Hawaii Coach June Jones Pours On Praise For Georgia
Hawaii owns the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games
Dec. 20, 2007
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii coach June Jones is reluctant to watch any more Georgia game film.
"Every time I look at them, they look better," he said of the Warriors' Sugar Bowl opponent. "Hopefully, we can make some plays and score a little bit and make it a close game."
Not one to shy away from hyperbole, Jones poured on the praise for the fourth-ranked Bulldogs (10-2).
"I think every player on their team will play in the National Football League," said the former NFL coach and quarterback. "They've got a lot of talent. They've got some young kids playing, too. But right now, they already look like they can play in the NFL."
Jones, who played and coached with the Atlanta Falcons, said Georgia has fast skill position players, a young and athletic offensive line and a running back, "who is one of a kind." Georgia freshman Knowshon Moreno has run for 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The unbeaten and 10th-ranked Warriors (12-0) have some talent as well, starting with their record-breaking quarterback Colt Brennan, who finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting. Brennan has thrown for 4,174 yards and 38 touchdowns.
Hawaii owns the nation's longest winning streak at 13 games and has won 22 of its last 23 games. The Warriors are the third team from a conference without an automatic BCS bid to earn a trip to college football's biggest stage. Fellow Western Athletic Conference member Boise State earned a Fiesta Bowl bid last year and upset Oklahoma in overtime.
While the Bulldogs were a bit miffed about not playing in New Orleans on Jan. 7 in the BCS national championship, the Warriors are looking forward to their first postseason trip outside the Aloha State since the 1982 Holiday Bowl.
Jones said he wishes the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl was sooner.
The time off helps, "but I wish we could play them in three days, too. It gives them a lot of time to prepare for us. We play kind of different style of football and when you have more time to practice against the defensive schemes and the offensive schemes, it changes a little bit. So you have to be physically as good as they are."
The Warriors leave on Christmas Day and won't arrive until the following day. They'll try to avoid getting caught up in the New Year's Eve festivities and distractions in New Orleans.
"It was distracting as a player and distracting as a football coach," said Jones, who's been to the Superdome numerous times during his years in the NFL. "I've been there probably more than anyone that's going to be in that building that day. It's unbelievable to get into that dome."
"It's a little bigger than the Moscow, Idaho dome," said Jones, referring to the Idaho Vandals' 16,000-seat, indoor Kibbie Dome, where Hawaii played during the season.
Brennan said his team is used to long layoffs with two open weeks during the season. So far, high-flying Hawaii has been going through its usual routine and resting some ailing players.
"For the offense, we do the same thing every week, the same practice every day," Brennan said. "For us, it's no different."
For the first time in his career, Jones has closed the practices to the public to avoid the hoards of fans and autograph seekers who had been attending. Security guards have also been posted at parking entrance and the field.
Jones said it took more than an hour for some of the players to get back to the locker room because of all the autograph requests.
Some overaggressive fans have even waited for players outside their classrooms.
"It's been crazy," said Brennan, who is the most popular man in Hawaii since Don Ho in the 1970s. "Obviously they want the autographs because you've done something good and positive, so that's a good thing."
The university is trying to accommodate some of the fans. The school has scheduled a 1-hour autograph session for Saturday. Thousands are expected to attend.
"It's only going to help me strengthen my arm," Brennan said.