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Sunday, December 31, 2006


Dave Reardon has a couple articles reviewing the 2006 season. This article also has mini-recaps of all 14 games this year. The last part of the article says it all.
While the 2006 Warriors enjoyed an abundance of talent and experience, their greatest attribute was character. All successful football teams become so because of camaraderie. Guys play hurt (and guys who don't play hide their hurt) more on winning teams.

"I think these kids just understood that it's not 'me.' Everybody plays hard for each other," Jones said. "They understand putting the other guy first, all that kind of stuff."

They played for each other, and let the rest take care of itself.

"I really wanted to hand it off with a win," Alama-Francis said after the Hawaii Bowl.
Dave also asks if this was the best UH football team in school history. He interviews former head coach Bob Wagner about the 1981 and 1992 teams.
"First of all, I want to congratulate the 2006 team and June (coach Jones) and his staff. Colt Brennan had a great year, very positive and humble and a class act," Wagner said. "However, I think it comes down to winning percentage. (A record of) 11-2 is better than 11-3. And 9-2 (the 1981 team's record) is better than 11-3. Also, the conference was tougher then."

Wagner added that the 1992 team won two big road games, at Oregon and Air Force, as well as the Holiday Bowl against Illinois in San Diego.

Jones -- whose team came within eight points of winning at Alabama and seven points at Boise State -- conceded that point.

"Different eras, different schemes. A whole lot of differences," Jones said. "But what Bob said is correct. They beat Oregon on the road, and beating Illinois in a bowl game on the mainland was large. That says a lot right there."
And the best is yet to come!

Jeff D'Alessio of the Atlanta Journal Constitution writes about a junior wide receiver from Georgia named Brice Butler who is showing a lot of interest in UH.
Norcross junior receiver Brice Butler figures to be one of the top 2007 prospects at his position and he’s already landed one SEC scholarship offer — from Mississippi State.

Auburn, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Clemson have also shown interest.

The leaders for Butler — if they should offer — would be Louisville and Hawaii, he told the AJC’s Bill Sanders.

“My dad has talked to [Hawaii coach] June Jones and sent him a tape and he liked what he saw,” Butler said. “And they throw it like every time. Louisville throws it a lot too out of the spread.”

Butler hopes to make a couple of official visits as early as this spring, he said.
Winning and exposure are doing wonders for UH. The 2008 recruiting class is already being lined up!

And finally, I'd like to let you know that I'm psychic. From an August 21st post from this blog, with my psychic prediction in bold:
Keane Santos of Ka Leo O Hawaii has a rundown of the Warrior offense. Here's a quote from wide receiver Ross Dickerson:
“We haven’t done nothing yet. We have to produce in the game to be the best,” Dickerson said. “[But] our offense will be one of the best in the nation; you can quote me on that.”
I think he's just being modest. If the Warriors remain healthy, I think they'll have the number one offense in the nation this season, both in scoring and yardage. And if we can have a decent defense to go along with it, this team will be unstoppable!
I'm glad the Warriors were able to make my predictions and Warrior fans' dreams come true! And the best is yet to come!


UPDATE: Here is the Warriors' final 2006 record taken from the sidebar.

09/02@ Alabama (6-7)L 17-25
09/16UNLV (2-10)W 42-13
09/23@ #5 Boise St. (13-0)L 34-41
09/30Eastern Illinois I-AA (8-5)W 44-9
10/07Nevada (8-5)W 41-34
10/14@ Fresno St. (4-8)W 68-37
10/21@ New Mexico St. (4-8)W 49-30
10/28Idaho (4-8)W 68-10
11/04@ Utah St. (1-11)W 63-10
11/11Louisiana Tech (3-10)W 61-17
11/18San Jose St. (9-4)W 54-17
11/25Purdue (8-6)W 42-35
12/2#21 Oregon St. (10-4)L 32-35
vs Arizona State (7-6)
W 41-24

Friday, December 29, 2006

Riley Wallace, Blog Parties, Combines

First of all, UH basketball coach Riley Wallace just announced that he'll be stepping down at the end of this season.
"There's no one to blame for this day," Wallace said. "It's time to move on ... I'm not being fired by any means. I'm stepping down as head coach of the University of Hawai'i."

Wallace said he met with the current Hawai'i players after Thursday's 66-53 victory over Tennessee-Martin.

"I met last night with my team and said we're not playing this season for Riley Wallace," he said. "We're playing for this team."
It'll be sad to see him go. Sounds like he'll end up coaching somewhere else. Let's hope Bob Nash will take over.

Moving back to football news, through Stephen Tsai's Warrior Beat, the participants of which had a blog party last night that I wish I could've been at, as I read Stephen Tsai, Leila Wai, Robert Kekaula, Catherine Toth, Bulla, Da Punchbowl Kid, Gigi, Al and others had lots of food and fun at, Tsai writes that quite a few Warriors have been invited to the 2007 National Football League Scouting Combine, the latest of which is Leonard Peters. Also invited are Ikaika Alama-Francis, Samson Satele and Dane Uperesa, with Nate Ilaoa, Melila Purcell and maybe Tala Esera expected to receive invitations as well. Congratulations to all!

And finally, lots of people watched the Hawaii Bowl on ESPN!
The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl gave the University of Hawai'i football its largest television audience ever, more than 2.33 million households for its Christmas Eve victory over Arizona State.

The audience eclipsed the previous high of 2.28 million homes that saw UH beat Illinois in the 1992 Holiday Bowl, also on ESPN.

"We're absolutely excited ... ecstatic!" said Pete Derzis, vice president of ESPN Regional Television, which owns and operates the Hawai'i Bowl.

"The ratings just reinforce how the nation looks forward to watching the Hawai'i Bowl in prime time. It was a great platform for the two schools and, certainly, the UH program, Colt Brennan and his teammates," Derzis said.
I think UH will be on national TV a lot next year. Actually, I hope so since I'll probably be on the mainland a lot, again. Sadness!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The AfterGlow

Back from a family mini-vacation. I'm still all smiles about the Hawaii Bowl victory and what a great way it was to end a great season. Talk since I've been gone, on TV and in the newspapers, has been will Colt stay or will Colt go? Like Colt said on KITV, it's a good predicament to be in so he's not complaining. But it's still a tough decision. Stephen Tsai had an article yesterday discussing it.
"He'll make a decision on the 15th" of January, the deadline for underclassmen to apply for the draft, UH coach June Jones said.

Jones and Brennan had a meeting yesterday morning.

"I told him what I think," Jones said. "I have my opinion where he would go in the draft. I shared it with him. I'm not going to share it with anyone else."

Asked what he would do if he ran an NFL team, Jones said, "Yes, I would take him."

Brennan, who returned to California to spend the holiday break with his family, is expected to receive his evaluation in early January.

"After that, I'll sit down with my family and see what's up," Brennan said.
I'm sure he'll be hearing it from all sides leading up to the 15th. From his family, friends and people he doesn't even know. So with that, here's my short UH or NFL list.

Why UH?
  • WAC Championship!
  • BCS!
  • Break more records!
  • Already a 2007 Heisman front-runner!
  • Lots of publicity for UH!
  • Stay in Hawaii another year!
  • More time to develop!
Why NFL?
  • No reason.

Just joking. There's lots of reasons for Colt to leave early. I just don't want him to leave. Anyway, here are some reasons.
  • He may get drafted high and get lots of money.
  • NFL teams need QBs right now.
  • Staying another year at UH doesn't necessarily mean he'll get drafted higher next year.
  • Risk of injury.
  • How the heck do you a top a year like this?
  • He'll be 24 years old next year. That's like almost a quarter-century old!
  • He can represent Hawaii in the NFL! Get an H logo tattooed on his face!
  • He can donate money to UH!
Oh well. It's all up to him and his family now. He's already done a lot for this school and he's represented Hawaii well. Good luck to Colt!

The AP's Jaymes Song talks to various sports personalities around Hawaii about Colt Brennan's year.
Maui News sports editor Brad Sherman said Brennan being mentioned as a Heisman contender was impressive alone, especially because the Warriors face several obstacles to garner national attention such as “being dismissed as a product of a system and playing games that voters never see.”

Paul Arnett, sports editor at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, said: “Just to have somebody from the obscure Division I ranks make it into the Heisman Trophy race, plus be nominated for several other major college football awards, is truly remarkable when you consider where he was at the start of the season.”

KHON’s Kanoa Leahey said anytime a player is included among the college football elite like Brennan was, it’s a victory for all fans in the islands who are constantly told from the Mainland that Hawai‘i athletics are inferior.

“With Brennan’s success, there was an explosion of interest and fanfare, beyond anything else we saw throughout the year,” he said. “He is evidence to the fact that every once in awhile, Hawai‘i can taste what it’s like in the big time.

“The year 2006, in my mind, will always represent ‘Colt craziness.’”
Ferd Lewis writes that, hey, June Jones had a pretty good year too.
Indeed, in a year in which Chris Peterson led Boise State to the conference's first Bowl Championship Series appearance with an unbeaten team, Jones got the coach of the year nod from fellow coaches. In a season in which Tomey took the San Jose State program from rags to riches, Jones got the award in one of the WAC's most contested seasons.

It wasn't just the X's and O's, either, although if you glimpsed the Hawai'i Bowl sidelines a few times Sunday there was Jones scribbling routes and gesturing like an inventor possessed in coaching receivers and Brennan.

Rather it was the infrastructure. It was in recognizing before the 2005 campaign and in the course of it that things had to change. That more of a commitment had to be made to defense. That, blessed by the return of Nate Ilaoa, that UH had to make use of his rare abilities and run the ball more. It was in a dozen details. Most of all, not being resistant to change.
How can any UH football fan not appreciate what June Jones has brought to this program? Has Joe Moore offered his mea culpa yet? Hah! Anyway, a gigantic congratulations to June Jones and his coaching staff for a wonderful season.

From Tuesday's Star-Bulletin, Dave Reardon looks to next year and writes more about Colt leaving or staying.
It's debatable if spending next year on an NFL sideline would be more beneficial to his future than another season with Jones.

But athletic director Herman Frazier's mystery schedule (four nonconference openings) can't be viewed as one for the plus column.

Another season of throwing to Jason Rivers, Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins goes on the con-pro side. Rivers caught 14 passes for an astounding 308 yards Sunday -- a record for any bowl game.

"I don't know if our offense can be better, but I think it can be as good," receivers coach Ron Lee said.

Glanville has to replace three All-WAC players in defensive ends Melila Purcell and Ikaika Alama-Francis, and safety Leonard Peters. An upgrade at cornerback would help, too.

"All of a sudden in two years I have lost two outside linebackers, a strong safety, a free safety and two ends," Glanville said. "I hate college football. I'm going to go back to the NFL and try to get these 10 guys I'm losing."
Let's hope that Glanville comes back too! From Stephen Tsai's Warrior Beat post from Tuesday:
Jerry Glanville said he "problably won't know for a while" whether he will return for a third season as defensive coordinator.
"We'll see," he said. "Right now I have no plans."
Come back Jerry!

And from today's Warrior Beat post, some rumblings about the 2007 schedule.
There I was, sick as a dog, coughing out things that didn't look like any of the original 16 Crayola colors, when I got a call from a UH official yesterday telling me that UH was seeking to play USC in the 2007 opener. At home.
He also said a Division I-AA opponent was in the works, too. But I'd take the 2-for-1 if it meant I could hold my index and middle fingers in the V shape while playing the "Fight On" CD I bought at the USC bookstore. I don't even care for USC, but it irks the UCLA fans in the office, and sometimes it's good to start an office civil war.
And then I get this voice message from USC athletic department spokesman Tim Tessalone:
"We received a query from ESPN about the possibility of playing that game. Very preliminary talks. We haven't even addressed it here and don't plan to address it for a while. I would tell you it's probably 50-50 at best that something like this would happen. It's way, way premature to go down that road."
Well, it's still preliminary, but let's hope UH plays USC next year! And get well soon Stephen! I feel your pain.

And finally, here's some final 2006 season statistics from the Star-Bulletin for future reference. Years down the line, when your kids don't believe you, visit this link to show them what kind of numbers UH put up in 2006.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hawaii Bowl Newspaper Wrap-Ups

June Jones and Jerry Glanville say it all. From Stephen Tsai's article:
"This is so unbelievable," said Jones, his voice reduced to a whisper. "For what these kids did this year, for what they did in this game, it's so awesome. I'm kind of speechless."

He then turned, spotting one of his closest friends in football, defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.

"Jerry," Jones said, "they did it."

"I'm so proud of them," Glanville said, as the two embraced.

"This is just a great group of kids, just great," Jones said. "The staff did a great job, too. What happened this season ... it's just a real powerful time. I'll never forget this moment."
And then Colt Brennan says it all.
"It was national TV, not at midnight (Eastern time), like the Oregon State game, but in prime time," Brennan said. "We showed what we were all about. We gave all of the reporters their rough drafts in the first half to knock us off. Now they have to delete, and give us the love we've been waiting for."
That's right!

In Dave Reardon's wrap-up, he highlights Jason Rivers' record breaking performance with 14 catches for 308 yards.
As for his favorite target yesterday, well, maybe they need to change the name of this game to the Jason Rivers Hawaii Bowl.

In three Hawaii bowls, Rivers has 32 receptions for 599 yards and six touchdowns.

"When the stage gets big, he gets big," Jones said.

The old record for receiving yardage in a bowl game was 299 by Fresno State's Rodney Wright in the 2001 Silicon Valley Classic. The previous UH mark was 285 by Ashley Lelie against Air Force, also in 2001. Also, the 14 catches tied the school single-game mark shared by Chad Owens and Davone Bess.

"Where's June hiding these receivers? No one was talking about him," Sun Devils coach Dirk Koetter said of Rivers. "(No.) 84's as good a receiver as we've seen."

The kind of performance Rivers turned in yesterday begs the question of whether he would consider turning pro early. He said he'll stick around for his senior season.

"It's always on my mind, but you know, I want that (WAC championship) ring on my finger," said Rivers said. "I wanted to leave as a champion."
Another reason for Colt, Jason, and everyone to come back! And as Ferd Lewis writes:
If he ends up bypassing early entry into the NFL draft — as you would hope he might unless the NFL advisory panel certifies the prospect of a big-money first-round selection — then Brennan launched his 2007 Heisman Trophy candidacy with a flourish on ESPN.

Brennan's long-awaited arrival into the NCAA record book for single-season touchdown passes, shattering David Klingler's 16-year old record of 54 by four, came in a second half where the UH quarterback threw five of them and passed for a career high 559 yards overall. Two touchdowns each going to Ryan Grice-Mullins and Jason Rivers, who, by the way, are eligible to return and complement Brennan again next year just in case the thought has slipped his mind.
Excellent reminder, Ferd!

If Brennan does leave though, Kalani Simpson has a great column about Brennan's perhaps final game.
And Brennan. Brennan, most of all. Brennan has always been excitable, emotional. This is a man who throws up at the drop of a hat. But this was different. You could feel it. This was a guy who was -- well, he usually leaves his guts on the field. But this was more. This was different. You could feel it.

He was sky high. He was losing his mind. He seemed to be almost floating, after big plays.
Jason Kaneshiro writes that Brennan will be keeping his options open.
"I told everybody after the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl I'd answer that, the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl for me doesn't end for me until tomorrow," he said. "I'll talk to you guys sometime next week."

But in the next breath he continued, "I'm going to come back probably. It's just that there's things I have to do. I have to be smart and look at the best opportunity out there for me."
Good luck to Brennan in whatever decision he makes!

Stacy Kaneshiro highlights Brennan's performance. Senior Dane Uperesa has lots of praise:
"He likes to give the credit to a lot of different people but he has a special talent that we haven't really seen here in a while," tackle Dane Uperesa said. "I'm just proud to say I blocked for him and can say I helped him get a record."
David Klingler offers congratulations to Colt for breaking his season TD mark.
Klingler said he wasn't very familiar with Brennan until the end of this season. "I don't get to watch many games these days but I know what it takes to set a record like that," Klingler said. "I know how good of an offense you have to be to put up those kind of numbers. So, congratulations are certainly in order."
Kyle Sakamoto's story about Jason Rivers' performance has another good quote.
"I think (Colt) is a good quarterback, but I was more impressed watching the wide receiver. He gets open, makes plays and makes guys miss," Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter said.
Kalani Takase writes about the Warriors' amazing second half performance.
ASU held the nation's highest- scoring offense (47.3 points per game) in check in the first half, and entering the game, the Sun Devils were statistically better in the second.

Arizona State (27 ppg) had only given up 26 third-quarter points in 12 games, and never more than seven.

Nobody told Colt Brennan. The junior quarterback tossed three third-quarter scores in leading the Warriors' offense while the UH defense shut out the Sun Devils in the period.
Takase also has this amazing fact:
Hawai'i ran only one play in the red zone (inside opponent's 20) — a 7-yard touchdown pass from Brennan to Grice-Mullins in the third quarter. Arizona State ran only three plays in the red zone.
That's amazing. As Arsenio would say, "Long distance!

Nick Abramo covers the second half from the other side of the field. He talks to ASU safety Josh Barrett, who had a great performance despite illness.
Arizona State junior safety Josh Barrett was an up-close witness to the Warriors' third-quarter barrage that turned the seven-point lead into a 24-10 deficit and an eventual 41-24 loss at Aloha Stadium.

The Sun Devils recovered in the fourth quarter and got within three points, but that third-quarter lapse proved fatal. And despite his hustle and hard-hitting play, Barrett was powerless to stop the onslaught.

"That third quarter was bad in so many different ways," said Barrett, who had a first-half interception and finished with eight tackles, despite missing much of the second half with a stomach virus.

"I couldn't keep anything down for a while and was puking all over the place," he said. "I had to get IVs. It was a bad deal. I wasn't feeling much better, but I came back in."

Whether it was muscling down UH power back Nate Ilaoa or chasing down Rivers to save a possible touchdown on a sideline catch-and-run or making his team's only interception, Barrett was all over the field in the losing effort.
The Star-Bulletin staff highlight the performances of graduating defensive ends Ikaika Alama-Francis and Melila Purcell.
The senior defensive ends combined for three sacks to spark the Warriors defense in their 41-24 win over Arizona State in yesterday's Hawaii Bowl.

"This was our last game playing at Aloha Stadium and we were just telling each other, 'every snap you just have to play 100 percent, play like it's our last snap and that's what we did," Purcell said.

Purcell closed his Hawaii career by recording six tackles, including two sacks of Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter. He was also credited with four quarterback hurries.

Alama-Francis also had a sack among his three tackles and recovered a fumble in the third quarter as the Warriors battled back from a 10-3 halftime deficit to end the season with the program's fifth bowl victory.
Congratulations again to them and to all the seniors!

And finally, Gene Park talked to several Warrior fans about attending the Hawaii Bowl.
Yesterday gave Ed Kokubun an opportunity to have a gift exchange with his regular tailgate tag-alongs. The 56-year-old Mililani resident called the Warriors' performance this past season "their gift to us."

"The season has exceeded expectations," the season ticket holder said.

Waipahu resident Rick Santana, another season ticket holder, planned his holiday shopping and activities around the Hawaii Bowl.

"We got everything out of the way and done because we knew the game was coming," said Santana, father of four.

Usually he and about a dozen of his friends would get together and bring random foods for their tailgate parties, but they turned out to be a little more prepared. Every game, they camp out at the same spot at the back of the parking lot.

Richard Corpuz's usual holiday plan -- big dinner with the family -- was thrown out on account of the game. His family usually gets together for a Christmas Eve dinner, but everyone opted to go to the game instead.
What a great game for the fans. I'll be away from the computer for a couple of days doing family stuff and just relaxing. For continued UH football coverage, you can check out the newspapers, or The Warrior Beat, and the amazing Sportshawaii.com, especially the football forum. Be back on the 28th! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hawaii 41, Arizona State 24

What an amazing game! I haven't been near a computer all day, but I'll try to get a wrap up done tomorrow morning before I have to be away from the computer another couple days. Anyway, I'm very happy the seniors went out with a great, exciting win over a very good ASU team. If Colt decides to go, this is the way to go out. Breaking a couple of records and passing for a crapload of yards. But I hope he doesn't go! Congratulations to the Warriors!

GameDay: Hawaii Bowl

The Hawaii Bowl is finally here! The Warriors will be taking on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a few hours. There will be no liveblogging today, but the game will be on ESPN and you can always follow the live stats online via GameTracker.

Stephen Tsai writes that the numbers are good.
Dan Morrison, who coaches the UH quarterbacks, has said Brennan's numbers don't make sense. A quarterback isn't supposed to lead the nation in passing yards and passing efficiency, Morrison noted, much like a basketball player isn't supposed to lead in 3-point attempts and field-goal accuracy.

"That's not supposed to happen," Morrison said.

And it hadn't happened previously at UH. Former UH quarterback Tim Chang's best pass-efficiency rating was 135.4 — 47.4 points lower than Brennan's rating this season. Chang, who holds the NCAA record for most passing yards in a career, threw for 4,474 yards in 14 games in 2002.

Former UH quarterback Nick Rolovich, who was widely praised for a breakout season in 2001, had an efficiency rating of 150.5.

"Colt's special," Morrison said. "He's just a very accurate passer."
Dave Reardon writes a great profile of Colt Brennan and writes about his draft chances.
Some scouts say Brennan would be picked in the first or second round of the draft. Brennan said he loves UH, but that would tempt him to leave Manoa a year early. "I love Hawaii, the season we had this year, the fun we had . I gotta make sure when this season's over I sit down and look at everything and I make the right decision for me and also the school.

"Who knows if it's going to be a tough decision? It might be real easy: 'I'm coming back, because they're not picking me in any of the first couple rounds.' You never know. ... I'll do all the things I need to do to figure out what's best."
Stay Colt, stay! No stay go! Listen to David Norrie. UPDATE: Actually, don't listen to Norrie. He was slandering the Warriors during the ESPN broadcast, implying that UH plays dirty and assuming the worst about the players and the team.
Quarterback Colt Brennan could help himself considerably by returning to the University of Hawai'i for his senior year, ESPN analyst David Norrie said.

Norrie, a former UCLA and New York Jets quarterback, will be the analyst on today's ESPN showing of the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

Speculation is that today's game against Arizona State could be the last college appearance for Brennan, a redshirt junior, who has the option of bypassing his senior year to declare eligibility for the NFL draft.

"I personally feel, after watching him play and also visiting with the coaches, that he would really benefit from an additional year (at UH) in terms of his draft status and also his development as a quarterback," Norrie said. "I think there are some things that he needs to get done physically. I think he needs to get stronger. The coaches talk about him continuing to work in the weight room to get an NFL body. It is a 16-game (NFL) schedule and you take a lot of pounding at that level."
Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes a great profile of Warriors backup receiver Mike Washington.
"Still to this day, I can't believe I'm here," Washington says. "The campus is so nice, palm trees everywhere. The sun's always shining. You can go behind campus, there's this little waterfall. ... A couple of people back home tell me they wish they were here. I rub it in their face a little bit."

A reserve sophomore receiver, Washington chose Hawaii over California because he loved coach June Jones' wide-open offense -- and because his recruiting trip to the university on Oahu made a mind-blowing first impression.

Oahu is the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands, has 71 percent of the state's population and includes gems such as Honolulu and Waikiki. "Magnum, P.I." and "Hawaii Five-O" were filmed there. So is "Lost."

Born in Aliquippa the son of an Army man, Washington has lived in all kinds of places -- Germany, Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, New Mexico and South Carolina -- but he'd never seen a place like this.
And Steve DeShazo of The Free Lance-Star writes a great profile of Nate Ilaoa.
While junior quarterback Colt Brennan (whose 53 touchdown passes are one shy of David Klingler's NCAA single-season record) gets most of the headlines, Ilaoa is more of an unsung hero.

He's 12th in the nation in all-purpose yards (139.5 per game) and ninth in scoring (9.0 points per game), with a shot at a 1,000-yard rushing season and Hawaii's single-season mark for TDs (18). In fact, Davis said their teammates voted Brennan and Ilaoa co-MVPs.

"Nate gives us one more big weapon," Davis said. "His ability allows us to be a better football team. He's done some good things for this offense. He makes the big plays. He'll make this guy miss, that guy miss."
Crap, there are a bunch more Star-Bulletin and Advertiser articles to read through, but I just realized I have to be somewhere 30 minutes ago. Click through to the stories to find more Hawaii Bowl previews, profiles, etc. My apologies! I'll come back to update later on.


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Klingler on Colt

Ed Williams III talks to former Houston QB David Klingler about his record and Colt Brennan.
Q: Needing just two touchdowns to break your record (one to tie), what do you think of Brennan's season?

A: They keep going to more and more games. (Jim) McMahon had the record at like 46 or 47, but BYU always had the extra game against Hawaii. So you get one more game and it was a 12-game season instead of 11. And if you went to a bowl game it's 13. We did it in 11. And with conference championship games, now you can get to 14 games in a season. As they continue to prolong the season and if there's a playoff system in the future, with the way they do overtime, these records are not going to stand. It's a different time. But even in 14 games, that's a lot of touchdowns.
And if Colt breaks it, he'll do it in less attempts too! Wonder if Klingler will do a video congratulations to Colt, like how Ty Detmer did for Timmy Chang.

Brian Kajiyama

Dave Reardon writes an excellent article about Brian Kajiyama, whose volunteer work for the UH football team has been a huge help.
Kajiyama, 30, is confined to the chair and can't communicate like most people because of cerebral palsy. But he has been an inspiration to the Warriors for several seasons because of what he has achieved despite his challenges.


"What Brian has done for us is basically fill the role of what a quality control guy would do. He puts us so far ahead of the game because he's willing to work. Sometimes he's the only guy working in the office," Reinebold said. "He breaks down tape and gets it ready for the kids when they come in. Why are we playing better defense? One more year of Jerry of course, but Brian's helping us prepare. He's an integral part of this program."

Kajiyama did such a good job the week leading up to a 44-9 victory over Eastern Illinois (the game after the Boise State loss), that Jones awarded Kajiyama a game ball.
Read the whole article. It's awesome and inspirational, plus Brian is pretty funny.
Glanville: "Brian asked me, 'Is anyone going to cover the tight end? Or do I have to go out there and do it?'"

Reinebold: "One day he told me we have to move the D-linemen next to Colt (Brennan) in the locker room, so they could at least get close enough to smell a quarterback."
Ouch! Sounds like Brian and the coaches are having a great time.

Stephen Tsai writes about the Warriors lifting weights, along with a funny anecdote about Desmond Thomas.
The highlight came from safety Desmond Thomas, who has earned the nickname "Half-Rep" because of his inability to bench press 225 pounds. Thomas is 6 feet 2 and 172 pounds.

To measure strength stamina, UH players are tested on how many times they can bench 225 pounds. Backup center Marques Kaonohi holds the team record with 42 repetitions.

In contrast, deLaura said of Thomas, "he never got 225 pounds one time. The players decided to rally around him."

With the theme song to "Rocky" blaring, teammates carried Thomas into the weight room.

Thomas then benched 225 pounds one ... two .... three ... four times.

"It was a record for him," deLaura said.

With teammates cheering, Thomas was presented with a "championship" belt.

He then was hoisted again.

"They certainly haven't been tight this week," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said of the Warriors.
Sounds like the team is having a great time too!

Tsai also writes a profile of Kahai LaCount.
Last year, LaCount doubled as a wedge blocker on kick returns. This year, he is the starting nose tackle in the Warriors' "jumbo" defense, a short-yardage scheme.

LaCount said he is fortunate to be available for tomorrow's game. He missed the final three regular-season games after suffering a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

"I thought I'd never get to play one last time," he said. "I thought my career was done."

LaCount said he is on schedule to earn a bachelor's degree in May.

"I'm going to be the first boy from my family to graduate from college," he said. "This is the hardest thing I've ever done. There was so much reading and writing papers. I'm looking forward to finishing."
Congratulations to Kahai for getting his college degree and being able to play for one last game!

Cindy Luis writes about former ASU player Junior Ah You, as well as the current Arizona State players thinking about doing their own haka.
"All the Poly boys came together and agreed that it would be respectful to UH or to New Zealand," (Brandon) Rodd said. "We do have some culture on our team but not as much as Hawaii. And for us to perfect one, we would have needed a kahuna to help us on short notice.

"We decided it wasn't the right place or time, especially at Aloha Stadium especially against the Warriors."
Too bad. That would've been fun.

And another day brings another Colt Brennan profile. This one is from Chip Brown of the Dallas Morning News.
"We're in the worst facilities in the nation by far," Brennan said. "Six of our spring practices were in the baseball stadium on AstroTurf with no lines because our football field got flooded.

"People are real quick to take stabs at what we're doing, but if you showed up at our campus and videotaped our facilities and then did the same at Michigan or Ohio State, you'd have so much more respect for what we do."
Colt speaks the truth!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Brennan Profiles

Here are a couple more Colt Brennan profiles leading up to the Hawaii Bowl. This one is from Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com.
"It's a cultural shock," Brennan said. "They can spot an [outsider] about a mile away. It's just the way you act. They have a way about their culture and you've got to respect it. I'm a real big fan of Hawaii, just relaxing on the beach and not letting life get too fast. You get caught up in it really fast. The days really slow down and you just enjoy it."

That's why Brennan says he will probably return for his senior season at Hawaii. He will submit his name to the NFL's underclassman advisory committee to gauge where pro scouts and personnel directors project he'd be selected in April's draft. If Brennan isn't considered a potential first-round choice, he'll probably be back at Hawaii next year.

"He's going to have to show people that he's not a system quarterback," Mel Kiper, an NFL draft analyst for ESPN, wrote in a chat on ESPN.com earlier this week. "I think another year would benefit him."

Jones, who coached former NFL quarterbacks Jim Kelly, Jeff George and Warren Moon, disagrees with Kiper's assessment.

"Jim Kelly was a product of our system, too," Jones said. "I think that's kind of overrated. I think the reason that's been said is a lot of quarterbacks have played in pass systems, but weren't good enough to play in the NFL. The reason they didn't play in the NFL is they weren't good enough. It had nothing to do with the system."
This profile is from Jeff Metcalfe of The Arizona Republic.
ASU knows what it's up against and that Brennan also can scramble from trouble (79 carries/351 yards/five rushing touchdowns).

"Brennan is a real athletic guy," defensive end Jordan Hill said. "He can throw on the run really well and he can tuck it and run. I don't think people give him enough credit for what he can do on his feet. We've got to keep him in the pocket and not let him run free."
This article also has a quote from Tyler Graunke, who you can tell is itching to get on the field. I'd like for Colt to come back for a WAC title run and who knows, maybe much more, next year. But if he goes, we'll be in great hands with Graunke, who's super-competitive, runs like a running back and throws some of the prettiest passes I've ever seen. One day, The Graunke shall emerge like a Phoenix... out of Arizona!

Defensive Linemen

Stephen Tsai profiles incoming defensive lineman Ray Hisatake. Here are some excerpts with emphasis by me.
"Hawai'i is the place for me," said Hisatake, who is 6 feet 4 and 315 pounds.


"This is a big-time 'get' for Hawai'i," said Jeremy Crabtree, national recruiting editor for the Rivals.com scouting service.


"He's not perfect," Crabtree added. "He needs to get bigger and faster. But he does have all of the tools. Right now he's still a little bit of a white canvas. But he has the potential to develop into a better player."
Bigger??? In any case, I'm sure coach Reinebold and Glanville, along with Mel DeLaura, will help him develop to his full potential. The UH defensive line is looking good for next year!

There's also good news in the Notes and Updates section at the end of the article.
  • UH outside linebacker Brashton Satele, who is recovering from a pulled left hamstring, practiced yesterday and said he expects to play on Sunday.

    "It's still a little tight, but it's the last game, so I'm going to go all out," Satele said.

  • UH running backs Nate Ilaoa and Reagan Mauia have declared themselves physically fit. Ilaoa was suffering from a bruised left heel, and Mauia has been wearing heavy wrapping on his injured right elbow.
Good to hear there will be a lot of healthy Warriors playing in the Hawaii Bowl!

Dave Reardon and Brian McInnis look at Ikaika Alama-Francis' draft status.
The Hawaii defensive end appeared on draft analyst Mel Kiper's "Big Board" yesterday, at No. 24. That doesn't mean Alama-Francis will be drafted that high (there are still tons of players to be analyzed after the bowl and all-star games and juniors to declare draft eligibility). But Kiper also said he thinks Alama-Francis will be picked in the first two rounds.

An NFL scout who has seen him play several times this year agrees.

"I turned in a second-round grade on him. If he goes to the combine and works out well, I may be too low," the scout said. "He's one of those guys you know what you see. The sky's the limit. He's big (6-6, 285), strong and athletic. And he's only going to get better and better."
This should be awesome news for the Ikaika Alama-Francis Fan Club, which is a really great looking site. And they link to this blog, so thanks to them! Go check out the site.

Reardon and McInnis also talk to incoming defensive lineman Chris Leatigaga.
He said his best football attribute is his intensity.

"Just playing until the whistle. From the snap to the whistle. That's what they emphasize here. Finish the drill, finish the practice. I'm always running, trying to put myself on the screen."

Leatigaga will visit UH next month. He graduates in the spring.
Sounds like he'll be a great fit in the Glanville defense.

Kalani Simpson has some random thoughts and notes about the Hawaii Bowl and other things. Here's one of them.
I continue to get a kick out of the story of Steve Chinen, the rascal Army chaplain stationed in Iraq who is "in trouble" for using his televised holiday greeting to wish the UH football team good luck against Oregon State rather than saying hi to his wife and daughter. (Now that's a fan.)

But I told Steve, eh, no worry. I've seen these "holiday greetings" from Nebraska servicemen and they ALL do what he did. Yes, EVERY one of them goes like this: "Hi, I'm lieutenant So-and-so in Afghanistan and I just want to say Go Big Red! Go Huskers! We're No. 1! And -- oh, try wait, what? My family? Oh, yeah, I also love my family. Sure. Of course I do. Go! Big! Red!"

But when just one "bad boy" does it, it's hilarious.

» And here is Steve's latest on the 657th's plans for the upcoming Hawaii Bowl: "Da boys (and a few gals) are gearing up for the 0400 kickoff (Iraqi time). We'll be meeting at the motor pool (where vehicles get repaired). They got a big-screen TV there." I don't know if the Hawaii Bowl is good for the whole state, but early on Christmas morning, far from home, it's definitely good for a little corner of Camp Anaconda in Iraq.
Great story.

Former Warrior punter Mat McBriar talks about being named to the Pro Bowl.
Returning to Hawai'i — where he was an all-Western Athletic Conference first-team punter in 2002 — makes the experience even more special.

"I'm looking forward to it," McBriar said. "I feel proud that I went to school there and am coming back. Hawai'i football doesn't generate that much attention. Anything that draws attention to it is great."
And here's a Q&A with McBriar by Tom Curran of NBC Sports.
TC: How much of an influence has fellow Aussie and former Chargers punter Darren Bennett had on your career?
MM: He was the first one I called when I found out I made the Pro Bowl. We usually talk a couple of times a week. He's back in San Diego doing radio shows -- he's got a personality quite suited to that. But we have a great friendship. He's my mentor and the reason I got involved in this at all because he's the one who called (University of Hawaii head coach) June Jones for me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hisatake Commits

The Advertiser reports that:
Defensive lineman Ray Hisatake of the College of San Mateo today accepted a football scholarship from the University of Hawai'i.
Hisatake, who is 6 feet 4 and 315 pounds, turned down offers from San Jose State and New Mexico.
Great news! Lots of guys will be competing to replace Ikaika and Melila.

Leatigaga Commits

Stephen Tsai writes that Chris Leatigaga has committed to becoming a Warrior.
An All-America junior college defensive end has accepted a football scholarship offer from the University of Hawai'i.

After consulting with his family last night, Chris Leatigaga of Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif., said he agreed to join the Warriors for the 2007 season.

Leatigaga will earn an associate degree in March — Foothill is on a quarters schedule — and have three years to play two seasons for the Warriors.

"I can't wait to get out there," Leatigaga said. "I've got family out there. I'm Polynesian, and that's a big Polynesian school. I'm going to feel right at home. I'm going to enjoy living there for the next two or three years. It's a comfortable place for me."


"Reinebold was watching the other guy's tapes when he noticed me," Leatigaga said. "Reinebold called my coach and said I caught his eye."

Leatigaga said Reinebold visited his home two weeks ago. "We talked, and he said he was going to make me an offer," Leatigaga said. "I like (Reinebold). He's a good guy."
Excellent news! Welcome to Chris! And it's another reason why Jeff Reinebold can't be allowed to leave.

Tsai also writes about the Warriors' tenacious D, highlighting the guys Leatigaga will be competing to replace.
Glanville said the three down linemen — nose tackle Michael Lafaele and ends Melila Purcell III and Ikaika Alama-Francis — not only occupy blockers, but can break free to make tackles. Lafaele often is assigned to the running back sneaking into the flats.

"The guys up front have been the Bermuda Triangle for opposing offenses this year," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "Running backs go in there but they don't come out."

Head coach June Jones said he was not surprised by the Warriors' improved run defense.

"Wherever Jerry's been, we've stopped the run," Jones said. "He gets the kids to take pride in stopping the run."
Another reason why Glanville can't be allowed to leave either!

Tsai also writes about Samson's endurance, Tala's new haircut, and some haole boys.
The Sun Devils were taught several phrases. Safety Josh Barrett, who learned to flash the shaka sign, has tried to use "da kine" in conversations.

Rodd said some of his Caucasian teammates refer to themselves as "haole boys."

"They're kind of proud of it," Rodd said. "It's kind of weird."
Dave Reardon profiles coach Dennis McKnight who, I must say, can't be allowed to leave.
"Dennis is a good football coach, one of the best one's I've had. He's made an impact just like (defensive coordinator) Jerry (Glanville) has. He coaches with a lot of energy and he has a good understanding of what we're doing," Jones said.

McKnight -- with the credibility of his 10-year NFL playing career -- imparted that wisdom on the Warriors' offensive line and special teams this fall.

Guards Hercules Satele and John Estes, who are completing their first seasons as starters, said they're glad he'll be around to aid in their transition to leadership positions.

"From the first game to this game, I'm much better," said Estes, a second-year freshman who moves to center after Sunday. "He shares his NFL experiences with us to help us out and open our minds to what we need to do, especially in practice. He basically lives in his office. So he's always around whenever we need to talk to him about anything."
Stephen Tsai has a great idea. Give the assistant coaches big fat bonuses.

Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Sports Network has a Hawaii Bowl preview.
Unlike past seasons when Hawaii dominated with a passing attack, this year the squad had a legitimate running back to take some of the pressure off Brennan in Nate Ilaoa who gained an amazing 893 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. Even more impressive was the fact that Ilaoa (All-WAC First Team) averaged a shade under eight yards per attempt. Davone Bess, another First Team All-WAC performer, was once again a top receiver in the WAC as he posted 91 catches for a stellar 1,155 yards and 14 TDs. With barely half as many catches (53) as Bess, Ian Sample accounted for another 10 TD receptions for the top offense (549.9 ypg) and highest scoring program in all of football (47.3 ppg).
In this East Valley Tribune article by Dan Zeiger, Brandon Rodd talks about his reasons for attending a mainland school. But June Jones and his coaching staff have done a great job in showing local players UH is a great place to play.
With Hawaii posting six straight non-winning records from 1993-98, the school gave local players little reason to stay home. When June Jones arrived as coach in ’99, only 17 of the 105 players were of Polynesian descent.

Thanks to five winning records since then, the Warriors’ in-state recruiting fortunes have improved greatly. The retirement of BYU coach LaVell Edwards — who constructed the Polynesian pipeline to Provo, Utah — after the 2001 season did not hurt.

Now, 76 Polynesians are on the Warriors’ roster.

“We’ve been able to keep more of them,” Jones said. “I would say that, out of my eight years here, we’ve been able to keep 100 percent of the Hawaii kids we wanted probably five times, and the other years weren’t bad, either.

“Out of 20 kids in a class, there are always going to be four or five that want to go to the mainland no matter what. We try to identify them early, and then back off.”
And finally, Bob Keisser of the Long Beach Press-Telegram writes about the ten bowl games to watch.
9. Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Honolulu, Sunday (ESPN). Hawaii (10-3) quarterback Colt Brennan is worth the price of admission and Arizona State (7-5) may get off its butt and play hard for outgoing coach Dirk Koetter.
Game day is getting closer! GO WARRIORS!!!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Gearing Up

Dave Reardon writes about yesterday's Hawaii Bowl news conference. Some nice gifts for the head coaches.
At yesterday's news conference, executive director Jim Donovan announced that Koetter and UH coach June Jones will be given free trips to Tahiti as gifts from the Hawaii Bowl, pending NCAA approval. But Koetter doesn't care; he won't be under the college sports police's jurisdiction after Sunday.
If the NCAA approves it, June will put his trip to good use.
Hawaii coach June Jones is excited about the Hawaii Bowl's gifts to him and Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter of trips to Tahiti.
"I'm kind of shocked. The last two or three years I've been talking about going down there," Jones said. "I should go during recruiting time. I'll be looking around for rugby players."
Stephen Tsai writes about the press conference, mentions that Colt Brennan was tied for 2nd in AP Player of the Year voting, and has a profile on the versatile and selfless Chad Mock.
Last year, Mock became the starting left wideout after Ian Sample suffered a knee injury in the third game. This year, Sample moved to right wideout and Jason Rivers, who did not play last season, returned as the starting left wideout. That left Mock without a starting job, but with no complaints.

"We're a team," Mock said. "It's not all about one person. I want to go out there and do what I can for the team."

The pattern for Mock, who has 25 catches for 363 yards and three touchdowns, is to spell Rivers and then Sample. Sometimes, Mock will alternate between left and right wideout during the same drive.

"Chad is very unselfish," Brennan said. "He put his time in, and I'm glad things are working out for him the past two years. A guy like that you don't appreciate fully until you don't have him anymore."
Former Warrior punter Mat McBriar is coming back to Aloha Stadium for the Pro Bowl. Congratulations!

Ferd Lewis writes about Arizona State's future Rose Bowl hopes.

And finally, Jeff Miller of the O.C. Register writes a great article about Colt Brennan and the UH football program.
If people still think of the Longhorns' McCoy when the subject is QBing Colts, that's only because of geography not arithmetic. The numbers lean strongly in Brennan's favor, like the fact this season he has passed for 2.8 miles.

Working against this math magician, however, is playing so west of the West Coast. These days, there's a two-hour time difference between here and Honolulu, but it also can be a one-planet perception difference.

How out of mind is this school? When detailing Brennan's accomplishments, multiple mainland media outlets have referred to Hawaii's football players as the Rainbow Warriors. The school dropped "Rainbow" from its football nickname eight years ago.
See how tough it can be to establish your name in America when you're closer to Tokyo than New York City?

"We're on our own little rock out here," says Brennan, who played at Mater Dei High and Saddleback College. "This island is all ours."

Thanks mostly to Brennan, the Warriors (10-3) have thrown themselves - quite literally - into the country's conscience this season, during which they were ranked in The Associated Press top 25 for the first time since 1993.

They are averaging 47 points and have scored at least 32 in every game after the opener. Their season high is 68, a total Hawaii's men's basketball team already has failed to reach four times.
Check out the whole article. He even gives props to Stephen Tsai's great profile of Colt Brennan from November. Or at least I'm pretty sure that's the article he's talking about.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Glanville

Had a bit of a computer problem, and then a power failure in the building, but it's all good now.

Kalani Simpson writes a great profile of Jerry Glanville.
GLANVILLE HAS worked miracles, these past two seasons. Hawaii is tackling again, hitting. UH brings the thunder now. You can feel it. You can see it. His presence has uplifted this program. His defense is the difference between UH being merely pretty good and having the season it has had.

He's made these guys better. Everybody knows that.

But there's something even better happening, in this story. Something beyond the surface, behind the shades. Are you ready?

"I'm really probably a better coach than I've ever been," Glanville says.

You see, it's happened the other way around, too. These people. This place. These players that he'd been stuck with, rather than been able to replace via the waiver wire, they've coached him, too. Grown with him. Made him better, too.
I hope he doesn't leave, but it sounds like if the right opportunity came up, he would. I don't think June should let him though!

Stephen Tsai writes about Colt Brennan winning the Sammy Baugh Trophy.
It was surprising that a Columbus-based award went to anyone other than the hometown quarterback, Troy Smith of Ohio State.

"That really is unusual," said Dan Morrison, who coaches the UH quarterbacks. "I thought they'd present it to Troy Smith. Colt is very deserving. He had a phenomenal year. I'm glad he's getting recognized."

Told that he will be presented the award at a dinner in Columbus, Brennan said: "This is great. I met Troy (at an awards show). Maybe I'll call him up."
Tsai also talks about the future.
In a sneak preview for spring practice, quarterback Kiran Kepo'o put on an impressive display during yesterday's workouts.

Kepo'o, a 2006 Iolani School graduate, officially joins the Warriors in January. But because UH is not in session, Kepo'o is allowed to practice with the Warriors.

"It's really nice to finally be out here with these guys," said Kepo'o, who was enrolled as a part-time UH student during the fall semester. "It's been a long wait. I had to be patient."

Kepo'o is 6 feet 1 1/4 and 218 pounds. He said he wants to weigh 225 at the start of spring practice in April.
He'll learn a lot under Graunke and Funaki and Brennan.

Dave Reardon profiles Leonard Peters, who's been to the Hawaii Bowl a lot.
He also has a closet full of Hawaii Bowl shirts -- and Hawaii Bowl memories.

"My best is the triple overtime. I made the last tackle," Peters said, referring to UH's wild 54-48 win over Houston in 2003 that ended with a brawl. "They were all fighting and I was lying down on the ground. I was too tired to fight."

Peters has played most of his career hurt, and this year was no exception. He suffered torn rib cartilage in the season-opening game at Alabama.

"He's finally running like he's healthy," Jones said. "The time off (since the Dec. 2 regular-season finale) has a lot to do with it. He played hurt all year. This will be a fun game for him to play, close to 100 percent."
Erick Smith of USA Today calls the Hawaii-Idaho game the Blowout of the Year in college football.
Blowout of the Year: Hawaii 68, Idaho 10 – The Warriors started the game with a kickoff return for a touchdown and didn't slow down. Colt Brennan threw for five touchdowns, part of his astounding total of 53 scoring passes during the regular season.
Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press has a bowl game preview with this little blurb on the Hawaii Bowl.
Hawaii, Sunday: Hawaii vs. Arizona State - Hawaii QB Colt Brennan finally gets to play before a national audience during normal waking hours. Watch close, he could be on your NFL fantasy team in nine months.
And finally, here's a really complimentary article by Ryan Finley about Colt Brennan that seems to have been published today, but talks about who might win the Heisman. Good reading nonetheless.
Never heard of Brennan? Then you have not been staying up late enough. Hawaii was a midnight-eastern staple on the four-letter network. And why not? Like any late-night HBO or Cinemax movie, the Warriors had the action, flash and, yes, sex appeal to keep us from spinning the dials or dozing off.

Too bad so many people have bedtimes. While Brennan received my Heisman vote, he failed to make the final three for Saturday's award ceremony.

Instead, the leather-helmeted statue will go to Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn or Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Stephen Tsai profiles Samson Satele as he looks to life after UH.
"If you play in June Jones' system, you know how to pass-block," said Jerry Jones (not related to the Cowboys' owner), who analyzes the NFL draft in his self-published Drugstore List. "That is not a skill for a lot of (college linemen). A lot of (prospects) are solid run-blockers, but they don't have an idea how to pass block."

Jerry Jones said many college centers enter the NFL as guards because of their inexperience in calling out blocking schemes.

"They'll move to center at a certain point," Jones said.

But June Jones said Satele, who moved from left guard this season, made all of the blocking calls as the center this season.

"He's very smart, and he knows what to do," Jones said. Although Satele was a three-year starter at left guard, Jones predicted Satele "would be a good center for us. He probably could play tackle, if we asked him to. He can do it all."
Dave Reardon writes about several ASU players who are coming back home for the Hawaii Bowl.

And finally, ASU coach Dirk Koetter talks about preparing for the Hawaii Bowl.
Do you feel that this game will be like an Arena Football League game, where whoever has the ball last will win the game?

“No. I don’t think we’re equipped like that, like we have been in other years. We have to play to our strengths and do the things we do. We’re attacking Hawaii like we would attack any other team. They’re a little bit different because what the
ASU QB Rudy Carpenter thinks otherwise:
Do you feel that this game will be like an Arena Football League game, where whoever has the ball last will win the game?

“I think it will be a shootout. We’re gonna try and stop that a little by playing defense. I think they’ll be a lot of points scored, which will be fun for the offense.”

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Stephen Tsai profiles Ian Sample, who talks about doing something special for graduation.
In honor of this achievement, Sample will skip the graduation ceremony and instead serve as a volunteer at the 6th Foster Family Christmas Party in the Blaisdell Center.

"I could have walked (at the graduation)," said Sample, who was raised in New Jersey. "But, to me, it's more special when your family is there. They won't be there. (Not walking) doesn't make a difference. I've got the degree. I don't need to prove anything.

"But I really wanted to do something to celebrate my graduation," he added. "I'm lucky (the party) popped up on the schedule."
Can't say enough about the character of this team. I'm so glad Ian got his medical waiver this year. He's been great on and off the field. Check out his game winning touchdown against Purdue:

Dave Reardon talks to the UH players about the importance of the Hawaii Bowl.
"Coach (June) Jones, especially, he's taking this game serious. I think more serious than any other game we've had," junior nose tackle Mike Lafaele said. "It's going to be the seniors' last game. This group ... this is a real special class."

The opponent is Arizona State (7-5), and a win over the Sun Devils would even UH's record this year against BCS schools at 2-2.

"If we beat a Pac-10 school we get respect," sophomore outside linebacker Tyson Kafentzis said. "Hopefully all the WAC teams win and we get respect. Boise, San Jose, us ... we all have a great chance of winning our bowl games. And Nevada too."

A Western Athletic Conference sweep would help Hawaii regain the spot in the Top 25 it lost when UH fell to Oregon State to end the regular season Dec. 2. As Lafaele notes, that would give the Warriors a jump start headed into 2007.

"Hopefully we can do it. I think it would mean a lot to us for our momentum for next year," he said. "We have a lot to stand up for next year, for ourselves and our families."
Should be a good one!

And finally, lots of bowl previews around. Here's one from Lya Wodraska of the Salt Lake Tribune in an article titled A look at the 12 most exciting bowls this year
Arizona State (7-5) vs. Hawaii (10-3)

Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter gets fired and goes to Hawaii. That route has worked for Hawaii coach June Jones. Watch his high-powered offense give Koetter a few parting shots.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


The Star-Bulletin staff have an article about the Warriors taking care of business in the classroom leading up to the Hawaii Bowl.
"We've been missing six, eight, 10 guys a day," Jones said. That's OK, he said. "We do what we can do."

"We are the Harvard of the ocean," defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said. "We've got guys taking tests and studying," ahead of coming to football practice.

Neither coach seemed to mind.

As Jones noted, Hawaii can't afford to be less than demanding when it comes to academics. In March, UH was penalized with the loss of five football scholarships and one baseball scholarship under new NCAA Academic Progress Rate guidelines.
It's also possible that Coach Mouse Davis may be retiring at the end of this season.
UH assistant Mouse Davis, Jones' longtime mentor and his coach at Portland State, isn't 100 percent sure, and won't make any promises or grand pronouncements. But he said yesterday he is leaning toward the Hawaii Bowl against Arizona State being his last game.

"In all likelihood," he said, "I'll be one of the seniors."

It would be his second (third? fourth?) retirement from coaching. After coaching Jones at Portland State, Davis embarked on a long and winding USFL, CFL, NFL and Arena career, before coming back to help his old quarterback at Hawaii. He's had a great time with the UH players, loves the other assistants and "June's kind of my boy," Davis said. It's been a lot of fun.

Still, though he's pretty sure, he won't make a final decision until looking at it after the season. He doesn't want to paint himself into a corner just yet.

"It's still golf season," he said.
Well, if Mouse does retire I think he might want to stick around as an adviser because of all the golfing he can do!

Stephen Tsai writes about a key part of the future offensive line. The graduating senior o-linemen have big praise for John Estes, who moves to center next year.
Flanked by Satele and right tackle Dane Uperesa, Estes received on-the-job training in identifying defenses and coverages.

"I didn't really understand the calls earlier this year," Estes said. "But from game experience and watching Sam make all of the calls, I'm understanding the basic rules."

Satele said: "We told him to listen to me, Dane and Tala (Esera, the left tackle). He's been listening. He's a coachable guy."


Satele added: "He knows the offense, and he'll have the spring under his belt (entering training camp). He'll be an awesome o-lineman. John knows what he has to do to be a great o-lineman. I think he'll be the greatest o-lineman to ever play in Hawai'i. He's unbelievable. He's got balance. He's got power. He's got everything."
And he's got three more years here! I think the O-line should be fine next year even if though UH is losing the big three.

And finally, Matt Becker of the AP has a Hawaii Bowl preview.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't Go, Reinebold

I don't know how I missed this article from the Advertiser this morning. Stephen Tsai writes that Coach Jeff Reinebold interviewed for the Idaho State head coaching job, but is not a finalist.
"If something was going to happen, it would have had to happen prior to these kids getting back here" to practice for the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, Reinebold said. "Right now my focus, other than recruiting, is to win the bowl game. ... I'm not Mao Tse-tung. He had a five-year plan. I've never done that."

UH coach June Jones said he served as a reference for Reinebold.

"There was some interest," Jones said. "He's been a head coach, and he's done a great job since he's been here. I would hate to lose him. He's very smart, and the players play hard for him, and he teaches them the technique that's needed to win games."
I would really hate to lose him too! I'm glad he'll still be around for now. No stay go, Coach Reinebold!

And in breaking news from today:
University of Hawai'i junior quarterback Colt Brennan was named to the CollegeFootballNews.com All-America second team.


Sophomore receiver Davone Bess was an honorable mention selection.
Da Bess is yet to come!

Back in Black

Jason Kaneshiro talks to UH players and coaches about getting back to practice this week.
Even with the stress of finals week still weighing on their minds, the Hawaii Warriors were eager to strap on the pads again yesterday.

"I'm not used to it," senior defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis joked. "It was forever."

The Warriors (10-3) went back to their customary morning schedule yesterday for their first full practice in preparation for their game against Arizona State (7-5) in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium on Christmas Eve.

After taking last week off following the regular-season finale against Oregon State on Dec. 2, the team had hour-long workouts on Monday and Wednesday before getting back into their normal practice routine.

"It's the same bowl schedule we've always used and it's worked so far," UH head coach June Jones said. "We're healthier and the kids were sharp."

"On Monday, we had a great practice and came out pretty much on fire," UH quarterback Colt Brennan said. "Today was the first day back in the pads and it was fun to get back into it. ... We're glad to be back. It's always fun to be playing in bowl season."
Lots more quotes in the article. Sounds like the Warriors will come out on fire in the Hawaii Bowl!

And over the past week or so, Stephen Tsai's Warrior Beat blog has EXPLODED with comments. I've done my part by not commenting at all. I wouldn't know where to start! But you should definitely check out the comments section. Sometimes Stephen's comments add more insight to his posts, and there's always great comments by Al, Da Punchbowl Kid, Bulla and a whole host of others. So go there for a lot of Warrior football talk. Just don't feed the trolls.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wow, Lau Lau

Dave Reardon profiles hard-working, overachieving outside linebacker Micah Lau.
"I always had thoughts (about starting), but I never thought this would happen," Lau said after yesterday afternoon's practice. "It's been a great experience this year, being able to play a lot. It's been a pleasure playing with all these guys, because if it wasn't for them, I don't think I'd be in there."

Lau's stats aren't super impressive; he has 21 tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a fumble recovery. But his attention to alignment and assignment prevents big offensive plays and allows other defenders to make the hits.

Freshman Blaze Soares has been getting more playing time in recent games, but Lau remains the starter.

"He plays hard and he's been accountable," UH coach June Jones said. "He completes his assignments and he's given us all he has. He's played well."

Outside linebackers coach George Lumpkin said Lau's work in the weight room allows him to play bigger than he is.

"He's always been a good player, a smart player. Tough guy. With his size, sometimes people think he's going to be overwhelmed, but he doesn't. He does his job and he does it well," Lumpkin said. "He's physical for a small guy and he's smart and he does things right. We thought we'd put him in there and see what he could do because he was always doing things right in practice."
What a Warrior!

Stephen Tsai has more good news on the injury front.
Running back Nate Ilaoa, who is recovering from a deep bruise in his left heel, participated in running drills during the University of Hawai'i football team's practice yesterday.

The Warriors, whose last game was Dec. 2, did not practice last week. Ilaoa did not participate in Monday's practice.

"I rested it a lot," Ilaoa said. "Getting off of it for a week was a real key."

Ilaoa said an MRI did not show any significant damage. "It's all good," Ilaoa said as the team prepares for the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl against Arizona State.

Nose tackle Kahai LaCount also did not experience any difficulty during 7-on-7 drills. LaCount missed the past three games because of a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Tsai also writes that Laupepa Letuli and Michael Lafaele have had time to heal as well.

I once said, without understanding what I was talking about, that the running back is underutilized in June Jones offense. That was before I realized how much blocking, and recently pass-catching, and other things the running back actually does. So I'm ashamed. But now I think, and I hope it continues to be the case, that the punter is underutilized in the June Jones offense. And I'm not ashamed to say it! From the end of Tsai's article:
It was fitting that in the corner of the soccer field, where the Warriors worked out yesterday, future punters were evaluated.

Kurt Milne, a fifth-year senior, completes his UH career following the Hawai'i Bowl. There is no apparent successor, said Mouse Davis, who coordinates the special teams. "It's a toss-up," Davis said, noting the candidates are freshmen Briton Forester and Kenji Hollaway, and sophomore placekicker Daniel Kelly.

Forester was used on extra-point kicks this season. Hollaway is redshirting.

"Kenji was behind, then he came on, then he got ahead," Davis said. In UH's two practices this week "Brit's come back."

In practices Monday and yesterday, Kelly punted.

"He could be a good punter if he spent some time on it," Davis said. "He has to work at it a little more. Right now he spends his whole time kicking. He'll be a good punter because he has a good leg snap, the same thing that makes him a good kicker."

The competition expands when Matt Mielke joins the team in January. Mielke, who is 6 feet 1 and 180 pounds, is enrolled at UH as a part-time student.
Whoever gets the job will probably need to take up crocheting or something to kill time on the sidelines. Give Boise's Ian Johnson a run for his money!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

No Stay Go

According to Dave Reardon, there's a possibility that Colt Brennan may be graded as a first-round pick in the NFL draft, which just may mean he'll leave UH.
"I'm very happy here and there are plenty of good reasons to come back. Coming back would definitely be great for the program and for me," said Brennan, who was named a third-team Associated Press All-American yesterday. "But I would definitely have to consider it. That's a pretty big opportunity and there's no guarantee it would be there later. If they (the NFL advisory board) suggest it, I would have to take a step back and look at things."

Two veteran NFL scouts told the Star-Bulletin this week they believe Brennan could be a first-round pick if he went out for the draft. A third scout reserved judgment until he could view tape of Brennan.

Brennan said yesterday a first-round evaluation from the NFL would be the cutoff on considering making a move to the pros.

"The draft people haven't graded me yet, so we'll see how that plays out," Brennan said.
I really hope Colt has a humongous game against Arizona State, even if it bumps him up or solidifies him as a first round pick. I don't want Colt to go, but if he does, there's The Graunke and The Funaki waiting in the wings to run the quadruple option.

But Ferd Lewis is looking ahead to Colt Brennan's 2007 Heisman campaign.
In Arizona State, the Hawai'i Bowl provides what UH needs most right now, a brand-name opponent, to validate the performance of Brennan and the Warriors. But after the Sun Devils, it is up to UH to fill out the 2007 dance card with the kind of opposition that will certify Brennan's efforts and enhance his Heisman standing. This is where UH can help out both Brennan's cause and its own. This is where the missing link, that third of the 2007 schedule UH has yet to announce, needs to play an important role.

One of the hurdles both UH and Brennan have had to overcome this year is the perception of a weak Western Athletic Conference schedule. The strong showing against Purdue helped. Just as another one against ASU would. But for 2007, for Brennan's Heisman candidacy to fly and the Warriors' bid for a place in the polls to take off, the presence of some brand-name opponents on the schedule is a must.
I agree 100%! Let's hope this Michigan State crap can be cleared up so Herman can finalize the schedule!

And finally, Stephen Tsai talks to Colt Brennan about being named to the AP All-American 3rd team.
"This team kind of set out to break barriers, to kind of change the perception of UH football," Brennan said.

"Whether it's winning on the road or achieving national notoriety, we fought through a lot this year. I'm glad to see, at the end of the year, we were able to get the notoriety that we deserved."
And QB coach Dan Morrison has more high praise for Colt.
But Dan Morrison, who coaches the UH quarterbacks, said Brennan is deserving of top recognition.

Morrison noted Brennan accomplished the "unheard of" feat of leading the nation in yards and accuracy. It was likened to a basketball player leading in 3-point attempts and field-goal accuracy.

"To throw for just under 5,000 yards and complete more than 70 percent of your passes, that's just unheard of," Morrison said. "Those two categories don't reconcile together. A high efficiency usually goes to someone who doesn't throw very much."
Wherever Colt is in 2007, he'll be representing Hawaii well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back to Practice

Stephen Tsai writes that the Warriors looked sharp as they resumed practice yesterday. The time off gave players a chance to heal.
Free safety Leonard Peters said he has healed from a broken rib cartilage that he suffered in the season opener.

"This is going to be the only game all season, hopefully, when I'm actually healthy," Peters said. "I feel good. (The pain) is gone. (The doctors) always told me I needed a week of rest, but I didn't want to rest because I didn't want to miss any games. Now, hopefully, I'm injury free for the last game."

Nose tackle Kahai LaCount yesterday received medical clearance to play in the Hawai'i Bowl. LaCount missed the final three regular-season games because of a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. He was injured in the final minute of a 61-17 victory over Louisiana Tech.

UH has three personnel groups for different defensive schemes. In the "Jumbo" package, LaCount is the starting nose tackle.

"I'm glad I can get on the field and play one last time for my family, for the team," said LaCount, who will graduate on Sunday.

Cornerback Kenny Patton, who missed the past six games because of multiple fractures in his right collarbone, participated in drills yesterday.

"Kenny Patton is still iffy, but he was out here," Jones said. "I don't think he'll play, but I'll leave it up to him."

After practice, Patton said: "There's always a chance. God does miracles. I'm trying to get in shape. I feel tired right now. I haven't run like that in a while."

Jones said defensive end Laupepa Letuli will be available. Letuli missed the past four games after undergoing a second arthroscopic surgery to repair a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Really good news for all!

Dave Reardon writes about academic All-American Dane Uperesa, who has been busy writing his final thesis.
"I've been writing my thesis paper and it's about 40 to 50 pages. I had to dedicate a lot of time to the computer."

Uperesa is among the Warrior seniors who graduate Sunday. Yesterday, he learned he was named to the District VIII All-Academic team. Uperesa, who has a cumulative GPA of 3.63, is getting a degree in communications.
His thesis deals with the effects of media exposure on body image for males.

"In the research we came across reverse anorexia. Some guys work out too much and it can cause problems," Uperesa said.
For example, big man boobies. That's an unfortunate sight. I'm pretty sure that's not in Dane's paper, but it should be. Later in life, you'll need a Bro, aka "the manssiere."

The opportunistic Dennis Erickson should remind UH football fans of how lucky we are to have June Jones. As Ferd Lewis writes:
Apart from some interesting scenarios, what this latest round of musical chairs in the coaching profession underlines is how remarkable and how well UH has had it. June Jones is finishing up his eighth and best season, putting UH way ahead of the national average in retention, something often gone unappreciated.

At Idaho, which is seeking its third coach in three seasons, that's something they only dream about.
Sounds like Kalani Simpson is taking it somewhat hard.
Yes, we knew Erickson would do this. But we didn't know Erickson would do THIS.

"Had we known that we were going to end up in this situation we would never have gone down that road," Idaho athletic director Rob Spear told the Associated Press (and pretty much anyone else who would listen).

Yes, it's tough to blame coaches for taking what they can when they could in turn be fired at any second after a bad year, on a whim. But he's not some hungry young coach on the make -- he's still got 49ers money coming in. This isn't his last best chance. No, the worst part is that he left just because he could.
And finally, the Star-Bulletin with the breaking news.
Hawaii junior Colt Brennan is the Associated Press All-American team's third-team quarterback, it was announced today.

Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith of Ohio State is the first-team quarterback, and Brady Quinn of Notre Dame is second team.
Congratulations to Colt! Again!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Leonard Peters and the Hawaii Bowl

Ka Leo O Hawaii's Kiyomi Ueda profiles Leonard Peters.
For someone who never planned to attend UH, Peters has shown his commitment to the Warriors, to his teammates and coaches.

“The fact that he is as good as he is does not surprise me,” Glanville said. “It’s just that he plays so hard, he hurts himself. This year, he hurt his knee, he hurt his rib cage and he self-destructs because he has such a big heart and tries so hard.”

Peters’ give-all style is a good show for his fellow teammates.

“As a player, he’s an animal,” said junior quarterback Colt Brennan, “a wild man on the field. He’s fun to watch and he kind of leads by example. He really inspires us just by the way he plays because he’s just 100 percent.”

Peters’ experience as a defensive back has allowed him to become familiar with the defense and become a leader for the team.

“He’s really a great leader on the field ... and he’s fast,” said junior strong safety Jacob Patek. “He can cover a lot of ground and he makes a lot of plays. He’s just a great player. He has a great head on his shoulders, he knows the defense really well and that’s what makes him a great player. That’s what I think will help him on the next level.”
Lots of praise from teammates and coaches. Let's hope he has a great final game against Arizona State!

Ka Leo's Scott Alonso previews the Hawaii Bowl.
ASU head coach, Dirk Koetter, in his final season ASU, is excited for his players to travel to Hawai‘i to play in the Hawai‘i Bowl.

“The players are ecstatic about making the trip,” Koetter said in a telephone interview last week. “They view this bowl game as a reward for their season.”

Koetter recognized that his defense will have to play mistake-free against Hawai‘i.

“We better [play good defense] if we have a chance to win,” Koetter said. The Sun Devils are 27th in the country in team defense and their defensive line has an impressive 31 sacks on opposing quarterbacks.

ASU’s defense has also stopped opposing teams from coming back in the second half, where they only allow an average of 7.9 points.

Koetter had nothing but praise for UH’s offense, something his defense will have to deal with all game long.
Should be a great battle.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Glancing Ahead

UH still has the Hawaii Bowl to play, so I don't want to take a full look ahead, but Colt Brennan has brought a lot of good publicity to the University of Hawaii this past week that should carry over into next year, if he stays. Or even if he doesn't. But stay Colt, stay. No stay go. Anyway, Stephen Tsai talks to Colt about his trip.
"That was a lot of traveling," Brennan said. "Except for that, it was a fun trip."

Brennan said the best part was learning that, according to a polling of fans, he finished second in the Heisman and first in the Davey O'Brien races.

"That means just as much as winning the awards," Brennan said. "I realize maybe the football analysts and so-called experts might not think I'm worthy, but people across America thought I was, and that's pretty special.

"Most of all, it was chance to put our program in the national spotlight. I'm glad I'm able to represent the team and Hawai'i."
He placed 6th in Heisman, so if he returns, he'll be on a lot of pundits Heisman 2007 watch lists, including the people who gave him a first place vote this year, like Stephen Tsai mentions in this Warrior Beat post.

There's also people who put him in their top 3 this year, including Jerry Ratcliffe of The Daily Progress:
I like Brennan more than Notre Dame’s Brady Quinn. I’ve stayed up a few nights to watch Brennan play and he executes June Jones’ offense to precision. You may not have heard much about him because Hawaii gets little pub with the lateness of their games, but he’s the real deal. He’s one touchdown pass short of an NCAA record 54 this season and leads the nation in five statistical categories, including 4,990 passing yards.
Bernie Lincicome of The Rocky Mountain News sounds like he'll have a vote as well.
And the best quarterback in college football is not any of the above. The best quarterback in college football is junior Colt Brennan of Hawaii, hardly a household name even in his own house.
And it also helps Brennan and the school when he's listed as a finalist for the Maxwell Award, the Davey O'Brien Award, or even... the Cingular?
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, Rutgers running back Ray Rice, and Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith have been selected as the four finalists for the Cingular All-America Player of the Year by a panel of ESPN college football analysts.

Fans can determine the winner by text messaging "VOTE" to "87654" on their wireless phone and casting their votes for the nominees. Fans who participated in the Player of the Week voting during the season will automatically receive a text message with the four candidates.
So start texting!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Awards Wrap-Up

Stephen Tsai with the news of Colt's experience at the awards show in Florida, along with quotes from the coaches.
"It was truly a great experience, hanging around some of these great, great players," (QB coach Dan) Morrison said of Brennan. "He should feel he belongs. The experience will make him better and lift him up. He was pleased people around the country knew about him. It surprised him, and made him feel good."

Morrison said the other players were aware of Brennan's accomplishments.

Brennan leads the nation in total offense (410.8 yards per game), passing yards (4,990), touchdown passes (53), pass efficiency (182.8 rating) and points responsible for (27.54 per game).

"The (other) players knew it," Morrison said. "They were basically telling him 'to keep going.' They were very respectful of what he had done.

"Players know and coaches know it's no fluke," Morrison added. "It's not tied to the (Warriors' four-wide offensive) system. He operates within the system at an extremely high level. But that's him. That's not the system. The system helps him, but you have to be very special to do what he did."

Morrison also said the trip should serve as the launch for Brennan's 2007 campaign.

"The thing that happened is once you've been here, and kind of laid the ground work, it helps you for next year," Morrison said. "You're better known to the writers and people who do the voting. It's like he belongs. He's not an aberration. He's for real."
He is for real. He's realer than Real Deal Holyfield.

Coach McKnight feels Samson should've gotten more recognition.
"It's a shame, really," Mc-Knight said. "Most people say, 'Well, he doesn't run-block enough.' Well, first of all, in the NFL, you get paid to pass-block. And second, he's an unbelievable run-blocker.

"I would be hard-pressed to find a better center in college football," McKnight added. "He's a complete center. Nobody's quicker. Nobody's smarter. Whoever they picked for the first team, I'm sure, came from a so-called, big-time conference or top-ranked school."
Not that the other dude isn't deserving, but Samson is the Emperor.

The Star-Bulletin has a wrap-up of the awards show with some quotes from the winners.
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