Memphis Tigers prep for Hawaii Bowl Friday
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Getting prepared to play a college football bowl game takes a lot of work from both coaches and players alike.
When that bowl game is in Hawaii, all of that good preparation can go out the window.
Memphis Tigers Head Coach Ryan Silverfield is out to make sure that doesn’t happen to his team.
Stepping off the bus and into the sunlight of this pacific island paradise is what anybody would want to do to get away from the cold winter weather back home. Even Memphis’ temperate climate can’t compete with the December tropical breezes of the South Pacific.
The Tigers know they didn’t make the 4,300-mile trip just to lay in the sun on Waikiki Beach. They’ve got a game to play Friday against the home team, the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, a team that’s not only used to the scenery, but to the temperature.
Head Coach Todd Graham says that’s what opened the door to the post season.
Silverfield says he’ll have his team ready to play.
”We’ve got to play in the heat,” Silverfield said. “We understand this is a little bit different temperatures than back home in the 901, so our guys have to get used to what they’re going be seeing, right? Time change, weather, all those things, the different factors that factor in. So, we’re going to get into it today, have a good practice. Our guys have to get full-blown ready to roll with this different changes of things, but I know they’re excited and I know they’ll acclimate well.”
Unlike Memphis, which started the season 3-0, Hawaii got off to a one and two start, playing PAC 12 teams UCLA and Oregon on the Mainland before turning it around mid-season against fellow Mountain West Conference teams San Jose State and their crowning achievement, a win over 24th ranked Fresno State 27-24.
But, that was followed by four straight losses to Nevada, Utah State, San Diego State, and UNLV.
Looking bleak at 4-7, the Rainbow Warriors rallied to win their last two games, a thrilling 50-45 home clash against Colorado State, followed by a convincing win at Wyoming in the last game of the regular season 38-14.
Head Coach Todd Graham says that’s what opened the door to the postseason.
”After the game with all the upsets, we kind of thought it wasn’t looking good, then we got back here and then we started hearing discussions and some things, and you know obviously we were excited because we were coming off playing our best football game in all three phases. And so we were excited for the opportunity, especially for our seniors,” Graham said.
Silverfield and Hawaii Graham will be featured at the Hawaii Bowl News Conference Tuesday morning.
The Tigers will also visit the WWII Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor Tuesday afternoon.
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