Warrior Beat: Tavai expected to miss Fresno game

Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai pursued Nevada running back Toa Taua before he was injured in the Wolf Pack's 40-22 win at Aloha Stadium on Saturday. / Photo by Jamm Aquino, Star-Advertiser

The Warriors’ leading tackler — linebacker Jahlani Tavai — is expected to miss this coming week’s road game against Fresno State.

“I don’t think he’ll be with us this week,” head coach Nick Rolovich said following today’s two-hour practice on the grass field.

In the second quarter of Saturday’s game against Nevada, Tavai appeared to hurt a shoulder when he landed hard on the Aloha Stadium turf. He was examined in the medical tent, and spent the second half on the sideline in street clothes.

In eight games, Tavai has 82 tackles — 12 more than the Warrior’s second-leading tackler, Ikem Okeke, who has appeared in nine games.

Kana‘i Picanco is the immediate understudy to Tavai at linebacker. Tavai is a versatile defender who aligns as a strong-side linebacker and rush end.

Rolovich praised Picanco, a 2015 Damien Memorial School graduate who played two seasons at Pima Community College in Arizona.

“I wish some of these recruiting web sites, they have all these stars,” Rolovich said. “I wish they had hearts. (Picanco would) be a five-heart recruit.”

Kana‘i Picanco would be the “next man up” to replace linebacker Jahlani Tavai. / Photo by Stephen Tsai


  1. kalua pig October 23, 2018 12:04 pm

    you already know cuz.

  2. ai-eee-soos October 23, 2018 12:22 pm

    ST: Was OL Coach Mark Weber on the sidelines, or was he in the booth, for the Nevada game?

    I think he should be on the sidelines, coaching his young OL, in all games.

  3. seewhy October 23, 2018 12:29 pm

    That’s a big loss. Well, next man up!!

  4. A-House October 23, 2018 1:08 pm

    how many and which coach should be “upstairs”?

    makes sense to me that the HC be upstairs with the OC and DC and communicate with the position coaches on the field.

  5. A-House October 23, 2018 1:13 pm

    why did Rolo abandon the pass-first then run? sure worked during the 1st 3 games.

    defensive coaches must be stupid if they don’t plan to attack UH running game by “packing” the inside w/ Furuta in the back field

    so many opportunities for play-action or SHORT-FLAT PASSES to the flats — or, use a TE on select plays with 3 WR — align him next to the tackle or slot or even set up a good-hands tackle to step back and become eligible

  6. suckkabooya October 23, 2018 1:19 pm

    I’m gonna just put this out there. I’ll preface it first by saying

    1) I watched a lot of video trying to pinpoint why everything is so difficult now.
    2) This doesn’t need to happen until 2020 (but prepare soon)
    3) This will benefit (I think) everyone, especially Cole’s NFL chances.
    4) And most importantly, it’s just my opinion.

    I think McDonald should, when the two “Prodigies” are ready (2020), move to receiver. I think he could play both wideout and/or slot without that much tutoring to be proficient at either. Ursua, Ward, and Byrd will graduate so depth may be a concern then. He (in my opinion) could start from day one of the transition. Just got to work on footwork, specifically cutting.

    He is fast. He can change speeds. He has a good (better than average) burst. He is not that “swivel-ly” (like the receivers we have now) but that isn’t really necessary in this offense. Being in the right spot at the right time is. He has that knowledge. What really sold me was his long run against Army on the last drive. He can easily change his “set up” speed and burst free. I think he can break an “arm tackle” as well, but right now he has instructions not too. His running style looks like (to me) Jason Rivers (just not as much “anger” in his footwork method). Cross between Rivers and Collie (because also not “swivel-ly). Just don’t know about his catching abilities. I think he would be terrific. He has the ability.

    I think NFL scouts will see the “athletic” usability of his entire package of skills and apply them anywhere (or everywhere), especially on special teams (I think he could return kicks too, up man on punts, kickoff gunner, anywhere). He has the ability….. Just a thought.

  7. A-House October 23, 2018 1:57 pm

    it only hurts the team if a coach refuses to replace a starter who is struggling

    bottom line is if this creates a losing record and much discontent with certain “high rollers” — coaches are on the firing line.

  8. kalua pig October 23, 2018 2:19 pm

    nobody talks about brian smith.i wonder why.

  9. kalua pig October 23, 2018 2:49 pm

    matlin should only schedule byu on week zero.we need to stop doing byu favors by playing them during conference play.we need to take care of our team and give them a bye week.

  10. islandman October 23, 2018 2:55 pm

    HC should not be upstairs. I think he has to be in charge downstairs.

  11. SteveM October 23, 2018 3:32 pm

    My uniformed opinion was the the RPO combined with the Run & Shoot worked well early because if you did not hand off (or fake it), you had the R&S pass game.

    But if you fake or handoff on every play, the QB is looking at the running back and focusing on handling the ball correctly in the right spot. This means his eyes are not downfield and if he fakes, he has to acquire his receivers after losing a second+ looking the wrong way. The defenses are getting faster and dropping back 8.

    Maybe this is why the 5-wide set seemed to work better on passes even though everyone knows it’s going to be a pass or keeper.

    Just my fan in the seat opinion.

  12. burro sabio October 23, 2018 3:33 pm

    The only head coach who should have been upstairs was Chow. He was in the booth for so long he could not coach from the sideline.

  13. cappie the dog October 23, 2018 4:03 pm

    Oh, god.

    Don’t replace Cole McDonald.

    It always begins with the offensive line.

    One poster on the previous blog was lamenting the loss of Dru Brown.

    I thought I had the distinction of being the lone Dru Brown apologist.

    Dru Brown pulled a rabbit out of his hat two seasons ago and won at Air Force.

    I’m hoping for the same for McDonald this Saturday.

  14. ruggo October 23, 2018 6:53 pm

    Huge loss heading into this weekend with Jahlani out. But, Kana‘i Picanco – next man up! you da man! – Bring it on Saturday!

  15. Warzone October 23, 2018 7:56 pm

    Wow giving up on a quarterback with more wins and game experience in running this complex system in his first year of starting, is ridiculous… Better off trying to recuit Tua away from Alabama lol… Support our team, trust that coaches will get things fixed, either way we Don’t have the power 5 money to buy any coach we want…Let’s Go Warriors!! Go to War !!!

  16. Da Punchbowl Kid October 23, 2018 8:14 pm

    Work with what we have, bring the best out of everybody. Really, what other option is there? 6 and 3 means a lot to me. 1 win away from our own bowl. Shoot for that!

    Quick healing to Jahlani!


  17. burro sabio October 23, 2018 10:44 pm

    If depth at receiver is a problem in 2020, that would point to insufficient recruiting. Should something like that happen, shifting players around won’t make a difference.

  18. Whats up October 24, 2018 12:14 am

    We knew this was going to be the murders row part of the schedule and Hawaii is going to be pushed to it’s limits. And being a 2-3 touchdown underdog at Bulldog Stadium for Fresno State’s Homecoming Game is what is expect after a 18 point loss to Nevada at Aloha Stadium.

    Hawaii vs Fresno State have been some dogfights over the years with many nail biters. But there has been some blowouts between them too. If the coaches don’t fix their low percentage risky play calls and fix what is ailing this team. We might be watching a repeat of the Nevada game, just different color uniforms.

    All the players that are asked to play, have been and continue to step it up. They have been playing straight through (with injuries) with no bye week. So I don’t blame the young Warriors for playing their okoles off and with hearts of a lion.

    Live Aloha/Play Warrior

    Go Warriors of Hawaii

  19. suckkabooya October 24, 2018 2:05 am

    McDonald has a tremendous work ethic as we have witnessed in the transformation of his passing form and prowess. I an not advocating for a quarterback change now or even next year. And if he is head and shoulders better than Corderio and Moussa in his senior year then it would be ridiculous to switch his position. But when you watch the videos of him running the ball, he has a gift that needs to be further exploited in one way or another. More RPO keepers, draws, designed sweeps, and maybe roll outs should he remain as quarterback. I do trust (very much) the decisions of this entire staff, no matter how contrary my sentiments may be. Just my opinions. Always meant to lend perspective, right or wrong. Expectations, always hard to modify (for us fans) when you start 6-1. They can do it. Seems like “everything can happen” should be the phrase of the week instead of “anything can happen”. Just do your best. Everybody.

  20. suckkabooya October 24, 2018 2:45 am


    When you lose three “weapons” of that caliber in one year I think your depth (proficiency/efficiency) will be affected regardless of how well you may have designed your preparation for that kind of “loss”. My point was the “depth” (extremely deep in 2020) was at quarterback, and one of them (didn’t matter which one but in this case it was McDonald) has the ability to be a co-featured target. That was the main point to the whole thought process. Didn’t make sense to waste eligibility/ability unless Cole was the obvious number one QB (might be). Either way they will be awesome next year. 2020 will be the Defense’s turn to carry the team’s success as the offense makes it’s “re-adjustments” to personnel.

  21. cappie the dog October 24, 2018 3:36 am

    If Jahlani Tavai is available to play against Utah State but isn’t 100%, he should perhaps be given another week to heal.

    UNLV is the only game that matters.

    Hawaii Bowl calling.

    (Instead of Paul Simonson about to slam his bass on stage, John Ursua spikes a football in the end zone.)

  22. cappie the dog October 24, 2018 3:40 am

    Did you know Yoko Ono has a co-writing credit on “Imagine”?

    Sorry. I’ll stop doing this.

  23. cigaripo October 24, 2018 7:57 am

    Don’t give up momentum by gambling on on side kicks or trick plays, let the opponent work to get the momentum back. Demoralizing when opponents start in UH territory and score off of them. Take kickoffs on the 25yard line, very low percentage getting more than 25 yards and high percentage getting less or worse. No pooch kicks, haven’t seen any advantage, but more disadvantage giving opponents good field position. Keep the games close, take the favorable percentage of success… take the field goal opportunities and punt on fourth and long. Opponents have figured UH tendencies. Move the pocket and have more receivers in motion so opponents adjust their coverage. Suggestions …I’m not a coach, just a fan.

  24. Andrew October 24, 2018 9:05 am


    I think it really all depends on what happens vs Fresno. It’s not looking good for a win there, but stranger things have happened and UH has won there before even when being a heavy underdog. If they somehow pull it off, I’d say he’s for sure going to play if he’s at all cleared. Then again also, Utah State has shown they’re not completely invisible in conference. They did struggle against Wyoming, so they may decide to play him in that case.

  25. A-House October 24, 2018 10:15 am

    there are benefits to being up in the sky — totally different perspective of the field and what’s happening

    Canadian league has a larger field than USA, but nearly all USA fans will accept only USA field dimensions — why? rooted in ” because that’s the way it’s always been” — tradition you say?

  26. Stephen Tsai October 24, 2018 12:22 pm

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=47259

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