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Gary’s Blog: Opening Thoughts

By Gary Dickman.

So far, so good.

I’m talking about University of Hawaii football, of course. I was very impressed with the win to start the season at Fresno State, 34-19, last Saturday. It felt pretty surreal that UH was playing football at all. I was resigned to the fact that there wouldn’t be any season, then in late September it happened. And here we are. So to have a season is great, to get a win was great and to win on the road is always great. On the field, even though it wasn’t perfect, it was a better product than I thought I’d see. With a new coaching staff, no spring practices, etc. I expected both teams to be rusty.

I thought that Chevan Cordeiro was really good, poised and mistake free. He showed great decision making. And now he’s the leading rusher in the Mountain West, yes, that’s true. I was also very impressed with two new players,  both transfers. The first is Calvin Turner, who was a quarterback at Jacksonville University last year, but they dropped football after last season. He didn’t come here expecting to be a QB, and he did well, lined up as a running back, as a slot and in the Wildcat. Just think of the ways he was used and how much that helps our offense.

Fresno dropped six players back in to pass coverage often, so Hawai’i took advantage and ran, and then ran some more. Fresno expected a passing game similar to years past, and Coach Todd Graham showed how he can adapt, which he mentions often. Btw, anyone else get the impression that Todd Graham’s favorite word is “physicality?” The other new player I was excited to see was WR Rico Bussey, a transfer from North Texas. I’ve read he was amongst the best Group of Five receivers last year, and he was the leading WR vs Fresno, getting 8 catches for 86 yards. Bussey and Jared Smart are going to have great years, kind of like Byrd and Ward from the last two years. So it’s on to Wyoming, where it’ll be a lot colder and better competition than Fresno.

Now to basketball: I didn’t hear anyone locally talk about it, and it’s too bad this happened. ESPN announced that they are canceling all their NCAA basketball tournaments that were going to be played in Orlando, the same three courts in the Bubble that the NBA used. That’s eight tournaments in all being cancelled, including the Diamond Head Classic. That too bad. It was bad enough it was being moved with the other ESPN events to the Bubble, all COVID-19 related. Which is also why they’re being cancelled, as well. Each conference has different rules on testing, and that wouldn’t work in the bubble, with different schools having to have players sit out with a different time frame than other schools. So it looks like no Diamond Head this year.

I wonder if the Big West knew this was coming. When the schedule came out last week, they had UH playing a conference game on December 27, two days after the three-day tournament in Orlando was going to be played. It didn’t make sense then. To have UH play in Orlando on the 25th, fly back 5500 miles on the 26th, then play two conference games on the 27th and 28th. But like a lot of things, it makes sense now.

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