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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, September 29, 2008

Savaiigaea's season in jeopardy

By Stephen Tsai
HawaiiWarriorBeat.com Editor

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Rocky Savaiigaea

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The extent of Hawai'i defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea's triceps injury will not be known until after he undergoes an MRI tomorrow.

But Savaiigaea is braced for the reality that he will not play again this season.

"It's killing me," said Savaiigaea, a fourth-year junior.

Saturday's 20-17 loss to San Jose State was Savaiigaea's first game of the season. He suffered a partially torn left triceps in the second week of training camp.

Being back on the field, Savaiigaea said, "felt so right in my life. I can't explain it in words. I was like a kid in a candy store. My eyes were so big."

Savaiigaea suffered the injury in the second half. By the way he described the pop he felt to the medical staff, he was told he likely suffered a tear to the same triceps.

"It's in God's hands," Savaiigaea said.

In the past, he said, he would become frustrated or depressed about injuries.

This time, he promised, "I'm not going to drop my head. Things happen for a reason, and maybe it's not my time."

Savaiigaea has emerged as a key player in the rotation at defensive tackle. But he also is valued as being a good teammate. And he has been instrumental as a recruiter.

None of the players he has hosted on recruiting trips turned down a UH scholarship offer.

IN NEED OF A QUICK FIX

Head coach Greg McMackin has promised to "fix" the Warriors' fractured offense.

Against San Jose State, the Warriors committed six turnovers, including five in the second half. The Spartans parlayed the second-half turnovers into 13 points a touchdown and two field goals to overcome a 17-7 deficit. The Spartans' second-half scoring drives were 8, 7 and 0 yards.

"You can't turn the ball over six times and win a ball game," McMackin said. "Obviously, that's our big project."

Inoke Funaki and Tyler Graunke each threw passes directly to a Spartan defender.

"We're throwing way too many interceptions," McMackin said. "We're going to get that eliminated."

McMackin said it has not been decided whether the solution would involve personnel changes. Graunke did not start because he still was recovering from an injured right (throwing) hand. The Warriors re-worked the offensive system to include rollouts and run options plays designed to fit Funaki's running skills.

"I have to get that figured out," McMackin said of the turnover problems. "All I can do is keep working hard and keep the team together and we are together and go from there."

IN A FOUL MOOD

McMackin said he will send videos of several plays to the Western Athletic Conference office for review.

The Warriors were whistled for five personal fouls against San Jose State.

"We've never had that all season," McMackin said. "We've been a disciplined team. There are going to be some of those (calls) sent to the league office ... and a majority that we think should have been called."

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.