Warrior Beat: Lessons from Provo

Fireworks were launched over LaVell Edwards Stadium the night of BYU's 49-23 win over Hawaii. / Photo by Stephen Tsai

PROVO >> Every game is supposed to be a teaching moment. Here’s what we learned from UH’s 49-23 loss to BYU:

> Counter moves: In the lobby of the hotel where the Warriors spent the trip, there is a giant chess board, which served as decorative and metaphorical. Teams have had enough video evidence of the capabilities of the Warriors’ hybrid offense. The past few opponents have devised counter measures. The continuing challenge for the Warriors is to counter the counter moves.

> Best of foes: Sure, BYU folks will tell you, they’ve got bigger rivalries than the one against UH. But if the crowd is a barometer, UH was a big deal to BYU. The Cougars have a sizable amount of Polynesians on the active roster. UH is Polynesia’s team. Yeah, it’s a rivalry.

> Little is big: A fumble. Missed tackles. Dropped passes. Penalties. Mistakes add up. They hurt the Warriors yesterday.

> Real deal: Utah State is the real deal. Wait … what? The thinking was BYU was struggling because it lost — badly — to Utah State at home a week earlier. It turns out that Utah State is very good, with a quarterback who’s exceptionally good. That outcome was more of a testament to the Aggies’ talents than the Cougars’ struggles. Last night’s game proved that BYU has a lot of talent, too.


  1. Naks8 October 14, 2018 5:31 am

    Next. Hawaii can take lessons from this and win next week

  2. cappie the dog October 14, 2018 5:54 am

    Does the MWC secretly hate Hawaii? (rhetorical question)

    Why can’t they give them a bye week after a road game?

    Nothing made me more apoplectic as when Hawaii had to go to Boise after playing at Wisconsin.

    Hawaii should just play 12 games.

  3. cappie the dog October 14, 2018 6:12 am

    The loss hurts.

    Which is good.

    I was pretty much desensitized by Hawaii football losses for the past seven years.

    A good college football week was:

    Did Navy win?
    Did Georgia Tech win?

    And as of recently, did Central Florida win?

    If Tua has to sit out a week, I can go back to rooting against Alabama.

    This is how provincial I am: I ROOT FOR ALABAMA!!!

    I do sort of hold some begrudging respect for Nick Saban in this respect; he doesn’t gloat over victories. So when Alabama wins, he doesn’t rub his monolithic program in your face. He looks perpetually unhappy.

  4. coachdb October 14, 2018 6:50 am

    I used to coach Pop Warner football, My last two seasons we’re back to back championship teams. 1 kid in the NFL 3 others D1, and every time I get excited about my team we would do some open field tackling and then I would know we needed more work! Hawaii needs a lot more work to do to win conference. Tackling was HORRIBLE last night, we don’t wrap with our helmets down we RIP up and Thru with our helmets aimed at the sky!!! Try that at practice next week!

  5. Honu888 October 14, 2018 7:09 am

    Little is BIG. Every week they team and coaches say they need to work on getting better. After yesterdays game it doesn’t look like they are getting better. We are going into the 9th game of the season next week. They should be sharp as knife at this point.

  6. Da Punchbowl Kid October 14, 2018 7:49 am

    The Warriors must seek perfection in every phase of the game. The team is a work in progress, and it doesn’t end until the last snap of the last game. If they can look back after that last snap and say they gave it everything they had, they’ve completed their work.

    Proud of the Warriors. They can and will do better.

    Practice Perfection/ Live Aloha/Play Warrior

  7. Inyoface October 14, 2018 7:54 am

    The play calling was crazy why run when it was not working.

  8. Old School Dave October 14, 2018 8:01 am

    The sun came up this morning! When you get knocked down, you can either quit or you get back up. I’m sure the team will get back up. Things worthwhile are never easy, for lack of a better word. LIve and learn, then move on.

    On the other hand, as an old UH coach used to say: “Physical superiority cancels all theory.” UH needs to get back into the weight room and get bigger and stronger, no doubt. As ST said, USU’s victory over BYU has more to do with how good they are, rather than BYU’s struggles.

    Not going to complain about the lack of resources and finances that UH deals with (like traveling commercial, while visiting teams fly on chartered flights), as that’s another topic. Mahalo to the team, coaches, and staff for their efforts!

    Go Warriors! Get that 7th win!

  9. Polaindri October 14, 2018 8:27 am

    Who is responsible for calling the offensive plays? I typically will never second guess coaches decisions but, logic will tell you that if something doesn’t work, try something different. I though the adjustments that were made in the second half offensively (no back) gave us an opportunity to get back in the game. Then, Hawaii goes back to what didn’t work, trying to run the ball on 1st and 3rd, go figure. I know we are a young team and it will take time for the “pure” run and shoot to be a consistently effective offensive, but, trying to “force” a round ball into a square hole will not work 100% of the time. That being said, I feel Hawaii will have a great season and a conference championship is still out there for the taking. Go Warriors !!

  10. Stephen Tsai October 14, 2018 8:30 am

    MWC is pretty good to UH. No back-to back road games. UH gets to keep Spectrum money. It’s a good partnership

  11. Whitey October 14, 2018 9:25 am

    The Warriors are a good team and hope they become a better team this Saturday.

  12. suckkabooya October 14, 2018 9:55 am

    I did not expect a win last night. And I was pleasantly “shocked” when they won last week given the circumstances and the method. But to be physically dominated without any answers for it is disappointing. Fumbles don’t help either. I don’t mind the “vanilla-ness” of the offensive packages, but the play calling seemed impractical. Hmmm. Got lots of material for a young team (coaches too) to examine and grasp (especially with physicality). Invaluable for the “realization” of the program. They can do it. Everyone.

  13. islandman October 14, 2018 9:59 am

    The problem is what counter moves UH can come up with, now that opponents have figured out the Run n Shoot hybrid. You say don’t run if not working, but Rolovich says you have to run in order for the offense to work.

  14. H-Man October 14, 2018 10:04 am

    Hawaii is a good Group-of-Five team. The Wolfpack will let us know if we’re any good in the Mountain West. I predict the Wolfpack will prevail 42-27. Too much Gangi and Taua with a good defense.

  15. winning October 14, 2018 10:20 am

    “Counter the Counter” , exactly!! A very ugly pattern has been developing against better teams. The lack of adjustability to the Defenses that teams are putting up against UH is a sign of inexperienced coaching. There is no other explanation. This incompetence shows that changes or other input needs be made PERIOD !!!!

  16. Inyoface October 14, 2018 10:44 am

    Beautiful catch by Ursua at the end. He should be targeted 100 times a game.

  17. Buffoman October 14, 2018 10:53 am

    Is running into an offensive player a tackling method? I did not coach football so I don’t know if this is a technique being taught, especially with defensive backs. Seems like running into ball carriers is a preferred method of stopping forward progress as opposed to wrapping up and tackling. Lots of time, the guy doesn’t fall down or we just whiff.

    Watching Alabama their defense backs wrap up more often than not. Just wondering if one method is preferred and taught more than others.

  18. Music Man October 14, 2018 10:59 am

    Hawaii’s Offense is fine. Defense leave a lot to be desired resulting in Hawaii’s 2nd loss. Cory Batoone, I know your a good coach, you need to take more control of your defensive staff.

  19. NorthShoreFan October 14, 2018 11:09 am

    #8…ditto your observations.

    BYU had something to do with the loss. The guys on the otherside did a great job.

    Time to prep for the next one. Need to sustain blocks a bit longer. Speed has something to do with being out of position sometimes.

  20. islandman October 14, 2018 11:50 am

    17. Offense was not fine in the 1st half, scored only 3 pts.

  21. Inyoface October 14, 2018 11:55 am

    Defense was out on the field way longer than they deserved.

  22. eMpTy October 14, 2018 12:18 pm

    I think Hawaii is jinxed cause usually when the other team uses a rookie quarterback Hawaii seems to struggle to shut him down. It just seems that way.
    Reboot and start over with another win streak. This time it’ll be tougher cause the opponents are getting tougher. Go Bows….

  23. Whitey October 14, 2018 12:39 pm

    The Warriors are still in first place for the West division and start on the climb of their life. GO FOR BROKE.

  24. SteveM October 14, 2018 1:08 pm

    Darn, BYU beat us again. 🙁
    Not a total surprise when they were stronger and faster. After all our BYU defeats in the 80’s, we simmered and waited for the next year’s game. We are not playing them again until 2024, which is forever, so “one snap and clear” for us rivalry guys.

    What coach said, “You are never as good you think in a win, and not as bad as you think in a loss”?
    Nevada is the next example.

  25. iGrokSpock October 14, 2018 1:12 pm

    Ouch. This game was just ouch. I hope that Rolo and Smith figure out a way because the way that they’ve been going offensively the past several games was already flushed down the toilet. Definitely not getting better. And our defense would not be able to stop my mother-in-law in her walker, moving one small, tiny step at a time.

  26. Maddog50 October 14, 2018 1:48 pm

    So BYU played hair on fire after embarrassing themselves at least 3 times this year. They played sky high for a lot of reasons. We did not. You lose no matter who you are when it’s like that. Throughout the season almost every team has a game they want to forget-this was the Warriors. Most definitely some things need to change or be adjusted. I just think overall it was a less than dialed in road game against a good team that played great. No excuses but I always keep in mind how young this team is and in this case we don’t have a bunch of 20 to 25 year old players listed as freshman and Seniors…..it makes BYU very unique. So we lost and did not look good doing it. Time to gut check and get after the Wolfpack with a relentless hair on fire of our own this week. We need to play desperate from start to finish……we have shown that we can need to get that back. Go Warriors!!!!!!!

  27. suckkabooya October 14, 2018 3:27 pm


    Exactly. 100% agree. BYU had a lot to play for and frankly, UH not as much. This the intensity level was not where it needed to be. Plus on the road. I was hoping that the offensive plan would have been a little more constructive toward preparing the backups for meaningful reps. I guess there are overall larger issues. Focus. Now on to Nevada.

  28. Maddog50 October 14, 2018 5:48 pm

    #26 just watched the game again and replayed key offensive plays and defensive plays. Many times gaps covered missed tackles or overpenetrated. Turnovers led to three scores. Offensive miscues penalties, blown assignment dropped balls forced passes. After watching it a second time I figured if just half of those did not happen different game. Lot to build on and still feel 2-3 wins are feasible. Get some things straight and a great year will follow!

  29. cappie the dog October 14, 2018 6:42 pm

    I love this.

    Everybody is upset that Hawaii IS only 6-2.

    I remember thinking during a game in which Nevada put up 69 points: I am never going to complain about playing Conference USA opponents in the bowl game ever again.

    6-2 is NUTS.

  30. ai-eee-soos October 14, 2018 8:04 pm

    early line is HAWAII -3.5

    Good nite.

  31. Bumby October 14, 2018 8:05 pm

    Traveling over a period of time will affect a teams ability to perform at the highest level. Going into altitude and low temperatures is not an easy task too. Not an excuse and I bet if all teams on the west coast going east and play, then coming home to play the following week, then going back to the east coast to play. Vice-versa for the teams on the east coast. They will not perform at the highest level. Disadvantage Hawaii just the way it is.

    Recruiting for the defense needs to go up a notch. They are doing their best but undersized and a step slow. If Hawaii had a defense that held their opponents to 3 scores, 8-0 would be their record.

    Offense will score and will have struggles at times however with a stout defense the future will be bright. Be happy that they are 6-2 and believe they will end up with 8 wins, 9 if the defense can hold the opponents to 3 scores.

  32. turfwar October 14, 2018 8:29 pm

    Forgot who but radio or tv broadcast mentioned that the bowl committed to BYU was discontinuing so ESPN had agreed to place them in next year’s Hawaii Bowl which means if both teams are bowl bound they will probably meet again next year. And with both offenses very young it could mean we meet again for at least a couple of years.

  33. tom-warriornation October 14, 2018 8:54 pm

    Nevada has a very good defense; they played Boise St very tough all game long. Nevada’s QB Ty Gangi has some some of leg injury so that affected his running ability–hope our defense can play lights out like they did vs Wyoming. GO WARRIORS!

    PS: Not too late to join us at the UH road game at Fresno & SDSU; sitting with Cole McDonald’s family & over 100-200 Hawaii fans behind our Warrior bench; text me 415-324-0585!

  34. Savich October 14, 2018 9:45 pm

    BYU beat Wisconsin earlier in the year. Tougher schedule proved who’s the better team. The better team won on Saturday night.

  35. Whats up October 15, 2018 12:30 am

    Hawaii needs a couple of junk-yard-dog type of D-Lineman. Vicious, chews up blocks and has a bite for Running Backs and Quarter Backs. It’s been a while since Hawaii a had Junk-Yard-Dog NT or DT.

    Got to develop what is on the roster or recruit some.

    Go Warriors of Hawaii!

  36. suckkabooya October 15, 2018 12:32 am

    Maybe because the running aspect is so imperative to the overall success of this offense, Coach Rolovich could implement that “Tampa right” (that Coach Jones used regularly) and other deceptive (blocking scheme) type running plays to mix in with the RPO stuff. It may set up the middle of the field more especially when they throw in play action. More misdirection might open things up I think. Opposing defenses figured out how to slow up this offense so the next move is UH’s. “Chess board time”. Coach Rolo will figure out something,

  37. Spartan01 October 15, 2018 1:27 am

    Look fwd to SDSU game, traveling from the mid west. Keeping the faith. Imua young bloods. Coaches too.

  38. Boolakanaka October 15, 2018 5:46 am

    Hmmmn, while I agree that our D needs to improve: tackling, consistent QB pressure and having DBs remember and execute the golden rule of not giving up the inside and post (young man the boundary is your friend)— much of what we are encountering is the deliberate conscription of providing a more offensive game to the fans.

    That said, in some areas we might be seeing where our talent needs to be ungraded. In short, schemes are more subtle, and success is much more dependent on talent than play-calling. “Across the country, it’s rare to see a defense dictate the game with scheme,” says Pac-12 analyst Yogi Roth, adding: “The rules favor offenses, and that puts a great deal of stress on the defense.”

  39. Maddog50 October 15, 2018 7:19 am

    After reading ST article this am here’s my thought “the mourning should be over this morning”! Nevada appears to be an average to average to slightly above MW team. Size wise they are like us and do not have a 6-9 de/lb or a 6-8 tackle over the age of 25! They play hard and spirited but don’t have what I would call any extreme talent. I would put there defense a slight notch above Wyoming. The offense slings the ball with an injured QB Gangy. So let’s buck up buckaroo and show us the real team-one full of energy anger and playing downhill. We need to put it all together from the beginning. I have total faith in the coaches and players. Take your frustration out on the Wolfpack who are nursing their own mental and physical wounds after battling a slumbering Boise at home and losing! GoWarriors!!!!!

  40. Savich October 15, 2018 7:20 am

    On Saturday, I’ll pick Hawai’i to win over Nevada. 45-34 win. Predict.

  41. Savich October 15, 2018 7:26 am

    If all goes as planned, Hawai’i should meet Louisana Tech in the Hawai’i Bowl. 22nd of December, 2018.

  42. Ipu Man October 15, 2018 7:46 am

    Early on the refs knocked Hawaii out of its rhythm two times by yanking players off the field for
    uniform infractions…Bobby Curran reported on radio and he did not know why.
    Anyone know why?

  43. Savich October 15, 2018 7:47 am

    Too shrimp.

  44. Stephen Tsai October 15, 2018 8:34 am

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=47161

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