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Monday, April 30, 2007

KITV, KHON Draft Coverage / Ikaika Podcast

This KITV story about the Warriors taken in the draft has links to video of two Rob DeMello sportscasts from this past weekend. The video entitled "Day 1: Warriors Chosen" has Robert Kekaula interviewing Ikaika Alama-Francis and Samson Satele, along with Samson's dad. The video entitled "Day 2: UH Players" has Kekaula interviewing Reagan Mauia, Nate Ilaoa and Melila Purcell.

And here's a link to video of John Veneri's KHON broadcast recapping the draft. There are interviews with Mauia, Purcell and Ilaoa. Veneri also reports that Ross Dickerson was trying to work out a free agent deal with a team, possibly New England.

======

Bennie & Jeff, a sports radio talk show on WTKG in Grand Rapids, Michigan interviewed Ikaika Alama-Francis about getting drafted by the Detroit Lions. Here's a direct link to the podcast MP3, and if that doesn't work, here's a link to WTKG's podcast web page. You can find it on the bottom right.

Warriors in the Draft

Following up on the previous post, here are a few noteworthy news stories and links from other national sources about the Warriors who were drafted this weekend.

From the Express Times in New Jersey, regarding Nate Ilaoa.
Powerful back packs 248 pounds onto 5-8 frame and also played fullback in college. But the Eagles are looking at him as a halfback, according to Reid. Rushed for 990 yards on just 131 carries as a senior.
From the Sun Sentinel in South Florida regarding Samson Satele and Reagan Mauia. June Jones had some great things to say:
"I'm excited for the Dolphins because they got two good football players and great kids, just what they're looking for," said Jones, who coached the Falcons from 1994-96. "Of all the players I've ever coached, and that includes [Pro Bowl fullback] Craig ``Ironhead'' Heyward, Reagan is the most physical and best football player.

"Samson is a powerful pass pass protector and run blocker, and I put him in the same category as [Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz] on the Bears."
Miamidolphins.com also has audio as well as transcripts of conference calls Samson and Reagan had with the Miami press.

There are more links in the liveblogging posts I did over the weekend.

To finish it out, even though he wasn't in this year's draft, just wanted to link to a transcript where Tampa Bay coach John Gruden talks briefly about former Warrior Chad Owens and how he'll fit in with the Bucs.
(On late round picks helping on special teams)
“That’s the area we got better at, there’s no question about that. We’re a lot better on special teams. If there’s one guy who’s happy with our draft, it’s Rich Bisaccia. Our special teams coach is happy. We got a good kicker here, we got a good punter. We added Chad Owens, a return man that we really liked two years ago out of Hawaii. He is thick and quick and he has a knack for making plays. He and Mark Jones will battle for that role and one of those guys has to step up and become the punt and kickoff returner. We can’t have a guy return punts, and kickoffs, and a long snapper, and a nickel back, and a fourth receiver. Somebody has to become more sophisticated and become all-purpose. We’re going to have competition there and it’s going to be interesting.
Good luck to Chad! Hopefully he'll be playing against a lot of his former teammates this year.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention that Ikaika Alama-Francis has a new post on his blog. Here's an excerpt:
I drove back to my place and there were 100 people there. I was like is this all for me? What's going on? There were family, friends, and neighbors there, even some fans. My family was so happy. It was a really good thing to see.

It's hard to find Lions stuff out here in Hawaii. I really wanted a hat, but I went around everywhere today and couldn't find one. All of it was sold out. I had to drive out to the main mall on the island to finally get one.

I'm flying out to Detroit on Tuesday for camps. Am I really a Detroit Lion? I'm so excited.
Go check it out.

Draft Recap

What a draft weekend it was for the Warriors. Stephen Tsai writes about the players who were drafted and the players who received free agent deals. Here's an excerpt:
Only Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State and Florida had more players drafted than Hawai'i.

"That's amazing," UH head coach June Jones said.

Even more surprising is that of the 10 former Warriors who will report to NFL mini camps this week, two are running backs and five are defensive players. The Warriors are known widely for Jones' four-wide passing offense.

"Who knew we were a running back school?" Jones said, laughing.
Here's a list of the players and the teams they're going to:

Ikaika Alama-Francis - Detroit Lions
Samson Satele - Miami Dolphins
Reagan Mauia - Miami Dolphins
Tala Esera - Miami Dolphins
Nate Ilaoa - Philadelphia Eagles
Mel Purcell - Cleveland Browns
Leonard Peters - New York Jets
Dane Uperesa - Cincinnati Bengals
Kenny Patton - Oakland Raiders
Lawrence Wilson - Baltimore Ravens

In addition, Stephen Tsai writes that Ian Sample and Chad Mock are negotiating with the B.C. Lions of the CFL. Congratulations again to all the Warriors!

Cindy Luis talks to the players about how well UH did in the draft.
"I am not surprised, not with the season and the type of team we had," said Ilaoa, who led the 11-3 Warriors in rushing yards with 990 and scored 13 touchdowns. "It shows the kind of actual talent we have.

"For us to tie with USC (in picks) means we're not a fluke, or a gimmick offense, or whatever they like to call it. We have something very special here and (this draft) confirmed it."
Ferd Lewis writes about the amazingness of it all.
But the NFL selecting in bulk this year is the kind of an advertisement the Warriors couldn't buy. The kind of affirmation they needed. "Every young person dreams of playing in the NFL, whether it is realistic or not, and they look at your school to see how many you put there," said UH assistant coach Rich Miano, a sixth-round pick in 1985. "And this (year's draft) helps us out in so many ways."

...

While this draft was foremost a tribute to the players, it is also a sign the coaches are doing a lot right. Not only in coaching fundamentals but in evaluating and developing talent. While Nate Ilaoa was heavily recruited, Purcell and Satele were only lightly so, Mauia hardly at all and Alama-Francis was a walk-on from basketball.

Years later, however, they have put quite the exclamation point on the UH football program.
Well said.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Juggernaut Quantum Duality Theory

Intro

Much like light, which has characteristics of both a wave and a particle, The Juggernaut, aka running back "Reagan Mauia", possesses dual paradoxical properties -- that of an irresistible (unstoppable) force, and an immovable object. Indeed, The Juggernaut can be regarded as the "light" of his new team, the Miami Dolphins -- an idea some people may fail to see. Yet much like the ultra-violet range of the electromagnetic spectrum, it's not visible, but it is indeed there. And it will burn you. Just ask any unsuspecting defender. On a similar note, for many defenders, The Juggernaut is also in the ultra-violent range of the kick-ass spectrum. But back to the original point:

Hypothesis

Logic dictates that an immovable object and an irresistible force cannot exist in the same universe. The Juggernaut Quantum Duality Theory posits that not only can both exist in the same universe, but they can be embodied in the same football player. As impossible as this sounds, this embodiment of opposites within The Juggernaut is, ironically, the main reason both can exist in the same universe. For you see, since The Juggernaut can never meet himself, one property can never give into the other, and therefore the theory can, conveniently, never be disproven. Unless Reagan runs into a mirror. But in that case, it would be more about the mirror than Reagan himself. The mirror would be a goner, by the way.

Formulae

To comprehend how The Juggernaut can be both an irresistible force and an immovable object, one must look at the math. Quantum theory is explained through many mathematical equations, but is based mainly on Planck's constant:



I don't understand it either. The Juggernaut Quantum Duality Theory's Irresistible Force Axiom uses a much simpler math equation:

J + football = 7

where J = The Juggernaut

An exception to this equation occurs when the kicker misses the PAT. But on the whole, this equation is based upon a solid mathematical foundation.

The Juggernaut Quantum Duality Theory's Immovable Object Axiom uses a similar equation:

J + bl =

where bl = Blitzing Linebacker and = Dead Linebacker.

As you can see, neither of these axioms are mutually exclusive, yet taken together they demonstrate that both forces are indeed embodied in the same football player, however ridiculous and fantastical that may seem.

Conclusion


The preceding formulae explain the properties of The Juggernaut, yet much research still needs to be done. The only way this theory can be proven or (doubtfully) disproven is out in the field. And luckily, Dolphins Stadium appears to be the ideal field for this purpose. It is unfortunate that linebackers and defensive backs will be maimed in the process, but for the sake of science and the furtherance of mankind, it is undoubtedly necessary. It is my prediction that The Juggernaut shall demonstrate these axioms fully, and will in turn, turn the Juggernaut Quantum Duality Theory into Law, starting in the fall of 2007 and beyond.

Free Agent Signings

UPDATED...

More good news for some former Warriors, from The Warrior Beat:
• Running back Nate Ilaoa was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round.
• Left tackle Tala Esera agreed to a free-agent deal with the Miami Dolphins.
• Right tackle Dane Uperesa agreed to a free-agent deal with the Cincinnati Bengals.
• Safety Leonard Peters agreed to a free-agent deal with the New York Jets.
• Cornerback Kenny Patton agreed to a free-agent deal with the Oakland Raiders.
• Nose tackle Lawrence Wilson signed a free-agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
Congratulations to all!

Draft is Over

Congratulations once again to Ikaika, Samson, Juggernaut, Melila and Nasti for being drafted! I'm pretty surprised that Tala Esera, Dane Uperesa and Leonard Peters weren't picked up, but I'm sure they'll get tryouts with different teams. Good luck as well to Kenny Patton, Marques Kaonohi and the other Warriors who will be going the free agent route. Warriors!!!!

Nate Ilaoa Drafted!

Nate Ilaoa got drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the 7th round! Congrats to Nasti! More news to come.

UPDATE 1: Here's a Nate Ilaoa 2006 highlight video.



UPDATE 2:
Here's a partial transcript of a conference call Nate Ilaoa had with Philadelphia media. Here's an excerpt:
On whether the Eagles have talked to him about where he fits in on this team:

“No, not really. But I’ve been able to watch the Eagles play, and I always felt it was a good fit for me at Philadelphia because of the things [RB Brian] Westbrook is able to do- catch the ball out of the backfield and line up between tackles as well. I always thought that was a good fit for me.”


On whether the Eagles offense is comparable to the Run-n-Shoot offense that Hawaii head coach June Jones incorporates:


“No, I don’t think anybody runs the stuff we run here. The type of formations that Philadelphia runs and the things that they use, as far as their running backs go, kind of compare to what we do here. Somebody as versatile as Westbrook is, they like to utilize him in so many different ways, and that’s the same case here in Hawaii.”

Melila Purcell Drafted!

Mel Purcell got drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 6th round! Right on. More news to come.

UPDATE 1: Here's an excerpt of an article from the Orange and Brown Report.
The Browns used the pick to take Melila Purcell, a defensive end from Hawaii. Purcell (6-5, 280 pounds) was a three year starter and had 60 tackles his senior season. His best season was as a sophomore when he had 74 tackles.

TFY’s report on him describes Purcell as ‘an up and down player through most of his college career. Purcell is a prospect with good upside. He offers possibilities as a left defensive end if he elevates his game.’
No worries about that!

Reagan Mauia Drafted!!!

Holy crap. The Juggernaut got drafted by Miami in the 6th round. More news to come!

UPDATE 1:
From an interview in yesterday's Lodi News, sounds like Reagan already likes the Dolphins.
Q: Do you expect to be drafted this weekend? If not, are there any teams that have expressed interest in you as a free agent? What teams are you interested in?

A: Sure, I think I'll be drafted. I've taken a couple of visits and been in contact with teams.

I've visited Miami, Arizona and the Chargers. I would love to go down to Miami and play for the Dolphins. They've shown the most interest in me.
Oh, and even though I've posted this a few times already, I believe this video deserves a reprise:



Samson and Reagan to Miami, gotta love it!

UPDATE 2: Here's an excerpt from an article by Keven Lerner in the Orlando Sentinel.
Nicknamed "Juggernaut," the 6-foot, 272-pound Mauia is a converted nose guard who has dropped 80 pounds since enrolling at Hawaii. Mauia will be groomed to replace Cory Schlesinger, a 13-year veteran who was signed this offseason as a free agent from Detroit.

"I played nose guard before I went to fullback," said Mauia. "I was big back then, about 351 [pounds]. I ended up converting to fullback and played last year at 290, 300. I recently decided to make the move to lose more weight so I could be more effective on the next level."
Awwwwww yeah, congratulations again to The Juggernaut!

Ohana Festival Wrap-Ups

Michael Tsai writes about all the fans who came out to watch practice and get autographs. A great experience for these young fans:
Seven-year-old Justin Davis stood expectantly at the front of that line with a football.

He had attended his first UH football game last November when the Warriors defeated Purdue 42-35 behind Brennan's 434 yards and three touchdowns.

"It got him fired up and now he wants to go to every game," said Lynn Davis, Justin's mother.

Thirty-year-old Jennifer Stevens and her son Jeremy, 9, arrived a few minutes late and found themselves 100 yards and at least an hour back in line for a Brennan autograph.

...

And why does Jeremy like Brennan?

"Who?" Jeremy said.

"The UH player you always watch," Stevens reminded.

"Oh," Jeremy said. "He's my favorite player."
Kalani Simpson thought Brennan signed autographs with aplomb. Simpson asked Brennan about how being in Hawaii has made him a better person.
"I think for me, I came here in kind of such crisis in my life, at a time when I was in such crisis, and just trying to grow up and become a man, and mature and everything," he said after practice that day. "I came here kind of as still a kid, I was still growing up.

"And now I feel kind of like I've had a couple years where I've been kind of in the spotlight, and really have grown up a lot. And as I've been growing up, I just like the person -- kind of the morals and the values that Hawaii has, that's good about it, I kind of like those. I'm really just enjoying the person I'm becoming out here in Hawaii. Not just only as a football player, but as a person as well."
Right on.

Jason Kaneshiro writes about the Warriors' progress on the field.
"We got done what we set out to do this spring, looked at a lot of guys," Jones said. "We wanted to make sure we gave everybody an opportunity."

With Greg McMackin returning to take over defensive coordinator duties at the start of the spring, implementing a new scheme was also one of the top priorities.

"We've got in more than we did the first time I was here," said McMackin, who coached the UH defense in 1999. "These guys are really smart players and have done a great job of picking up things. I'm really excited about this bunch. I threw a lot at them."

"We got everything done that was on the agenda, and even more than what Coach wanted to put in because we handled it so well," said safety Jacob Patek, who had two interceptions during 7-on-7 drills last night. "I think we're going to start off on the right foot and build from there."
Stephen Tsai has more details of the defense Greg McMackin is implementing.
Most of all, the Warriors embraced McMackin's multi-blitz approach. The Warriors might blitz on every play, even if the intent is not to hunt the quarterback. McMackin's schemes also call for run-stopping blitzes.

"We're going to go 11 up and go after some people," McMackin said.

McMackin said he developed the philosophy when he was Miami's defensive coordinator in the 1990s.

"That came from Jimmy Johnson, trying to get the fastest guys on the field to make plays," McMackin said. "Size is the big thing for our two tackles, but everything else is speed. And our tackles can run, too. The main thing is coach (June) Jones allows us to blitz, which a lot of coaches don't."
I'm very very excited to see how well the UH defense does this year.

GO WARRIORS!!!!

Draft Day 1 Wrap-Ups

As Day 2 rolls along, here are some wrap-ups from Day 1. Stephen Tsai has a great article about the reactions Ikaika Alama-Francis and Samson Satele had to getting drafted. Here's an excerpt:
And then Satele received the call from the Dolphins.

"I know I have a lot of work to do, but I'm so happy I was drafted," Satele said. "It's so hard to explain."

Alama-Francis could relate.

"It's a dream come true," said Alama-Francis, who will play defensive end in the Lions' 4-3 schemes. "I never thought I'd be in this position. Never. I mean, what do you know? I'm in the National Football League. Me. Unbelievable."

...

"It's going to be a fun ride from now on," Satele said. "I'm going to make my way around Miami and try to find Shaq."
Haha!

Detroit Lions president Matt Millen has more good things to say about Ikaika.
"What I'm looking for is he's got the real good eye-hand coordination, and the balance is extraordinary. Great balance. Good worker. So those are the things he can play, different spots for us.

"So you get guys in rotation, he could play a left end position, he could play an under tackle position, and I think he can play nickle.

"He can play a five, you know, the big-heavy five technique. He can play six, go inside. A lot of the times you can find your under tackles from that left end position. You have your bigger, heavier, thicker guy that eventually can move inside and be a good athlete for you."
Don't forget tight end! Lot of options for Ikaika.

Cindy Luis writes about the money Ikaika and Samson are gonna be making, and talks to Samson's agent Leo Goeas about the other players he's representing and his hopes for them today.
"I think Dane should be the next of my guys to go, probably fourth, fifth round," Goeas said. "But the draft is never a perfect science.

"Esera is right up there and Mel and Nate should go sixth, seventh round. I remember what it was like, the stress of waiting, watching, seeing the clips of players then all of a sudden your phone rings and there's someone saying, 'We just took you.' Sixty seconds it's on TV."
Good luck to the Warriors waiting for the call today.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Samson Gets Drafted

Samson Satele just got drafted by the Miami Dolphins, two picks after Ikaika! Congrats to both of them. More news to come.

UPDATE: Some comments from John Murphy of Yahoo Sports.
By losing out on Ben Grubbs and Justin Blalock earlier, the Dolphins come back with a versatile interior lineman who has starting experience at both center and guard. He'll likely be tried at left guard and as a backup to center Rex Hadnot.
UPDATE 2: Here's a quote from June Jones, from the Advertiser.
"That's awesome," UH football coach June Jones said. "That helps the program. That helps everything. I couldn't be happier for both of them,"
UPDATE 3: Samson talks to Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about himself, his hair, and his attitude on the football field.
Satele is 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, and yes, this Samson also has shoulder-length hair.

"I've been growing it out since I was a little kid," laughed Samson, who started all 53 games of a four-year career with his hometown Warriors.

Rex Hadnot is the incumbent center with converted left tackle L.J. Shelton at right guard. Left guard is up for grabs between Joe Toledo and offseason acquisition Chris Liwienski.

Satele, who has played all three line positions, prefers center, but is flexible. He has played strictly in the run-and-shoot offense at Hawaii, so he will have to re-learn how to run block.

"The more reps I do, the more feeling I get back because I did it a lot in high school," Satele said. "I want to be the best player out here. ... I'm going to be a rookie, but I'm not going to play like a rookie or practice like a rookie."

Apparently, the not-so gentle giant has a mean streak.

"I'm a humble guy off the field. Once I step on the field for practice and games, I just turn into a different guy," Satele said.
UPDATE 4: To go with Ikaika's video below, here's ESPN's coverage of Samson after he got drafted.

Ikaika Gets Drafted

The Detroit Lions just drafted Ikaika Alama-Francis in the 2nd round! More news to come.

UPDATE: Some comments from Yahoo Sports.
He burst onto the scene as a senior. He's real athletic and has excellent size at 6-6 and 265-270 pounds. He suffered an arm injury in the Hula Bowl that likely prevented him from being taken higher
UPDATE 2: Here's a quote from June Jones, from the Star-Bulletin:
"Obviously, we're very happy for them and their families," Warriors coach June Jone said. "It's been an exciting day. And being picked so close together, our program got a lot of play on ESPN."
UPDATE 3: Speaking of ESPN, here's video of Chris Berman and the rest of the guys talking about Ikaika after he got drafted.



UPDATE 4: Thanks to Garret on this Warrior Beat post, here's a quote from Lions president Matt Millen in The Detroit Free Press.
The Lions traded with New Orleans to get the 58th overall pick, which they used on Hawaii defensive lineman Ikaika Alama-Francis. A trade with Baltimore netted the 61st pick, which Detroit used on Boise State safety Gerald Alexander.

Alama-Francis, 6-5, 250, is a former basketball player who switched to football only four years ago.

“His best stuff is coming,” Millen said. “He hasn’t played a lot of football, but what he has played has been impressive.”
Check out Garret's blog of Warrior quotes here.

Ohana Fest / Draft Day

The Ohana Festival / last spring practice will be held later today at Aloha Stadium. The NFL Draft is going on right now. Full day of football!

Stephen Tsai has an overview of some of the first team players as we leave spring. He also writes about the special teams coaching breakdown.
Mouse Davis, who left to become Portland State's offensive coordinator, was in charge of special teams last year.

This year, Jeff Reinebold will be in charge of the punt team. George Lumpkin will be in charge of the punt-return unit. Dennis McKnight will handle the place-kicking units, and team with Rich Miano on kickoff returns and kick coverage. McMackin will be in charge of the place-kick defense.
Dave Reardon profiles Guyton Galdeira, who's leaving spring as the #1 nickelback.
"I started working Guyton there and he's been great, and two other guys. Keao (Monteilh), and (Ryan) Perry," McMackin said after practice this week.

"They're all the same kind of guys," he added. "Smart guys who can blitz, who can do different techniques. Good athletes."

Another good athlete helped Galdeira get the gig. McMackin asked starting receiver Davone Bess for recommendations.

"He kinda helped make up my mind on that," McMackin said of Bess. "I asked him, 'Who are the best corners?' Because I like a corner being the nickel back. So he named off the first four guys, and I said, 'OK, I'm looking for a guy who can blitz like a wild man, cover and be technically sound, and is smart, because he's got to play a linebacker technique, corner technique, safety technique.'

"He said, 'Oh, that's Guyton.'"
Here's Guyton making a tackle on special teams in last year's Fresno blowout.



And finally, Scott Howell of the Lodi News-Sentinel asks 10 questions of Reagan Mauia about the Draft and other things. Reagan has some good answers.
Q: Do you expect to be drafted this weekend? If not, are there any teams that have expressed interest in you as a free agent? What teams are you interested in?

A: Sure, I think I'll be drafted. I've taken a couple of visits and been in contact with teams.

I've visited Miami, Arizona and the Chargers. I would love to go down to Miami and play for the Dolphins. They've shown the most interest in me. Or San Diego. I would love to be under the tutelage of (Chargers fullback) Lorenzo Neal before he retires.

...

Q: Do you have any nicknames?

A: They call me Juggernaut (from the movie X-Men) around here.
Right on! He also says if he makes an NFL team, his first major purchase will be a nice place for his folks, so good luck to Reagan and the rest of the waiting Warriors this weekend.

Friday, April 27, 2007

NFL Draft Tomorrow

From a few days ago, here's a video from KHON of Ikaika Alama-Francis being interviewed regarding tomorrow's NFL Draft. Ikaika and Samson Satele are projected by some to be 2nd round draft picks. We'll find out tomorrow!

2007 WAC Football Preview

The WAC has just released a 2007 WAC Football Spring Preview, available in PDF form. Colt Brennan and Boise's Ian Johnson are on the cover, and there are some good articles inside. I see no mention of "Play Up" though. Did they get rid of that great slogan?

Spring Day 14 / New Corner / NFL Draft

Dave Reardon writes about the competition at running back. Coach Wes Suan talks about some of their best attributes:
Freshman Kealoha Pilares -- known as a shifty and explosive runner as a prep star -- has also made good progress as a blocker. Running backs coach Wes Suan said that improves the 5-foot-10, 187-pound Damien product's chances for meaningful playing time in the fall.

"He's a guy who shows a lot of intelligence," Suan said. "He's turning up all his learning senses. He's receptive and can decipher all the information and put it into the physical. It all makes sense to him."

...

Farmer, a junior, has always managed to find his way into the lineup the past two years despite the lack of blazing speed. It comes down again to the first priority at the position: blocking. He played in 13 games, carrying seven times for 30 yards and a touchdown.

The reason the 6-foot, 231-pound Farmer gets in the mix is simple. He rarely messes up.

"It's knowing what you're doing, and not so much having to demolish a guy, but just knowing what you're doing so you can protect the quarterback," Suan said. "With no doubt, Dave Farmer is doing that the best, technique and assignment-wise."
Wishbone! Wishbone! Wishbone! See, even if you have the #1 offense in all the land, breaking all kinds of records, the fans are never satisfied. And thankfully, neither is June Jones. Wishbone! Wishbone! Wishbone!

Stephen Tsai writes that Daniel Smith, a junior cornerback from Providence Senior High School in North Carolina, has already committed to UH and will become a Warrior in '08.
When that offer came yesterday afternoon, Smith said: "Hawai'i feels right."

Smith and his mother took an unofficial visit to UH two weeks ago.

"It felt like I was back home," Smith said. "The coaches were very nice. There was great chemistry among the players. The guys seemed like they were really close. It felt like a family."
Welcome to Daniel. Tsai also talks to Jason Rivers about coming back for his senior year.
"After being out so long and coming back and having something special with the guys, it's something you can't pass up another opportunity for," Rivers said of his decision to delay his NFL plans. "I gave it a thought, a brief thought. I didn't think long about it. More people were telling me they heard I was going out. But I knew I was coming back before the (2006) season ended."
Dave Reardon talks to a few of the Warriors who are anxiously awaiting the start of the NFL draft tomorrow.
Name a position. Chances are someone's told Alama-Francis he could play it in the NFL -- everything from outside linebacker to defensive tackle to tight end to offensive tackle.

"Hey, I'll punt if they want me to. The more you can do, the more valuable you are," Alama-Francis said. "I'm ready to do whatever they want me to do. I don't have a choice, anyway."

...

"The good thing is I'm hearing from a lot of teams," said Uperesa, who is projected as a late second-day pick by most. But if a run occurs on tackles, Uperesa -- as well as Warriors linemate Tala Esera -- could move up. Players who can protect the quarterback's flanks are a commodity.

"Some of it is agents trying to build up competition between teams," Uperesa said. "You can't get your hopes too high or too low. I've just got to take it as excitement and nothing else."
And Stephen Tsai talks to Samson Satele, who has some good quotes.
Unlike his cousins who also are pro prospects — running back Nate Ilaoa and defensive end Melila Purcell III — Satele avoids reading mock drafts or Internet reports.

"I took a peek once, and it got me kind of mad," Satele said of the critical comments. "All they do is talk, talk, talk."

...

"You know, I've been playing football for 15 years," he added. "The draft is hours away instead of 15 years away. It's amazing that I'm in this position. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it."
Here's a link to a video interview with Samson, from the Advertiser. I'll be posting some draft updates tomorrow. Good luck Warriors!

Also, tomorrow is the last spring practice, and it's being held at Aloha Stadium with autograph signings and fun for the kids. Just keep them away from the sidelines! Be there!

UPDATE: Woops, forgot to post Kalani Simpson's excellent profile of defensive coordinator Greg McMackin.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Nate Ilaoa Profile

Steve DeShazo of the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Virginia talks to Nate Ilaoa about this weekend's NFL Draft. Here are some excerpts:
The former North Stafford High School star could get a call during Sunday's late rounds. Or he could be an undrafted free agent who has to earn his way onto an NFL roster.

"That's fine," Ilaoa said by telephone from Honolulu Wednesday night. "Some guys take the longer road. If you get an opportunity, that's all you can ask for.

"The draft doesn't necessarily mean you've made it. You're just in the door quicker than the other guys."

...

Hawaii coach June Jones--who once coached the NFL's San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons--is convinced Ilaoa can make it.

"He's one of the most talented kids I've been around as a coach," Jones said. "He has unbelievable quickness and vision. He's the real deal. He's a good football player."

...

One of the teams Ilaoa said showed the most interest is the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have a history of husky tailbacks, including likely Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala.

Ilaoa doesn't care where he lands. He plans to watch tomorrow's first three rounds with teammates, several of whom may be drafted. (Center Samson Satele is a likely first-day pick.)
In addition to Nasti, Ikaika, Samson, Tala Esera, Leonard Peters, and Dane Uperesa have all been mentioned by pundits and prognosticators in the past few weeks as being potential draft picks. And who knows, Reagan Mauia, Mel Purcell and Kenny Patton might sneak in there as well. The suspense ends this weekend. Good luck to the Warriors!

No More Texting

Today, the NCAA completely banned coaches from sending text messages to recruits, effective August 1st. Our very own Jeff Reinebold has something to say about that.
Hawaii defensive line coach Jeff Reinbold, who has been a head coach in the Canadian Football League and in NFL Europe, said the text ban punishes the non-BCS Conference schools that are fighting to compete with the big boys.

"We're going to have to do a better job than those other schools and do more because of these limitations now when it comes to building a relationship," Reinbold said. "It's going to make it tougher for a program like ours that's fighting to make the jump into the top 25. It's these type of limitations that kind of hold schools like us back and allow the fat to get fatter."
You tell em! The funny thing is that e-mails are still allowed... which begs the question, does the NCAA realize you can send e-mails from your phone too? Anyway, Reinebold is on it:
"As competitive as recruiting is, the places that do an outstanding job – places like Florida, USC and Ole Miss – those schools will lead the way in finding another avenue to access these players," Reinbold (sic) said.

"For all of us maybe in a different financial situation than those schools, we're going to have to make sure we hit every avenue that we can to keep our name in front of the kids. In a way, it's going to come down to the old style of recruiting where you're finding creative ways to keep your name there in front of the prospects. Whether that's through their girlfriends, high school coaches, a friend or somebody in their family, you're going to have to go back to how things were when you had to hustle harder than the other guy."
Well, whatever the NCAA says, I'm glad Jeff will be hustling to make Warriors a better football team. Big props to the Sun God.

Spring Day 14 Observations

Stephen Tsai has some Day 14 observations (along with a recap of Riley Wallace's farewell dinner) up on The Warrior Beat. Here's an excerpt:
• It appears Kealoha Pilares is the No. 1 running back.
• For the third practice in a row, this was the No. 1 offensive line: left tackle Keoni Steinhoff, left guard Hercules Satele, center Aaron Kia, right guard John Estes and right tackle Keih Ah Soon.
• Wideout Jason Rivers practiced for the first time this spring.
• Slotback Mike Washington continues to impress.
UPDATE: Leila Wai with far-away footage of the Warriors practicing the haka, and then Timo Paepule being interviewed about what it means to the team.

Spring Day 13 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro writes that Inoke Funaki is getting more reps due to Tyler Graunke's injury, which doesn't appear to be too serious, thank goodness.
"Just like Coach was saying, I just have to make sure I'm ready because that could happen at any time, in practice or in a game later on in the season," the sophomore from Kahuku said. "I just have to make sure I'm ready, or whoever is behind (Brennan), so things can keep rolling."

...

Graunke was injured during a drill late in Monday's practice when his throwing hand hit defensive lineman Siave Seti while following through on a pass.

An MRI of Graunke's right hand showed there wasn't a break and he'll treat it by resting it for a few weeks.
And Stephen Tsai writes that Seti feels bad about the whole thing.
"It was one of those situations where the motions were all fast," Seti said. "I was playing my drills. I was trying to get through. Unfortunately, my hand was up and it hit Graunke's hand. It was a freak thing. I really felt bad after I saw my picture in The Honolulu Advertiser the next day. Football accidents do happen. Unfortunately, this happened to one of our great players. I'm so sorry. I want to apologize to Graunke."

The incident marred Seti's otherwise impressive spring. Seti has practiced as the No. 1 defensive left tackle, filling in for Michael Lafaele, who is recovering from a hand injury.
No worries, accidents happen, and The Graunke shall rise again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spring Day 13 Observations

Stephen Tsai has some observations from today up on The Warrior Beat. Here's an excerpt:
• June Jones said a decision on the starting center will not be made until training camp in August. He said Clarence Tuioti-Mariner, Larry Sauafea and Aaron Kia are his "three No. 1 centers."
• Slotback Michael Washington made a leaping catch yesterday. Jones said Washington is having an impressive spring.
• Where are all of the defensive tackles? During position drills, there were only five working out.
• Kahuku High coach Reggie Torres attended practice.
Go visit to read the rest. Did I mention the link will work now? Here's a Sportshawaii.com thread with observations by NelsonO and BigWave. Tsai also says the Advertiser will have some video later on, which I will inevitably link to.

UPDATE: Here's the video. Leila Wai interview receivers Greg Salas, C.J. Hawthorne and Malcolm Lane.

Northern Colorado / Graunke Update / IAF

Well, it looks like we really are playing Northern Colorado. Matt Schuman of the Greeley Tribune has some interesting details.
If the University of Hawaii is looking for a way out of its football game with the University of Northern Colorado on Sept. 1, the Warriors would pay a heavy price to do so.

While neither school has officially announced the deal, and officials from both schools continue to decline comment, a source within the University of Northern Colorado athletic department confirms the two schools have a deal in place that would pay UNC $250,000 if the game were canceled.
I don't get why Herman won't announce the Northern Colorado game if this clause is actually in the contract, or ummmm, that there actually is a contract. The only reason for not announcing the game is that Herman is "keeping his options open." And if he really is trying to get out of it... talk about setting yourself up for an ironic pratfall from the corner you painted yourself into. Sheesh.

Not that I would complain if we dropped UNC and got a D1-A team... but what a way to go about it.

And in spite of all this, Dave Reardon writes that season ticket sales are expected to rise.
Figures received from UH yesterday indicate 16,251 renewals to date coupled with deposits for a conservatively estimated 2,551 new packages adds up to 18,802 season tickets. A total of 18,215 season tickets were sold last year.

...

But the schedule has only six home games and 11 total -- causing heavy criticism of athletic director Herman Frazier. Frazier has said UH has had talks with Northern Arizona for a Sept. 1 home game, although no announcement has been made by UH.
Northern Arizona?!? Really? *Cough!* $250,000 *Cough!* Excuse me. *Cough!* for another I-AA team! *Cough!* I'm sure it's just a misprint, ahem.

======

Stephen Tsai writes that Tyler Graunke is likely done for the spring.
"I'm probably done," said Graunke, who was injured when his throwing hand was struck by defensive tackle Siave Seti during team drills on Monday. Defenders are prohibited from hitting the quarterback during drills.

X-rays Monday night were inconclusive. Graunke underwent a magnetic resonance imaging last night. The MRI results will not be known until today.
Dave Reardon has a great quote regarding Graunke from QB coach Dan Morrison.
"He's been through his share of things," Morrison said of Graunke. "It makes him stronger out the other end. Some handle that well, some give up. That's not his nature. He gets stronger because of it. Critical element is maturity. How they handle leadership and intangibles. The learning process. His maturity has really grown."
Graunke is like tempered steel, who shall rise in 08, red hot, forged in the fires of hell!

======

Expanding upon yesterday's blog entry, Stephen Tsai writes a great profile of Ikaika Alama-Francis, who is nervous about the upcoming NFL draft.
In the spring of 2003, he auditioned for the football team. At the time, he weighed 210 pounds and managed to bench press 225 pounds one time. In his first one-on-one drill, he was floored by Isa'ako Sopoaga, now a San Francisco 49er defensive tackle.

After watching all of that, head coach June Jones predicted that Alama-Francis would develop into an NFL player. Jones' vision is close to materializing.

...

Many scouts believe Alama-Francis will be selected in the first three rounds, concurring with Jones' original prediction.

"I owe June so much for saying that," Alama-Francis said. "He saw that potential. He had that eye. You may think he's crazy with some of his decisions, but they come true. I'm glad he had that eye for me."
If you haven't already, check out Ikaika's blog. His story is really inspring. In fact, I'm hoping it'll be included in this book.
Author J. David Miller was scheduled to arrive in Hawaii today for research on a book about University of Hawaii football, due out around the start of the coming season.

...

Miller said the book -- tentatively planned as a 200-page, hardcover, coffee-table work -- will cover a lot of ground.

"It's a combination of everything," he said. "All the best things that Hawaii, football and redemption have to offer. Redemption is a major theme. Redemption comes up again, again and again. From Pisa to Davone, Colt, June's car crash. Mouse Davis taking another lap around the track, Jerry Glanville coming back."
I'll definitely be putting my pre-order in. Right on.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Spring Day 12 Wrap-Ups

Stephen Tsai has an update on Tyler Graunke's injury.
"It still hurts," Graunke said last night. "It feels the same as when it happened. It's not good at all. I can move my fingers a lot more than this morning, but I can't make a fist and I can't shake a hand or do the things you need to do to throw a ball."

...

Graunke said the doctor did not "see a certain break, but he saw something. He wasn't sure if it was a bad picture of the X-ray."

He said his right hand is "not really black and blue (anymore). It's swollen, but not that severely swollen."
Tsai writes Graunke will go under an MRI today or tomorrow. Let's hope it's not too serious.

The second half of the article is a profile of safety Desmond Thomas.
Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin praised Thomas.

"He goes to the football," McMackin said. "He's really good at knowing where the ball is. He's a fierce competitor."

Rich Miano, who coaches the defensive secondary, said Thomas "made a whole lot of plays last week. He's conscientious."

Thomas acknowledged that the job will not be solidified until the week leading up to the season opener.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity I have right now," Thomas said. "But it could turn around tomorrow. I'm trying to live for today."

Miano said the battle among Thomas, Keao Monteilh and Kealoha Porlas "will continue."
Jason Kaneshiro writes about the progress of the offensive line.
Two juniors -- Keoni Steinhoff and Keith Ah-Soon -- have been first in the rotation at the tackle spots. The center spot has rotated, with Lafu Tuioti-Mariner, Aaron Kia and Larry Sauafea seeing action. Sauafea has been one of the team's more versatile linemen, playing both guard spots as well as center.

"We're still experimenting with guys playing left or right, see who feels comfortable and can fit in and play multiple positions," McKnight said. "The last couple of days we had (Steinhoff) play left tackle and Keith play right. They're kind of back and forth and bouncing around."
Good luck to them. I'm sure UH will be fine along the O-line once the season rolls around.

And finally, Stephen Tsai writes in his blog about how Ikaika Alama-Francis went from skinny and lanky to big and ferocious in his time at UH.
Almost everyone who watched his first football practice three years ago would agree. He was too thin, too inexperienced, too polite. Now he might be drafted as a defensive end, outside linebacker, tight end or, even, an offensive tackle.
Alama-Francis' growth as a player can be attributed to hours spent in the weight room, video sessions and on the practice field.
Check out Ikaika's blog on the right, or in the post below. And look, I can link to The Warrior Beat again! Thanks to Stephen and especially Scott Morifuji for taking some time out to fix the issue. They didn't need to, so it's much appreciated.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Ikaika Blogs

This is pretty cool. Ikaika Alama-Francis has a blog. Here's an excerpt from his first post:
Not only do I not know where I am going, I don't even know what position I am going to be playing. It's crazy. One team wants me as a tight end, another wants me as an outside linebacker, another said defensive tackle and most are saying defensive end. I even had one say offensive tackle, but I don't think it was serious. It makes it a little harder to train because I'm literally practicing and doing drills for all four positions. But hey, if someone told me they wanted me at free safety, I'd be training for free safety.
Visit his blog to read the rest. Good luck to Ikaika!

Videos: Tattoos! / Reprise

The Advertiser has video of Jacob Patek, Rocky Savaiigaea, Keao Monteilh, Adam Leonard, Aaron Kia, R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, Rustin Saole, Clarence Tuioti-Mariner and Ryan Keomaka talking about their tattoos and what they represent...

And reprising some other videos, I can't get the Warriors victory song out of my head. It's a great song. It would be awesome to hear the whole Aloha Stadium crowd sing it after a win, like how Bama has Rammer Jammer, only cooler.

And lest you forget about The Juggernaut, aka Reagan Mauia, and how dare you if you do:

Graunke

Let's hope this isn't too serious. From the Star-Bulletin:
No. 2 quarterback Tyler Graunke suffered an injury to his right (throwing) hand this morning at Hawaii spring football practice.

The extent of the injury is not yet known. Graunke left practice with ice on the hand and was to undergo an X-ray this afternoon to determine if there are any broken bones.

He hurt the hand when it hit a teammate's helmet while following through on a pass.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Spring Day 11 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro writes an article about new players wearing familiar numbers.
"You have to make that number," said sophomore defensive lineman Paul Harmon, who was given the No. 91 jersey worn by Ikaika Alama-Francis the last three years. "You have to make people remember it and talk about you. It's a lot of legacy; I have big shoes to fill."
Speaking of which, Kalani Simpson talks to Jason Ferguson, who was bestowed Chad Owens' #2, about the rehabilitation of his knee.
This was a good day, for the knee.

"Another day of my life," Ferguson says after practice. "Another day. Still working. Still being optimistic."

Still there. Still refusing to quit.

Here he is, after missing two full football seasons, still recovering from his second surgery since that single play. That's how badly his knee was messed up, he had to have another surgery about a year after the first one, just for scar tissue. He's still coming back.
Good luck to Jason. I hope he finally plays again this year.

Stephen Tsai writes that safety Le'Marcus Gibson of Mississippi will become a Warrior in 2008. Tsai writes a profile of Gibson and his struggles to overcome the damage to his home caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Jason Kaneshiro writes about yesterday's scrimmage where the quarterbacks were live.
Linebacker Joshua Rice delivered the hit of the day, knocking quarterback Kiran Kepo'o off his pins and jarring the ball loose as the freshman scrambled out of the pocket.

"I was expecting him to try to put a move on me, but I just went right through him," Rice said. "When you have hits like that, it feels sweet. Feels like you go right through him and you stand up and everyone's just going crazy."

Kepo'o and Inoke Funaki were live for the period, and Kepo'o had a chipped tooth to show for his morning.

"It woke me up a little bit, like it's not high school any more," said the Iolani graduate. "It was a little different. It was good to get that first hit, kind of brought back those memories from back in high school."
June will have to make some cuts at the end of spring practice, which is never an easy thing.

And finally, ohhhh how depressing. Ferd Lewis will not let up on Herman Frazier, and rightfully so:
While UH fans, players and coaches continue to wait on a completed 13-game schedule for a season due to open in less than five months, Charleston Southern has made out like, well, Buccaneers.

The tiny school (enrollment 2,800) will receive the largest payday of any I-AA UH opponent the Warriors have played. Contract details paint a picture of UH's desperation to fill the schedule with a package exceeding that of what Division I opponents Oregon State or Purdue earned for appearances at Aloha Stadium just months ago.

With UH's 11th-hour struggle to fill the final three pukas on its 2007 schedule, the Buccaneers apparently leveraged the situation well to their advantage to look at the terms of the contract. Charleston Southern will receive roundtrip airfare for 75 people, 45 hotel rooms for three nights, bus transportation, $15,000 for incidentals and a $125,000 post-game check.

Moreover, the Buccaneers will also get a second game here in 2011 to recruit to and be guaranteed the same terms or better, according to the contract.
The article goes on to say that UH paid less to Purdue, Oregon State and USC. I can understand shelling out that kind of money to a Division I-A team, especially being desperate and all, but a I-AA team? It's just mind-boggling.

Well, it's looking more and more like UH will have a 12-game schedule this year. Can we at least get the ball rolling on the 2008 schedule? For &%@#'s sake.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Spring Day 11 Observations

Not from me, but here's an awesome wrap-up of Day 11 by TheDuke on Sportshawaii.com.

And here's a wrap-up from Stephen Tsai, though you'll have to click through the damn spam warning. I feel so dirty!

Irse took pictures of today's practice.

And you can always check out Scott's photos from previous practices on Sportshawaii.com's Image Gallery.

Spring Week 3 Wrap-Ups

This isn't the full week-in-review since there's practice today at 9:00am HST, but here's a review of the week so far...

Spring Day 7:

Dave Reardon profiles defensive lineman Victor Clore as he gets his chance in the 4-3.
Victor Clore isn't quite the poster boy for rush end in the 4-3, but he gets closer with each pound of muscle he gains.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore from Castle is up to about 250 now, and it was clear in 1-on-1s yesterday that he is among the quickest and most agile linemen at Hawaii spring football practice. Clore blew by the offensive linemen and had their coach, Dennis McKnight, barking extra long and hard.
Stephen Tsai profiles Keao Monteilh as he gets his shot at first-team safety.
The move completed a remarkable comeback for Monteilh. During final-examination week in December 2005, Monteilh suffered from appendicitis. His grades dropped while he recovered.

In March 2006, Monteilh was dismissed from the team because of his academic problems, but he was allowed to attend classes. At the end of the 2006 spring semester, UH coach June Jones did not renew Monteilh's scholarship. But Jones told Monteilh the scholarship would be restored if he continued to receive good grades.
And Monteilh worked hard in the classroom as well as the weight room to ascend to where he is today. Gotta love that.

Stealing from Friday, here's Advertiser video interviews with Keao Monteilh, Jacob Patek and Rich Miano, talking about being safeties.

======

Spring Day 8:

Dave Reardon and Jason Kaneshiro talk to Adam Leonard as he switches from inside linebacker in the 3-4 to outside linebacker in the 4-3.
"You get the opportunity to roam and put yourself in position to make plays," he said.

"We've got two gaps and that's it. If they do this, it's this gap, if they go the other way, it's the other gap. It's easy to read and almost makes it look like a blitz, how fast we hit the holes. There's a lot of different stuff we can do from the 4-3, and the nickel package we got, so I'm just thankful for the opportunity to step up and make more plays."
Adam and Blaze Soares covering the outside this year will be a constant highlight reel.

Stephen Tsai writes that punter Tim Grasso from Saddleback CC will join the Warriors this fall. Tsai also profiles defensive end Francis Maka.
"He's got the explosiveness, the ability to get — what we call — short-quickness that all great pass-rushers have," said defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold, who recruited Maka. "Players who have the ability to snap their hips" — turn quickly — "are rare, and he has that ability."
Woo hoo!

And Mississippi State decided to go with I-AA Gardner-Webb instead of UH.
“Herman Frazier, their athletic director, and I had three or four telephone calls and exchanged several e-mails,” (MSU AD Larry) Templeton said. Ultimately, State wanted to stay with a 1-AA foe, and also didn’t want to play a 1-A foe on Nov. 3, which was the date Hawaii had available.

The game would have been in Starkville.
Oh what could've been. (Thanks Kawiks.)

======

Spring Day 9:

Jason Kaneshiro profiles the resurgent Mario Cox.
"He's applied himself a lot better as a student and athlete," head coach June Jones said. "He's made all the workouts. ... Way better shape than last year, not even close. He's given himself a chance to make it."
Right on. Man, with all the running backs, I'll definitely be looking for the wishbone this year.

Kaneshiro also profiles C.J. Hawthorne, who's making the move back to receiver after playing corner last year.
"I think he's an upgrade for us," head coach June Jones said. "He's had a great spring and is starting to get a feel for it and he's going to make a lot of plays for us."

...

"Last time (Hawthorne) was with us (the receivers), he was only there one week and then he went to defense, but he was already progressing," Lee said. "By the time we get done with spring I think he's going to be one of the better ones we've ever had. So fast and quick and he's eager to learn.
Stephen Tsai writes that Deyon McElroy, a cornerback from Chaffey College in California will join the Warriors on scholarship in January 2008. Tsai also writes about current UH defensive back Ryan Perry.
Perry was named the Top Defensive Scout last year. This spring training, Perry, who is 5 feet 10 and now weighs 174 pounds, is listed as the No. 2 nickelback.

"If everybody studied as much as Ryan Perry, we would not make any errors," Jones said. "He studies the game and knows what's going on."

Perry has excelled despite being born with Erb's Palsy, a nerve condition that does not allow him full use of his right arm. The condition could be traced to delivery problems during his birth.

...

He also used the time to work on improving his quickness and strength. He said he increased his weight to 180 last month. During team testing, he had the fastest pro-agility shuttle, completing the distance in 3.99 seconds.
======

Spring Day 10:

Jason Kaneshiro profiles defensive lineman Siave Seti, who played running back sparingly last year.
At 6-foot, 280 pounds, Seti struggled a bit in the middle of UH's 3-4 front when he first arrived. But the scheme implemented by new defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has been a better fit for his game.

"I think the change has given him new life. He's got real good quickness and he's tough," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "Mike being hurt has been a blessing for him, because it's given him an opportunity to get reps, which he really needs."
Stephen Tsai profiles incredibly athletic defensive lineman David Veikune.
Veikune is now one of the strongest Warriors. In testing last month, Veikune, who is 6 feet 3 and 260 pounds, bench pressed a team-high 455 pounds.

He also benched 225 pounds 35 times, second to linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane's 37 reps, and was one of six Warriors to squat-lift 500 pounds.

Veikune said he began to weight train "seriously" in the eighth grade. He benched 400 pounds for the first time as a Campbell High junior, earning a coveted reward.

"If you bench 400, you get a '400 Bench' T-shirt," he said. "I really wanted one."

Last month, UH conditioning coach Mel deLaura timed Veikune sprinting 40 yards in 4.75 seconds. Veikune had a faster 40 time than two quarterbacks, three wide receivers, nine running backs, six defensive backs and 11 linebackers.
That's pretty fast. Also in the article, Tsai writes about the competition at the offensive tackle positions.

And of course, Spring Practice Day 11 is today. So more news to come!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Back

I'm back. A little poorer, yes, but at least I've still got my dignity. Well, it's all relative, really. Ahem.

Since I missed most of the week, I'll do a week-in-review tomorrow or Saturday and then I'll get back on the horse next week. My apologies.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Vegas Vacation

I'm off to Vegas until Wednesday night. Should be fun, though I'm sorry I'll be missing a lot of news from the third week of spring practice. In the meantime, here are some links from sites that I would normally be linking to anyway.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin

The Honolulu Advertiser

Sportshawaii.com

RSN

UPDATE: The following issue has been fixed...

And of course, the Warrior Beat, which I can't really link to. If I did, instead of taking you to Stephen Tsai's blog, it would take you to a page that says this:



Just for the record, I'm not a "spammer". At least I don't think I am. I like spam and rice. Does that count? Here's the wikipedia definition of "referrer spam" :
Referer spam is a kind of spamdexing (spamming aimed at search engines). The technique involves making repeated web site requests using a fake referer url that points to the site the spammer wishes to advertise. Sites that publicize their access logs, including referer statistics, will then end up linking to the spammer's site, which will in turn be indexed by the search engines as they crawl the access logs.

This benefits the spammer because of the free link, and also gives the spammer's site improved search engine placement due to link-counting algorithms that search engines use.

Some web sites receive so many referer spam hits that they amount to a denial of service attack on the server because there are not enough resources left on the server to handle legitimate traffic.
Maybe the Honolulu Advertiser's servers just can't handle the massive crush of traffic I send their way. Yeah, that's the ticket. Well, I just hope I didn't piss off anyone there. I notice that Sportshawaii.com and RSN don't have the same problem. If anyone with the Advertiser is reading this, please know that I love you! I'm sorry! For whatever I've done!

So can TWWT (pronounced toooooooot!) be reinstated now?


And to end it on news affecting UH football, the NCAA is rescinding some of the time-saving rules that were implemented last year.
The committee made two changes that revert to those rules used in the 2005 season. First, in Rule 3-2-5-e, the clock will start on the snap after a change in possession, as opposed to the 2006 rule which started the clock when the referee signaled the ball ready for play. The committee also returned its rules on free kicks to 2005 standards, starting the clock on kickoffs only when the ball is legally touched in the field of play.
So this makes it a little easier for the Warriors to break even more records this year. Woo hoo.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Nash / Brennan

Lots of articles on Bob Nash being named head coach of the basketball team. Kalani Simpson sums it up.
Yes, there's a reason this feels right. Because it is right. Because he's right. A good man. A great day.
Congratulations again to Bob Nash!

And back to football, Harry King of the Arkansas News Bureau writes about the lack of national exposure hurting Colt Brennan when it comes to the Heisman race.
Although Brennan owns dozens of NCAA records, including 58 TD passes in a season, those are only cold numbers and most voters want to put a face with the figures. Sight unseen, there will be a question whether Brennan simply reaps the benefit of June Jones' system.

...

Last year, all of Hawaii's home games started at 6 p.m. or later local time. That would be 11 p.m. in the East.
And sometimes midnight, with daylight savings mixed in. It's a good, fair article about Brennan and UH from a "staunch Darren McFadden man". Let's hope the four games on ESPN, with three straight at the end of the season will help showcase Brennan and the Warriors. And let's hope the weak out-of-conference schedule will be forgotten by the time those games roll around. Yeah right. Actually, the more naysaying we hear will mean that UH is doing good, so bring it! GO WARRIORS!!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bob Nash Hired

UH has hired Bob Nash as the new head basketball coach. Congrats to Coach:


NASH

Right on.

Spring Day 6 Wrap-Ups

Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has some high praise for the Warrior linebackers, writes Stephen Tsai.
McMackin said he has never had a better unit of linebackers "anywhere I've been. Ray (Lewis) was outstanding. But these guys could have played there as a group. As a group, playing together, they're really talented."
And Blaze Soares has praise for the coaches.
"Coach McMackin is an excellent coach," strongside linebacker Blaze Soares said. "He explains everything into great detail. Then you have coach (Cal) Lee, who explains it even better. We've been picking it up pretty good."
Read the rest of the article for more details on what defensive packages are being implemented. Like this:
McMackin has installed about a third of the defensive plays, including the base scheme and regular blitz packages. Next week he will introduce the basic nickel package. In McMackin's schemes, a third cornerback is used as the nickelback.

"We want speed on the field," McMackin said.
All good things to hear. It'll be fun to watch the McMackin Attackin Defense in action.

======

Jason Kaneshiro profiles Dane Porlas and the other safeties competing to fill Leonard Peters' shoes.
Porlas earned a start against Fresno State during his freshman year and had a game-clinching interception against San Jose State. He also filled in at safety during practice last season when Peters was nursing injuries, then spent the months following UH's Hawaii Bowl win preparing for his shot at the starting job.

In the team's first practice in pads on Monday, Porlas opened the seven-on-seven period with an interception over the middle.

"I've got enough experience to try to get ready for this year," Porlas said. "I was just in the weight room all the time, working hard, doing anything extra I could."
======

And finally, at least we know the UH administration has been in contact with Mississippi State. Let's hope it pans out!
Larry Templeton expects to have the 2007 football schedule finalized by Monday.

...

He declined to disclose the schools he talked with, although Hawaii has shown interest, but added MSU coach Sylvester Croom has had a lot of input.

"There are still a few teams out there that haven't completed their schedule," he said. "Finding a team is the easy part. Finding a team that can play on Sept. 22 is a different story."
Unfortunately, UH plays Charleston Southern on September 22nd, but the article does state that MSU is looking at November 3rd, which UH has open, as a "last resort." Come on Dawgs! Let's do this!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ray Hisatake / Another Song

Stephen Tsai writes a profile of Ray Hisatake in his Day 5 wrap-up.
Last season, Rivals.com gave Hisatake a three-star rating as a defensive tackle. In December, he signed with the Warriors, who were looking to replenish their defensive line.

Hisatake enrolled at UH in January, and shortly before starting his training program, he was told he would move to the offensive line. Jones said Hisatake's strength (286-pound power clean), agility (23-inch vertical jump) and long reach are suitable for playing left tackle.

"I told them I don't mind moving," Hisatake said. "If the team needs me to play tackle, I'll play tackle. I'm doing it for the team. A team wouldn't work unless there's cooperation and a strong unit within itself. I'm giving it a shot."
Right on. Here are some other cool quotes from the article:
"Hisatake is doing very well for someone who has played the position for only five days," head coach June Jones said.
"I'm about 330, 335 now," said Hisatake, who is 6 feet 4. "It's good weight for me. I can still move, and I'm getting bigger and stronger. I feel good."
And here are some photos from the Advertiser.

UPDATE: From The Advertiser, video of Ray Hisatake, Mike Lafaele, Timo Paepule, Fale Laeli, Larry Sauafea, Francis Maka and Colt Brennan singing the Warriors victory song. Pretty cool!

UPDATE 2: A Day 6 wrap-up by KKV2000 on Sportshawaii.com.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Day 5

NelsonO has posted a Day 5 recap on Sportshawaii.com. Here's a small excerpt about Blaze Soares and Jason Laumoli:
Soares in particular has been a terror on defense. Soares is just nailing guys. During Wednesday’s practice, Soares planted another slotback coming through his area.

Running back Jason Laumoli is a load. He broke three potential tackles one play. On another play, he ran over two guys.

Back to Soares…On one of the best hits of the day, Soares by himself tackled Laumoli. But the amazing thing was that not only did Soares stop Laumoli one-on-one, Soares drove Laumoli backwards. Soares is fun to watch (from a safe distance).
Can't wait to see Blaze play this season! And Laumoli for that matter. Click through the link to read the rest of the recap. Thank you NelsonO.

Stephen Tsai writes on The Warrior Beat:
Colt Brennan, playing safety, made an interception.
Unfortunately, we don't have video.
But the Advertiser will have video of some UH players singing a little later today. Updates to come...

UPDATE: Timo Paepule, Michael Lafaele, Rustin Saole and Fale Laeli sing a song. And then they get interviewed about it.

UPDATE 2: KKV2000 also has a Day 5 report on Sportshawaii.com. Here's an excerpt:
I got to observe Ray Hisatake this morning. He looks to be the most well proportioned of all the offensive lineman. He looks like a taller Samson Satele. He was getting a lot of encouragement from McKnight for making right decisions. Later in the morning the offense and defense were going prettyhard against each other. Hisatake, I thought held his own. Veikune beat him on an inside rush on one play but other than that he did very well for somone who has never played OL. The o=lineman that stands out to me is Letuli. He is such a terrific athlete. He was playing left guard and working on running plays. Satele and Estes are terrific pulling guards but Letuli is faster.
Ray Hisatake and Laupepa Letuli are currently second string O-line according to KKV's report. Sounds like the Warriors O-line is gonna be solid!

QBs for Charity, Day 4 Vids

Dave Reardon writes about a new charity event announced by June Jones.
Warriors coach June Jones -- who was a UH quarterback himself, in 1973 -- announced an inaugural event yesterday called Warrior Quarterbacks for Charity.

Jones was joined by current Warrior QBs Colt Brennan and Tyler Graunke and former Rainbows Michael Carter, Elroy Chong and Richard Mamiya at a news conference promoting the Aug. 20 dinner at the Kahala Hotel and Resort. Proceeds benefit Friends of Hawaii Charities, H.U.G.S. and the June Jones Foundation.

Jones expects around 16 quarterbacks to attend the event, which will feature silent and live auctions of memorabilia.

Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger of the movie "Rudy" fame will appear, and Henry Kapono will entertain.

Visit www.WarriorQuarterbacks.com or call 956-6508 for ticket information.
And here's a link to WarriorQuarterbacks.com. Be there!

Below the story on the charity, Reardon writes a nice profile of Elroy Chong, who has helped June Jones recover from his accident in 2001.
Chong and Jones said the respect they had for each other as friends and athletes was key to Jones' recovery.

"I felt he'd coach again, because his faculties were there," Chong said. "I wasn't sure how he would respond physically, and I'm sure he's hurting to this day. His neck, his hip, his shoulder, his knee, his wrist, his elbow. There were so many different injuries."

Jones said he began receiving treatment from Chong about a month after the accident, in which he was critically injured.

"He pushed me like an athlete, every day," said Jones, who received physical therapy for over a year. "He set aside time for me. He's one of the most giving people that you will ever meet."

Jones returned to coaching duties in time for preseason camp in August 2001. The Warriors went 9-3 that year, and Jones' coaching record at UH is actually better after the accident (53-27) than before it (12-13). He became the program's all-time leader in coaching wins last year.

Jones said he will never be as healthy as he was before the crash, but he's able to endure the stresses of his job thanks to routines learned from Chong.
Thank you Elroy Chong!

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Chawan Cut, king among men, has posted more sportscasts of spring practice. You can see them here at Sportshawaii.com, or you can see them below cuz I'm a biter. Let me know if all these YouTube windows are taking a long time to load.

From KHNL (Davone Bess and Adam Leonard interviewed)



From KHON (June, Colt and Solomon Elimimian interviewed)



From KITV (Sol and the Manimal interviewed about new defensive positions in the 4-3)



Thanks again to Chawan Cut, a noble and magnanimous emperor of the highest order.

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And finally, I made the banner black. How you like? Doesn't really match the whole scheme, but I think it's cool. Before the 2007 season starts I think I'm gonna redo the whole site anyway.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Spring Day 4 Wrap-Ups

Stephen Tsai profiles Amani Purcell, who's poised for a big season at defensive end.
In the 3-4, the defensive end is essentially a defensive tackle. Purcell's older brother, Melila Purcell III, was pushed around so much as a 3-4 end that he gained more than 30 pounds for his senior season.

Believing the Warriors would remain in a 3-4 this coming season, Amani Purcell planned to follow his brother's path.

"I gained about 25, 30 pounds," he said. "I knew I had to get bigger to play as an end (in the 3-4). I was eating a lot of Polynesian and Samoan food — corned beef, taro, chicken."

...

Then Purcell learned the Warriors would switch to a 4-3 for spring practice. In that formation, the defensive end sets up in a three-point stance and serves primarily as a pass-rusher. It also meant Purcell had to make a U-turn on a diet designed to increase his weight.

"I was excited, but at the same time I was bummed out because I gained all of this weight and now I had to lose it," Purcell said.
Here's hoping for an awesome senior season for Amani.

Tsai also has some additional notes from Day 4:
It appears a depth chart is forming on defense. Yesterday's first-team defenders were: left end Purcell, left tackle Keala Watson, right tackle Michael Lafaele, right end Karl Noa, weak-side linebacker Adam Leonard, middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian, strong-side linebacker Blaze Soares, left cornerback Gerard Lewis, left safety Jake Patek, right safety Kealoha Porlas and right cornerback Myron Newberry.

On offense, slotbacks Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins continued to work out as wideouts.

Cameron Allen-Jones, a converted offensive lineman, ran pass routes as a tight end/H-back.
Jason Kaneshiro has more on Cameron Allen-Jones' switch to H-back/tight end/wing back.
His natural ability has already impressed some of the veterans.

"Not too many big linemen can catch the way he can," junior receiver Davone Bess said. "He's got big, bear-claw hands."

"Coach thinks Cameron could be a really good candidate for that job and he's shown he's got some good hands and good ability," Brennan said.

"I think he shows a lot of potential and it's fun just to try something different."
In the same article, Kaneshiro mentions Colt Brennan practicing under center and Cal Lee coaching the linebackers.
Lee has a veteran group to work with as the linebacker unit returns largely intact. The first unit yesterday was led by Solomon Elimimian inside and Adam Leonard and Blaze Soares at the outside spots. Most of last season's reserves are also back in the mix.

"The thing is they're all good football players," Lee said.

"We didn't lose anyone to graduation so everybody comes back and if we just keep getting better from last year to this year, it makes us a better ballclub."
And to think, they're still juniors and sophomores.

In another article, Jason Kaneshiro writes about the veterans trying new things and the backups getting more reps.
With Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins diversifying their skills by working at the outside receiver spots this spring, some of the team's younger slotbacks have the opportunity to impress the coaches.

That means more reps for players such as juniors Michael Washington and Aaron Bain.

"It's a critical spring for Michael and Aaron," receivers coach Ron Lee said. "They have to step up and make plays, especially on (7-on-7) and elevens. It's game-tempo, that's when they have to step up their performance. We all have to get better if we're going to be a good football team."

Washington -- who made a leaping grab over the middle during yesterday's practice -- and Bain have backed up Bess and Grice-Mullins the last two years and caught 10 passes between them last season.

They led the rotation during seven-on-seven period yesterday, while Brennan, Bess and Grice-Mullins were called in for a few plays toward the end of the period.

"Everything feels good, the offense is basically in my head so it's a matter of me of ballin' out right now," Washington said. "The plays, reading defenses, that's all locked down."
Bess, RGM, Rivers, Tua Mahaley, Greg Salas, Washington, Bain, Malcolm Lane, Rick Taylor, Eric Shaffer, Mitch Farney, and on and on. Can't wait to see them all play.

Monday, April 09, 2007

NMSU Preview

New Mexico State is gonna surprise a lot of people this year. Here's a good article by Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News.
(Head coach Hal) Mumme estimates that if his team establishes a ground game and the offensive line can keep (QB Chase) Holbrook upright — last year NMSU gave up 40 sacks — the Aggies will win many of the contests that escaped their grasp last season. His players seem to be buying into the message.

"Our ultimate goal is a bowl game," Holbrook said. "We feel like this is the year. It's everyone's third year in the offense. Guys are continuing to get comfortable and we have a good mix. It feels like the right year to get on track."

The Aggies attack promises to be full of fireworks once again. Last year NMSU featured four receivers, including tight end Nick Cleaver, who caught at least 50 balls. Chris Williams led the charge with 92 receptions for 1,425 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Holbrook, a junior heading into the upcoming season, aired it out for 4,619 yards and 34 scores. He only threw nine interceptions in 566 attempts. The team also hopes that the return of running back Justine Buries from a torn ACL will give the offense even more ammunition. Buries led the WAC in rushing two years ago.
At least UH will have lots of time to prepare for and recover from the NMSU game, which as of now is bookended by two bye weeks. Anyways, good to read about another WAC team on the rise.

Spring Day 4

Stephen Tsai has some details from Day 4 of spring practice. Here's an excerpt from the Warrior Beat.
• Cameron Allen-Jones received a lot of work as tight end/H-back/big body. Brennan said Allen-Jones is a good receiver.
• Punahou's Miah Ostrowski attended practice.
• Blaze Soares has been impressive as the strong-side linebacker.
• Did I mention that middle linebacker Solomon Elimimian is now wearing No. 17?
• Or that right cornerback Myron Newberry is No. 3?

* * *

Brennan has taken out a career insurance policy.
If you read the rest of the post you'll find more info, as well as news that there will be photos and video on the honoluluadvertiser.com website a little later today. I'll link to it when it's up.

UPDATE: Link to the video is here. Link to some photos is here. And link to the article where I got those links is here.

Also, NelsonO posted his observations on Sportshawaii.com. Here's an excerpt:
I thought wide receiver Greg Salas had a nice day catching ball.

No changes to the first team defense as reported by Irse last week. Here is how the second team defense lined up today. Guyton Galdeira and Ryan Keomaka at the corners. Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas at safeties.

Brashton Satele at middle linebacker flanked by CJ Allen-Jones and Brad Kalilimoku.
More to read if you click through. You can also see Scott's photos from previous practices in the Sportshawaii.com Gallery.

Prospectus

Sorry there hasn't been much news, but here's something to read. It's the 2007 UH football spring prospectus (PDF), which has the spring roster, general info, stats from last year, etc.

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Since they're UH's marquee out-of-conference opponent, here's a Washington Huskies 2007 preview. They got a tough schedule, but let's hope they come into Aloha Stadium with a good record. Here's a passage I noticed:
3. What does the secondary look like?

Not much. A beleaguered area of the team for the past few years, the secondary is again thin in numbers. Of the eight names on the depth chart for four positions, six are on scholarship and five have game experience

...

Willingham said recruiting may help with the numbers, but those five athletes will not arrive until fall.
Should be interesting to see how that develops over the season.
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