Kikaha Looks Back On ‘Business Trip’
By Mason Kelley
Long before Hau’oli Kikaha boarded Washington’s charter flight to Hawaii, the outside linebacker told his family his brief homecoming was a business trip.
“It was a business trip where I was lucky enough to have the support of my family,” the senior said.
From the moment Washington landed in Honolulu, Kikaha was focused on one thing: leaving the island with a win.
“Seeing my family was awesome, so much support, but again, I didn’t take too much of my spare time to get out of the hotel and hang out with them, because we were there for business,” Kikaha said.
But, with family seated in all four corners of Aloha Stadium, Kikaha admitted their presence was in the back of his mind throughout the game.
“There were a couple of plays where I thought, ‘Man, my family is right here watching, I better show up on this play,’” he said. “When I was tired, it just kind of kicked in. I was trying not to let it affect me, but it did it in a good way.”
After finishing the game with five tackles – four solo – and a sack during Washington’s 17-16 win, Kikaha turned his attention to his biggest fans.
Loaded with leis until they almost covered his face, he eschewed interview requests because, once the game was over, “it was all about my family.”
Then, just like that, he was back in Seattle preparing for Saturday’s home opener against Eastern Washington.
“I’ve just got to personally get better at making my adjustments sooner,” Kikaha said. “I felt like I made some adjustments to the looks I was getting really late in the game.
“The rest of the defense, we were able to all come together later in the game, buckle down and do some things better. Being able to make adjustments earlier, it’s a lot better for the team and the outcome of the game.”
When asked to assess Washington’s defense one game into the season, Kikaha likes where the Huskies are headed.
“We’re where we’re supposed to be,” he said, “making progress and realizing we’ve got to keep grinding, nit-picking things and getting after it.”