By Jason Tang
NEW ORLEANS (KHNL) -- After a couple of nights enjoying the town with no curfew.
The Warriors are in business mode and beating the Bulldogs is the number one priority.
The saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. And while Hawaii has one of the best offenses, so does Georgia, and it'll be up to the Warrior "D" to contain the Bulldogs. Something many critics believe Hawaii won't be able to do.
"We've had to deal with criticism about our defense all year. But like I said earlier, when we needed it, our defense made stops. The team that wants it more is going to win," said Solomon Elimimian, Warrior defense lineman.
And the Warriors want it. No question they're excited to be on the big stage, but all the hype won't distract them from what they've worked hard for all year.
"We're not getting overwhelmed by it, we're real happy the situation we've put ourselves into, but we know we gotta finish off strong. We're not just satisfied with being here, we know we gotta come and play January 1st and that's what we're planning on doing," said Adam Leonard, Warrior linebacker.
Compared to past years, Hawaii's defense has improved by leaps and bounds, and much of their success can be attributed to defensive coordinator Greg McMackin.
"We're a lot stronger and faster than what people thing we are. Greg's done a great job with the zone blitzing schemes and the things we do to cause disruption," said June Jones Warrior head coach.
"It's not really me, it's them. They love to run to the ball, they love to hit, you don't have to teach them how to hit, it's part of their culture, part of their competitivenes," said Greg McMackin.
Last year Boise State beat big 12 power Oklahoma, this year the Warriors look to do the same against Georgia from the Mighty SEC.
"You can't really judge on what conference you're in, or how big guys are, it's always about the heart."
Something Hawaii's proved they have a lot of.
In Friday's press conference, Coach McMackin heavily praised defensive lineman Michael Lafaele, calling him the heart and soul of this team.