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Monday, December 31, 2007

Ti Leaf Unveiling

I'm in the New Orleans Marriott with Chawan Cut, and we just got to meet J. David Miller and his lovely wife Laurie. I hope LizKauai is okay with this as I believe I'm posting her video of the ti leaf unveiling that was held yesterday (?). I'm also posting this from J. David Miller's computer, which is just crazy. Hope he doesn't catch me. Anyway, hope to see all the UH fans waving their ti leaves tomorrow in the stadium.

My pics from New Orleans

i uploaded them to Sportshawaii, so rather than repost them here, I'll just post the link


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sunday Photos

Below are some pictures from tonight's festivities on Bourbon Street -- which was packed with UGA and UH fans. Warrior spirit was alive and well tonight! UH fans were decked out in green, singing the Warrior fight song, chanting "Go Warriors Go!" etc.

The best part was when Willie K led the UH fans gathered near Johnny White's Pub and Grill in a rendition of Hawaii Pono'i. A lot of people were singing it at the top of their lungs and it was just great to hear and be a part of.

Vili was there as well, riling up the fans, doing what he does best. Also saw some coaches, had my first Hurricane, had some great food at Johnny White's, and stepped in a lot of horse crap. Lots of mounted police out and about. Anyway, please enjoy these blurry photos.

Lots of Articles

The Star-Bulletin has some great articles today, and The Advertiser has a whole crapload of articles. Gonna board plane soon, and I'm being charged like $5 a minute to blog, so I'll end it here. Hope to have a new post up tonight. Be sure to check the links in the previous post for more news.

Off to New Orleans

In a few hours, I'll be flying to New Orleans. I will try to blog as much as possible while I'm there, though I apologize in advance in case I fall behind in the news and/or have connection problems and/or am "indisposed." In any case, here are some links for all your Warrior news needs:

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Honolulu Advertiser
KHON Sports
KGMB Sports
KHNL Sports
KITV Sports
Atlanta Journal-Constitution's UGA page
Macon Telegraph's Bulldogs page
Athens Banner-Herald's Dog Bytes
The Ledger-Enquirer's UGA page
Sportshawaii.com Football Forum
Warrior Sports Network Ohana
Stephen Tsai's Warrior Beat (hopefully Garret will continue his link madness in the comments)
Dave Reardon's UH Sports Extra
Dave Gladow's NOLA blog
Leahey & Leahey Blog
Georgia Sports Blog
Dawg Sports Blog

I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones, but these above links should lead you to even more links. You can also check out other sites on the sidebars of this blog. I'll try to update as much as possible. Good night!

Colt is Animated

Jeff T, a crazed, devoted UH Warrior fan living in Wisconsin, sends in his rendering of Colt Brennan as a Simpsons character. Great work, Jeff! Or should I say, eeeeeeexcellent. Love the detail, especially the taped-up shoes (or spats). Click on the image for a larger version.

J. David Miller in New Orleans

J. David Miller, author of the excellent Hawaii Warrior Football: A Story of Faith, Hope and Redemption will be signing books in New Orleans. Here's the details.
Author J. David Miller will be signing a limited number of Hawaii Warrior Football: A Story of Faith, Hope and Redemption during festivities at the Sugar Bowl. There are only 1,500 copies of the book available on site. Extraordinary demand from Hawaii fans has led to sell-outs of the book. The book is now on its fourth printing.
Miller will be available at the Na Koa – June Jones Foundation booth. The tentative schedule is as follows:

Saturday,12/29 - 3:00 - 10:00 PM, New Orleans Marriott (555 Canal Street)

Sunday, 12/30 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, New Orleans Marriott

Monday, 12/31 - 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM, New Orleans Marriott
6:00 - Midnight, Generations Hall (310 Andrew Higgins Drive)
6:00 - Midnight, The Sugar Mill, (1021 Convention Center Blvd.)

Tuesday, 1/1 - 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM, New Orleans Marriott

Fans should make plans now to get their copy while supplies last. Warriors’ Haka will continue to post more details as they become available.
Hopefully, someone can clarify the Monday three places at once deal. In any case, if you're in NOLA and haven't bought the book yet, be sure to check it out.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sugar Bowl News, Late Saturday Night Edition

Chip Towers of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution writes about the task the Georgia defense has trying to stop the Warrior receivers.
"We know Hawaii is going to come out and throw the ball 50 times," Georgia defensive end Marcus Howard said. "They pass nearly 90 percent of the time. This is the type of game a defensive line dreams of."
Chad Nielsen of ESPN the Magazine profiles the four UH receivers. An excerpt:
Against Boise State, Bess somersaulted into the end zone from the 4-yard line. A week later, he read the defense, turned to Grice-Mullen, and said, "Dawg, you're about to score." And Grice-Mullen did. "A lot of that comes with experience and repetition."
The AP's Jaymes Song profiles them as well.
Georgia has been preparing for the "Dreadheads."

"They're the best set of wide receivers since I've been in college football," Bulldogs defensive end Marcus Howard said.
Jake Curtis of the San Francisco Chronicle has an excellent profile of Davone Bess.

Stephen Tsai had the quote earlier, but here's an article from Towers about Tim Tebow talking to Colt Brennan about Georgia.
Tebow was sacked six times by the Bulldogs in a 42-30 loss in Jacksonville. Tebow's advice?

"He said just get rid of it because they're coming," Brennan said. "They're a very physical and very fast defense. They're Georgia. They live up to their reputation and they're just as good as they are any year."
Roger Clarkson of The Athens Banner-Herald writes about the comparatively undersized yet athletic UH offensive line.
"They're the most athletic offensive line that we've faced all year," Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "It's shocking. They're very athletic out front. It's a great system. (Brennan) knows where he's going with the ball. They do a great job in protection. It's going to be a big challenge for us to put some pressure on him and try to not let him move his feet and set and throw the ball."
Here's a Georgia practice report from Dawgpost.com.
"College football is a game about momentum," said Martinez. "You got to grab it when you have a chance and keep it when you got it. That's the challenge again here. Hawaii scores a lot of points and they get rid of the ball quick. We'll have to be able to get pressure, maybe not a lot of sacks, but we have to be able to get some knockdowns. We do a good job with our substitutions at all positions. We've been able to get a lot of guys some experience this year and we'll continue to do that.
Marc Weiszer of the The Athens Banner-Herald takes a look at the contrasting cultures of Georgia and Hawaii.

Here's some news and notes from Weiszer, including this funny story about Georgia defensive tackle Geno Atkins getting a picture with Colt Brennan.
Brennan also obliged when a stranger wanted to pose with him in front of camcorder this week on Bourbon Street.

The guy's name was Geno Atkins. Yes, the Georgia defensive tackle who will try to put Brennan on his backside Tuesday in the Sugar Bowl stopped to meet Brennan when both were with some of their teammates one night this week.

"He was like acting like a groupie," said defensive end Marcus Howard: "All of us gave him grief for that."

"Geno wanted to just meet him," defensive tackle Jeff Owens said. "He was taking pictures of everything we saw. He got Colt Brennan."

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe wasn't thrilled when he heard the news.

"I'm going to have to get him about that," Ellerbe said. "You don't take pictures with the enemy."
Here's some Georgia news and notes from The Macon Telegraph.

Troy Johnson of the Ledger-Enquirer writes about the uniqueness of the UH football team, while his colleague David Ching has some notes about Hawaii's culture, including a section on Solomon Elimimian adapting to Hawaii his first year.

An interesting AP article with some history of sugar in US, and how it relates to Hawaii, Louisiana and the Sugar Bowl.

Thomas Stinson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution talks to Don Murphy about Warrior fever.
There is no way to describe it because nothing like it has gone before it.

Hawaii football, 2007.

How big is it?

"Boy, I don't know," Don Murphy said one recent afternoon. "It's like statehood."
Tony Barnhart of the AJC writes about the dedication of the UH fans.
But let's be honest. If you're a Georgia fan, the LONGEST road trip you had this season was to Jacksonville for the annual game with Florida. That's about a six-hour drive from Athens. The rest of the road games were a five-hour drive or less.

If you're a Hawaii fan, every road trip BEGINS with a five-hour flight across the Pacific.
David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press writes about how June Jones helped to turn around the program.

Here's another June Jones profile, this one from Josh Kendall of the Dawg Post.

And this excellent JJ feature article from Heather Dinich of ESPN.com.

And finally, Pete Thamel of the New York Times writes about what Colt Brennan has learned, enjoyed and accomplished after deciding to come back for his senior season.
He threw for 20 fewer touchdowns and 2 more interceptions (12) this season while slowed by an ankle injury and a concussion. His accomplishments, however, might have transcended the numbers.

“I think this year he’s done the things that the N.F.L. guys wanted to see,” said Coach June Jones, a former N.F.L. coach. “He’s competing and winning games, coming from behind. When bad things happened to him this year, he raised his game another level when he got the ball back. I don’t think he’s hurt himself at all. I think he’s helped himself.”

Interviews and Practice Footage 12-29-07

David Gladow has uploaded today's video clips from practice, which includes great sound bites from Colt Brennan, Hercules Satele and (I think) coach Dan Morrison, followed by interviews with Blaze Soares and Jeff Reinebold.

Stephen Tsai has more quotes from Colt Brennan on his blog.

Blogger Bowlnanza (and other vids)

Scott from Sportshawaii.com does an excellent job in this NBC Sports Sugar Bowl Blogger Bowlnanza video. Host Tiffany Simpson discusses both teams with Scott and Kyle King from Dawgsports.com, who also does a great job. They answer questions about their respective teams, make some bold predictions, and end the segment with a pop quiz Trivia Smackdown! Big thanks to Scott for taking the ball and running with it, representing Hawaii well. Be there!

ESPN's Bruce Feldman takes a look at the bowl matchups and says that this is a statement game for Hawaii.

And be sure to check out KHON, KGMB, KHNL and KITV for their ongoing video coverage of the Sugar Bowl hype and happenings.

Sugar Bowl News - 12/29/2007

Colt Brennan is looking forward to playing indoors.
"I love it," the University of Hawaii quarterback said before yesterday's practice when asked if he's looking forward to playing indoors. "I don't know what it is. The ball has a way of cutting through the air that you can't get when you play outside.

"I know our guys can't wait to run on that fast track. We're going to have an outstanding time throwing the football around in there. We're going to have some fun."
Ferd Lewis writes about Colt's Georgia doppelganger, Logan Gray.
"It isn't a bad guy to be as a quarterback," Gray said during yesterday's practice at the Superdome. "Hawai'i's offense is a fun one to play in, you have a lot of fun slingin' it around trying to be in his (Brennan's) shoes a little bit."
Georgia QB Matthew Stafford sounds like he's getting a little bit tired of all the attention getting paid to Colt.
“As this offense gets better and better and we grow, numbers will come,” Stafford said. “I’m not worried about numbers right now. I’m not trying to get drafted this year. I’m just trying to win games.

“That’s one of the biggest things I think the media do. They fall in love with numbers. It’s something to write about. Wins have always been, in my mind, the biggest thing you can judge a quarterback by.”
Pierce W. Huff of The Times-Picayune takes a look at the UH running backs.

Dave Reardon writes about the UH cornerbacks and how they're able to make plays in Greg McMackin's defense.
"Coach McMackin preached playing as a team, and that's what we did, all season," said Newberry, who intercepted a team-high four passes this year. "When he came in, he said I did a good job last year, but he was going to get me some help, I wasn't going to be on an island all the time."
Les East of the Advocate and WBRZ profiles the UH defense.
Statistically it can’t match the offense, but it’s much improved from last season and has played a part in Hawaii compiling the nation’s only undefeated record heading into the Allstate Sugar Bowl game against Georgia on Tuesday night in the Superdome.

“When you have a great offense and a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and you’re putting up great numbers, the defense is going to be overlooked no matter how good it is,” linebacker Solomon Elimimian said Friday. “But we’re comfortable with what we’ve done. We’ve won games on defense this season.”
Paul Arnett looks at the matchup between the Georgia offense and the UH defense.
Stafford believes the Hawaii defense is going to gamble by blitzing in certain situations. He feels the key for the Bulldogs is to stay out of third-and-long downs so as to counter the Warriors' penchant for coming after the quarterback.

"They do some strange things on third down," Stafford said. "The only team that blitzes as much as them is Georgia Tech, and they come after you on every down. I think if we can stay out of those third-down situations by moving the ball on the first two downs, we should be all right. They have a great offense, but their defense is good, too."
Stephen Tsai talks to Greg McMackin about this D that does strange things.
"These guys are really smart," McMackin said. "Because they're really into it, and they know their roles, they do what they're supposed to do. I'll call 'nickel' or 'stack,' and they're all out there when they're supposed to be."

McMackin ran the same defense when he was coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks.

"(The Seahawks) had more time (to learn plays) because they didn't have school," McMackin said. "We're using three-fourths of what they were using, which is outstanding. We've been able to do things that really haven't been done in college."
Arnett writes about Greg McMackin's two favorite teams.
"The two most special football teams are the one I coached here in 1999 and this one," McMackin said. "It's not even close."
Arnett and Reardon have some additional news and notes.

Michael Tsai talks to many of the UH fans who are in New Orleans for the game.

Stephen Tsai writes about Warriors wearing lavalavas.
"That's what I'm going to do for the rest of my life: wear my lavalava around," Patek said.

Even in his hometown of Victoria, Texas?

"If people ask, 'What's wrong with you?' " Patek said, "I'm going to say, 'Hey, I'm from Hawai'i.' "
Here's an AP blog about Michael Lafaele wearing one.

Here's an AP profile of June Jones, how he came back in 1999 and turned around the program despite bare-boned facilities, etc.
"If (money) was a factor, I would've stayed in San Diego," Jones said. "I always felt the opportunity to do what you want to do in a place where you want to be was worth more. I've been talking about it for 25 years, coming back here and coaching."

Jones insists it's the people of Hawaii that brought him back and they are what keeps him there.

"It's a great place, nothing quite like it," he said.
Matt Hurst of The Press-Enterprise profiles Ryan Grice-Mullins (Mullen).
"I can't say enough about the people here," Grice-Mullen, who caught the winning touchdown pass against Washington to preserve Hawaii's perfect season, said by phone. "Everywhere you go, I'll be in the grocery store, they're just thanking me. Football is that big on this island. Just to know they care about it just as much as you do and support you -- it's a great feeling."
Ferd Lewis profiles dangerous Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno.

Carter Strickland of AJC talks to a couple of psychics in the French Quarter, who make some game predictions.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Interviews and Practice Footage 12-28-07

David Gladow has more interviews and footage from practice today. Soundbites from Greg McMackin, Solomon Elimimian, Myron Newberry and Jacob Patek accompany the practice footage. Interviews with Colt Brennan, Jason Rivers and June Jones follow. Lots of cameos from the Hawaii media in the background!

P.S. Check out the UH Athletic Department's Sugar Bowl photo gallery.

P.P.S. This page has links to Leila Wai's videos from New Orleans.

Apology & see you in New Orleans!

I have to apologize now, as I'll be flying out to New Orleans today. I won't be able to do my news upload, even remotely. There will be so much happening and all the travel time, and the amount of news that there's too much at once.

Please follow the links below that Tombo posted to go to the local news stations websites. They have all of their news up on there.

When I return to Hawaii next week, I'll try to catch up and upload a few here and there.

Go Warriors! See you there or in spirit!!!!

last upload, KHON's countdown, Game 10 vs Nevada & the ICEMAN!

News Videos

I hear that Chawan Cut's computer is giving him fits, so he can't post last night's news anytime soon. Luckily, it looks like more and more these days you can go straight to the source. News from last night is up at KGMB, KITV, KHNL and KHON.

These links are also in this blog's "Press/Media Web Sites" sidebar. Be sure to check often as the news is coming fast and furious!

Speaking of video, Paul Crane and Terry Bowden of StarGames TV preview the Sugar Bowl.

UH D Press Conference, PreGame Analysis

Here's a transcript of the UH defense press conference from the athletic department. Participating were Greg McMackin, Mike Lafaele, Solomon Elimimian, Myron Newberry, Jacob Patek and Adam Leonard. An excerpt:
Question for Greg McMackin - Could you compare Georgia's offense to any teams that you played? "I believe that you can compare their offense to the last five teams that we have played. Obviously, Georgia will be the best team that we will play this year. Philosophically, they are comparable to Fresno State, Boise, and Washington in what they do. They have such great personnel on offense - you have to control the run against them, but they have an excellent quarterback also who can throw the ball. I have known Matthew Stafford since he was being recruited and he is a big time player. If you try to load up on the run he can certainly hurt you with the pass."
Adam Caparell of CSTV.com writes an analysis of upcoming game.
Some think Brennan's nothing more than a product of June Jones' run and shoot offense and many label him a system quarterback. Richt and the Bulldogs would characterize him quite differently.

"The guy is a great quarterback," Richt said. "Sometimes you might have a guy who throws it 60 times a game and he's going to throw for a lot of yards and touchdowns and if you do it a lot you're going to get more yards and more stats. But when you watch him the guy is pinpoint accurate and knows exactly what to do with that ball. And if he was inserted into certain teams who struggled at the quarterback position, he might have led them to a championship."

Richt thinks so highly of Brennan, in fact, that he easily believes the record breaking signal caller could easily succeed in the SEC.

Bulldogs safety Kelin Johnson would concur with his coach. He sees a little Erik Ainge in Brennan and it was Ainge who finished among the top three in nearly all the important statistical categories for quarterbacks.

The only problem is while the Bulldogs have seen plenty of Ainge, they've only seen film of Brennan and what Brennan and Hawaii brings to the table is something entirely different than what they have yet to see this season.

"We haven't faced anybody like them," Johnson said.
And here's an article from CFN's Pete Fiutak looking at both teams and some keys to the game.
No, Hawaii isn't last year's Boise State, but that Bronco team isn't this year's Hawaii. The Warriors have an aggressive defense that's great at getting into the backfield and boasts a secondary more than good enough to hang around with the middling Georgia receiving corps. The return game is among the best in America, the coaching is solid, and oh yeah, the offense led the nation in scoring and likes to throw it around a wee bit.

Practice, Media and Parties in New Orleans

Jaymes Song of the AP writes about the Warriors in NOLA.
Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis watched the first half-hour of Hawaii's scheduled two-hour practice.

"We're not really here scouting," Loomis said. "We're just allowing them to use the facilities."

He was well-aware, however, of the talent on the Warriors, who won their first outright Western Athletic Conference title, finished the regular season as the only unbeaten team in major college football and earned a berth to their first Bowl Championship Series appearance.

Loomis said the Saints' story last year, as far as overcoming obstacles and having a special season, is similar to the Warriors' success this year.
Stephen Tsai has details of the practice. Great quote from Adam Leonard:
It was sunny yesterday, much to the disappointment of linebacker Adam Leonard.

"It feels good to have a roof over your head when you practice," Leonard said. "But I wanted it to rain so I would know what it's like to practice and not get wet."
Two articles from Paul Arnett and one from Dave Reardon on this page. Arnett profiles both teams while Reardon writes about June Jones, his love for Hawaii, and the possibility of him leaving. Hopefully a very very small possibility.
His current contract expires in the offseason. Jones' agent, Leigh Steinberg, and athletic director Herman Frazier want to come to an agreement quickly, in January or February. Such a pact would presumably result in a substantial increase to Jones' $800,000 per year salary -- a bargain by any measurement in comparisons with colleagues, even many less successful ones.

Frazier said last month work has begun on a multi-year extension. But there is no done deal, no agreement in principle.

"Like other years, Leigh is taking care of it," Jones said yesterday. "When this game (against Georgia on Tuesday) is over I'll take some time off and analyze everything."
Arnett and Reardon also have an article looking at the matchup between the UH offense vs the Georgia defense, how UH wound up at the Saints practice facility and this funny exchange:
In his news conference yesterday, Jones talked about how he couldn't get any playing time at quarterback in four years at Oregon and Hawaii, and voila, in one year in the run-and-shoot at Portland State he broke passing records.

"Does that mean you were a system quarterback?" KITV's Robert Kekaula asked.

Laughter filled the room

"I was a system quarterback," Jones answered, also laughing as he labeled himself with the stereotype he fights to keep off of Brennan.
Arnett has a column about the media frenzy surrounding Colt in the Saints practice facility, and Coach Jones being back in the NFL, or at least for now, an NFL facility talking to an NFL coach.

Ferd Lewis writes about the grand treatment UH is getting from the Sugar Bowl, and the efforts to stay grounded.
Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin, who had been to the Orange and other bowls with the University of Miami, termed the Sugar, "the most impressive." Head coach June Jones called it, "super ... just like a Super Bowl." Added assistant coach Jeff Reinebold: "There wasn't some cardboard sign with magic marker that says 'Hawai'i' on it. This bus was the real deal."
For the jazz band that serenaded them at breakfast and upon arrival, the fear is that those cleats might not touch the ground in time for the kickoff of the Jan. 1 showdown with Georgia at the Superdome.

Which is why Reinebold could be heard walking the sideline shouting: "remember, guys, this isn't a vacation. This is about work, right?"
Lewis has some news and notes from the facility as well as some details of the amount of media in town for the Sugar Bowl:
A spokesman for the Sugar Bowl said 408 media members have been approved for credentials to cover the game.

Officials said that number could go higher.

They said the number was lower than last year when more than 500 were granted for a game matching Notre Dame and state favorite Louisiana State.

"It (this year) is a good turnout," added Duane Lewis, the bowl's spokesman.
Gary C.W. Chun writes about Lynn Sapir preparing his bar, Johnny White's Pub and Grill, as a destination for the UH fans in New Orleans.
With Sapir throwing his support behind his home state's team, he and his right-hand man, Sonny Fisher, were starting to decorate the place by unfurling and putting out Hawaii and Warriors flags around Johnny White's second floor. They also were erecting support poles underneath the aged balcony for the many Hawaii fans they were anticipating to come during the next few days.
Michael Tsai writes about the bowl games in New Orleans bringing in a bunch of needed tourist dollars. In his article is a priceless quote from a New Orleans merchant.
Alex Fleming, who works at the Cigar Factory on Bourbon Street, said he anticipated a healthy influx of visitors from LSU — "I figured it would be Mardi Gras II when they came," he said — but he wasn't prepared for such a strong contingent from Hawai'i.

"What surprised me is that people from Hawai'i actually came all the way out here," Fleming said. "I didn't think they'd come, but then all of a sudden it was, like, 'Holy crap, look at all the Asians!' It's been good. It's been good."
I must visit him. I shall bring greetings from the yobo contingent of the Asian Invasion.

The Advertiser has details about a card stunt in the works for the Sugar Bowl.
For two University of Hawai'i alums, the Warrior spirit for the Sugar Bowl is in the cards — roughly 1,600 of them for Tuesday's game against Georgia in the Superdome.

Mia Okinaga and Sonya Miyashiro have done the research and created the materials and are now asking fans that will be seated in sections 320 through 325 to participate.

The cards, when held up together, will spell out "Hawaii" and "Believe."

The cards will be on the seats before the game, and will come with instructions. At the first time out in the second quarter, fans should hold up cards that will spell out "Hawaii." At the first time out of the fourth quarter, fans again will hold up cards that will spell "Believe."
Awesome. Hope it looks good!

The Advertiser also has details of free stuff UH fans can get in New Orleans.
University of Hawaii fans attending the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans will be able to get some freebies — 20,000 UH Warrior fans shaped like helmets and 14,000 ti leaves — while supplies last.
The hand-held fans are helmet-shaped with "Proud to e a UH Warrio fan" on the front.
Hopefully that's just a typo.
The UH Warrior fans will be distributed, as follows:

When: Dec. 30 & 31 and Jan. 1 from noon to 2 p.m. Mayor Mufi Hannemann also will be handing out the fans on game day outside the main stadium entrance from 2 hours prior to kick-off.

Where: Marriott New Orleans, 555 Canal St., room TBA (look for signs) and at the Superdome on game day.
Lee Corso predicts a UH victory in the Sugar Bowl.
Q: Can Hawaii [in the Sugar Bowl versus Georgia] pull off an upset like Boise State did last year?

A: Absolutely. It's a tough assignment playing Georgia down in the South, tougher than what Boise State had last year against Oklahoma. It's a tough environment in New Orleans, inside a dome with a million Georgia fans, and Georgia is playing as well as anyone in the country, winning six straight games. But I still think Hawaii is going to do it somehow. They are going to throw the ball around and outscore them. You take Colt Brennan's arm, with the legs and hands of the receivers, who are among the best in the country, and coach June Jones' mind, and I just think they will put a ton of points on the board and outscore Georgia. They are just so good at that passing game. It is a great equalizer.
From the same Q&A, Corso says if he were an NFL GM, he would take Colt in the draft.
Q: If you were an NFL GM, which quarterback would you want to take first in the NFL draft: Kentucky's Andre Woodson, Louisville's Brian Brohm, Brennan, or Boston College's Matt Ryan?

A: I would take Brennan 'cause he has played more of a pro attack. He can throw the football well, and June Jones is a pro coach. I like the fact that he has been taught the passing game from the ground up from Jones.
Ted Lewis of the Times Picayune writes about the Warriors in NOLA, and talks to Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley about the matchup.
Dooley has conflicted rooting interests in the Sugar Bowl.

Hawaii is a fellow member of the Western Athletic Conference, but Dooley is the son of former Georgia coach Vince Dooley and earned his law degree from the school.

"I don't get all caught up in that," he said. "I'm just an interested fan."

But Dooley said he does think the underdog Warriors have a good chance to pull the upset.

"Their offense has been phenomenal all year," he said. "And it looks like they've played better and better on defense each week.

"Their challenge is going to be containing Georgia's runner (Knowshon Moreno) while not giving up the big pass. But Hawaii's quarterback and receivers are as talented as anyone's in the country. They can score on anybody."
And finally, here's an interesting article comparing Texas Tech's current Mike Leach offense with the run and shoot, which used to be run at TT. There's a few quotes from UH defensive coordinator Greg McMackin.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Georgia, Predictions, Colt Profiles

Georgia coach Mark Richt praises the Warrior offensive line.
When Mark Richt watches film of Hawaii's offensive line, he thinks he's watching an instructional video. Or, at least, that's what he says.

"You could literally put a clinic on from that group," the No. 4 Bulldogs' head coach said Thursday before his team held its second practice in preparation for Tuesday's Sugar Bowl against the Warriors.
"They are textbook in pass protection," Richt said. "When they slide one way or another, it's like a dance team or something, it's very well done."

Hawaii offensive line coach Dennis McKnight played the position for 10 years in the NFL, and the professional influence shows, Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner said.

"I think they are the most athletic offensive line we've played, and it shows on film every snap," Garner said. "It's every single clip, and then you see how hard and physical they play. They are going to get after you. They play with a great tenacity."
Marc Weiszer of The Athens Banner-Herald writes about Georgia thinking back to a previous Sugar Bowl loss as motivation in this game.
Georgia struggled against West Virginia's spread offense with quarterback Pat White and tailback Steve Slaton. Now it gets Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense led by Brennan.

"We could easily take them for granted and they come out and show us out and embarrass us, or we can get pissed off and take care of business and show the nation that we are one of the best teams," linebacker Rennie Curran said.

Georgia didn't take care of business in the 2005 Sugar Bowl.

"The last time we were in the Sugar Bowl, we didn't show up," defensive line coach Rodney Garner said. "We didn't play very good. That left a bad taste in people's mouths for a long time. We still talk about that."

Georgia doesn't want Hawaii to turn into another West Virginia.

"I don't know if we did a good enough job convincing our kids how good West Virginia was, how fast they were," Garner said. "Obviously, we've tried to really emphasize that this year with Hawaii."
Weiszer also has some UGA news and notes, including this excerpt from today's Bulldog practice:
Coach Mark Richt said duplicating Hawaii's run-and-shoot offense with scout teamers like Croffie can't be done because of the precision of the passing game and pace of the offense.

But after Georgia's first Superdome practice Wednesday night, Richt told the scout team players he wanted to see more from them.

"I really didn't think we had a tremendous effort," Richt said. "I thought it was a little bit half-hearted. I just told them if we're going to win this game, you've got to help us prepare. You're job is every one of these practices."
David Ching of the Macon Telegraph writes about UH's tenacity this season.
Exhibit A: In the Warriors' final game of the regular season, they fell behind Washington 21-0 in the first quarter, only to cut the deficit to 28-21 by halftime and eventually win 35-28.

"When they went down by 21, I was like, 'Man, I guess they weren't as good as everyone said they were,' " Georgia tight end Tripp Chandler said. "But then the fashion that they came back showed something that they hadn't been talking about, and that was the poise that their team showed and just how they stuck together.

"That just really shows our team that even if we get up on them in the beginning, that doesn't mean anything. They can come back on us just as quick, especially with that high-powered offense that they have."

Hawaii's ability to fight back was on display throughout a 12-0 season, as the Warriors trailed at halftime or later five times this year, only to come back and win each time. Three of those comeback wins came on the road.
RGM has an update in his blog. An excerpt:
Sorry I took so long for getting back everyone. I'm a little new at this thing but from here on out, I'll be posting multiple entries each day.

Last night, some of the guys went out and toured the French Quarter. We had some fun but we knew that we're here on a business trip so we were definitely on our best behavior. We understand who and what we represent, which is not only the team but the school and the entire state of Hawai'i.
Here's a Sugar Bowl preview and prediction from Ed Shearer of the AP.

Russell Levine has a game preview in the New York Sun.
This game represents the biggest opportunity for Hawaii to prove itself that it is ever likely to have. The Warriors have had showcase games in the past — they opened the 2006 season with an eight-point loss at Alabama, and they are scheduled to play at Florida next fall — but a win here would validate both Brennan's career and Jones's offensive philosophy. A blowout loss risks seeing Brennan's achievements dismissed as merely the product of a system, and seeing the system itself dismissed as a gimmick.

Hawaii must get off to good start to prevent Georgia from simply pounding running back Knowshon Moreno at the line all night. The Warriors have a very athletic, aggressive defense, and they will likely pack the box and dare quarterback Matthew Stafford to beat them. If they can force Georgia to play from behind, they can minimize the effectiveness of the Georgia running game without really having to stop it. If the game becomes a shootout, it's advantage Hawaii.
Chip Towers of the AJC has a prediction as well.
Just looking at it objectively, I don’t believe the Warriors can match the Bulldogs athletically. At least on paper they can’t. Yes, they have a great quarterback. Yes, they have great receivers. They have a very experienced offensive line and, relative to years past, a very good defense under the direction of an exceptional coordinator in Greg McMackin.

But football, in my experience, usually comes down to whipping the guy in front of you, and I see a lot more guys for Georgia that should be able to whip the Hawaii guys they’ll be facing on Tuesday. Let’s face it, the Bulldogs have been recruiting a different breed of player the last several years. As far as blocking and tackling, I have to think Georgia has an advantage there.
Here's a great profile of Colt Brennan by Thomas Stinson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Before he had set any of his 20 NCAA records, Brennan went out to play his first game of catch with some of his new receivers soon after his arrival at the University of Hawaii. He was tall enough (6 feet 3), but a little light (hardly 190 pounds) and didn't pass the ball as much as he slung from a three-quarters shoulder angle. And it was beautiful.

"The one thing I noticed was just how easy his pass was to catch," said Ryan Grice-Mullen, a slotback in UH's pass-mad offense. "A lot of quarterbacks just want to fire every ball. But since day one, he makes it easy on the receivers. It's up and it's out."
And another great feature on Colt from Bernard Fernandez of the Philadelphia Daily News.
"I have to give it to Boise State," Brennan said. "What they did last year gave us a great opportunity to go to a BCS bowl this year. And don't forget what Utah did a few years before that. It made people realize that it's all right to give the little guy a chance.

"Good football is being played in conferences like the WAC. I think if a team like ours does well enough, we should be given a chance to compete against the big boys. We're not just happy to be going to the Sugar Bowl. We're looking to go there and win."

June Jones' New Orleans Press Conference

The UH Athletics website has a transcript of today's June Jones press conference. It's pretty long and has lots of great quotes. Here's an excerpt:

Was it a strategic plan to let the kids experience New Orleans for the first couple of nights? "It was a plan. We didn't have curfew last night and we won't have it tonight. Pretty much every player has at least one family member with them in town that they are spending time with. I am not as concerned, this is a great group of kids and I am not worried we are going to do anything we would be ashamed of. We have pretty much the whole time here tied up from meetings morning till night. It's okay with me to let them experience something they may never get to experience again."

Express your emotions on bringing a team from where it was when you started to this point (Sugar Bowl)? "To be perfectly honest, I haven't had much time to process the accomplishments and really answer that question completely as it has been pretty much non-stop since the Washington game ended and probably had four hours a sleep a night. From the time I wake up till the time I go to bed I have been preparing. I just haven't had time to sit back and say WOW what a year we've had. I don't feel like we are undefeated, I feel that this is just the next game and we need to win it. My team, my relationship with my guys, I am just proud of the last two years and what we have been able to accomplish. I told this to the local media, you know last year we were 11-3 and over the past two years we have won 22 of our 25 games. And in those three losses we were in position to win all three in the final moments. That's pretty amazing when you think about it. And what it really comes down to is the difference that we have learned from last year on how to win. We have had the ball four times this year and had to have a final drive to win the game. That's the difference in being a good team and a great team."

Interviews and Practice Footage 12-27-07

More great video coverage and interviews from "davegladow." This vid contains footage of UH practicing at an indoor (Saints?) practice facility while June Jones talks about the game. Interviews with Colt Brennan, Davone Bess, Adam Leonard and Jones follow. Check out cameos from Stephen Tsai, Ferd Lewis and Robert Kekaula.

P.S. Here a link to David Gladow's blog. He's a New Orleans sportswriter.

New Orleans news

just stuff from the local news last night. All of their reporters must've flown last night, as there wasn't much new stuff. Expect A LOT of local news coverage tonight.

and Game 9 from KHON's season countdown. Fresno State (Boo!!!)

Hawaiian Cajun Bash (Mostly) Sold Out

From their website:
Due to the overwhelming support of Warrior fans, advanced ticket sales have been closed. Limited tickets will be available the night of the event at Generations Hall.
Doh. However, tickets to the other big UH-themed New Year's Eve party, Warriors Rally at the Sugar Mill, should still be available.

Of course there will be other parties around the city, and I hear you can admire the flocks of migratory seabirds on Bourbon Street.

Paul Westerdawg of the Georgia Sports Blog has a post with boozing and other entertainment recommendations.

And if you miss all that, the next day there's the Sportshawaii.com tailgate at Johnny White's Pub & Grill leading up to the big game. In fact, Johnny White's will be open to UH fans the whole week. Be there!

New Orleans Interviews

Via Sportshawaii.com (again) here's some mostly unedited video interviews with Ryan Grice-Mullen-Mullins, C.J. Hawthorne, Hercules Satele and Brad Kalilimoku in New Orleans.

In New Orleans, Praise from Coaches, C.J. Etc.

Dave Reardon writes about the Warriors arriving in New Orleans and getting acclimated with their surroundings.
The University of Hawaii football team -- following an all-night flight from the islands to New Orleans -- rested yesterday, sleeping and getting acclimated to their surroundings.

Today they continue practicing for the biggest game of their lives: the Sugar Bowl against the University of Georgia on New Year's Day.
The Bulldogs held their first practice last night.

UH held its first team meetings last night, after a casual day of rest and exploring the city.
Also on that page is a NOLA weather forecast, as well as a look at the athletic department's finances.

Stephen Tsai writes about Colt Brennan, Davone Bess and Tyson Kafentzis meeting up with the team in New Orleans.
Brennan, slotback Davone Bess, who spent the holidays with family in California, and linebacker Tyson Kafentzis were on the same flight from Denver to New Orleans.

They landed in a thunderstorm. On the drive to the hotel, they saw snippets of a rebuilding New Orleans.

"There's a lot of construction because of (Hurricane) Katrina," Brennan said.

Except for two team meetings, Brennan said, yesterday was "a mellow day."
Reardon also writes that June Jones has a lot of faith in his players to stay responsible and focused.
"Tonight and tomorrow there'll be no curfew," coach June Jones said last night, after the Warriors arrived here yesterday morning. "Most of the players have family here and they'll be doing stuff with them. They'll be fine."

One concern is casinos. There is legal gambling within walking distance of the team hotel.

All-American guard and team captain Hercules Satele said he's managed to avoid going to casinos at previous road games and doesn't see any reason to start trying his luck now.

Not that the Warriors of legal age have been specifically banned.

"(Jones said) try to stay away from the things we're supposed to stay away from," Satele said. "He mentioned it, but didn't really actually say it. I'm staying away from it. The whole season I've stayed away from the casinos."
As Manny Rezentes, the team's director of security puts it:
"We have a town that's open all night. So after the meetings and stuff they can wander the streets. There's only a few nights with curfew, prior to the big game," Rezentes said. "(Jones) wants to treat them like men."
Ted Lewis of the Times-Picayune talks to people from both teams about the distractions of the city.
Since Georgia's football team was staying at the Riverside Hilton across the street from Harrah's this Allstate Sugar Bowl week, Bulldogs senior running back Thomas Brown was considering trying his hand at the slots a couple of times.
That is, until Georgia Coach Mark Richt put the quietus on any visits to the casino while his team is in New Orleans.

"It's OK," Brown said Wednesday after Georgia's arrival to begin its final preparations for Tuesday's game against Hawaii at the Superdome. "I don't think the guys are going to have any trouble living up that.
Here's an AP article about the teams' arrivals, and the distractions.

Speaking of distractions, here are more eat and drink recommendations from the AJC.

Steve Murray of Midweek takes a look at the game. Coach Jones has even more praise for Georgia.
“There is not one guy (on the D side of the ball) who won’t play in the National Football League,” says Jones. “All of them will get the chance to play at the next level. I don’t know how many seniors they have this year, but whatever that number is, that’s how many will go this year.”
The article continues with the importance of the game and of the BCS money.

Steve Chancey of the Albany Herald takes a look at the Warriors from the Georgia perspective. And now it's Mark Richt's turn to praise UH.
The Warriors also have been prolific. Led by quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan, they rank first in the country in scoring offense
“No question, he’s the key,” Richt said. “When you first hear about a guy having a lot of numbers, touchdown passes, and yards, you look at him and say, ‘Gosh, he throws it 50, 60 times a game. He oughta have a lot of numbers.’ That’s probably your first impression. But after studying the film, the regular game film and the TV copy, he is really, really good. He’s special.”
“You get a little better feel for the spirit of the team and the mental toughness and resilience that they have,” Richt said. “I watched that Washington game and they’re down, 21-0, then 28-7 about midway through the third and they came roaring back. And it’s almost as if there wasn’t anybody who could do anything about it.”
Ferd Lewis writes about the importance of UH beating BCS opponents.
Beginning with the 2007 regular-season finale against Washington that punched UH's ticket to the Sugar Bowl, the Warriors have Georgia in the postseason, open 2008 at Florida and, after I-AA Weber State, play Oregon State in Corvallis. It would have been five BCS foes in six games had Michigan State not coughed up $250,000 to buy its way out of the contracted Nov. 24 game.

All in all, it lines up as the most formidable stretch of power conference opponents and should provide the best indication of where UH stands. Win a couple of those and you have a leg up in any argument. Drop the lot and there will be a lot of I-told-you-so being dished.
Ted Lewis of the Times-Picayune profiles Gulf Coast native C.J. Hawthorne.
"C.J. has really come on strong," Hawaii Coach June Jones said. "I really wish he had another year in our system because he could be really, really special."

Hawthorne came to Hawaii basically on a whim, taking an official visit because the other schools recruiting him -- Troy and Marshall -- weren't exactly glamour spots.

"I figured it was a chance to see Hawaii," he said. "But then when I got out there, it was so beautiful I couldn't believe it. I came back home and talked to my coaches. They said it's a great place and they want you while everybody else is just toying around with you. I'm glad I listened to my coaches."
Carter Strickland of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has fun comparing Hawaii's haʻa and Georgia's Soulja Boy. Some excerpts:
Cultural awareness

Hawaii performs the Ha'a to bring all players from every background closer together, from Heisman-caliber quarterback Colt Brennan to Guyton Galdeira, a member of the Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka La dance group organization.

No one has yet seen Georgia's Andy Bailey, from Athens, Tenn., do the Soulja Boy on the sideline.

Survey says: Hawaii

Audience participation

The Ha'a is a series of complicated moves combined with rhythmic pounding of hands on the pads, coupled with tongue-twisting Hawaiian words.

You can do the Soulja Boy.

Survey says: Georgia.
By the time this is posted, the remaining Sugar Bowl tickets will be on sale online.
Today, what few Sugar Bowl tickets remain will be sold online starting at 8 a.m. through etickethawaii.com and at its bowl ticket office in the Marriott New Orleans. UH officials said yesterday they were confident the slow trickle of walk-ups at the Stan Sheriff Center — with more than 100 sold over the past two days — was an indication that all ticket needs in Hawai'i were met.
Ferd Lewis writes about head coaching salaries around the nation and the good chance June Jones will get a big raise.
When Jones' current contract was put into place, the top salary paid in Division I-A was $2.3 million to Nick Saban at Louisiana State. Saban, now at Alabama by way of the Miami Dolphins, has the highest salary at $4 million per season.

"What they (Alabama) did affects everybody," Frazier said.
Jones, who turns 55 in February, has said he could see himself finishing his coaching career in Manoa.

"Oh yeah, I could," Jones said. "I want to coach, maybe, five or six more years. Then, I want to look back and enjoy this season. I want to coach a few more years, probably five or six and then that's it."
And in former UH basketball player news, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post has a great profile of Anthony Carter.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mele Christmas news

lots from yesterday with the team leaving on their charter. Check out the big H on the plane. I wonder if I can get that afterwards somehow. Would look nice on my wall.

Oh, anyways, nice story on Brian Kajiyama, as well as a KITV singalong to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

and here's game 8 (vs New Mexico St.) of KHON's countdown of the season.

June Jones Profile

Here's an in-depth profile of June Jones by Thomas Stinson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, discussing June's days with the Atlanta Falcons to the present. An excerpt:
"The NFL was one of the best times of my life," said Jones, 1994-96 Falcons head coach and a 12-year NFL coaching veteran. "I'll get another opportunity to go back.

"But this has been a real blessing for me. I have a love for the people of Hawaii, and I'm happy that I was able to come back here and do what I can."

In the Manoa Valley, where even clear days are filled with periodic mistings, one rainbow follows another across the morning sky as Jones comes to work.

This is where his Warriors practice, and it becomes easier to understand why Jones came here in the first place. The volcanic Diamond Head rises to the east, the Pacific Ocean sparkles to the south. Xanadu has a home team.

"We get everything done," Jones said in a recent interview, "and we have fun every day."

Warriors Touchdown

Via Couz at Sportshawaii.com, a short clip of the Warriors arriving in New Orleans.

Farewell, Food and More Food, Arrival, Tips, Etc.

Robert Shikina writes about the fans who came out to send off the Warriors to NOLA.
Dozens of University of Hawaii fans greeted the Warriors at Honolulu Airport yesterday before they left to play the University of Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl on New Year's Day in New Orleans.

Some fans waited outside the airport terminal, while others met the team inside the security area.

"I'm just surprised how many people came out to support us," said UH linebacker Solomon Elimimian. "It's fun but it's time to refocus. It's about business. It's about doing something that's never been done before."
In his article about the sendoff, Stephen Tsai wins the unofficial line of the day award.
Like most of his University of Hawai'i football teammates, all Blaze Soares wanted for Christmas was two front seats.
Tsai also recounts the frenzy over t-shirts Jason Rivers made for his teammates.
"It's a dream come true," said running back Daniel Libre, rummaging for a size-L shirt. "

"This completes the collection," receiver Jett Jasper added.

Punter Tim Grasso said: "It's a cherry on top. (Rivers is) one of the best players on the team. To finally get a shirt is great. My dad's his biggest fan. Every time my dad sees him, he says, 'That's Jason Rivers! That's Jason Rivers!' I'm like, 'Yeah, dad, calm down.' "
RGM's blog has pics from the sendoff and the arrival in New Orleans.

Michael Tsai compares Hawaii to New Orleans and writes about some things visitors can expect to see.
Hawai'i fans may be tempted to pay a visit to the Warrior quarterback's namesake Brennan's Restaurant, reknowned for its gourmet breakfasts and courtyard dining.

Another must-stop for many tourists is internationally known Cafe du Monde, which has coffee and beignets available at seven locations around New Orleans. (The shop's coffee with chicory and beignet mixes are popular take-home items.)

For a slightly seedier experience, there's no shortage of bars and adult entertainment shops along Bourbon Street (think Kuhio Avenue meets Hotel Street, with better restaurants), and for those who seek maximum efficiency, "Big (expletive) Beers" in plastic cups are available from take-out windows for convenient drinking and staggering.
M-Tsai's article also has a handy list of restaurants and the various UH parties.

Betty Shimabukuro talks to Elmer Guzman, owner of the Poke Stop in Waipahu, who worked in Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans kitchen for a few years. He offers even more food recommendations. An excerpt:
Any Bourbon Street sandwich shop: Try a Po' Boy -- fried oysters, shrimp, roast beef and countless other fillings, served on crusty French bread with Remoulade, a sauce of mayonnaise, ketchup, Worcestershire, garlic and spices that will vary by eatery. "Locals are going to think it's a chunky Thousand Island Dressing."

And add these to your list: Steamed crawfish, etouffée (a seafood stew), gumbo (a soupy stew of many types), blackened red fish (snapper), andouille sausage.
Daddy's gonna come home fat. And while we're on the food recommendations, don't forget to check out this excellent restaurant recommendation rundown from the Georgia Sports Blog, which I've linked in the Sugar Bowl Info sidebar.

Laurie Au offers some safety tips for visitors to New Orleans.
While New Orleans officials acknowledge the high volume of crime in the city, they say most of it is occurring in historically dangerous parts of the city. They advise visitors to stay in tourist areas, such as the French Quarter and around the Superdome, which are relatively safe.

"In reality the French Quarter and the business district is relatively as safe as anywhere else in the country," said Anthony Radosti, vice president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a statewide nonprofit watchdog group based in New Orleans.
On the same page, Gary C.W. Chun talks to Hawaii-born Lynn Sapir, who is hosting Warrior fans at his bar, Johnny White's Pub and Grill.

Dave Reardon reminds you that the Star-Bulletin will have tons of coverage from NOLA, and has this quote from June Jones:
Jones has coached in the Superdome before in NFL games, but not in a contest of this magnitude. He said the hype will be akin to that other bowl, the one the pros aspire to.

"I think it will be very similar," Jones said. "Especially with LSU being there, too, in the same hotel (for the national championship game Jan. 7). It's going to be a Super Bowl atmosphere."

The Star-Bulletin begins its on-site coverage with online reports tonight and in tomorrow's print editions.
Here's Dave's first blog post from the trip. And here's Stephen Tsai's post about the team's arrival.
The Warriors arrived safely in New Orleans at about 1 a.m. Hawai‘i time.
According to media relations director Derek Inouchi, the Warriors were greeted by the Sugar Bowl committee and an eight-piece jazz band.
Quarterback Colt Brennan, slotback Davone Bess and the other players who did not travel on the charter are expected to arrive in New Orleans today. June Jones set a reporting deadline of 8 p.m. Central time.
Ferd Lewis writes about the potential the Warriors have to throw another wrench into the gears of the BCS.
Most people believe, incorrectly, the BCS was designed to determine a national championship. It wasn't. It is supposed to assure that the lion's share of the postseason money — more than $100 million — stays in the pockets of the power conferences. For this the best BCS minds had put together a formula that was supposed to largely fence out the lower classes but leave just enough room to mollify Congress and monopoly-charging lawyers.

And now along comes UH to squirm through a hole in that fence, doing it with a schedule that has drawn comparisons with French pastries.

If the Warriors — and they are 9-point underdogs on some betting lines — should somehow win, they will not only reinforce everything Boise State did last season but expand upon it. And there would go another chunk of the BCS' argument for controlling bowl berths and staving off a true national championship playoff.
The AJC has a list of 10 "facts" about UH.

Here's an article from Josh Kendall of The Macon Telegraph about the Bulldogs heading to New Orleans.

And finally, an article from Billy Turner of the Times-Picayune about the Bulldogs getting over their disappointment over not playing for a national title.
"It was disappointing from the standpoint that if you just looked at the fact we were No. 4, and Nos. 1 and 2 lost, it would seem that we would move up to No. 2. But we didn't expect it," Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "A lot of people assumed we would move up. Our kids didn't understand. From my standpoint, we're excited about where we're going to be, in a BCS bowl. We were disappointed about two hours. We went from the euphoria of seeing those teams lose to seeing, as a defense, who we were going to play. It was, geez, we drew Hawaii. The players know we have these guys. They kind of refocused after that."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No SMU, Warrior Fever, RGM Blogs

While SMU may have an interest in June Jones, June Jones has no interest in SMU.
"I have not heard from them, I'm not gonna hear from them," Jones said Tuesday just before boarding the University of Hawai'i's charter flight to New Orleans, site of the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl against Georgia.

Asked if he had talked to SMU or was interested, Jones said, "No."

Jones said: "I'm just interested in the University of Georgia."
Stewart Yerton of NOLA.com has an interesting article taking a look at the epidemic of Warrior fever. It also has bits of information about the UH players, fans, culture, etc.
Hawaii fans are so excited about the game that they are willing to endure what can amount to nearly a full day in crowded airports and cramped airplane and rental car seats to get to New Orleans. Direct nonstop flights between Honolulu and New Orleans don't exist, except for a few charter flights. And one-stop flights quickly filled. That has forced people to take tortuous routes.

Regan Onikama is typical. A Honolulu mortgage broker, Onikama plans to leave Honolulu on Saturday at 9 a.m. on a four-hour flight to Los Angeles. In L.A. he will switch planes for a two-hour flight to Phoenix, where he has another connection to Houston. After arriving in Houston at 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, Onikama plans to rent a car and drive to New Orleans, where he hopes to arrive by 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
Also in the article, our athletic director has this to say about the schedule and Hawaii's success this year:
"We just had a one-year mishap that we were able to fix," he said. But Frazier added: "Would you be sitting here talking to me if we had played USC the first game of the season and Michigan State the last game? I don't know."
As always, finding just the right thing to say. Gee, thanks.

Ryan Grice-Mullen-Mullins will be keeping a Sugar Bowl blog, writing about his experiences on the trip. An excerpt from his first entry:
What a send off we had. There was a motorcade for our team buses that blocked all the freeway on-ramps and we had the freeway all to ourselves. At the airport, fans greeted us and there was even a band.
Our fans are truly the best in the country. We're just about to take-off. See you all in Nawlins.
And finally, the few remaining tickets will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday).
The University of Hawai`i has put its remaining Allstate Sugar Bowl tickets on sale to the general public and will make the tickets available until Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 4:00 p.m. (the office is closed on Christmas Day).

Tickets are being sold at the Stan Sheriff Center Box Office on a first-come, first-served basis and there is a maximum of six tickets per person, while supplies last. No orders are being taken by phone or online and fans must show a Hawai`i driver's license when purchasing tickets.

Merry Christmas (eve) news!!!

Hope alls well out there in Warrior land. Here's some news from last night.

and KHON's game by game recap... this time game 7 vs San Jose in the mud bowl.

C&K Show 11

In this episode, C&K document the autograph session craziness.

Part 1

Part 2 is spent trying to find the end of the crazy long line

Part 3, where they find Iceman rockin the Elton John shades, and catch up with the players after the session.

Travel, AhSoon, Kajiyama, Another NOLA Party, Etc.

Kalani Takase has some details about the who's going to the Sugar Bowl, and how much it might end up costing UH.
University of Hawai'i athletic director Herman Frazier said he expects the school will realize at least $2 million from its Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl appearance after expenses are deducted for a traveling party of 542.

It is estimated UH will get a total of $4.5 million for the Bowl Championship Series game in New Orleans.

"Two million, for sure, is probably a good guess-timate and probably have great aspirations to be much higher," Frazier said during a weekly meeting with the media yesterday.

Frazier was unable to give an exact figure, citing numerous variables in the process.
The Star-Bulletin's Craig Gima has more.
The university is spending about $700,000 to $750,000 on three chartered Hawaiian Airlines jets to take the 113-member football team; 17 coaches; 48 athletic department administrators and staff; 281 band members, cheerleaders, Rainbow Dancers and staff; family members; and VIPs to New Orleans starting this afternoon.

Then there is the expense of lodging, meals and ground transportation.

The University of Hawaii also is allowed to buy a gift for each football player going to the game with a value of up to $350.

Some contracts for meals and lodging still have to be signed, so it is not clear yet what the total bill for the travel expenses will be, Frazier said.

"It is a business trip for us," Frazier said. "The money we'll be able to save on expenses will help our bottom line."
Also on that page, Dave Reardon has a breakdown of the numbers, while Jennifer Sudick talks to agent Leigh Steinberg about how UH's success will bring in more money to the university.
The success of the University of Hawaii football team this year will help contributions to all areas of the university in coming years, according to sports agent Leigh Steinberg.

Everything from endorsements, licensing partners and alumni donations to product and ticket sales will continue to rise because of the publicity surrounding quarterback Colt Brennan and coach June Jones, Steinberg said.

"There has been more national press coverage of the UH football program in this last year maybe than the whole history of Hawaii football combined," he said. "And much of it revolves around Colt Brennan."
Discussing Hawaii's success while simultaneously angling to be Colt's agent for $200, Alex. Gong!

Dave Reardon writes that June Jones thinks that there may be close to 35K Hawaii fans attending the Sugar Bowl. On the same page, Reardon profiles left tackle Keith AhSoon.
When Keith AhSoon wasn't protecting Colt Brennan's blindside this year, he was helping him graduate.

Don't worry, it's not what you might think.

"I did a report on Keith for an ethnic studies class about where he came from," the Hawaii quarterback said. "He's a unique guy and it's amazing how well he's adapted. You feel like you could put him in the middle of New York and he'd survive."

There's no snow, no department stores at which to buy big screen TVs and no turkeys to cook for dinner. But, yes, Christmas is certainly celebrated on the tiny American Samoan island of Faleasao, an 8-hour boat ride from the relative metropolis of Pago Pago.
The AP's Jaymes Song profiles grad assistant Brian Kajiyama.
Kajiyama sits with the fans at Aloha Stadium because the coaches' booth isn't accessible by wheelchair. He's not allowed on the field during the game for safety reasons.

Also, Kajiyama hasn't accompanied the Warriors on any of their away games, let alone been on the team bus ride to their home stadium.

That'll change today.

He'll make his first road trip with the team when the Warriors travel to New Orleans.

Reinebold and others on the team lobbied for Kajiyama to attend after it appeared he would be left behind, again. The university has arranged for a wheelchair-accessible bus and hotel room to accommodate Kajiyama.

"To have my official road trip to be a BCS bowl, I'd say that's a heck of a first trip to make," he said.
Mike Griffith writes an article about Georgia not overlooking Hawaii.
Richt said Hawai'i could present as much of a challenge as anyone the Bulldogs might have faced in a BCS game.

"You can see Hawai'i is passionate about the game and very resilient,'' Richt said. "They will not panic and they will not quit. I've seen them down, and they got off the mat.''

Richt, who votes in the USA Today coaches' poll, said he saw enough of the Warriors in late-night games to know what to expect.

"San Jose State, they played in horrific weather, then Washington and Louisiana Tech, Hawai'i has had some games that are heart-pounding barn burners and they came out on the winning end, and that gives a team confidence,'' Richt said. "You turn the film on, and our guys are smart enough to know when they see a good team, it's undeniable. There's no complacency here.''
Griffith also compiles a lot of Sugar Bowl predictions from writers throughout the land. A sampling:
"I'm excited to see Hawai'i, because I think their offense is unbelievable and I don't think they get their just dues. I'm curious to see how they do against an SEC team. I think Georgia will win 35-31.''

Brian Dohn

Los Angeles Daily News

"The best way to stop Colt Brennan is to hand the ball to Knowshon Moreno 40 times. This game is great for college football. Often you get the same old, same old, and this is a match-up you couldn't even imagine to put together on a PlayStation 2. Georgia 34, Hawai'i 24.''

Ron Higgins

Memphis Commercial Appeal
SMU is looking at June Jones for their vacant head coach job.
SMU is interested in Hawaii coach June Jones as its new football coach, according to a source with knowledge of the school's search.

The interest may help explain why SMU is still looking for a coach despite firing Phil Bennett on Oct. 28.

Via Garret at UH Warrior Quotes, another recounting of Colt Brennan's story, this time by David Paschall of the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Presidential candidates seeking to win the state of Hawaii would be wise to get their picture made with Warriors senior quarterback Colt Brennan.

"He could get anything he wanted to win on this island right now," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "He could be governor. He could be speaker of the house. We could go back to the royal times, and he could be king."
Kalani Simpson returns with his all-time all-UH team.

And the Advertiser has details of the Hawaiian Cajun Bash party in NOLA, as well as info on another New Year's Eve party at The Sugar Mill.
University of Hawaii fans in New Orleans can celebrate New Year's Eve with other UH fans, celebrities, former UH players and current NFL players at The Sugar Mill in New Orleans' Warehouse District.

The event will be held from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. The venue, located at 1021 Convention Center Blvd., is within walking distance from most hotels and the French Quarter.

Entertainers scheduled to perform include Willie K., Vili the Warrior, Augie T., Na Leo's Nalani Choi and others.

Also expected to attend will be former UH players Samson Satele (Miami) and Isaac Sopoaga (San Francisco).

Tickets are $49 in advance and $59 at the door. Children under 10 are free.
Man, that sounds like it's gonna be an awesome party too. Tough choice! You can get more info at www.warriorsrally.com.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sunday night news

stuff from the last home practice before the guys have off for christmas.

also, here's part 6 of KHON's countdown. vs Utah State

Last Practice, Believe, Merry Christmas

Gotta jet, forgot about a family function I need to be at. Here are today's articles!

Practice reports, news and notes, etc from Dave Reardon:
The Warriors finished their final home workout of the year with a relay race won by the defense. Cornerback Ryan Keomaka anchored; he sprinted to the finish and was lifted by the rest of the green shirts as if he'd just picked off a pass to win the Sugar Bowl.

It didn't meet with coach June Jones' complete approval, as the last thing he wants is more pulled muscles before the team leaves tomorrow evening for New Orleans and its Jan. 1 date with Georgia at the Louisiana Superdome.

"No racing!" Jones yelled from the other side of the practice field.
And from Stephen Tsai:
For quarterback Colt Brennan, the circle was complete. Twenty-nine months earlier, as a recent transfer from Saddleback Community College, Brennan met his new UH teammates on the grass practice field.

"It's amazing," Brennan said. "It's crazy how fast time flies. You don't think about it, and now it's my last day. It's crazy walking off the field like this. That's the best part of living life — growing up and moving on."
Michael Tsai writes about the faith and beliefs held by Warriors like Solomon Elimimian, Jacob Patek, Desmond Thomas, and others.

Dave Reardon has a column about yesterday's Boise State loss to ECU in the Hawaii Bowl.

Ferd Lewis writes about a couple bad losses by WAC teams.
To have the Broncos dominated for much of yesterday's game and, eventually, lose to an East Carolina team that did not make Conference USA's title game didn't do much to polish the WAC's image. Nor did having Nevada, a team UH needed a field goal to beat, so thoroughly worked over by a middle-of-the-pack Mountain West Conference team. Still to play is Fresno State, which meets Georgia Tech Dec. 31, the day before UH's Sugar Bowl appearance against Georgia.
And finally, an awesome, heartwarming Christmas story from Scott at Sportshawaii.com.

My take on the autograph fiasco

Ok, this is a blog right? So I can blog my thoughts on things right? Ok, Tombo, don't get mad at me, but this is what I wrote up and shared on Tsai's Warrior Beat, but I wanted to post it here too.

How many times this year have the "headless" honchos up in their offices failed us. Yet we as fans continue to support because its Hawaii's team. Our team.

do they not understand up there at the athletic department? this is the BIGGEST year ever in our history. Stop hiding behind the statement "this is our first time, give us some slack" how many years have you been doing your job? what "big time" schools have you come from before? this isn't your first job at an athletic department. wouldn't you make EVERY effort to pre-plan to the most extreme BEST case scenario? and this one amazingly might not be the headless HF honcho's fault. you can place this one on our public affair's guy, the associate "headless" man himself, Mr. JM. watching him on the news yesterday sickened me(see previous blog below). How can he say all was a success and that yesterday was for the fans and not realize how screwed up the situation was.

Maybe he should personally apologize to each and every kid who walked away empty handed. Apologize to every parent who has to somehow explain to their young one why they couldn't see their favorite players. Apologize to every other fan who just wanted to get close to their idols and now have nothing to have or give away for Christmas.

What in your right mind would make you think that there wouldn't be a good turnout yesterday? How many people showed up at the Aloha Stadium autograph session earlier in the year? How many HOURS (notice, PLURAL ) were there lines?

hopefully some of those "headless" honchos take their failures to New Orleans and never come back. i know they're dying for this season to be over, so people can get off their backs, but that won't happen.

let's see what else is left....

- JJ's contract
- Murakami stadium turf
- Cooke field's non existent turf
- and finding their HEAD

and that was my rant of the year. i'm still upset though.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Autograph Session, Sugar Bowl News, Etc.

Chawan compiles last night's news about the craziness at yesterday's autograph session, little kids doing the haʻa, some Sugar Bowl news, etc. From KITV and KHON:

From KHNL and KGMB (which includes a cameo from C&K!)

Will Hoover writes about the fans who showed up.
In fact the session lasted 70 minutes. But at an average of six autographs a minute, Brennan signed around 420 to 450 autographs — factoring in an amazing speed-signing frenzy in the final moments.

Trouble was, officials said ten times as many autograph seekers showed up to have the star quarterback sign helmets, books, posters, photos and footballs.
The Advertiser has a photo gallery of the session.

Here's Stephen Tsai's take on the craziness.
The self-inflicted problems stem from the school's consistency in underestimating the fans' support and an inability to properly address the demand. The thing is, when it comes to once-in-a-lifetime situations, there's never a second chance to correct misjudgments.
Yesterday's problems could have been minimized.
Gene Park writes about the craziness as well.
The autograph session lasted a little more an hour. But it still wasn't enough to accommodate all of the fans that showed up.

As Brennan was being ushered into a van, Warriors fans who were only a few feet away from him chanted, "Five more minutes!" But Brennan departed, and the other players left soon afterward.

Some fans who lined up at 8 a.m., two hours before a line was supposed to have started, couldn't even get to Brennan.

That's why Alvin Jamikawa, 50, of Palolo went to the gate at about 3 a.m.
Lots of pictures on that page as well, along with news that "The Largest Shuga Party in Hawaii" has been cancelled. And on the same page, Park writes that the scalper market has taken a hit.
Just a couple of weeks ago, scalpers were asking $300 for the cheap seats with a face value of $125.

Last night, tickets were still available at the Stan Sheriff Center box office and scalpers were selling tickets for $100, $25 below face value.
Dan Nakaso writes about the many Sugar Bowl contests and giveaways.
Central Pacific Bank allows only one entry per person for its contest to win two plane tickets, three hotel nights and two Sugar Bowl tickets on the 30-yard-line in section 617 in the upper rows of the Superdome.

Even with the restriction, CPB's 38 branches still have been averaging a combined total of about 1,000 entries per day for its Dec. 27 drawing for a winner.
Stephen Tsai writes about Dan Kelly signing autographs, Siave Seti rejoining the team after attending his grandmother's funeral, Sugar Bowl gifts, and a young Warrior.
Steven Su, who turned 12 yesterday, is in a wheelchair because of a birth injury. He had spent most of his life as a ward of the state. But this season, he has become an important member of the Warrior family.

"He's a really nice kid," defensive end Francis Maka said. "He's one of those purely innocent people. He comes into our locker room after (home) games, and it's always so nice to see him. He's always smiling. Everybody loves it when he comes around. He's our inspiration."
Dave Reardon writes about Le'Marcus Gibson's recovery and rehab from a knee injury, has injury updates on Fale Laeli, Jacob Patek and Victor Clore, talks to Ryan Mouton about his old high school, which UH QB recruit Bo Levi Mitchell just led to a Texas state championship, and has this from June Jones regarding UH practicing in New Orleans.
After today's final workout at its home field for the 2007 season, Hawaii's next football practice is Thursday -- at the same place where Drew Brees and Reggie Bush prepare for their games.

Warriors coach June Jones said he hasn't seen the New Orleans Saints' practice facility. But the former NFL coach had several reasons to use it as UH prepares for its Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl encounter with Georgia.

"I know they've got an indoor facility, a weight room, basically everything we need," Jones said.

Also, Jones might prefer that Saints coaches and officials get a look at some of his pro prospects, rather than having prying eyes elsewhere getting a gander at the UH schemes.
Paul Arnett speculates about how UH will prepare.
Running out of the Superdome tunnel toward the largest audience to see Colt Brennan and Co. up close and personal is a moment best left to professionals like Jones. Controlling that emotion, playing within one's self at all positions on the football field, especially in the early going, are critical to success. This is where Jones shines as a coach.
And yet another article about Georgia QB Matt Stafford's lack of stats, production, etc.
Stafford does not resent his team's offensive leanings, he said, but he will be looking across the field with a touch of jealousy Jan. 1 when Georgia plays pass-happy Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan averages 43 pass attempts per game and has thrown for more than 4,000 yards this season. Would Stafford like to trade places with Brennan for just one game?

"That," he said, "would be pretty cool."
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