Fresh off a two-day trip to Las Vegas last week, University of Hawai'i head football coach Greg McMackin and star quarterback Bryant Moniz know exactly where they stand in the eyes of their peers and they look to get started on the right foot today, their first official day of practice.
Crowned the preseason favorites to win the Western Athletic Conference in both the media and coaches polls during WAC Media Day, McMackin isn't phased by the lofty accolades being dealt to his team a month out from their season opener against the Colorado Buffaloes.
"I don't put a lot of faith in rankings," McMackin said last week in Las Vegas. "Last year we were ranked from fifth to eighth and I feel the same way as far as being ranked first...it might be a compliment to the program, but I don't put a great deal of thought to it."
More concerned with "playing one game at a time" and counting up wins and losses at the end of the season, McMackin is remindful of the reason they keep score. All of these predictions will mean nothing if Hawai'i is not standing on top when the season is over.
"We're excited to compete for the WAC championship," McMackin said. "There are several schools that can win it. I think Fresno, Nevada, Louisiana Tech are all tough football teams."
Moniz, meanwhile, continues to shoulder the load for one of the most dynamic offenses in college football. Quarterbacking Hawai'i to 7,009 total yards last year, the second highest total in the nation, Moniz was selected pre-season WAC player of the year by the media.
"It's exciting to get the recognition from the teams across the WAC," Moniz said at WAC Media Day. "But it also puts a bigger target on our back. We're going to have to prepare a lot more and work that much harder.
"Every award that I get or am nominated for it's all a result of our offense, it's really not much of my play," Moniz said.
"It's a credit to the offensive line for giving me time to throw, the running back for blocking and running, the receivers for catching the balls. I got the easy job I think. I just throw it to them, they do all the work."
Work begins today for the defending WAC Co-Champions. Their season opener against Colorado at Aloha Stadium is 31 days away.
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