HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors wrapped up their first practice in Texas Tuesday, ahead of their Christmas Eve match up with Houston in the New Mexico Bowl.
A homecoming for offensive coordinator G.J. Kinne, who grew up in the area, but Kinne isn’t using the trip as a reunion — it’s all business.
“We had a great practice today, a lot of energy, the guys were flying around.” Coach Kinne told reporters. “Obviously it does feel good to be back in Texas, even though I’m not really going to see my family or anything, so we’re just really concentrating on the game and getting ready to go.”
Slow starts have plagued the ‘Bows offense, but coach Kinne and company hope to get the jump on the Cougars defense on Hawaii’s biggest stage of the season.
“They’re a very athletic defense, very well coached, you know we’re just excited about the opportunity to get out there and to play another game and getting these extra couple of practices in is great for our program.” Coach Kinne said. “So we’re just excited about the opportunity, we can’t wait to get out there on national TV and let it loose.”
Kinne is no stranger to the bright lights, before a career in the NFL Kinne was the quarterback for Todd Graham’s Tulsa team, passing on what he learned from playing in bowl games to his players.
“Playing for coach Graham in a bowl game, for whatever reason, I think it’s about the team that wants it more a lot of times in bowl games and coach (Graham) does a great job preparing us, getting us mentally ready and it’s a tribute to him, but also our players.” Coach Kinne said. “I think they’re ready to go and were excited about this game.”
Even though UH is excited about being invited to a bowl game — only the third mainland bowl game in program history — the ‘Bows are looking to leave Texas with a ring.
“We’ve got to come out here and get a win.” Coach Kinne said.
Kick off between Hawaii and Houston is set for Christmas Eve at 10:30 a.m. Hawaii time on ESPN.