UH Football Fan Blog (where's my banner?)


This fan blog is unaffiliated in any way with the University of Hawaii or the Warriors football team.

Privacy Policy

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jett Jasper / JV Coaches / Withy-Allen

Receiver Jett Jasper is excited to be headed to Warriors fall camp. He talks about it in this Garden Island profile by Lanaly Cabalo.
“It was always my dream to be on the team,” he said. “Being born and raised in Hawai‘i, going to the basketball games or the football games, it was a big deal. Anything UH was a big deal.”
Derek Borrero, one of Jasper's high school coaches, talks about Jett's desire.
Jasper didn’t miss a single work out, practice or informal afternoon throwing session. He always woke up early to lift weights and study plays. Jasper was training all year long.

According to Borrero, a player can learn all the plays, learn how to catch and read plays, but Jasper posses something that can’t be taught.

“What you can’t train is heart and desire and that’s what he’s got,” Borrero said. “I’m really proud of the guy because he wasn’t supposed to be there. But he had a dream. He always wanted to wear the green and white and from the bottom up, he did what he needed to do to make that team.”
The article states that he'll probably be redshirting this year. And still, he's working hard, striving to be better. Awesome.


Russell Yamanoha did a story (with video) on the St. Louis School junior varsity coaches, which include former Warriors Craig Stutzmann, Alapai'i Andrews, Ricky Lumford, John Kauka, Chris Brown, La'anui Correa, and Matt Wright. They talk about "regurgitating" a lot of what they learned from June Jones and the other UH coaches.


And from a couple weeks ago, turns out former UH quarterback Shawn Withy-Allen led his team to victory in the Indoor Football Championship Bowl, though reading the message boards, it appears the NIFL is in disarray and that might not have been the actual championship game after all. I don't know, I'm not going to sort through it. Congratulations!

Jacob Patek Chat

At the Warrior Beat, RIGHT NOW!

UPDATE: Chat's over, but here's the transcript.

#1 / Bill Walsh

Kalani Simpson writes how the Warriors will have to handle the pressure now that they're preseason #1 in the WAC.
It's mental toughness, a grind. It's a unique pressure, and how Hawaii handles it will probably have a lot to do with the cues the guys take from Colt Brennan. Brennan seems born for this stuff, shrugging off the hype and taking all this Heisman craziness in stride. He is the great star who shows you his humility -- his best leadership decision may be that he is smart enough to have the linemen run the team.

June Jones, Elroy Chong and Keith Amemiya remember Bill Walsh and the impact he had on athletics in Hawaii, from this Dave Reardon article:
"He did a lot to change the game," Jones said. "And he had a real unique group of guys who cared about him a lot and played hard for him. He was committed to them not just as football players but as people, helping many of them get set up in things after they were done playing."

Walsh waived his $25,000 speaking fee several times for engagements in Hawaii. Most recently, he was the keynote speaker at the Hawaii High School Athletic Association's annual banquet in 2006.

He also conducted a well-attended workshop for Hawaii high school football coaches in 2005.

"He had a huge impact on Hawaii high school football," HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya said. "The workshop here was a great success, and many of our coaches also attended his events on the mainland.
More from June as well as Jesse Sapolu in this Liz Chun article.
"We always talk offense when he came. We'd sit down go to dinner, play golf," Jones said. "The thing that I think listening to his players talk about him that impressed me is that he was really concerned about their lives and make them better people when they were done with the game. I think for the most part in San Francisco the runs that he had, pretty much all the people will say the same thing. He was quite a man."

Monday, July 30, 2007

Pro Warriors Monday Update

Some notes from training camps around the league:

Looks like Ashley Lelie is doing well recovering from his quad injury.
Receiver Ashley Lelie looked sharp on a deep ball grab from quarterback Trent Dilfer during seven-on-seven in the morning practice.

Nate Ilaoa talks about dealing with the crazy heat in Eagles camp.
"You try to get yourself up, but you're never really ready for something crazy like this," Ilaoa said after the morning session. "You just try to run, get yourself ready. The weather is really what sur prised me. I knew about it, but when you get out here, it's a totally different story."

Samson Satele talks about learning all the positions on the O-line.
"The coaches have told us, 'Don't keep your mind on one position. You have to learn all the positions,"' said Satele. "They aren't kidding."

Despite being a rookie, Satele has seen most of the first-team action at center, which has bumped Rex Hadnot to right guard. Hadnot, who started all 16 games at center last season, is on the second team behind Mormino.

Reagan Mauia's hard work is showing dividends.
Reagan Mauia had a great block on Derrick Pope on a Jesse Chatman run.
A Dolphins fan who attended morning practice had this to say:
I would also like to make mention of Reagan Mauia's ability to deliver a pop at the line of scrimmage. He was the lead blocker on two of the succesful run plays that I saw in the "inside drill". He get's a solid initial contact on the LB and shifts his feet to maintain that contact and leverage, Reagan will be solid in the Goal Line packages for us this year.


And Ikaika Alama-Francis has a new entry in his Lions rookie diary.
“It’s being a rookie. It really is. It’s being a rookie but you just have to take the good and the bad. You can’t get too down; can’t get too hot. You’ve just got to stay on that level because, (with) the coaches, you think you’re doing good – it’s not good enough. But I’ve just got to keep pushing and keep working. Stay mentally tough – that’s the key thing.

Maisel on Colt

In this short College Football Live clip posted by UHBows, ESPN's Ivan Maisel talks about the ways Colt Brennan has been connecting with his teammates, learning the Samoan language and getting the braids.

Arizona State Denies It

I hate dredging stuff regarding the schedule back up again, but Arizona State is saying they WERE NOT offered a cool million to play UH this year.
Arizona State did not turn down a $1 million guarantee to return to Hawaii for a football game on Oct. 20.

Karl Benson, Western Athletic Conference commissioner, told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that ASU, Oregon State and Washington State rejected offers from Hawaii, made in conjunction with the WAC and ESPN for national television coverage.

"None of that is true," said Mark Brand, ASU associate athletic director who puts together the football schedule. "I never talked to Hawaii." The WAC did approach the Pac-10, Brand said, to see generally if any teams were interested in a game.

Certainly Herman Frazier, Hawaii athletic director and former long-time ASU athletic administrator, would have contacted Brand to make a serious pitch to ASU.
So either Herman didn't actually talk to them, which is hard to believe... or they're just covering their ass. In any case, we probably won't be playing them for a while, which is too bad.

Not Tyler Graunke Chat

Stephen Tsai's Warrior Beat is hosting a live chat with Tyler Graunke and/or Coach Dan Morrison RIGHT NOW! Be there!

UPDATE: Blaze Soares is filling in now.

Blaze did a great job filling in for Tyler. Here's the transcript.

Ayat / Owens

First, the bad news.
Justin Ayat's stint as a kicker for the New York Jets lasted less than a week. Yesterday, the NFL team waived the Kamehameha alumnus whom they had signed as a free agent on July 24.
Let's hope he can hook up with another team. Sounds like he's been working hard on his kicking since graduating.


Anwar S. Richardson of The Tampa Tribune profiles Chad Owens, who's working hard to make the most of his chance with the Bucs. A couple of excerpts:
"I've had to work hard my whole life. Nothing was ever given to me," Owens said. "I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for me because I'm not the only guy who had to do it this way. There are free agents who have come in and ended up being superstars.

"I had an opportunity to walk onto Hawaii, play in front of my friends and family, and when I got an opportunity to play, I made the best of it, excelled, and the rest is history. Here I am in the same boat."
"For a lot of the vets, preseason is kind of like, 'Ah, let's just get through this already. Let's get the regular season started,'" Owens said. "For me, it's a game. A chance to get out there and prove myself. To show these fans what I can do, and give myself an opportunity to make this team and be able to help during the season."
Mighty Mouse!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Pisa / Samson and Tala

Good news for Pisa Tinoisamoa, who's been recovering from multiple injuries.
Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who had shoulder surgery in the offseason and still was limited in minicamp last month, has had no problems in contact drills.

"He's a hundred percent," Linehan said. "I don't see any reason that he's not going to be just like he was before he hurt it."

Samson Satele has a learning experience during one-on-ones.
On the first play, 340-pound DT Keith Traylor absolutely abused rookie center Samson Satele and then knocking Brown on his back 4 yards behind the line. It’s little surprise Brown was tentative on the next play and gained nothing.
The writer also judges who won the one-on-ones, with Samson losing that one and tying another. Tala Esera had the same results. They'll only get better from here.

Colt Profile / June / Rolo / #22 / Mock

Dave Reardon writes a great profile of Colt Brennan, who looks to the future while not shying away from the past.
"The biggest thing (learned) is probably humility. Walking away from that ... you can't embarrass me, you can't humiliate me," he said. "I have nothing to hide. There's no doubt what happened, the position I put myself in, I've got no one to blame but myself. But a lot of things that followed just weren't right.

"You're meant to experience misfortune. You're meant to deal with stuff that's just not right. It's just how you deal with it and how you move on with your life. I think people who want to talk about my character, should look at what I've done since then. Let the actions speak for themselves."
The article also has a funny exchange between Colt and Ian Johnson. There's also an opportunity for Star-Bulletin readers to submit questions and comments for their upcoming Warrior football feature. Be there!


June Jones has a new Ask Coach feature.
Q.) Thanks coach for always being generous with your time. I'm wondering if possible what happened with that direct snap to the RB play when we had Bass? Did that morph into the shovel pass? What were the positives and negatives of that play? I used to get a kick out of it when we ran it. Go Warriors.

A.) Over the years, ever since we have used the shotgun, I have used different ways to run the draw. The shuffle pass and the direct snap draw are blocked the same way but the shuffle pass has evolved because it is harder for the defense to pick up early and stop. Defenses almost have to guess right to stop it so we run more shuffle passes now.

Nick Rolovich also has a new article. Here's some insight into the QB using his eyes.
How do you feel about June’s teaching about hips, eyes and/or footwork? How did that change the game and how you performed?

I got the most out of June talking about eyes, and using them to either make defensive players stay where they are or to move them to where you want them. It makes such a difference. In the beginning of my career I was a little confused when he would tell me to "use your eyes." At the end, I would laugh just before I let the ball go because it is sometimes comical what you can make a guy on defense do by using your eyes. The footwork of the drop is a little unorthodox but so crucial to the timing. The drop truly orchestrates the play in June's offense.

The Fort Worth(?) Star-Telegram ranks Hawaii #22 in their preseason countdown.


And finally, Chad Mock had 1 catch for 6 yards in his debut for the BC Lions.

Position Breakdown

Stephen Tsai writes an excellent pre-training camp preview, breaking down each position. Some choice excerpts (but read the whole thing):
Bad news for opponents: After having the best statistical season in NCAA history, Brennan has improved his knowledge of the four-wide offense. "It was apparent in the spring that he's seeing things so much faster," quarterback coach Dan Morrison said.
(Leon) Wright-Jackson also welcomes the opportunity to block.

"If you're going to be a running back, you have to be ready for the whole job," he said. "Pass-blocking is my job. My main job is to take care of the quarterback. He's the key to the offense. I don't mind going in there and hitting the linebacker."
Every club needs a bouncer, and in football, every bouncer needs a club. Lafaele, who will be the point defender in the new 4-3 scheme, has as vicious a club move as any interior lineman. The club resembles a boxer's uppercut, with the forearm striking an offensive lineman's shoulder, and is used to create an open path into the backfield. "That's Michael's signature move," line coach Jeff Reinebold said. Last year, Lafaele used the club to floor an Oregon State offensive lineman. "You really need that kind of physicalness at the point," Reinebold said. Lafaele also was used as a pass defender on screens last year. He should be even more effective this year after losing 20 pounds.
Lots more to read. Excitement mounts.

NFL Warriors Start Camp

Below are some notes from the start of NFL training camp:

Tampa Bay coach sees the potential in former UH receiver Chad Owens.
Keep an eye on Jacksonville free-agent receiver Chad Owens, who has a shot to make it as a kick returner. At 5-foot-8, it's hard for Owens to stand out. But he has turned a few heads this offseason.

"You know, he's from the University of Hawaii, so a lot of us haven't seen him because we're in bed when they're playing," Gruden said. "But he's had a knack for making huge plays in the kicking game. Struggled hanging onto the ball. It's been well-documented at times in Jacksonville. He's got a real compact build, he's got power and instant acceleration and quickness and he'll be a guy that will make the kick return game interesting. And as a luxury receiver, a guy who can come in and play three or four positions, he has a knack for making plays."
I really hope he gets a shot at receiver, which he didn't really get in Jacksonville.


Nate Ilaoa impressed a few fans in Philly.
First big cheer: With the team running through drills at the start of Saturday's morning practice, there wasn't much for a swelling crowd to cheer about.

That is, until "Nasti" Nate Ilaoa lit the fans up.

The Eagles' seventh-round draft choice out of Hawaii and a 5-9, 245-pound running back, Ilaoa wowed the crowd by hauling in a 30-yard Kolb pass along the left sideline.
This is going to be the perfect offense for Nate. He gotta make the team!

Nate is also profiled in this Free Lance-Star article.
But even with all his worldliness, Ilaoa admits to being a bit overwhelmed when he stepped on the field for an Eagles mini-camp earlier this summer.

"When you come out to practice and you take hand-offs from Donovan McNabb and you have to block Takeo Spikes, you realize you aren't playing with these guys on a video game anymore," Ilaoa said in a telephone interview last week. "These guys are actually real, and you're actually out there playing with them."

Reagan Mauia is working hard on his fullback skills.
Long after players had left the field following morning practice, rookie fullback Reagan Mauia could be seen working on his blocking technique

Ikaika Alama-Francis has a new diary entry on Detroitlions.com.
Honestly, I feel like I’m getting better every day. I didn’t know what to expect coming into camp; how it was going to be, the tempo and all these things, but it’s up-speed. You’ve just got to get used to it every day. I get more confident every day and when you get more confident, you feel better about yourself and that’s what I try to do every day: learn my plays, be on top of things. It’s been frustrating learning everything so fast, so quick, but I’ve just got to slow down and just let everything come to me.

Ashley Lelie is ready to come back from his quad injury.
Asked if he was now "100 percent," Lelie said, "It feels close to that. I expect to practice. I can't wait to get out there and just play football."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Hawaii Football Camp Wrap-Ups

Dave Reardon and Stephen Tsai have wrap-ups of the just completed Hawaii Football Camp. Tsai writes about an amazing youngster.
It seemed like it was only yesterday when 6-foot-1, 245-pound Reeve Koehler was a 12-year-old entering the seventh grade.

OK, it was yesterday.

"He's 12?" UH coach June Jones said in astonishment. "That's incredible."

Koehler was among 400 players of all shapes, sizes and purposes who attended the Hawai'i Football Camp.

"My older brother (Solomon) wants to play for UH," Koehler said of Castle High's highly regarded defensive tackle. "I want to play for UH. I wanted to come out here and impress the (UH) coaches."

It was a rare opportunity for Koehler to receive instruction from some of the top coaches in the state. Koehler is too heavy to play in youth football leagues.

"I learned a lot," said Koehler, who plans to play high school football at Damien or Castle.
Chris Fetters of Scout.com was there, and had an assessment of some of the talent.
Fetters said he gave high marks to defensive linemen Aaron Tipoti of Pac-Five, Haku Correa of Damien, Geordon Hanohano of Saint Louis and Solomon Koehler; offensive linemen Mykenna Ikehara of Kamehameha and Sean Tesoro of Baldwin; and running backs Kama Bailey of Damien and Dalton Hilliard of Punahou.

"Sean Tesoro was a big boost," Fetters said. "And when Mykenna showed up, it really upped the level. There were some guys who obviously stood out."

Ikehara, who is 6-3 and 275, said he has received offers from UH, San Diego State and Nevada-Las Vegas.
Dave Reardon's article details a matchup between Ikehara and Tipoti.
During the final rotation of the four-day clinic, the offensive and defensive linemen squared off for physical 1-on-1 battles. The finale featured Pac-Five defensive end Aaron Tipoti and Kamehameha tackle Mykenna Ikehara - both of whom have already received scholarship offers from the Warriors.

They worked each other hard, with a collision worthy of Aloha Stadium in October. But Ikehara kept Tipoti under wraps as UH defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold and Damien coach Brian Derby, one of the state's most noted offensive line tutors, verbally motivated them.

"I liked it. I learned a lot," Ikehara said afterward.

Tipoti said going up against one of the clinic's best offensive linemen was a fun way to end it.

"It's awesome. He's a great tackle and I'm looking forward to playing against him (in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu) this year," Tipoti said.
Sounds like it was an excellent camp.

Reagan Mauia Profile

Ted Mero writes a biography of Reagan Mauia in this Lodi News-Sentinel article. From his days growing up in American Samoa, to high school in Stockon, to his emergence in Hawaii, all the way to the NFL, it's a great article. Here's an excerpt:
"Coach Jones told me I had a chance (to make the NFL)," Mauia said. "I just had to think speed and agility."

Mauia spent hours learning blocking schemes and studying one-on-one with coaches on his way to a standout senior season, but just like college, no one was calling. No team was interested in seeing a 290-pound running back at the NFL combines, which was how Mauia was listed.

Mauia's saving grace was an invitation to the Hula Bowl, an all-star showcase for college seniors. It was here that Mauia technically played fullback for the first time. While most players were looking to impress the NFL scouts, Mauia had more pertinent issues.

"I wasn't worried about (the scouts)," he said. "I was worried about learning to play fullback."

He apparently played the position well enough, as numerous scouts approached him.

Said Mauia: "Scouts would come up to me and ask, 'Where'd you play? We don't have you listed as a fullback.'"

The Miami Dolphins were the only team Mauia visited, and as it turned out, he was one of four Samoans selected by the Dolphins on draft day, a group no referred to by the local media as the "Polynesian Wrecking Crew."
Great article, and there's a lot more to read.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Vasconcellos / Mock / Wilson / Ikaika

Damien safety/receiver/corner Christian Vasconcellos has committed to becoming a Warrior.
"I'm really surprised and excited," Vasconcellos said after giving UH an oral commitment today. "My goal was to play Division I football and play here, but I wasn't getting noticed by UH. All I got was a questionnaire when I was a sophomore, so I started thinking mainland. Now I'm happy because I don't think I can leave my grandma (Nancy Vasconcellos), and I can play in front of my family."
And from the Advertiser:
Vasconcellos, who is 6-feet-1 and 181 pounds, will be a senior this year. He will sign his national letter of intent in February, and join the Warriors in August 2008.

"I like the hype," Vasconcellos said of his decision. "This is my home. I have to protect my home."
Right on. Congratulations to Christian.


Chad Mock is mentioned in this Vancouver Sun article as he gets ready for his first start for the BC Lions.
Mock is sure to be a favourite of television cameramen for his 1970s afro. Still, Mock is hoping to make a name for himself for more than his 'do.

"I want to make the most of this opportunity and show the coaches I can play," said Mock, who will be used when the Lions go to a five-receiver set. "I'm looking to go out there and see what I can do. Go out there and play football the way I know how to play football."
The article also has a picture of Mock and his afro.


Some bad news -- former UH defensive lineman Lawrence Wilson was cut by the Ravens. Best of luck to Wilson. Hope he can make it with another team.


And Ikaika Alama-Francis impresses MLive.com blogger Tom Kowalski.
In watching rookie second-round pick Ikaika Alama-Francis in a few one-on-one pass-rushing drills, the defensive end looks very quick. Very raw, but very quick. He has excellent hand speed and he's still learning how to best utlilize his hand placement. I'll stick with my earlier assessment of this guy -- he looks like a young Robert Porcher.

WAC / SJSU / Naming Opportunities / Tsaikos

Stephen Tsai breaks down the WAC and has short previews of the teams around the conference. Lots of optimism among all of them, which is great.

Dave Reardon profiles SJSU's Dwight Lowery, who is the WAC preseason defensive POY and a preseason All-American. He's looking forward to this year's game against Hawaii.
"He's always looking for some way to improve his game," San Jose State linebacker Matt Castelo said. "He does all the extra things. He makes our receivers better every day in practice, every down."

Lowery can't wait for the Oct. 12 game at Spartan Stadium against Hawaii and quarterback Colt Brennan, the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year. UH torched San Jose State 54-17 last season.

"All of us got burned at Hawaii. Looking forward to it is an understatement. But if we're not at our best, we could get beat the same exact way," Lowery said.
Should be a great game in San Jose.

If you're a rich Warrior fan, there are some naming opportunities for you.
Donor recognition opportunities include the following:

Named UH Football Office Complex

Named individual offices (10)

Named Head Coach Office

Named Offensive Conference Room

Named Defensive Conference Room

Named Football Video Room
If I had a million dollars, I'd be all over that!

And finally, the Warrior Beat Tsaikos had what sounds like an awesome get-together yesterday. Here's a link to Stephen Tsai's post about it, and here's a link to a video covering the event, which has interviews with Coach Jeff Reinebold and Tsaiko fans Al and Da Punchbowl Kid. They are some of the best and most dedicated UH football fans. Say, if they pooled their money together..... "The Tsaiko Football Video Room" anyone? Woot woot!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Ikaika Writes

Garret from UH Warrior Quotes points out this new "Rookie Diary" that Ikaika Alama-Francis has on the Detroit Lions website. Here's an excerpt:
“(Compared to) OTAs, training camp is the same thing, just a little more intense and a little more up-tempo – but I love it. I love it. Just to be out here with the guys going through what they go through and just working hard. It’s my rookie year, I’m going to have to battle through a lot of things but I’m going to have a smile on my face and I’m going to enjoy it.

“We usually go helmets the first three days of college, (but) now it’s just full pads. That’s the way it is: whatever they ask us, that’s what we’ve got to do. So, Coach Marinelli wants pads so we’re going to do it. (But) it was good to be out there again. It really was. I haven’t hit in almost half a year now – I enjoy every minute of it.”
And Ikaika wrote an update to his Yardbarker blog a couple days ago. It sounds very familiar, but he's told this story a few times before. He writes about how he worked hard to earn his scholarship from June Jones.
After playing basketball my first year I decided I did want to play football and Coach Jones welcomed me to the team. He still had the scholarship for me but I wouldn't take it. I was a walk on until my junior year. I'll never forget the day when I did earn the scholarship. Coach Jones announced it in front of the team and it was the same emotion I felt when I got the call from the Lions. It was really unbelievable.
Sounds like the Lions fans really like his attitude. Hope he gets a lot of playing time his rookie year.

Chad Mock Profile / Miami / Effin Ess

Here's a profile of former UH receiver Chad Mock, who will be starting for the BC Lions of the CFL this weekend. An excerpt:
Once tagged as the best pass-catching corps in the CFL, the Lions will now start two rookies in a five-receiver grouping with Mock, a grass-green 24-year-old with just a couple of seasons of experience at the University of Hawaii, joining Cory Rodgers. Small wonder both Josh Boden and Bret Anderson had extra work this week.

An engaging Hawaiian who came back home after two seasons playing at a small Catholic junior college program in Kansas City, Mock overcame long odds and a four-week stay on the developmental roster to get his chance this week.

"I had a little doubt about things at training camp," said Mock, signed out of a Lions' tryout camp in Los Angeles this spring. "But I know how to run routes."

He'll be indoctrinated as a slotback in five-receiver packages Saturday.
Awesome that he's getting a chance.


This Miami Herald article has a few brief mentions as to how Samson and Reagan fared in rookie camp.
Coaches also saw center Samson Satele do nothing that would lead them to change their plan to make him the starter at the beginning of camp. ''I think he's ready to take on that role,'' offensive line coach Hudson Houck said of the rookie.
Coaches also saw fullback Reagan Mauia show surprising instincts running the football, which almost made up for his obvious need to upgrade his blocking technique.
Is absolute destruction not a good enough technique? Anyway, glad to hear they're both doing well. No mention of Tala today. We'll see where he and the others are after the veterans report on Friday.


Here's one Oregonian blogger's opinion as to why Oregon State didn't take a cool million to play UH this season.
OSU does indeed have a bye on Oct. 20, and could have added a game at Hawaii as a 13th game. ... but did we mention that Hawaii is the WAC favorite this season? ... that QB Colt Brennan is back? That the odds of any team - even a Pac-10 team - beating the home boys on the islands in consecutive years are off the charts? ... no, the schedule is difficult enough in 2007.
Which is why these kinds of things are usually planned years in advance. Here's Ferd's hope for the future.
Given the allure of the Islands — not to mention the Hawai'i exemption — the Warriors can do things other members of the WAC can only dream about. They have the means and opportunity to carve out a pretty good schedule year in and year out.

Well, in years in which they don't get caught napping at the rolodex.

That's a thought you hope hit home with its schedule-maker for future reference.
What a lesson to learn this far along in one's athletic directing career. It's amazing.

Ikaika Profile

Detroit Lions practice is underway, and here's a profile of Ikaika Alama-Francis, from the Detroit News. An excerpt:
"My dad played for Green Bay so he's given me the horror stories," Alama-Francis said. "I'm just going to go in, have my mind focused and do the best I can."
He'll get that chance in the final game of the regular season on December 30 when the Lions travel to Green Bay.
Before then, Alama-Francis knows he has a lot of learning to do.
First of all, to get aligned correctly," Lions head coach Rod Marinelli said. "He couldn't get aligned. Not getting off the ball well enough and he's a little bit high. That's my expectations right now, just do the little things. But he's a big, good-looking athlete with a great willingness. He's got to get the basic stuff right now. He'll be fine."
The other defensive linemen have taken Alama-Francis under their wing.
"They're all veterans, they've all been here," Alama-Francis said. "I'm the only rookie this year so I'm just trying to learn as much from them as I can. So I've got my ears wide open to the coaches, to the players and hopefully I get to their level."
No mention of Ikaika moving to the PUP list. Not sure if it was speculation or a misprint yesterday. In any case, great news.

And Stephen Tsai has some details of his 4-year contract, as well as a fond farewell to Lois Manin, who's leaving the UH media relations department.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More Samson Articles

A couple more great articles profiling Samson Satele, who is working hard to be the starting center for Miami. The first article is from Jeff Darlington of the Miami Herald, starting with what teammate Tala Esera has to say about Samson.
So when Dolphins guard Tala Esera dishes out compliments about his fellow rookie and friend, center Samson Satele, it's typically going to be genuine. Maybe even a bit blunt.

''He always acts like he knows all of his stuff,'' Esera said Wednesday, reclined on a plush leather couch in the Dolphins locker room. ``Even though sometimes he might not.''

A backhanded gesture? Not at all. Because at this position -- and at this age -- that kind of quality isn't only important for a center like Satele. It's imperative.
And from Samson himself:
Satele, who appears to be the early favorite to start at center from the start of training camp, has the total package. And that early projection as a rookie starter has caused him to want to improve even more.

''That motivates me a lot,'' Satele (pronounced Sah-TELL-ay) said. ``They weren't just going to hand me the spot. I've got to work for that spot. Now, I'm there. Somebody has to take it away from me, and I'm not going to let that happen for as long as I can.''
The second article is from Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Here are some words of praise from backup QB John Beck.
Rookie quarterback John Beck, who has seemingly mastered the complicated playbook, said Satele has the smarts and hands to handle the center position.

"He's the one recognizing everything, recognizing the fronts quick and making a decision on how he wants them to block," Beck said. "I know the guy did a lot of shotgun snaps in college, but he's extremely easy to get a snap from. I don't think he or I have had one fumble on a quarterback-center exchange, and I think that just shows his talent."

Good News for Ikaika, Samson, Tala, Chad Mock

But first, the bad news for Ikaika.
Tom Kowalski, of Mlive.com, reports the Detroit Lions could place DL Ikaika Alama-Francis (chest) on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Unless I missed it, I actually haven't seen that report on MLive.com, so maybe it was fleeting speculation. But what I did find on MLive.com is the good news for Ikaika.
According to Rod Marinelli's training camp press conference, the Lions have inked deals with second-round picks Drew Stanton and Ikaika Alama-Francis.
No terms or details yet. Congratulations to Ikaika!

UPDATE: Garret finds this Detroit News article stating that Ikaika signed a 4-year deal. Thanks again G!


Samson Satele is profiled and talked about as the probable starting center for Miami.
The Dolphins' second-round pick enters training camp as the odds-on favorite to become just the second rookie to open a season as the Dolphins' starting center.

The other guy obviously wasn't Langer. And it wasn't Dwight Stephenson, either. No, the two greatest centers in Dolphins history, both Hall of Famers, didn't get their chances until their third seasons.
And Samson talks about what he needs to work on.
"I told coach Hudson straight up that I'm not a vocal guy," Satele said. "But if he wants me to be, I'll be. I'm a leader by actions. That's what I've been living by since I played Pop Warner.

"I want to get everybody's respect through my actions first and then be a vocal guy. I can't just be a vocal guy and not show these guys what I can do before I tell them what to do."

Houck said Satele is making progress.

"People believe in him as a leader," Houck said. "Right now, I don't think he's a very verbal leader, but he's certainly a leader in terms of work ethic and caring about his job.

"If you're a rookie, it's hard to really speak up and control the group. But considering he's a rookie, he's doing a pretty damn good job of it."
That's just awesome.


Samson's teammate Tala Esera was, surprisingly, practicing at first team left guard today.
Although rookie guard Drew Mormino was believed to be vying for the starting left guard spot with Chris Liwienski, there he was playing right guard in practice today. Huh? Also, rookie Tala Esera was playing left guard next to his former Hawaii teammate and fellow Samoan starting center Samson Satele. Satele seems confident that he will hold onto the starting spot. Cam Cameron commented on the kid's smarts after practice.
Excellent sign for Tala. Thanks to Garret from UH Warrior Quotes for the link.


And finally, Chad Mock has been activated from the BC Lions practice squad. And Stephen Tsai writes that Chad may start this weekend.
Former UH wideout Chad Mock has been promoted to the B.C. Lions' active roster and he is set to start this weekend, according to Canadian Football League consultant Jon Nielsen.
Great news all around!

Bottom / Turf / Idaho / Mana / Ayat

Dave Reardon writes about the need for the bottom of the WAC to improve.
Commissioner Karl Benson knows that the have-nots must improve for the league to attain true respect. He said the schools have committed to the WAC's strategic plan of increased spending on athletics.


While Idaho, LaTech and Utah State won't figure into the equation at the top of the WAC standings, they will likely factor into Hawaii's national-respect quotient.

And, compounded by two I-AA opponents on the schedule, that's not a good thing for the Warriors.
Oh right, and the two I-AA opponents. I had blocked it out of my mind.

Dave also has some great quotes from the Media Preview. Here are a couple:
» Idaho's new coach, Robb Akey, is overjoyed that the Vandals' Kibbie Dome is finally getting a new FieldTurf-like surface and players no longer have to worry about staph infections and other injuries.

"The AstroTurf is history. It crawled out on its own."

» Hal Mumme of New Mexico State is an unashamed fan of Jones' offensive style.

"When we do things we try to emulate Hawaii a lot. June and I have a lot of the same ideas offensively. We study and admire them a lot."
Excellent news regarding Idaho's turf, especially since UH plays there this season. Ferd Lewis has more on this subject:
It has been replaced by an artificial surface called "Real Grass," used by the Dallas Cowboys and others. And the Idaho players, who host UH Sept. 29, say it was about time.

"That stuff killed your knees," said linebacker David Vobora. "It was part of the home-field edge, but, good riddance. It was a bad rug."

Cornerback Stanley Franks said, "you'd hear clicking at the bottom. It was bad. If you slipped and got scraped up you had to go get alcohol on it before it got infected."
Wait, is he talking about Cooke Field? Eh, I'm jus kidding.

Ferd has more about Idaho, specifically their revolving door coaching situation these past few years.
Idaho once dominated the instate series with rival Boise State, but has come to be known as Stepping Stone Tech, Revolving Door U. and the like. They'd just like a coach to be there long enough not to have to wear a "My name is..." name tag.

Tom Cable was gone after 2003. Nick Holt hightailed it back to Southern California as an assistant coach after two seasons. Dennis Erickson, after promising to rebuild the program, bolted for Arizona State after less than a year. Talk about being Vandal-ized.
Ferd contrasts that with the continuity of the UH coaching staff. We've been very fortunate.


Stephen Tsai has an article with several different players from around the WAC praising Colt Brennan.
Fresno State defensive end Tyler Clutts said Brennan, who is the Warriors' leading returning rusher, is an artful dodger.

"From a defensive line perspective, it's tough, because he's a double threat," Clutts said. "He can run and he can throw. He's quick. He's deceptively elusive. He changes up your pass rush. You're a little more hesitant because you don't want to lose contain. He's much harder to defend than a guy who's a pocket passer."
The article also states that Oregon State defensive back Keanemana "Mana" Silva is requesting a release and wants to transfer to UH. Good luck to him.


And finally, congratulations to former UH kicker Justin Ayat, who signed with the New York Jets.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Videos from WAC Media Preview

Below are some videos of news stories covering the WAC Media Preview. This first one is from Boise's KTVB. Colt Brennan and Ian Johnson discuss the Heisman hype. Here's a screenshot of Colt's "dreads" from that interview.

Errrr, those aren't dreads!

KTVB has another video, this one mostly about Hawaii, with lots of praise for UH from Ian Johnson, BSU coach Chris Peterson, and a few words from June Jones.

This news story from KBCI in Boise also profiles Colt and Ian, with interview with both of them, as well as June and Chris Peterson.

Enough of the Boise news, here's a video from good old KHNL. Reid Shimizu talks to Colt about the upcoming season. Unfortunately the interview is over the phone, but they show some sweet highlights, and they also talk about the Colt Following DVD.

And finally, not video, but audio interviews of the coaches from the WAC preview, including one from June Jones, who has a lot of praise for this year's Warrior defense. He also talks about Colt and the other teams around the WAC.

Media Days

Stephen Tsai writes how Colt Brennan and Ian Johnson handled all the attention at the WAC footbal media preview.
Ten feet away, Johnson often turned, watching Brennan navigate through interviews.

"He's a great guy," Johnson said of Brennan. "Anytime anyone asks about him, I tell them nothing but good stuff, because it's the truth. ... He's come from a tough situation. Also, he's had a whole lot of adversity that he's overcome. I'm proud to say he's a member of the WAC."
Dave Reardon has various stories from the media preview, including Mike Lafaele's awkward moment with reporters.
Hawaii senior Mike Lafaele watched with an amused look yesterday as three reporters sat around an empty chair next to his with the name card of Colt Brennan in front of it. Every now and then a guy wanting to interview the quarterback would wander over to Lafaele, the blue-collar defensive tackle. Many of the questions would be about Brennan. Lafaele didn't mind, providing intelligent and usable quotes about his high-profile teammate, as well as insight on what the defense would be like without Jerry Glanville ("better") when asked.
Dave also writes about how the WAC's success has led to some great things, and also has also let to some scheduling difficulties.
The irony is that the success of the Warriors, who went 11-3 last year, including a 41-24 Hawaii Bowl victory over Frazier's alma mater, now of the Pac-10, and Broncos, makes it even harder for them to schedule games, especially against big-name schools. As a result, Brennan and Johnson have fewer opportunities to make their cases, and UH will have to rely in part on circumstantial evidence, even if it wins all its games in its bid to be this year's BSU.
Not that it should excuse the whole fiasco, but it's been a factor. And as Tsai and Ferd Lewis write, the scheduling fiasco was a "hot topic" at the media preview.
"It came up — a lot," in interviews with WAC area and national media," Brennan said. "I was asked about it all day."
The Tsai and Lewis story also reveals that new Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley grew up as a fan of June Jones.
Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley, said he has been a longtime fan of June Jones, who played and coached for the Atlanta Falcons.

"I certainly have a lot of respect for what he's done and what he's accomplished," Dooley said. "His teams always could throw the ball. I never worked with him, but his influence has probably traveled through other coaches to me. That's the effect of really good coaches. ... Anytime people get in four-wideout (formations), there's some kind of June Jones influence."
Whether that's BS or not, that's a nice thing to say.

And Ferd Lewis writes that Colt Brennan is looking forward to November 23.
"The last two years I've had good (statistical) games against Boise, but we haven't walked away with a win," Brennan said. "This year I don't care how I play individually. I mean that. All I want is that win. Especially at our place. If both teams take care of what they have to do we can give the nation quite a show between two great teams from the WAC."

Monday, July 23, 2007

Around the WAC

Here are some Media Preview quotes and stories from other WAC newspapers.

From The Salt Lake Tribune.
Meanwhile, at the top of both polls, Hawaii edged BCS-busting Boise State to inherit the title of WAC preseason favorite.
Hawaii, led by quarterback Colt Brennan, finished 11-3 last season and led the nation in scoring offense, passing offense and total offense.
"Expectations are always that way when you win," said coach June Jones. "Having Colt back fosters all those things. But I don't feel any different. It's the start of the season and you have to get lucky, you have to win on the road and all that. I really don't put too much into polls."
From The Idaho Statesman:
"If we expect to be anybody, we have got to beat Boise State," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "That's the key."
Teddy Feinberg of The Las Cruces Sun-News writes a profile of Colt Brennan. An excerpt:
"He's a great player," NMSU coach Hal Mumme said. "I thought that the first time I saw him play and I still think that today. He's got a great arm and all the physical tools. He's one of the marquee players in our conference."
And what June Jones says about Colt's abilities:
"You can improve a quarterback's technique, his fundamentals, all that," Jones said. "But when your under pressure, you go back to what comes natural to you. You either hit the guy or you don't. And he does. He's a very gifted player."
More from The Las Cruces Sun-News:
"We're excited about the team we have coming back this year," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "The thing that concerns me as a coach is the leadership of some of the kids we lost. But we think we have some players that can play pretty well behind them."
June also has high praise for New Mexico State.
"The sleeper to me I really do believe this because Hal has a quarterback is New Mexico State," Jones said. "They lost two or three, maybe even four really close games last year. If they won those, they would have been like San Jose last year - 8-4, 8-3. They seem to have taken a step up."
I agree, they're gonna shock some people this year.

From Jon Wilner's San Jose Mercury News blog, former UH and current SJSU coach Dick Tomey talks about his team's upcoming season.
San Jose State was picked to finish fifth in the Western Athletic Conference media poll.

Hawaii, not Fiesta Bowl champion Boise State, was slotted for first place.

“There are two prohibitive favorites, Hawaii and Boise State, and everybody else is scrambling,'’ SJSU Coach Dick Tomey said. “Personally, I think this will be our best team.'’

That the Spartans were picked for the middle of the conference seemingly has more to do with the strength of the league than any expected drop-off in SJSU’s performance.
It's gonna be a very competitive conference. Lots of talent coming back. As Boise coach Chris Peterson says:
"I got the spring prospectuses from the different schools and I was depressed for a week (saying) ‘I thought that guy was a senior,' " Petersen said.
By the way, here are the polls.

Media Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points

1. Hawaii (32) 494

2. Boise State (26) 490

3. Fresno State 361

4. Nevada 337

5. San Jose State 321

6. New Mexico State 233

7. Louisiana Tech 157

8. Utah State 110

9. Idaho 107

Coaches' Poll

1. Hawaii (6) 62

2. Boise State (3) 59

3. Nevada 45

4. Fresno State 40

5. San Jose State 39

6. New Mexico State 31

7. Louisiana Tech 25

8. Utah State 13

9. Idaho 10

LP Waived

The Jets waived Leonard Peters. From the Advertiser:
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — The New York Jets on Monday signed free-agent center Joseph Villani, and waived safety Leonard Peters and guard Dominic Moran.
Let's hope another team in need of a big hitter picks him up. Good luck to Leonard.


After watching all nine segments of A Colt Following, a few things come to mind.

1. Robert Kekaula is a genius.

2. UH did a great job with the website presentation, and there were no stuttering/bandwidth problems.

3. How the hell did Colt not win the Heisman last year?!? As Heisman Pundit says, Colt's gonna have to bench press the world to top what he did in 2006.

4. Whether he wins the Heisman or not, this video shows how awesome Colt has been on and off the field, while showcasing the school and the state. Definitely a must see.

UPDATE: Here's the UH Athletic Department's official Colt Brennan for Heisman page.

Colt's DVD on the web

Sorry to scoop you on this one tombo, but I had to share it...

The long awaited Heisman campaign video is available to view online at this url. I really wish someone could get a copy of the DVD they handed out to the media at the WAC football preview. I would love to see it on my tv, rather than this small laptop screen.

Enjoy! Gonna go watch it for myself now.


Ask Coach: Individual Players

This week's Ask Coach Q&A is up on the Warriors' Haka site. He answers questions about individual players like Davone Bess, Kiran Kepo'o, Eric Shaffer and Mike Lafaele. Here's an excerpt about Bess:
Q.) Coach Jones, with Bess returning punts next season do you plan on having him sit out a play or two after a long return? It could give the backups some experience but I don't know how significant the drop off is between Bess and the backup slots. By the way, I think that Bess is the most dangerous punt returner UH has had since Chad Owens, so I love that he's going to get to have that job all season!

A.) Bess is a great punt returner. He will not sit out unless it is a really significant return. Our receivers are in the best cardio shape of anyone on the team. They run more than anyone in practice. If they get tired or they did not work hard enough in practice that week they won’t work special teams.
Jones also says that UH has been trying to schedule Notre Dame, but they've been avoiding us.

Johnson and Brennan

WAC Heisman hopefuls Ian Johnson and Colt Brennan have a friendly rivalry going. Stephen Tsai writes:
"Why is Colt bigger than me?" Johnson said, pointing to a Photoshop-enhanced poster of the two players displayed in front of the media room.

At 5 feet 11, Johnson is 4 inches shorter than Brennan, whose biceps appear to be way larger in the poster.

"That's just not right," Johnson said, laughing.

But Johnson has bragging rights when it comes to the Broncos' storybook 2006 season, which had a happily-ever-after ending with a BCS upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. That game earned the Broncos recent ESPY Awards for best game and best play.

"I went to the ESPYs, though," Johnson said of the fun competition against Brennan. "That was great. He can't have that. I've got an ESPY. Colt, where's your ESPY? Thank you, thank you. Chalk that as one to nothing."
Johnson talks to Dave Reardon about the rivalry Boise has with pretty much all the WAC teams.
Johnson is aware many prognosticators think Hawaii will finally upend Boise State this year and win the WAC championship. He's not offended by such talk, but also said that in some ways, the Warriors are just another team in the WAC hungry to gun down the Broncos after five years of domination.

"Not to take away from Hawaii, but we totally feel like every school in the WAC is a rivalry because we have bad blood with everyone," Johnson said. "We're in a lot of people's cross-hairs. We're told San Jose State's talking about us, and the Idaho guys are talking about us. That's the way we love it. That's the way we want it to be."
They deserve the success and accolades they've received, but they will also deserve what's coming to them on November 23!

PAC-10 Back in Aloha

Not this year, but good news for future Sheraton Hawaii Bowl games. Ferd Lewis writes:
Under the deal, which is to be announced shortly, the game is scheduled to receive the sixth-place team in 2008 and seventh-place finisher in 2009, according to Jim Donovan, executive director of the game.


"We're very pleased the Pac-10 agreed to extend its relationship with the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl, building upon the success we had last year with Arizona State in the game," Donovan said. "We believe with a Pac-10 team in our bowl we will see increased attendance, more in-bound visitors and better TV ratings. This is another step in the right direction, building the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl into a nationally renowned event."
Right on. Jim Donovan for AD!

Warriors To Win WAC

Or at least they've been picked to do so by the WAC media and coaches. From Stephen Tsai and Ferd Lewis:
In something of a surprise, the Warriors out-polled five-time defending champion Boise State in balloting to be announced today at the WAC Football Preview here, according to people familiar with the voting.

UH received six of the nine first-place votes from the conference coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own teams. Thirty-two of 58 media ballots also picked UH first. Boise State was the only other school receiving first-place votes in either poll.

"Preseason polls are preseason polls," UH coach June Jones said. "Hopefully we'll be there at the end. They don't really mean much. We were picked last in '99 (and finished first). We were picked first one other time and finished last."
The article has a list of both the media and coaches poll. Dave Reardon also has a breakdown of the rest of the teams.
The rest of the coaches' poll goes in this order: Nevada, Fresno State, San Jose State, New Mexico State, Louisiana Tech, Utah State and Idaho. The media ranks the teams in the same order as the coaches, with the exception of flip-flopping Fresno State and Nevada.
This is the year the hairy oracle prophesied about all those eons ago.


Colt is WAC Preseason POY

As voted by the WAC media. From the Star-Bulletin:
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was announced today as Western Athletic Conference preseason Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

Brennan was the WAC postseason Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 after breaking numerous NCAA, WAC and UH passing records. He was sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Congratulations to Colt!


is such a strong word. Like you said for Boise, they're respected because they've managed to win all these titles for the last I don't remember how many years. They're the BYU of today. I didn't realize we lost 6 times in a row to them. The last 2 years were the closest contests by far. The others weren't so pretty. I was at the 69-3 blowout in Boise where Timmy broke the INT record and not the passing yard record. The last time we beat them was when they weren't in the WAC yet in 1999, June's first year.

But this year is a different year. The game on Nov 23rd will be sold out. Aloha Stadium will be rockin'. And Boise will be (black &) blue in more areas than their uniform. Cinderella's fairy tale will end.

The only Broncos I like are in Denver.... and I never want to go back to Boise and see that blue turf ever. So yes, Hate is a good word to use in this context. And I'm usually not an angry man.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

No Aloha

Guess these teams weren't hurting for money. Dave Reardon reports:
Western Athletic Commissioner Karl Benson today disclosed the names of three Pac-10 schools that declined to play at Hawaii in the upcoming football season despite a guarantee of $1 million and a national TV appearance.

"Arizona State, Oregon State and Washington State turned down the offer," Benson said. The schools did not accept 11th-hour invitations from UH (working in conjunction with the WAC and ESPN) to play at Aloha Stadium on Oct. 20.

The Pac-10 would have paid $400,000 of the amount and UH would have paid $600,000.
Wow. Of course, maybe if the Boise game hadn't already been scheduled on Thanksgiving weekend, or if the 2007 schedule had been worked on much much earlier, if if if... still, that's a lot of money to turn down, even minus travel expenses.

The Mouse Influence / Nate Ilaoa Quotes

Kalani Simpson goes off on another tangent from the June Jones Q&A, and it's pretty funny/scary/awesome. In a previous article, June Jones says he has never let an opposing team score just so he could get the ball back. Nonethless, from Kalani's column, June has anecdote about being majorly influenced by a "Let 'em score" situation from his playing days under Mouse Davis. An excerpt:
The Vikings can't stop them, and time is draining away. Montana is going to run out the clock. Montana is going to score. Montana is going to win.

The young Jones is standing on the sideline, watching, horrified, standing next to Mouse as hope fades away. He looks over, only to see that Mouse is walking toward the defensive coach.

"Let 'em score," Mouse says.


Mouse is serious. "Let 'em score."

In the retelling Jones uses italics in the tone of his voice: "They got into a physical altercation."
Read the whole column, it's a great story.


And Nate Ilaoa, who signed a 4-year contract with the Eagles, has various quotes spread around various articles. This one, from Larry O'Rourke of the Morning Call is about the upcoming training camp.
''I heard it's hot up there,'' said running back Nate Ilaoa, a seventh-round pick from Hawaii. ''Yeah, it can get hot in Hawaii, but there's always a breeze in Hawaii. They told me there isn't any breeze up [at Lehigh].''
From the Star-Bulletin regarding the competition in the backfield:
"Its not about competing with Moats or whoever, its about just going out there and competing period," Ilaoa said. "I just want to get there and let the tough part rest with the Eagles, make it hard for them to cut me."
And from the Advertiser, about getting used to the NFL:
Ilaoa, who served as an instructor at yesterday's Hawai'i Football Camp, is scheduled to return to Philadelphia on Wednesday.

"I'm getting the hang of things," said Ilaoa, who was admittedly nervous when he first reported to the Eagles' mini camp in May. "It was like that the first time I came (to UH). I got comfortable after that."

Previewing the WAC Preview

Stephen Tsai writes that Colt Brennan will take a quick break from coaching at the Elite 11 Camp to take part in the WAC Football Media Preview, which starts tomorrow.
Brennan will take a break tomorrow as guest coach for the Elite 11 Camp in Southern California to travel to San Jose for interviews with national media. He returns to the camp tomorrow night.

"I'm excited to go up there," Brennan said. "I've never done it before, so it's a new experience. Obviously it will be a chance to let people know what our team has been doing this summer and where we stand and what we plan on doing this year."
DVD copies of "A Colt Following," a 43 minute Heisman candidacy video edited by Robert Kekaula, will be distributed to the media there. Let's hope the video will be online for everyone to see either Monday or Tuesday, as detailed in this Advertiser article from July 11th.

Ferd Lewis writes that the WAC has plenty to be proud of and to crow about and proclaim during the media preview.
Between Boise State's inspiring Fiesta Bowl triumph, Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan's record-pulverizing season and San Jose State's turnaround, the WAC has plenty it wants to show off. And, with 69 media representatives, including a smattering of national media — USA Today, ESPN.com, the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle — and three bowls, it will have an audience, the proportions of which it has rarely been blessed.
Ferd also discusses one of the WAC's goals, which is very important for Hawaii's pooped-upon, but still not pooped-out-of-luck, BCS aspirations.
The WAC's avowed goal is to place two of its teams, Boise State and UH, in the preseason Top 25 and hope one of them can duplicate the Broncos' lucrative run to the BCS and pick up some major awards along the way.

Both finished in the polls in January — (Boise as high as No. 5 and UH 24th) — but the key for positioning for a Bowl Championship Series berth is to have the boost of being there when the season kicks off. "History has shown us how much of an advantage that can be," Benson said.
There's gonna be quite a few outside factors that will have to go Hawaii's way during the season as well. But UH just gotta take care of what UH can take care of.

Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman writes about WAC commissioner Karl Benson's excitement for the upcoming season.
In 1999, the 16-team WAC crumbled under his feet. Eight teams bolted to form their own league, the Mountain West Conference. Five of the eight left behind are now in other leagues.

Any thought that the WAC would assume its place as what Benson calls, "the second most recognized conference in the West" behind the Pac-10 seemed preposterous. But that's where the league is today. Benson won't mention the Mountain West by name. But you can see him smiling through the phone.

He has great admiration for Hawaii and Fresno State, which held the league together while Benson found new members. The additions of Boise State (football) and Nevada (basketball) gave the league additional credibility.
And this is a great goal that I hope the league can pull off ASAP:
The WAC is pushing its strategic plan, which calls for schools near the bottom to increase spending to bolster competitiveness.

"There's always going to be a gap. We have to narrow the gap," said Benson, who along with the board of directors turned down a contract extension offer from ESPN this summer.

It is through television deals and bowl opportunities that Benson can add to the coffers of the have-nots in the league.
On the field, Boise State and Hawaii will do very well, Fresno will bounce back, Nevada and SJSU will continue to improve, and New Mexico State will surprise a lot of people. Idaho, Louisiana Tech and Utah State are in rebuilding situations, coaching and/or personnel-wise (thanks Dennis Erickson) so they may take a while to get back to competitive form. But let's hope they shock some people.

And Stephen Tsai has a post about his arrival in the Bay Area for the WAC Preview, waiting for Ferd Lewis at the airport, and Ferd possibly stealing his car. I think he'll be updating the post throughout the day.
In the meantime, I took a quick tour of the place. The interview and work rooms are on the second floor; the hospitality room is on the 17th. I guess that's the correct distance needed between writing and drinking.
One of the cool things is the WAC made personalized room keys. On the front is the WAC logo, the back has a breakdown of each conference's bowl winning percentage the past five years. The WAC is No. 1 (.611), followed by the ACC (.600). I bet the ACC doesn't have its logo on room keys.
And here's a link to the schedule of the preview sessions.

Solomon Elimimian / Greg McMackin

Dave Reardon continues his weekly player profiles with a great story on linebacker Solomon Elimimian. The article discusses Sol growing up in LA, his relationship with older brother Abraham, his work with autistic kids, and a whole lot more. Here's an excerpt of him talking about the switch from the 3-4 to the 4-3.
"I think it's coming natural for me. A linebacker's heart is a linebacker's heart, you know? It doesn't change that you've got to hit and you've got to run," Elimimian said. "A lot of the guys on our team are intelligent. Our whole defense is picking it up pretty good. As far as me, I love the transition. I think it fits our personnel better. Guys can actually play now that couldn't before. It's a joy for us. Like (defensive end) Karl Noa, he's going to have a really good year this year."
Great article.

Speaking of the defense, Stephen Tsai interviews defensive coordinator Greg McMackin, who discusses the alignment switch, his coaching philosophy, his respect for the players, and a lot more. Another great article. Here's an excerpt of Coach discussing this year's linebackers:
On the linebackers:

"We're going to play Adam (Leonard) on the outside and inside. He's going to be our joker (pass rusher) in our Okie package (3-3-5 alignment). We're putting a lot of things on Adam. He's a talent. He's a good player.

"Solomon (Elimimian) is our starting middle linebacker. We're going to roll four guys (in the three positions), so Adam will play inside, too. We're going to roll Blaze (Soares), Solomon, Adam and Brad (Kalilimoku). Cal (Lee, the linebacker coach) feels those guys are all starters, so they're all going to play. They're first-string guys.

"I think Blaze is a big-time player. If he continues to grow with Cal, he has a chance to be one of the best to ever come out of here. He has the speed. He has the instinct. He's a great hitter. He has that look in his eyes. Some of those great 'backers have that look in their eyes — (Jeff) Ulbrich, Ray Lewis — and he has that look."
Defense? MONSTER.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Purcell and Ilaoa Sign

Stephen Tsai reports that Mel Purcell and Nate Ilaoa have each signed 4-year contracts with their respective NFL teams.
Purcell, a defensive end who was picked by the Browns in the sixth round, will receive a signing bonus of $87,250. The total value of the contract is worth between $1.7 million and $2.3 million.

Ilaoa, a running back who was the Eagles seventh-round pick, will earn a signing bonus of $45,000. His contract is valued between $1.7 million and $2.2 million.
Congratulations to both of them!

June Jones Q&A Part 3 / Rolo / Dan

First of all, big thanks to my friend Chawan Cut for writing his first entry on this blog. Great post about NCAA 08 and his unmitigated hate for Boise State. I don't really hate BSU as much as I respect what they've done for the WAC's profile. They've also beaten UH six straight years, which I must -- okay I hate them. Anyway, let's hope it's the first post of many for CC.


The Star-Bulletin has the third and final installment of their June Jones Q&A. Here's an excerpt regarding scheduling:
Q: A lot of scheduling should have been done when you were 3-9 (in 2000).

A: Thank you. That's the way it should have been. I agree. (All the big BCS teams). All of them.

Now it's harder. The only way you can -- to me, the next five years it's going to be harder if we have openings. ... Even that is going to be costly because we're going to have to pay a I-AA team, because I-AA teams are being paid on the mainland to go to UCLA, to go to Stanford, to go wherever.

But what should be done is 2012 through 2018, we should have all of them done. And they should be done now. Because even a coach would just say, 'Yeah, go ahead.' Because six years from now he might be dead or not here. Yeah, exactly.

A lot of those teams would give reasons why they don't want to, the money will change, we'll wait. Well, just put it in the contract: 'Teams will have the right to renegotiate that in 2011 for the 2013 game.' But get them on the hook. There are ways to solve that problem.

I'm still kind of waiting to see if there are any repercussions on the Hawaii exemption.
The article also has a JPEG of the full August practice schedule.


Nick Rolovich writes his first article for the Warriors' Haka site and answers the fans' questions.
Q.) Who is the most underrated player on the current squad?

A.) There is no question that this team has talent. During my two seasons as a student assistant, I got to see and know many of the current players as they came in as freshman. Many of the current starters were on the scout teams that Brian Smith and I got to help with during those years. But out of all the current players, for me, the most underrated player has to be Dan Kelly. Going 13 for 17 last year including 4 of 6 from 40+, is very good for a kicker, especially a young one. I am not traditionally a big kicker guy, but Kelly is clutch and a great asset for this team.

UPDATE: Woops, not sure if it was posted later or I completely missed it, but Dan Robinson also has a new article up at Warriors' Haka. He writes about the great coaching he received under June Jones and Dan Morrison.

It wouldn’t be until the ’99 season when June Jones and Coach Morrison came that finally I had someone to coach me. That’s the first time I had someone teach me a system, someone who could answer all of the “what if” questions that arose.

I believe that coaching is an opportunity to influence young kids in a positive way. You look at a lot of so-called “coaches” out there, and it’s like they are merely living their dreams through the kids, rather than allowing the kids to have fun and truly enjoy the game of football.

They yell, scream and curse at their boys in an effort to “motivate” them.

I have been at both ends of the spectrum when it comes to coaching and have never felt really motivated by a “screamer.”

Dan Morrison was perfect for me. He would talk to me and truly coach me. He never once raised his voice at me. I would do anything for that man. He earned my respect because of his actions.

UH football is truly lucky to have the coaches, players and alumni we have today.

EA Sports NCAA '08 game.

First blog here. I'm stuck here away from the island like some of you. Luckily its not Sept 1st yet. Dying for the season to start. And what usually helps ease the long summer drought of UH sports is the yearly release of EA Sports NCAA football game. This is the first year its being released on the PS3, and the graphics are supposed to be intense. I heard though that the game developers had decided that the silver helmets are our default helmets. I'm hoping someone out there can unlock or create the true green helmets that are our colors.

Here's a shot of Aloha Stadium at night from the game.

Unfortunately for us Hawaii (and Oklahoma) fans, we have to endure the mugshot of Boise's Jared Zabransky face plastered all over the cover and game disc. I bet this inflates their head even more after their miracle win in the Fiesta Bowl and the national crowning of them as the Cinderella team of the year. And it doesn't help that ESPN loves them too. Did you see the ESPYs?

Luckily there's crazy fans of the game and Hawaii like us that go and make "new" covers for the game. Here's one of Colt that I think I'll be printing out and replace in my game. Sorry Ms Cinderella Zabransky, you'll have a new home at the bottom of my trash can.

Game homepage (there's a Hawaii wallpaer too)

Custom Hawaii covers

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fall Camp Schedule

Stephen Tsai has posted the 2007 training camp schedule, which I am totally stealing:
Here is the Warriors' training-camp schedule:
Aug. 2 — Players report; orientation; NCAA meetings.
Aug. 3 — Practice (with helmets), 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Aug. 4 — Practice, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Aug. 6 — Practice (first time with shoulder pads), 4-6 p.m.
Aug. 7 — Practice, 4-6 p.m.
Aug. 8-9 — Practice, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; walk-through, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Aug. 10 — Practices, 8:30-11-30 a.m., 3:30-5 p.m.
Aug. 11 — Practice, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; walk-through, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Aug. 13 — Practices (first time in full pads), 8:30-11:30 a.m., 3:30-5 p.m.
Aug. 14 — Practice, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; walk-through, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Aug. 15 — Practices, 8:30-11-30 a.m., 3:30-5 p.m.
Aug. 16 — Practice, 8:30-11:30 a.m.
Aug. 17 — Practices, 8:30-11-30 a.m., 3:30-5 p.m.
Aug. 18 — Practice, 8:30-11:30 a.m.; walk-through, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
* On Aug. 16, players move into dorms; Murphy's Pigskin Pigout at 5 p.m.
There's also more to read from that Warrior Beat entry, including news of Jim Caviezel a.k.a Jesus, donating $500 to this weekend's Hawaii Football Camp, and news that Stephen got crapped on, and not in a metaphorical sense.

June Jones Q&A Part 2 / Manuwai / L. Gibson / Etc.

The Star-Bulletin has the second installment of the June Jones Q&A. He talks about the running backs, letting Graunke play more, incoming players, playing service academies in the future, and his defensive philosphy. A pretty long excerpt:
...Takeaways and being the top offensive team win more games than any other combination.

Q: Is it hard to get defensive coaches to subscribe to that?

A: It is, because it's been inbred in them for so long that you want to burn the clock. And I said, If you don't want to be on the field get off the field! Stop 'em in three plays. (Take the ball away.) Yeah, exactly. Get me on the field!

So the mind-set was not that way. I think any defensive coach who coached for me ... I guarantee you they'd rather coach in what we do than coach with what other coaches do. Because I don't hassle them. I say just get off the field and be aggressive and take the ball away. I don't care if they score. Just go get the ball.

Q: They like it that you want them to dictate the action, rather than letting the opponents do so?

A: Exactly. You hold onto your rear end, in every game if you make a mistake in the fourth quarter you're going to lose. I'd rather play the other way. Go blitz. Just go blitz, I don't care. If you sack 'em that's great, if you get a pick, that's great, if they score, that's OK, too.

Q: Have you ever told them, "Let 'em score"?

A: No, I've never told anybody that. But I've had games where I knew they were going to run out the clock and kick a field goal with no time. It's kind of like basketball, the philosophy of letting them have the last shot. They're running down the clock, should you foul them, let them make the one-and-one, and then you've got enough time to make the last shot, or are you going to let them go down the final second, take the shot, and you lose?
I love it. The McMackin Attackin Defense gonna be a monster this year.

Kalani Simpson goes off on a tangent, but a really great one, in this profile of June Jones raising his kids.
Yes, it turns out that even Jones was one of those harried dads -- straight out of a Chevy Chase "Vacation" movie -- who insists everybody get in the car so he can drive them to some wholesome, educational, family fun. While they would rather be doing ... well, anything else. Just anything at all. The way kids always do.

"And they used to just be funny," Jones says, "because I'm a history kind of guy and I would drive them the place, like" -- he's doing the kids' voices now -- " 'No!'

"And I would tell them the story," Jones says. "And they would be like, 'Dad, we don't want to see that again!' "
Pretty funny.


Stephen Tsai talks to former UH offensive lineman Vince Manuwai, who's in town as a guest instructor for this weekend's Hawaii Football Camp, along with:
At least nine other former UH players — including Nate Ilaoa, Dane Uperesa, Michael Carter, David Maeva, Kelly McGill and Ma'a Tanuvasa — also will be guest coaches at the camp, which runs through next week.
This Star-Bulletin article says Garret Gabriel and kicking expert Mike McCabe will be there as well.


Here's a recap of the high school All-Star game incoming DB LeMarcus Gibson played in last night.
"It was an honor to play in this game," Gibson said. "I didn't get picked for a lot of stuff. I went out and did my job. The Hawaii coaches wanted me to make some plays and I did that."

South All-star coach Durwood Anderson of Raleigh thinks the Big 3 will regret not landing a quality player in Gibson, who had offers from Tulsa, Houston and Buffalo.

"A lot of schools missed the boat on that kid," Anderson said. "Gibson is a good kid who wants to do well and has a lot of ability. I think he has a chance to be special."
That's awesome. Congratulations to LeMarcus.


Timmy Chang didn't end up playing in last night's Ticat game, which Hamilton lost, 22 to 18.


And some interesting developments regarding the WAC's TV deal with ESPN.
The Western Athletic Conference, feeling good about itself in the wake of Boise State's Fiesta Bowl victory and a highly anticipated 2007 football season, is betting that its stock will only continue to rise.

Despite a contract extension offer from television giant ESPN this summer, the league did not agree to extend its deal, WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Thursday.


"We have confidence that we'll continue to grow the WAC, and its value in two years will be greater than it is today. ... The WAC has to make sure we get the best possible business deal we can."
Oh no, not CSTV!
Benson said the inability to reach an agreement on an extension now does not mean that the league would be headed elsewhere after its contract expires.

"Right now, I don't sense that there is anyone else in the marketplace that we'd be interested in," Benson said.
Thank goodness. Well, let's hope the WAC continues to "Play UP!" and no one leaves the conference.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Another LP Video / Another Blinn DB / LeMarcus

KHNL has another article with another video news story on Leonard Peters, this one focusing on him getting ready for Jets camp. An excerpt:
"I don't even think I was thinking college when I came out of high school. I was just glad coach (Rich) Miano gave me the opportunity to come and play college. He gave a lot of words of encouragement that helped me through college and so its a great opportunity for me to take a big step in my life."

And nobody's worked harder to get this point than Leonard Peters.

Despite a long list of injuries, the Kahuku and UH grad proved to be resilient.
Best of luck to Leonard.


Stephen Tsai reports that another Blinn DB will become a Warrior.
Pending certification of his transcripts, Adam Warehime will compete in training camp next month.
Warehime will be reunited with UH starting safety Jacob Patek and JC All-America cornerback Ryan Mouton. Warehime and Mouton were roommates for 1 1/2 years.
"I know a lot about Hawai‘i," Warehime said. "It's the right place for me."
Warehime, who is married and has a 9-month-old daughter, played linebacker for Blinn. But at 6 feet and 185 pounds, he is expected to compete at safety for UH.
He can run 40 yards in 4.4 seconds and bench press 325 pounds.
"He's a big hitter," Mouton said. "He was the hardest hitter on the team. He's a cool guy."
Wow. We got the Texas pipeline going, the Washington pipeline, the Mississippi pipeline...

Speaking of which, here's a profile on incoming DB LeMarcus Gibson, from the Sun-Herald in South Mississippi.
Gibson spurned scholarship offers from Tulsa, Houston, Memphis and Buffalo and appeared set on playing at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. Hawaii planned to greyshirt Gibson, bringing him on campus in January, until a scholarship became available.

"Playing at Gulf Coast for a year wasn't a bad decision," Gibson said. "They have a good program, but I wanted to play D-I right now and establish myself. Hawaii has a great program and on the rise. It's a long way from home. I won't have anyone to distract me."

Red Rebels coach Ronnie Cuevas is glad that the Warriors took a chance on Gibson, who has already qualified academically. He's an honor student who had a 3.4 GPA and scored 21 on the ACT.

"LeMarcus is a good kid," Cuevas said. "He's a hard worker and was a leader for us. He was a good student who always went beyond the call of duty."
And it sounds like he's doing very well in the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic.
Harrison Central defensive back LeMarcus Gibson is making a strong case for defensive MVP honors at the Bernard Blackwell All-Star Football Classic on Thursday at Mississippi College.

Gibson made three total tackles and a fumble recovery in the first half, which the North leads 13-7 at intermission.
I'll update this post (or maybe the article will update itself) when that game is over. UH is totally set in the backfield for the next few years. Unreal!

UPDATE: Ouch, looks like he separated somebody's shoulder, and ended the game with an interception.
Unfortunately for the North, Taylor - a second-team All-State running back and The Clarion-Ledger Boys Athlete of the Year in track and field - would carry just once more. A hard hit near the North sideline from Harrison Central defensive back Marcus Gibson sent Taylor to the sideline with an apparent separated shoulder.

Gibson, a Hawaii signee, also picked off a Hail Mary pass on the final play.

"He hit Anton right on the (shoulder) point and it just came out," said North coach Mike Ray of Calhoun City. "I wish we could've had him back there longer. The momentum changed when he went out because we were running successfully.

Junes Jones Q&A Part 1 / Satele / Ticats

The Star-Bulletin has the first of a three-part Q&A series with June Jones. Here's an excerpt:
Q: What's the level of concern for the offensive line?

A: I feel very good about our offensive line. I don't have any concerns. Other than that attitude that, 'We're not gonna get beat.' That's what we've gotta have. You have to have that confidence and you only get it from doing it. You have to do it and then it permeates the room.

Q: How open are the jobs on the offensive line?

A: The top five is pretty solid. (Larry) Sauafea, Estes, Hercules, Keith Ah-Soon and (Keoni) Steinhoff. Those are the top five.

I flipped those guys (tackles) in the spring and I'll continue (to look at it). I think Keith really feels comfortable on the right side. And Keoni about the same on the left side.

Stephen Tsai talks to Samson Satele about his new contract and being first team center.
Told of his place atop the depth chart, Satele recalled: "I couldn't find the words. I was speechless. It's been my dream since I was 6 years old, playing for the Kalakaua Monarchs. I was so happy.

"At the same time," he added, "I know they're not just going to hand it to me. I still have to work my buns off. I'm going to push to start that first preseason game and then that first regular-season game against Washington. I have a lot of work to do, but I don't mind working hard."

And the Hamilton Tiger-Cats face the BC Lions today. Timmy Chang won't start but will most likely see some playing time.
** Back to the Main Page **