Hawaii vs. Fresno State: Keys to Victory
After dropping two straight the Rainbow Warriors look to defeat their old WAC rivals, the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Does UH have a fighting chance against the Bulldogs?
The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors have dropped two straight and have relinquished control over the MWC West Division. San Diego State and Fresno State are only a game ahead of Hawaii overall and half a game ahead in the division play. It is not too late to right the ship to secure their first Mountain West Division title.
That journey starts with UH’s game against the Fresno State. The Rainbow Warriors need beat their old WAC rival away from Aloha Stadium to keep their hopes going. If they are going to win here are the key points that will lead Hawaii to a victory:
Execute: In the past few games, the offense has struggled mightily to move the ball. A large part of that has to do with a lack of execution. Whether it be dropped balls, miscommunication or bad throws. It would not be a concern if everyone did not see what this offense could do earlier in the season. It just seems like their confidence has gone. Starting the game with a bunch of high percentage plays should help boost their confidence early.
The nation knows the talent is there so Hawaii has to push through this rough patch. They are a young team and struggles with inconsistency will come but they cannot let it continue to linger. It is time to remind the country who has the best passing offense in the nation by executing at a high level again. And what better time to do that than against a division rival that is on the verge of breaking into the top 25?
3rd Downs: Hand in hand with execution comes the goal for execution. You might say that goal is to score some points. Of course to do that you need to keep drives going to get within striking range.
Against one of the best defenses in the conference, the Rainbow Warriors will need attack and put them in as many compromising situations as possible. Part of that will be to break the steadily increasing yard to distance average on third down.
Make it easier for the offense to gain first downs and decrease the 121st ranked 8.5 yards to distance average on third downs. Rolovich can call runs with Furuta or short crossing patterns to allow for better separation for Ursua, Byrd and Ward. It also will not hurt to get creative either.
Add in some shovel passes, screens, shotgun tosses, quarterback runs, and rub routes to keep Fresno State guessing. Once they starting creeping in, then go for the throat over the top. With the talent that Hawaii has at receiver, it will be hard for any defense to keep up if they get back to efficient work.
Field Position: Most fans have noticed that with the offensive struggles have come with an aggressive approach to field position. Rolovich has been going for it on fourth downs and kicking onside kicks with reckless abandon. This puts the defense in a tough spot by giving the opposing offense some of the best starting field position in the FBS. Opponents have started their drives near the 34-yard line on average which ranks 128th. The importance of field position is laid out by Bill Connelly but on the surface, it is much easier for any offense to score if they start closer to the other end zone.
Winning the field position battle will be critical to beating a team as good as Fresno State. Reigning in the self-destructive calls a tad will go a long way towards that. Preventing short field opportunities like the two failed onside kicks and one turnover on downs against Nevada is a must. Giving the defense a fighting chance especially when the game is close, by being smart with the field position game will be critical to a win.