Like every challenge that 2020 has presented, the University of Hawaii football will continue to do what it can with what it has amidst uncertain circumstances.
The Rainbow Warriors (2-2) have played all their games as scheduled this season. Many teams during the COVID-19 have not been able to say the same, as outbreaks among programs have canceled numerous games.
On Saturday, the ‘Bows are scheduled to take on defending Mountain West Conference champion Boise State (3-1, 3-0 Mountain West) for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Aloha Stadium. If the game is played, it will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. But that’s currently a big if based on developments within the Boise State football program. Last week, nine players tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 players in total were held out of the Broncos’ 52-21 win over Boise State on Nov. 12.
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On Tuesday, the state of Idaho saw a projected 1,639 new cases of COVID-19, along with 31 new deaths. It is currently unclear if any of those are related to the Boise State football team.
Although BSU head coach Bryan Harsin says the team is in position to make the trip to Hawaii, the game has not yet been confirmed on canceled either way. The Broncos making their way to the islands in the coming days would be a big indication that the game is still on.
For Hawaii head coach Todd Graham, all the team can do is continue to prepare as if a game will be played this weekend while following the same COVID-19 protocols that have kept the team relatively safe compared to other programs.
“We have guys that are here that can’t work out that have anything from an earache to sniffles or sore throat, so every day it’s a different group of guys,” Graham said in a Tuesday virtual press conference with Oahu media. “That’s probably been the most challenging thing. I think it’s been really challenging from an offensive standpoint to be able to execute anything. It’s really hard to get better fundamentally when you don’t have the same people practicing every day so I’m sure that’s the challenge for them. I don’t know everything about their circumstance because I’m still too focused on what our circumstance is but I know this: every week that we play, I get up that morning and when I walk out there on that field, I’m so thankful and blessed that we’re getting to play football so hopefully we’ll be playing football here Saturday night.
“That’s what we’re planning on and we know in that, we have a great opportunity ahead of us.”