|||UH still waiting on Hawai'i Bowl foe|
By Ferd Lewis
One of the biggest shocks to some of our Alabama visitors Saturday night wasn't confined to their storied Crimson Tide losing a football game to the University of Hawai'i.
It was how Hawai'i quarterback Tim Chang got worked over by his own, hometown crowd.
On a night when the UH faithful would have much more to cheer about, the relentless booing of Chang was an embarrassment. It was a needless exercise in poor taste that did not speak well of the home crowd, as ESPN commentators underlined more than once for a national cable audience.
Chang was booed early, often and mercilessly. From the time he was nearly intercepted on a first play lob until he trudged off the field in the third quarter, he was a target. He was booed for throwing too short, too long and, well, sometimes just for being there.
The hope is that if quarterback-elect Jason Whieldon should, somehow, falter and find himself completing just 4 of 13 passes for 29 yards at some point in his final two games, such wrath will not descend upon him, too.
That we've seen some of the same behavior, albeit not always at the same decibel level, visited upon Garrett Gabriel, Michael Carter and Dan Robinson, three of UH's most accomplished quarterbacks, before him doesn't make it any more palatable now.
Presumably, along with a ticket comes a fan's right to express frustration and displeasure. Maybe, given today's rising ticket and premium-seating prices, fans feel more entitled to vent.
But there is something short-sighted about supposed UH fans directing such abuse not only at Chang but also struggling kicker Justin Ayat, two players who have figured in a lot of victories.
Undoubtedly some, if not most, of it was aimed not at the quarterback and kicker, but at June Jones, the coach who makes the personnel decisions. But how are Chang and Ayat supposed to make that distinction?
Not that you will probably hear much about it from them. Among their more admirable qualities is that they both accept blame without pointing fingers when something goes wrong and humbly pass around the bouquets when all is well.
Should Jones have given Whieldon more of a shot at Nevada-Las Vegas, Tulsa, San Jose State and Nevada? Yes. But it wasn't Chang's fault that he didn't. The quarterback doesn't hold sway over his coach, though it is apparently the belief in some quarters that he does.
Beyond the immediate shame of Saturday, now there is something else to consider. You'd hate to think that some high school star out there, who the Warriors might someday want, saw what was heaped on Chang and might choose to go elsewhere instead.
But after Saturday, it might be hard to blame him.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8044.