HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - This week, the Rainbow Warriors are set to face one of their biggest challenges of the season as Boise State meets the 'Bows at Aloha Stadium, this Saturday.
Not only are the 'Bows preparing for the Broncos, they’re also having to navigate playing during the pandemic, something that can be more challenging than their weekly opponents, according to head coach Todd Graham.
“We have guys that are here that can’t work out or have anything from an ear ache to sniffles, to a sore throat, so everyday is a different group of guys.” Coach Graham told reporters. “That’s probably been one of the most challenging things, I think it’s really been challenging from an offensive standpoint to be able to execute anything, it’s really hard to get better fundamentally when you don’t have the same people practicing everyday.”
For Boise, they recently got hit with a COVID roadblock, last week against Colorado State, they were without 14 players due to COVID-19 protocols — having to make position switches in order to play that game.
“I’m sure that’s the challenge for them, I don’t know everything about their circumstances because I’m too focused on what our circumstance is.” Coach Graham said.
The Broncos are expected to make the trip and play the game as scheduled, but the UH players aren’t worried about potential exposure.
“Nothing really too concerning, we know they’re going to travel guys that are able to travel and were going to travel guys that are able to travel as well.” Running back Miles Reed said. “We’ve been mostly safe for the most part in terms of corona and everything, but we know that they’re not going to bring anybody that’s not healthy so nothing really to look at there.”
Not knowing who will suit up in the Orange and Blue could be seen as an issue for the Warrior defense, but according to defensive coordinator Victor Santa Cruz, they will be ready for anyone who shows up on Saturday.
“We’re going to be ready for whoever comes out of the tunnel.” Coach Santa Cruz said. “You know I’ve learned in this game is just be your best on game day and if you are your best on game day, you control what you can control and say whoever comes out of that tunnel, we’re ready to play.”
At the end of the day, the coaching staff says that they are thankful for the simple fact that there is a college football season at all.
“Every week that we play, I get up that morning and when I walk out there on that field, man I’m so thankful and blessed that we’re getting to play football, so hopefully we play football here on Saturday night.” Coach Graham said. “That’s what we’re planning on and we know that we have a great opportunity ahead of us.”
As the situation in Boise continues, the 'Bows and Broncos are still set for their nationally televised showdown this Saturday — kick off set for 6:00 p.m. Hawaii time on CBS Sports Network.