Honolulu, HI—For the second consecutive season, the University of Hawaii football team is scheduled to play San Jose State coming out of its only bye week. Last November, the Warriors took four days off during the two weeks prior to hosting the Spartans at Aloha Stadium.
This time around, they will have no such reprieve; their only days off are Saturday and Sunday.
"This week isn't any vacation week," head coach Greg McMackin said after practice last week. "I'm on them hard because now's when we have to do the little things. Now is when we have to really be tough on them and not let them coast through anything...I got on them a little bit today that we got to put the dang accelerator to the bottom of the floor and get better. Then next week, just keep it up if we want to reach the goals that we want to reach.
"I got into them before practice (and) after practice (that) this isn't going to be a week off. We came here to work and that's what we're gonna do...We've got San Jose State and goals ahead of us. So we've got to toughen up and man up, and I'm not going to let them take a second off."
The intensity is so high during this bye week because the last thing Hawaii wants is for its new-found momentum to slip away—especially after fighting so hard to get it.
McMackin and the Warriors are well aware that many of their supporters were down on them after their Week 3 collapse at Nevada-Las Vegas. Now, after wins over UC Davis and Louisiana Tech, Hawaii is 3-2 on the season and 1-0 in the WAC, and is in prime position to realize its goal for the season: winning another Western Athletic Conference championship.
"We thought this is how we should play, this is how we prepared to play. But preparing and actually executing how we're supposed to play are two totally different things," linebacker Aaron Brown said of Hawaii's recent hot streak. "We're on that track now; we got two wins so we just got to keep the wheels going."
After taking the weekend off, the Warriors will explode out of the starting blocks come Monday morning. During a typical week, the team works on its conditioning Monday and installs its game-plan on Tuesday, but with the extra week, Hawaii installed its game-plan for San Jose State on Friday and will be able to practice Monday morning with a full head of steam.
Hawaii will also practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before departing Wednesday afternoon for Friday night's nationally televised game (ESPN, 3:00 p.m. HST) at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
"We don't want to come out playing San Jose cold because we didn't do nothing this week," defensive end Paipai Falemalu said. "We get two weeks to game-plan on San Jose so maybe it'll give us the mental edge. And for all of us who are injured or not feeling too good, we can heal up I guess."
McMackin said two areas of importance that they have been focusing on include special teams issues with place kicking and offensive line issues with protecting quarterback Bryant Moniz.
"We got to block for Moniz; he's getting hit too many times. He makes plays, but he's getting hit and a guy can't go through that all season. We're really young and inexperienced, plus we've had a lot of injuries on the offensive line, so they're doing the best they can.
"It's lucky that we have a guy like Mo who gets out of some of that stuff, but we've got to get better there."
San Jose State is 2-4 on the season, 1-1 in the WAC.
Seventy Years Ago
Seventy years ago, the San Jose State football team traveled to Hawaii for what was supposed to be two season-ending games versus the University of Hawaii and Willamette College of Oregon. The Spartans were in Honolulu when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on Dec. 7, 1941 and their games on Dec. 13, and 16 were canceled.
Many San Jose State players immediately joined forces with the Honolulu Police Department and the armed services to help protect Honolulu and the island of Oahu in case of an amphibious attack by the Japanese.