Warrior Beat: Tavai will miss rest of season

Despite playing in eight of 11 games this season, Tavai leads the Warriors with 82 tackles. / Photo by Stephen Tsai

After each game the past two seasons, Jahlani Tavai would emerge from the postgame locker room and answer questions, any questions. Sometimes he would speak with a group of reporters, sometimes just one. Often he still would be wearing the white long-sleeved Under Armour shirt stained with the game’s wear and tear.

Tavai was a leader in offseason conditioning (sometimes brining the water cooler), in practices, in games, and after games. He took the blame for losses and gave credit to everyone except himself for victories.

Yesterday, Nick Rolovich confirmed what had been probable for two weeks, that Tavai’s season was over because of a shoulder injury.

It is unfortunate his UH story did not have a proper farewell. Instead, we are left with his legacy of being in places that needed filling. That was apparent in the last game of his freshman season, in 2015. Rigo Sanchez was unavailable because of an illness in the family. Tavai, an accomplished rugby player, replaced Sanchez as punter. Tavai averaged 54.0 yards on two punts.


  1. haka November 5, 2018 9:38 am

    Good luck to Jalani!
    Always a Warrior!

  2. haka November 5, 2018 9:42 am


  3. Boolakanaka November 5, 2018 9:49 am

    inglewood inglewood up to no good… but in this soles case, he was always bringing something good. Get rest and be ready to bust out at the bowl game (fingers crossed) and the combine!

  4. Stephen Tsai November 5, 2018 9:57 am

    Did you just drop a Tupac line?

  5. Boolakanaka November 5, 2018 10:13 am

    Indeed I did…I did—wink.

  6. justsomeguy November 5, 2018 10:14 am

    I was really hoping to see Tavai break Solomon’s tackle record this year. Even though he needed all american type numbers, I really thought he’d get there.

    Best of luck to Jahlani. Can’t wait to see him tear it up on Sundays.

  7. Stephen Tsai November 5, 2018 10:26 am

    I was impressed with how many tackles he made as a rush end. Against Navy, he aligned as an end but was able to move laterally to stop the dive.

  8. islandman November 5, 2018 10:58 am

    UNLV is not that bad on offense, they scored 35 vs Air Force, 37 vs San Jose and 28 vs Utah St. Only 3 vs Fresno, but they rushed for 197 net yards, 222 gross.
    Prior day’s post 40. Where did you get $12 million revenue from football ?
    Regarding running an athletic program without football, it can be done. Example, see USA Report on NCAA Finances and UC Irvine.
    They have $19.9 million in Revenues, including $10 million from School Funds. Expenses of $20.5 million.
    41. Regarding the UH band, seeing them a short time on TV before the game, they looked good.

  9. NorthShoreFan November 5, 2018 11:20 am

    Sad to hear that Jahlani’s season has come to and end. It’s been a real treat to watch him play. Definitely will miss his presence on the field. Wish him all the best at the next level.
    As a fan of UH football and sports, been great to watch and see some of our athletes go on and do great things in the community. We have a number of outstanding people still giving back here.
    Recruit good character people and we, Hawaii, benefits.
    RIP Vince and Mahalo!
    Good to have this bye week. What will we do with this aside from healing up?

  10. Savich November 5, 2018 11:24 am

    They have to play harder. Defensive side to it. They must stop the offense. UNLV still has a slight chance of pulling off an upset.

  11. Savich November 5, 2018 11:28 am

    Jalani Tavai is age 24. Time to go.

  12. Savich November 5, 2018 11:36 am

    Vince Mauwai was #65 6-1 center for #14 Timmy Chang.

  13. Aaron November 5, 2018 11:40 am

    what makes me so mad is that Tavai got hurt on a play that the officials should have blown dead as that was obviously an incomplete pass and not a fumble. But because of the refs’ failure, Tavai “played to the whistle” as any good player should and was injured trying to score a TD that would eventually be overturned by an unnecessary review. This was the worst moment of the season, in my opinion. Totally avoidable. Makes me sick. Tavai deserved so much better than this. I hope he gets a real shot at a pro career in spite of this.

  14. Savich November 5, 2018 11:41 am

    Although UNLV is last place in the Mountain conference west, they have quarterback which is 6-5 Armani Jones.

  15. Savich November 5, 2018 11:44 am

    Correction: Armani Rogers

  16. Savich November 5, 2018 11:46 am

    And he is about due. Which lost to San Jose State, 50-37. Last weekend.

  17. Inyoface November 5, 2018 11:48 am

    Tavai punted? Missed that one. UNLV has a history of being the party spoiler for UH, can’t mark this one a guarantee win. Hopefully the rest physically and mentally during the bye will reignite the offense.

  18. Savich November 5, 2018 12:03 pm

    We lost to fsu by 30. We winning sjsu by 3. Unlv losing to fsu by 45 and losing to sjsu by 14. We should squeek by unlv.

  19. Savich November 5, 2018 12:06 pm

    Correction: unlv losing to sjsu by 13 points.

    We should squeek by unlv.

  20. Savich November 5, 2018 12:11 pm

    Last place UNLV going against a Hawai’i team that beat wyoming and Ean Jose State, of which beat UNLV. We should beat UNLV too. Last place is UNLV. We are 4th place looking for 3rd place.

  21. Savich November 5, 2018 12:12 pm

    San Jose State…

  22. seewhy November 5, 2018 12:17 pm

    Thank you for everything that you did while wearing Hawai’i across your chest. I hope Tavai has a speedy recovery and can have a shot in the NFL.

  23. A-House November 5, 2018 12:20 pm


    agreed, UH band is very good — IMHO, the best in the MWC!!!

    it’s just the entrance and departure is like a group of people slowly walking along — would they consider a better entrance and exit? how much more work would it take? can the drum majors be the catalysts?

    UH band was much better than Illinois at the Holiday Bowl in 1992 — they marched with great Hawaiian pride — all it takes is a little brain power to make something better than good!

  24. A-House November 5, 2018 12:21 pm

    best to the coaches as they talk to recruits and/or their parents after 4 straight losses!

  25. Savich November 5, 2018 12:21 pm


    Beating Wyoming, San Jose State, is Hawaii.

    Wyoming, San Jose State both beat UNLV.

    We should beat UNLV at home.

    Easy heh…

  26. A-House November 5, 2018 12:23 pm

    hope Tavai will be part of the “senior walk” on 11/17/2018!

    i was very surprised he decided to play for UH in 2018.

    NFL potential for sure!!!

  27. Maddog50 November 5, 2018 12:23 pm

    Wish the best to Mr. Tavai for a successful recovery and his shot at the next level. He did the uniform proud. Let’s just see where Justus takes it. As far as UNLV nobody better even think this won’t be a huge challenge. They have speed and talent at every skill position. They may be winless coming here with SDSU this week and Nevada after us. The performance of the last 4 weeks will yield the same result. I want nothing more than to get that 7th win but I have seen all their games. If you don’t contain, tackle and pressure the Qb well there you have it. Offense will need at least 35-Go Warriors, and best wishes Jahlani, you done good!!!!

  28. A-House November 5, 2018 12:25 pm

    UNLV is like Texas El Paso of years gone by — their record would be 1 – 11 — guess who they beat for their only win???

  29. Savich November 5, 2018 12:39 pm

    Wyoming didn’t play UNLV. But New Mexico did. Which is close enough. Fresno State both blew out Hawai’i and UNLV.

  30. Savich November 5, 2018 12:43 pm

    Missing are we as good as New Mexico Lobos?

    I say yes. We can win UNLV.

  31. Savich November 5, 2018 12:56 pm

    Based on these findings or team stats, I am personally guaranteeing a Hawai’i Bowl entrance for Hawai’i. When they beat UNLV.

  32. diamonds808 November 5, 2018 1:03 pm

    What a blow to the defense – my favorite player is out – so sad to see his UH career end the way it did. Get better Jahlani and get ready for the pros! Everyone truly enjoyed watching him as a Rainbow Warrior. Keeping the faith – GO BOWS!

  33. Savich November 5, 2018 1:09 pm

    Based on these findings or team stats, I am personally guaranteeing a Hawai’i Bowl entrance for Hawai’i. When they beat UNLV.

  34. Savich November 5, 2018 1:14 pm

    It’s been awhile. But Hawai’i has finally arrived.

    Hawai’i Bowl

  35. Savich November 5, 2018 1:19 pm

    Hawai’i Bowl


  36. islandman November 5, 2018 1:43 pm

    A-House and Maddog, yes UNLV is #22 in FBS Rushing, 227 yds per game, so far.
    A-House, thanks about the UH band and since you said best in the MW, i looked up UH’s academic ranking in USNews and UH is 3rd best at 157. The schools above are SDSU and CSU, per my quick look up.

  37. cappie the dog November 5, 2018 2:06 pm


    If you want to be gangsta, you’ve got to spell it 2Pac.

  38. brainbow November 5, 2018 3:13 pm

    It does not matter who we played in the past as a comparison to UNLV, we are a a different and beaten down team now. Assuming we will win is not guaranteed.

  39. ai-eee-soos November 5, 2018 3:16 pm

    DE Liloa Kapiko was offered by Hawaii.

    Found this on MWC forum – don’t how “old” this news is.

  40. ai-eee-soos November 5, 2018 3:30 pm

    excerpt from an MWC writer on our season …

    ” … some things need to change.

    Hawaii probably needs to hammer the junior college ranks for defensive lineman and defensive backs, but especially the D-Line.

    Teams have run directly at Hawaii’s defense with little fear of resistance. Changes are required, but not much can be done about that prior to signing day.

    The truth remains: Hawaii closes the season with a much-needed bye, followed by a poor UNLV team and a San Diego State team that’s seemingly playing everyone close this season.

    A 7-6/8-5 conclusion to the regular season is not guarantee, but it’s within grasp for this team nobody expected anything positive from. “

  41. cappie the dog November 5, 2018 3:44 pm


    Larry Drew agreed to coach the Cavs.

    Phil Handy will have to wait his turn.

    I would move to Cleveland and acquire season tickets if Handy was the coach.

  42. Old School Dave November 5, 2018 5:05 pm

    Mahalo and wishing Jahlani a fast and complete recovery for the combine. Thanks for being a Warrior!

    Get well, rehab, recuperate, and recharge to the rest of the team this week.

    Not to harp on the past, but USU is surrounded by numerous Dairies and Farms in the Cache Valley. Read that there are Aggie boosters among them who regularly donate food to the training tables at USU. Sodexo handles UH’s training table (correct me if I’m wrong)?

  43. Da Punchbowl Kid November 5, 2018 7:12 pm

    Hope to see much much more of Jahlani! Heal up and chase your dreams!

  44. Savich November 5, 2018 10:22 pm

    They can put in Pinanco #53 at linebacker. But someone has to replace #33 Pavihi, Penei. He is just too slow of a player. These pivotal positions on defense needs improvement. Anyway they can help out is welcome. Penei Pavihi just makes too little bit tackles per game. He cannot stop the defense. Some other position must help out. And big time.

  45. Savich November 5, 2018 10:36 pm

    They can put in Pinanco #53 at linebacker. But someone has to replace #33 Pavihi, Penei. He is just too slow of a player. These pivotal positions on defense needs improvement. Anyway they can help out is welcome. Penei Pavihi just makes too little bit tackles per game. He cannot stop the defense. Some other position must help out. And big time.

    They play a 6 – 2 – 3 defense. Hawaii. This is the better format. Why? They can pressure the quarterback on every play. But linebackers both #53 & #33 cannot handle the heat. They must stop the ball. Make it 3rd and 4 or 4th and 3 all the time. Then they must stop them again at 4th down. Defensive this is the linebackers job. They cannot handle their job. Someone else has to come in and replace Pavihi, Penei #33 linebacker. Or help out from the DB position.

  46. Savich November 5, 2018 10:49 pm

    As for Florida State this Saturday, I pick Florida over Notre Dame. Reason? The ACC conference is just too strong. Notre Dame has a hocus pocus national title shot. They cannot handle Florida state’s DB. I pick Florida’s State’s defense over Notre Dame’s offense.

  47. cappie the dog November 6, 2018 5:54 am

    Get well, Mr. Tavai.

  48. cappie the dog November 6, 2018 6:19 am


    The passing of Vince Manuwai finally made it to ESPN.com.

    I take Hawaii slights personally.

    Better late than never.

  49. Andrew November 6, 2018 8:07 am


    Our band is good, but I think Fresno State’s band might be a little better.

  50. Andrew November 6, 2018 8:27 am

    Sure hope the team improves if they make a bowl game. Makes you wonder what would be worst: Not making a bowl game, or making a bowl game and getting blown out and embarrassed on national TV?

  51. Old School Dave November 6, 2018 8:31 am

    I hope that Aloha Stadium holds up during those 3 days of Bruno’s concerts with some 36,000 stomping fans.

    Is UH still shell shocked (Wonder Blunder) from holding their own concerts at the SSC arena?

  52. iGrokSpock November 6, 2018 10:25 am

    Heal up and hope that you get a shot at the next level Jahlani. A Warrior through and through.

  53. suckkabooya November 6, 2018 10:41 am

    The “bad angle” problem is an easy fix in my opinion. Just a matter of “the basics”. The problem is partially caused by the “slow diagnosing” of the run read progression (even Tavai seemed hampered by this). That is more instinctive. But this should be remedied by more repetition. Can fix now.

    The tackling is a “physical” problem. That may take an off season of weight room work and “mind manipulation” to get that fixed (Time attacks runner and hits like a “missile” though, next year all LB’s will attack like that ) but we’ll see if that can be better after the bye week.

    The D-line creates so many holes for the LB’s to “crash” through but these LB’s are not “downhill” guys so they usually have to fight off second level blockers before they can even find the runner. Plus the D-line needs to make more tackles. They “hit and miss” often. They do make initial contact though. Maybe less “impact” and more hand usage or something.

    The DB’s are so vulnerable in any coverage. However they are not so bad when the field is short. Probably means they not as bad as they look. Just need more help from pressure and blitz packages from specific looks designed to “scare” the QB. That aspect of Batoon’s scheme is usually not executed right (on the long run vs Wyoming there was a designed CB blitz that was way late) so no pressure for the QB unless Padello gets free.

    Stop the run better and get them into 2nd and 3rd’s with predictable passing situations and pressure efficiently and UH will be as formidable as Fresno. Will take some effort all around but can fix now and gain momentum going into next year.

  54. H-Man November 6, 2018 11:20 am

    With this bye week, the last two games almost feels like a new season…………new hope. Go Warriors !!!

  55. suckkabooya November 6, 2018 1:54 pm

    UNLV’s defense is almost exactly like UH’s. When you watch their video you can see they take bad angles side to side, they’re slow to diagnose on runs, get very little pressure on QB and opposing receivers are wide open all over the place. They tackle a little better than our guys but UH is way more physical up front. Evenly matched. We do have a bye week and are at home so we gotta do it. No excuses. Maybe a little less “analytics” this game (more conventional please) and a good two weeks of preparation and freshness should make the difference. Momentum. Can do.

  56. Maddog50 November 6, 2018 2:15 pm

    Suckka don’t disagree at all. Their offense has scary pieces. Boys are gonna hafta wanna/

  57. cappie the dog November 6, 2018 4:51 pm

    Slow news day.

    Good luck to the women’s basketball team against Pepperdine.

  58. suckkabooya November 6, 2018 11:35 pm

    Going to get a little critical here. not to disparage but to put into perspective the potential for next season and beyond. This defense is not so good this year but you can see signs of the possibilities Batoon has going forward. So many options. Hard to believe.

    Let’s start with the “Will”. This seems like the playmaker of entire defense in Batoon’s scheme. It needs a fluid, DOWNHILL, quick diagnosing block avoider able to attack gaps set by the front. He is the “free” attacker. Pavihi is fluid but slow to diagnose so he is not a downhill LB (he does better when assigned to attack gaps and not read). Mautautia is best side to side and better when he does not have to be the initial tackler. Time is a “heat seeking missile” but he lacks the savvy needed to avoid blocks (he likes to take on blockers “head on”, not a good idea at his size). I think Bowers was specifically recruited to fit this scheme. Perfect. But later on.

    The “Mike” is more of an issue. Pavihi is not physical enough (yet, he may be, up to him though), Picanco needs a lot of work “diagnosing”. He does have a nice tackling form and a good motor, he needs 8 to 10 more pounds though (to stuff the blocks and runners). Prichard is prototypical in that position so there may be depth next season. And maybe (outside the box here) Mataafa could be rotated in this spot. He is quite the physical guy able to play in 2pt stance, albeit in a small space.

    Batoon’s “Sam” is a “Mike” with the ability to rush from the edge. Tavai was the “Sam” a lot this year and made lots of plays from there. He was a good but not “great” edge rusher though. This position needs to disrupt blocking (with quickness and strength from the edge) allowing the “Will” or DT to make the play. A more aggressive and “angry” Mautautia can “wreck havoc” next season as the “Sam”. It seems like he has “soreness” and is “soft” this year compared to last year. Or It could be he is having difficulty adjusting to the scheme (having to play more downhill, not his style). He can play side to side from the “Sam”. Hopefully others will emerge here (Paul Scott maybe? Got to see him edge rush more) . Not so deep. Recruit JC.

    The “Bandit” position is so variable in it’s “random” way (because of the personnel proficiency) that players with “specialties” may have to be inserted when necessary. One thing is for sure. The majority of the pass rush comes from the “bandit” (only because of Padello). Both Padello and Thomas are real good hand in the ground (as down linemen) Padello as pass rusher, Thomas vs the run. But both are not good in 2pt stance (standing up; in space) though. Williams is good in run specific schemes (weakside “Sam” essentially) Going forward the rotation has to be more distinct. Especially because of the lack of abilities to work in space standing up. Hard to manage. So diverse in abilities and weaknesses.

    Batoon (and staff) rotated in a lot of players this season (desperation?) so there may be greater depth for next year as a result. One JC 3 technique (to replace Zeno) one JC “Sam” for depth, and one JC “coverage” free safety should complete the personnel (combined with Bowers and Peterson). The strategy is visible, Batoon just needs the right fits to make it formidable next year. Can do.

  59. cappie the dog November 7, 2018 5:00 am

    Utah State is still unranked in the College Football Playoff poll.


  60. Jeezy33 November 7, 2018 9:12 am

    58. Well said. Our LBs and DEs are asked to read way too much instead of attack gaps. Send the MLB up the A gap once in a while to attack the mesh point and have the OLB attack the outside instead of reading on their heels.

  61. Stephen Tsai November 7, 2018 1:21 pm

    New post: http://www.hawaiiwarriorworld.com/?p=47433

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