Cole McDonald’s sublime debut as Hawaii football starting quarterback had a way of sucking the oxygen out of the room, whether you were at the 5,000-foot altitude of Fort Collins or in your living room at sea level on Oahu.
And yet, receiver Cedric Byrd, making his UH debut out of Long Beach City College, had plenty of room to breathe.
Byrd caught 11 balls for 181 yards — including a 55-yard touchdown pass — in UH’s 43-34 stunner at CSU.
The 5-9, 170-pound slotback was gracious enough to answer a few questions after practice with Hawaii Warrior World this week.
Q: Was that was your hoping for in your debut at UH?
A: Every game, I set a goal to just catch every ball that’s thrown to me and get however many yards I can. It’s not like it’s a number that I try to hit. But catch every ball that comes my way, and whatever I do after (comes).
Q: How did it feel to get that team result to begin the season when many people didn’t give you a chance?
A: It felt great to just make a statement. Everybody came in thinking we were going to lose by what, like 17 points? It just felt great. Just don’t sleep on us, baby.
Q: What was it like coming out of Long Beach City College, and making the transition here?
A: Basically it was like, getting used to the environment. Just like the culture that comes with the state of Hawaii, basically. It wasn’t a big difference, because the weather’s mostly the same. And stuff like that. It wasn’t a culture shock, it was just like, the thing I had to get used to was the food, the way how nice people are, everything like that.
Q: Had you run anything similar to the run-and-shoot in JC or high school?
A: In my high school (Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Calif.) we ran a spread offense, so we threw it a lot. We had a lot of RPO (run-pass option) stuff. At my JUCO, we threw the ball at least 70 times a game. So, I was used to going downfield a lot, running routes every play. I was used to that.
Q: How well did you as a team showcase the run-and-shoot in Week 0?
A: It’s a lot of things we still need to fix. But I think we showcased that pretty average. It’s a lot more coming, basically. We just all need to be on the same page and execute every assignment, and we should be good.
Q: What was the feeling like to catch that 55-yard catch-and-run from Cole? Your ‘welcome to UH’ moment?
A: Yeah, it was great. It was just like my first touchdown. It was great to score, my parents were in the stands right in front of me. I was saying hi to them.