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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, October 24, 2002

Hill downplays UH-Fresno rivalry

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

FRESNO, Calif. — Fresno State coach Pat Hill says although the Bulldogs have had a good series with Hawai'i, he doesn't necessarily regard the Warriors as a rival.

"Everybody wants to be our rival, it seems ... Boise State, San Jose State, Hawai'i ... who else we got?," Hill said.

"Hawai'i is a great game, but I don't know (if) you can call it a rivalry. I don't know what the biggest rivalry is. I don't know if there are any rivalries in this conference yet."

Hill said, "I just think we have a very good, competitive series going (with Hawai'i). I've got a lot of respect for June (Jones); I've got a lot of respect for his players. They always play physical. Their fans are hard on us when we're over there and our crowd is hard on them when they're over here. But a rivalry? I just think we've got good football programs."

Tougher the better: The Bulldogs' schedule is ranked 28th toughest among 117 Division I-A schedules and the most formidable in the Western Athletic Conference, but Hill says he has no regrets playing such a schedule despite a 4-4 start to the season.

"None at all," he said.

Hill said, "We'll play as tough a competition as we can. If they won't come to Fresno, we'll just go there. We'll keep doing it as long as I'm here."

Dining with mascot: UH boosters are flying in Warrior mascot Vili Fehoko for the alumni-booster pre-game tailgate party on Fresno State's campus.

Don Murphy of Na Koa, the football booster club, said it was unlikely Fehoko will perform on the field at the game, though. Murphy said Fehoko is scheduled to appear at Montana-Western's game Saturday.

Montana-Western head coach Tommy Lee is the brother of UH receivers coach Ron Lee and St. Louis School athletic director Cal Lee.

Praising Polynesians: Hill has several players of Samoan ancestry on this year's team, including starting guard Fitu Tu'ua and defensive tackle Fai Satele, and said he'd like to get more players from Polynesian backgrounds.

"We've got a few Polynesians but I'd like to get more," he said. "That would be great. I like their toughness; they're warriors."

Playing it cool: The weather forecast is for temperatures in the high 40s for tomorrow night's game with a slight possibility of showers.