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CORVALLIS, ORE. >> In their self-diagnosis, the University of Hawaii football team has no time for the pain.
“The conference begins now,” said head coach Todd Graham, whose Rainbow Warriors will host San Jose State for the Mountain West opener this Saturday at the Clarence TC Ching Athletic Complex. “We have to get to work.”
After the Warriors suffered their second loss to a Pac-12 team – 45-27 against Oregon State at Reser Stadium – the Warriors put together a to-do list that includes starting the offense and playing a more disciplined defense.
In a script stolen from their opening season loss to UCLA, the Warriors struggled early on before finding their offensive mojo against OSU. While the Beavers scored a goal with their three ball possession in the first quarter to take a 21-0 lead, UH averaged 3.3 yards per game. Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro was 0-on-3 in the first quarter. But the Warriors bounced back at 418 yards for the next three quarters. Cordeiro finished with 336 passing yards and two touchdown throws. Cordeiro averaged 15.3 yards in his 24 deals.
“That first quarter of all these (OSU) scores set us back,” said Nick Mardner, who led the Warriors with 110 yards. “When we got rolling, we were rolling. I think we liked the first quarter. “
Cordeiro said: “We have to start from the jump. We have to learn from it. “
The Warriors introduced some innovative concepts. Defensive tackle Foi Shaw was added to the force formation as a full-back. Running back / receiver Calvin Turner, who runs almost exclusively as a Wildcat quarterback, showed arm strength on a pass to Jared Smart. Smart was out when he caught the pass, but now the defenses can’t grab the tackle box when Turner is behind the middle.
“I wish I could have finished it,” said Turner. “Everything is good.”
The Warriors’ first two drives of the second half ended in interceptions. Cordeiro said he would analyze videos to find out what caused the “miscommunication” in the first selection. The second was the by-product of a downward deflection of a fourth pass.
UH also needs to mend a defense that gave 558 yards to a fast opponent.
The Beavers covered 256 rushing yards, led by BJ Baylors 171.
The Warriors were without a defensive end Jonah Laulu, who did not make the trip due to an injury. Laulu is an aggressive edge setter and, at 6’6, is an obstacle when making passes into the flats. DJuan Matthews, who shared the reps with O’tay Baker at the end of the rush, stepped in for Laulu. Baker led the Warriors with seven tackles.
Graham praised Hugh Nelson II and Jalen Perdue for their passport coverage. They stood in for cornerback Cameron Lockridge, who missed the first half as a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit the previous week. Against the state of San Jose, UH’s lead tackler – Darius Muasau – will be inactive in the first half due to a target penalty on Saturday. Isaiah Tufaga, who was in the linebacker rotation, will have an expanded role.
For the Warriors, the focus has shifted to Mountain West.
“The upcoming (league) games are the games that really matter,” said Turner. “We have to dial in and fix the things that didn’t work in the first three games so we can play at Mountain West.”
Cordeiro added, “Our goal is to win the Mountain West Championship. Next week is a step. “