Ask anyone, and they will tell you that Hawaii linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard are two of the best linebackers in the country.
Ask a stat book, and the stat book will shrug its shoulders, look around awkwardly, and go, "Not really, but whatever floats your boat."
To put aside our BSU bias for a moment, we do think that Elmimian and Leonard are good linebackers. They have good range and fly to the ball, and when it comes to WAC defenders, they are definitely in the good minority. But to be idolized the way they were in preseason player of the year voting and in Hawaii opponent previews is a little misleading.
But, again, don't ask us. Ask the stat book.
Elimimian: 6 games, 43 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries
Leonard: 5 games, 24 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries
By comparison, look at the statistics for Boise State's Jeron Johnson and Ellis Powers, two players who garnered exactly zero preseason hype and praise.
Johnson: 5 games, 45 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries
Powers: 5 games, 38 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Elimimian and Leonard are still the two best players on the Hawaii defense (along with DL David Veikune), but it is apparent by looking through our orange-and-blue colored glasses that they have a ways to go before they earn their status as the best defenders in the WAC.
We think the stat book would agree.
Read more: Boise State team stats [BroncoSports.com]
Hawaii team stats [Hawaii Athletics]