’ ” (HA)

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——————– Quotes from the Idaho Coaches ———————–

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About how their early turnovers hurt them in the game, Idaho head coach Robb Akey said:
“Too many turnovers and too much momentum. We couldn’t get swayed early enough, obviously, and that momentum gets going on a short field like that it doesn’t do a lot to help the defense out. [Hawaii] did a tremendous job. They have a good team that played their tails off tonight. I take my hat off to them.” (UH)

About how they need to get turnovers soon after the turn the ball over, Akey said:
“We had some moments in there, but we need more of them together. When we give up turnovers, we need to get them back. There was one point in time where we did and we matched a take-away with a take-away. You got to continue to do that when you turn the ball over. There just wasn’t enough bright spots in any phase and it was magnified by the way that Hawaii played.” (UH)

About how they are building their program, Akey said:
“What I take away from this season is that we are getting something built here and I feel very strongly about that. I don’t like the way this game ended tonight and there were too many games that I didn’t like the way it ended. But you can’t build something real strong overnight.” (UH)

About how they didn’t block well enough on offense to move the ball on UH’s excellent front seven, Akey said:
“We didn’t protect the quarterback well tonight and we didn’t block well enough to run the ball either. You like things to go well like that the first possession but they did a tremendous job with their front. I said it before we played this game that I thought their defense is their strength and certainly the front seven of their defense. I have a lot of respect for those kids and the way they played and they got a hell of a coach that’s got them going in the right direction.” (UH)

“We didn’t protect, and we didn’t block well enough to run the ball, either.” (HSB)

About how Kama Bailey said that they cannot forget this loss and need to build for their future, Akey said:
“Kama (Bailey) is right in that we can’t forget this (game), and it has to be history. But you can’t forget it. It’s got to hurt. It doesn’t feel good to not win. We got competitors, our young guys are competitors and that’s one right there. I’m pretty sure with what he did returning the ball for us, he made himself the all-time leader in the history of our school as the kick-off return guy. That’s not necessarily a good thing because that means your returning a lot of kick-offs. But it is a good thing in regards to Kama Bailey’s ability and what his future is going to be here. That says a lot for that entire young group of guys we have. There’s a lot of freshman and sophomores that were playing and they have been playing. I expect a lot of very good things from them.” (UH)

“I think Kama’s right. We can’t forget this season. It’s got to hurt us not to win. These are growing pains. There are rewards that come from that. A lot of the young guys have done a lot of good things this year.” (HSB)

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————- Quotes from the Idaho players ——————-

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About UH’s impressive pass rush without blitzing, QB Nathan Enderle said:
“They (the Warriors) weren’t putting any extra pressure on by blitzing or anything like that. It was their front four. It’s a testament to them and how hard they play. We couldn’t settle into a rhythm after that first drive up until the next time we scored a touchdown (in the fourth quarter). We couldn’t throw downfield against them. They’re a good team and their motors are always working. And we could have done better up front.” (HSB)

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About how they had to go away from the run after they fell behind after UH scored after the early INTs, RB Deonte Jackson (49 yards on 17 carries) said:
“Once they got out so far ahead, we had to switch it up. We strayed away from the run a little bit, trying to get it going in the air. We had a few mistakes, and that set us back even further.” (HA)

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About playing in Hawaii again, Kama Bailey (115 yards on kickoff returns including one for 40 yards) said:
“It feels good to be home. I’m just happy for the opportunity to play against Hawai’i. It was a little different playing (opposite of Pilares). I’m here to represent Idaho, but my heart is still with Hawai’i.” (HA)

Praising fellow Damien grad Pilares, Bailey said:
“Kealoha was good back at Damien and he’s still really good. He had a great game and I’m happy for him that he’s playing so well.” (HA)

About how they cannot forget their struggles this season with their freshman and sophomore heavy team, Bailey said:
“We can’t forget this season. We’ll learn from this. I feel bad for our seniors who are leaving, but we’ve got a lot of young guys and a bunch of talent and I think we should be up there (next season).” (HSB)

About how he tries to return every kickoff for a TD, Bailey said:
“I had it in my head that I wanted to take it to the house. That’s the mentality I always have and it makes me run harder.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Of Dan Kelly’s five first-half kickoffs, only one went to Bailey’s side, and the freshman charged around the right side for 40 yards. The next time Kelly kicked to Bailey early in the second half (from the Warriors 15 after a Hawaii unsportsmanlike conduct penalty), Bailey raced through a gaping hole up the middle for 39 yards. The only problem on the play for Bailey was that he ran right into the waiting arms of Kelly, who wrestled him down. Bailey also had a 36-yard return and totaled 115 yards on three kick returns for the night. He is now the Vandals’ all-time, single-season record holder for kickoff return yardage (955 on 41 returns).”

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About how they need to work hard during the offseason to be better next season, sophomore LB (Baldwin grad) JoJo Dickson said:
“We all want to come back faster, stronger and smarter, and be animals out there.” (HSB)

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About being ejected in the 3rd quarter, safety Jeromy Jones said:
“They said I punched a referee. But there were some players he was trying to separate and I guess he got hit. But that’s ridiculous. I would never punch a ref.” (HSB)

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