The University of Hawaii football team started the season in conference, on the road, with a win. Now, one week later, they’ll be at home, playing Navy – an American Athletic Conference opponent – trying to go 2-0.
The big task for the ‘Bows defense – who gave up 34 points last week – will be stopping Ken Niumatalolo’s triple option offense. It’ll help that they get All-Conference second team linebacker and senior captain Jahlani Tavai back on the field, after he served a suspension last week.
“He’s one of our leaders on the team,” said UH defensive coordinator Corey Batoon. “He brings a unique skill-set whether it’s rushing the passer or defending the run. He’s one of the few guys who have experience defending this. We don’t have many guys that were on the field two years ago at against Air Force. And he’s the guy that has played in those type of games. And understands the type of intensity it’s going to take on our end. We’ve been working on it in the spring and through the summer and in fall camp we devoted a lot of time to it. I feel real confident where the kids are at right now with the game plan and preparation. Navy is so efficient on offense when there’s third down conversion opportunities, keeping the ball, not making mistakes, so it’s going to come down to beating blocks and tackling, like all football.
“It’s such a difficult game, just with the mindset of the offense,” said UH head coach Nick Rolovich. “Combine that with the attitude and personality of a military academy. You know they’re going to be disciplined, you know there’s not going to be a lack of effort. We have to take care of the football. If we can get a couple possessions and change it, change the flow of the game, I think that’s important. This is one we can’t get frustrated. Because they are going to get their yards, they’re going to pound us, guys are going to be sore. You just got to know that going in and guys got to make plays offensively.”
Kick off between Navy and Hawaii is tomorrow at 5:00pm at Aloha Stadium.