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Friday, August 31, 2007

Hawaii vs Northern Colorado Previews

I'm not sure if I've posted versions of these from other papers already, as they kind of say a lot of the same things, but here are some previews of tomorrow's game.

From The Sports Network.
The defense has steadily improved over the last few seasons and turned the corner last year as it ranked third in the conference in run defense, giving up just 136.1 ypg after placing 98th in the nation in that department a year earlier. The pass defense was not as tight, allowing 241.7 ypg, but much of that had to do with the fact that almost every opponent was fighting an uphill battle both against the Warriors and the clock as they tried to catch up.
From the AP's Jaymes Song.
On defense, the Warriors will unveil a 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Greg McMackin. He succeeded Jerry Glanville, who became Portland State's head coach and used a blitzing 3-4 defense.

"As far as defense, we played good at times last year, but what McMackin brought in was consistency," linebacker Solomon Elimimian said.
From The Rocky Mountain News.
Making the little plays - finishing tackles, keeping receivers from running free deep - is the only way many experts believe the Bears can avoid a loss of epic proportions.

"Our mind-set is that we don't know them, but they don't know us," senior safety D.J. Craft said. "We want to throw off their timing as much as possible. It's the first week, so hustle plays and special teams should make a lot of difference."

LWJ Articles

Steve Takaba of The Omaha World-Herald profiles former Nebraska Husker and current Hawaii Warrior Leon Wright-Jackson.
Suan said Wright-Jackson's pass blocking is coming along as well. All he needs to develop is his footwork and learn about blocking angles. Still, Suan said there's "no doubt" Wright-Jackson, who has three seasons of eligibility remaining, can crack the starting lineup immediately.

As for life in Lincoln, Wright-Jackson said he misses his old teammates. He still keeps in touch with Marlon Lucky and Phillip Dillard. He also wouldn't mind seeing them in a bowl game. Sound silly? It isn't out of the question.

Several publications list Hawaii as a trendy pick to be this season's BCS buster. Should the Warriors go undefeated and Nebraska win the Big 12 . . .

"That would be fun," Wright-Jackson said. "But I really don't worry about that. I'm on a new team and I'm trying to help this team go forward. If we ran into Nebraska, that would be a good experience. That would be fun."
And Eric Degerman of SportsTriCities.com writes a blog entry about former Pasco High and current University of Hawaii running back Leon Wright-Jackson.

Looks like Leon leaves a good impression wherever he goes. Can't wait to see him and the rest of the running backs rotating in tomorrow night!

One More Day

Tomorrow is kickoff. Can. You. Believe It?!?!

Dave Reardon writes that the Warriors are raring to go.
Jones said the Warriors must prepare for everything and anything from UNC, a Division I-AA team that was 1-10 last year and has nothing to lose.

...

"I feel like we had a good camp and everyone came together," Jones said. "We can only do the next step by playing games and making it through the tough times together."
The article also continues Reardon's series of opponent previews, with a look at Washington.

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If you ever want to know how and why Colt Brennan is so good, besides looking at his stats, read this excellent article by Stephen Tsai. Here are a couple excerpts:
Right wideout C.J. Hawthorne said Brennan does not cut short his progressions, giving each receiver a fair opportunity.

"He goes through all of his reads," Hawthorne said. "It's not like he locks in on one guy. It's not like, 'I'm going to throw to my favorite receiver,' or 'this play is for one person.' "

Brennan said: "My whole mentality is I want my receivers to know that no matter what the play is, even if it's not designed for them, there's a possibility they can get the ball. You never know when things are going to break down (defensively). I like letting my receivers feel any night can be their night."
Grice-Mullins said: "The ball gets there fast, but it doesn't jam your fingers, like catching a bullet. That's the magic of Colt."

Brennan said the key is the way the football spins when he releases it. Morrison agreed, noting a fast-spinning pass is easier to catch.
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If you just look at the ridiculous scores from last year, lazy pundits assume that June Jones likes to run up the score. If you actually watch the games, you see that it's usually the backups getting in work and doing well in the second half of blow-outs. Ferd Lewis, who is not a lazy pundit, worries about the perception of running-it-up, or not running-it-up-enough, for people who just look at box scores.

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Jason Kaneshiro profiles senior defensive end Amani Purcell and his brother Melila Purcell.
And not long after the Warriors wrap up the regular season in December, Amani Purcell is anticipating joining his brother as a degree-holder from UH.

"It's been a big deal for me," said Amani Purcell, who is 12 credits away from earning his sociology degree. "My parents have been preaching that since we were little -- go to college, get a degree and get a paying job.

"When I saw (Melila) graduate I was real proud of him and it made me determined to graduate even more."
Great story. Looks like Mel is on his way to making the Browns roster, while Amani is poised for a gigantic monster year. Also from the article:
  • Colt got his foot stepped on, but he should be fine.

  • Ryan Keomaka was back at practice.

  • And Calvin Roberts will be back, after clearing up a paperwork issue.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Warriors in the Pros

Good news for Timmy Chang. He's finally getting a chance to start for the Ticats. FYI, the article has a video that starts playing automatically. It includes interviews with Timmy, former starter Jason Maas, and Coach Charlie Taaffe.
"The reason (for the change) is we're 1-7, and this is not a condemnation of Jason Maas," Taaffe said. "Timmy's played and he's played well at times. We've been very patient. As I said from the beginning I'm not quick to judge positive or negative, especially in the first year. You've got to get to know people and you've to give it time.

"When exactly that time is, that's a call that has to be made, and after this (last) game we felt it was time to at least explore the other option. Certainly there's no guarantees in this. Timmy's a young quarterback. He's going to make mistakes, but we owe it to everybody --ourselves, our fans, our team -- to see if this can give us a spark or can help us.
Hope he does well against Toronto.

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Mel Purcell finished today's Browns preseason game with 9 tackles.

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Isaac Sopoaga continued to impress at nose tackle for the 49ers. From a game blog:
7:07 p.m.: Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga gets in the backfield yet again to blow up a play on first down, and the Niners force the San Diego offense into a quick-three-and out to begin the game, the kind of start everybody on the San Francisco sideline was looking for.
7:36 p.m.: The San Diego offense is having all kinds of problems up front with Sopoaga. Tackle Cory Lekkerkerker is flagged for holding, even though Sopoaga stops running back Germaine Race for no gain. That pushes the Chargers back to a first-and-20, and they have to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding.
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Ashley Lelie finished with 2 catches for 11 yards.

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Reagan Mauia was held out of Miami's preseason game as he continued to recover from wrist surgery, while Tala Esera started, though the Dolphins' offensive line did not do well.

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Nate Ilaoa caught a 2-point conversion pass, and had 8 rushes for 23 yards and 2 catches for 32 yards for the Eagles.

Soares, Fonoti Out / Hairdos

The Star-Bulletin reports that Blaze Soares will not play this Saturday.

Dave Reardon has more on his blog.
“It’s better to wait, the LaTech game is more important. I don’t want to make it worse and miss two or three games,” Soares said. “But it’s going to be hard to just watch.”
Defensive end John Fonoti also won't play. Hopefully both will be well enough to play the LaTech and UNLV games.

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Blaze Soares, Victor Clore and Colt Brennan were sporting some sweet new hairdos today. Orlando of UHWarriorFan.com took photos of all three. Both Blaze and Colt bleached their hair, then dyed the Hawaiian Islands onto their respective heads.

Colt:



Blaze, giving shaka for the ladies:



And Victor Clore has what looks like a mountain trail emblazoned on his dome.



Gotta love it. Click on the pics for bigger versions. And visit Orlando's 2007 training camp photo gallery for a whole lot more. You can also check out Stephen Tsai's blog entry from today for another shot of Colt's Hawaii.

JJ Interview

More video! Here's June Jones' telephone interview on ESPN's 25 Hours of College Football countdown from last night. It's a pretty long segment. Thanks to UHBows for posting this.

Liveblogs - Thursday

From Stephen.

From Dave.

And while you're waiting for updates (even though practice is almost over) here's an AP preview of the Hawaii-Northern Colorado game.

Colt Mania / Captains / NoCo / Bullseye

Jason Kaneshiro writes about all the press Colt has been getting in the national media. Nonetheless, his teammates are keeping him grounded.
"They do a good job of making sure whoever's getting a lot of the publicity during a certain time, they usually attack them, make fun of them, bring them right back down to humility," Brennan said.

"We have fun. We call him Mr. Heisman, Mr. ESPN," said receiver Davone Bess. "It comes with the territory."
Dave Reardon writes about the new captains, with June Jones praising all three.
"It was such a close vote," Jones said. "And Herc also has the respect of his teammates and is a great leader."
"Colt has all the intangibles. He's very competitive, and the players play for him," Jones said. "Michael works as hard as anyone and does a great job with everything. He's a coach on the field."
Some praise from the captains, in this Stephen Tsai article. From Colt:
I see a lot of guys who don't get the credit, but come to practice every day no matter if they're fourth team or second team. It doesn't matter. They all deserve respect."
From Lafaele:
"I treat all of these guys like they're my family," he said. "They have a special place in my heart. I try my best to take care of each one of them."
The Warriors got some great leaders.

Tsai writes about defensive back Jameel Dowling, who transferred from Oregon.
Dowling, who is 6 feet 3 and 202 pounds, played 11 games for Oregon last season after transferring from Butte College.

This summer, he underwent surgery to remove scar tissue in his left ankle. Two days after he stopped wearing a medical boot, Dowling claimed, he was "pressured" to practice.

Annoyed at the request, he opted to ask for a release from his football scholarship.

"I didn't want to lose my senior year like that," Dowling said.

After receiving his release, he contacted several schools. He said the most interest came from Rich Miano, who coaches the UH defensive backs.

"I liked what he was talking about," Dowling said.
Right on. Also from ST's article:
  • Keenan Jones has ascended to top backup to Myron Newberry at right corner.

  • Blaze is likely out for Saturday.

  • Grad assistant Terry Duffield has officially joined the UH staff.

Dave Reardon writes that Northern Colorado QB Dominic Breazeale looks forward to playing UH and taking on Colt.
But Breazeale doesn't mind dreaming of outdoing Brennan and leading his team -- a 59-point underdog in some corners -- to a huge upset.

"I don't want to say I'll upset his (Heisman) candidacy, but I would like to have an effect on it," Breazeale said in a teleconference yesterday.
59 points! Also from DR's article:
  • Blaze holds out hope.

  • More from Duff.

  • Some key players on the NoCo defense are out for this game. Uh oh.

Ferd Lewis writes about how UH will have a big bullseye on its back this season because of the hype, the ranking, the expectations.
Brennan, for one, embraces the challenge. "You can do two things with it," he said. "You can falter under pressure or you can rise above it."

Brennan — and the Warriors — leave no doubt which path they want to follow. "There are a lot of teams out there gunning for us," he said. "And, we're ready for whoever wants to challenge us."
And finally, Dave Reardon continues his opponent preview series with a look at Boise State.

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Star-Bulletin's excellent UH football preview, Warriors Report.

Warriors Report

The Star-Bulletin published a really cool UH football preview titled "Warriors Report." It's styled as a Consumer Reports type magazine, with player reviews, expert (coach) testimonials, strength and weaknesses of opponents, etc. Really good layout, really good articles, hours and hours of reading... Be there!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

June and Colt on ESPN

UHBows is also on it, posting this video from ESPN's 25 hour college football countdown. June Jones and Colt Brennan talk about what they need to do for a successful season...



Big props to UHBows.

News Videos

Chawan's been working overtime. Here are some news stories from today and yesterday. The first one includes an interview with CJ Hawthorne on KHON. He talks about the starting receivers and compares himself, Rivers, Bess and RGM to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Good stuff.



From the Blogs

Dave Reardon has a cover shot of the Star-Bulletin's UH football preview which will be published tomorrow. There goes another 4 hours of my life. And I mean that in a good way.

Dave also had a liveblog going this morning. An excerpt:
7:00 a.m.: There is a large group of tough-looking kids from Japan, about a hundred of them, filing in and watching from the hill. We are told they are the team from Kwansei High School that beat King Kekaulike 46-20 last weekend. They return to Japan tonight.

7:32 a.m: Dennis McKnight tells Yoda (Aaron Bain) to stand next to Chewbacca (Brysen Ginlack). Players immediately start to make that “HHHWWAAAAANNNGGHH” Chewy noise.
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Colt Brennan, Michael Lafaele and Hercules Satele were named team captains today. Stephen Tsai got some reaction from Colt.
"It's a tremendous honor, especially because your teammates selected you," Brennan said. "I love my teammates. I think I'm going to do a great job for them this year. They know I came back to play for them, and to give them a great year. No matter how I'm going to do it, I'm going to give them a great year."
Also from that blog entry, news of Jameel Dowling, a transfer from Oregon.
Dowling, who is 6 feet 3 and 202 pounds, is enrolled at UH. He will redshirt this year and have a season of NCAA eligibility remaining.
Dowling, who can play corner or safety, played in 11 games for the Ducks last season.
He is recovering from an ankle injury. Pressed to play this season, he decided instead to seek a release from his Oregon football scholarship to allow him to redshirt.
Welcome to Jameel.

Farmer, Estes, Advertiser Preview, Etc.

Stephen Tsai writes about David Farmer getting a scholarship yesterday. Farmer talks about what inspires him.
"When I was in high school, I was an offensive lineman," Farmer recalled. "I wanted to play fullback. My coach laughed at me. I moved, and was the fourth-string fullback. I worked my way to No. 1 fullback one summer on my varsity team. We ended up winning a championship. My whole career I've been fighting. I think if I were on top, I wouldn't know how to perform. I wouldn't have that drive, that want-to. When they put a guy in front of me, rather than being discouraged, it encourages me. I kind of like challenges."
Dave Reardon has a profile of John Estes, who talks about what attracted him to UH.
His extended family on his mother's side all wanted him to go to Hawaii. When LaCount started earning some playing time, Estes took note and watched Hawaii games late at night.

He immediately noticed the new mean-looking black jerseys. He watched a team that liked to fly to the football and hit people with reckless abandon. It was such a wild atmosphere and he loved it.

"I'd see all the crazy black jerseys flying around and guys with long hair coming out of their helmets, it was nuts," Estes said. "I knew I wanted to play there."
Tsai has an injury update on Blaze Soares.
UH coach June Jones has said he would bench Soares if the injury has long-term repercussions. Soares has a second opinion.

"I didn't train all summer to sit on the side and watch everybody else play," Soares said. "I worked hard to play. I want to be safe and cautious, but not too cautious."
In better hamstring news, Solomon Elimimian was able to practice yesterday and intercepted Colt Brennan in 11-on-11 drills, coming back from his injury.

Michael Tsai writes about the insurance policy Colt Brennan took out against any injury he might suffer before the NFL draft. Hope he never needs to use it.
Brennan said he took out a loan for $28,000 to purchase an insurance plan from the Houston-based company that would protect him in the event of an injury that would be "detrimental to my draft position."

"My dad looked into a lot of things and got the best deal for me," Brennan said. "It was based on a projection from last year. I didn't want to have to be focused on it during the season."
Dave Reardon talks to Northern Colorado's Vinny Palone, who is looking forward to this Saturday's game.
"Coming from a program with a lot of transition, I think the best way to do it is play the best teams, and I think of Hawaii as one of the best teams," Pallone said. "And I can't think of anything better than playing in the Pro Bowl stadium. I've been here five years and played the Colorado School of Mines and the South Dakota States. This is a big deal."
Here's a link to the UH Athletic Department's press release for the Northern Colorado game. Looks like that page will update with new press releases as the season goes along.

UH associate athletic director John McNamara talks about his hopes for the attendance for the season opener.
"The whole goal is to get the students out early, show them how important they are to the electricity and excitement of the event," McNamara said. "We want to do everything we can to entice the students to come on out."

Overall, UH has sold about 22,300 season tickets, up from 18,125 last year, and McNamara said the department is projecting to issue around 34,000 tickets for Saturday's game.
And if the fans don't show up in force for Northern Colorado, there's another tantalizing opponent for the next home game, as McNamara tells Ferd Lewis.
"Hopefully, that word of mouth will get out and we'll have a better crowd for the next home game (Sept. 22 against Charleston Southern) and that will continue to build."
Also from the Lewis article:
  • Details on the new UH medical policy dealing with player injuries.

  • Will the 2008 schedule be announced Friday as Herman promised all those months ago?

  • Some info on free student tickets and Aloha Stadium parking.

And Dave Reardon continues his series with a Nevada preview.

UPDATE: It hurts me. After writing the above post, I found that there are actually a whole lot more articles from the Advertiser's money-themed UH football preview, which they put in the football section of their new HawaiiWarriorBeat.com website. The stories include:

Lots and Lots / HawaiiWarriorBeat.com

I have lots and lots of work right now, so I won't be able to go through the lots and lots of articles The Advertiser decided to publish today. I'll come back and link to each individual article later on. So check out The Advertiser's Sports Section for hours and hours of reading.

And The Star-Bulletin has a bunch of great articles too.

Oh great, just found out that The Tizer has launched HawaiiWarriorBeat.com, a site devoted to UH Sports. It looks awesome. Darn the work I must do!

Be there!

UHWarriorFan.com



After a slight site redesign, UHWarriorFan.com is back in business! There's tons and tons of excellent photos from UH football practices, including the one above of QB Shane Austin being introduced to the ground. What a trooper.

Be sure to check out the whole site, because it is also home to the Ikaika Alama-Francis Fan Club. Big props to Orlando. Be there!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Warriors in the Pros

Isaac Sopoaga is profiled in this AP article.
"Isaac is a very athletic, very strong, powerful man, and when he plays that way you've got something good," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. "He is playing stronger at the line of scrimmage, keeping guys off the linebackers, and every once in a while when you turn him loose, he's made plays in the backfield. He's a better player than he was last year and hopefully he continues to stay on track like he has."
"There's more improvement in my game because I'm reading the offense now," Sopoaga said. "I'm at another level of learning the other team's offense and their game plan on the field. That's the biggest thing I needed to work on. I've been working hard doing the things that need to be done in order to help our football team win."
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Reagan Mauia continues to recover from his wrist surgery.

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Nate Ilaoa talks about dealing with the impending roster cuts.
Somebody wondered if he plays the numbers game, if he thinks about who's ahead of him on the depth chart and who is not.

''You do at some points,'' he said, ''but you've really got no control over it, so you try to just focus on working hard and doing your part of the job. When it comes down to it, you can only do what you can. You just hope that it's enough.''
Let's hope Nate makes it. He got a lot of playing time this past preseason game, and did well.

Kelly on the Watch

Someone not named Colt Brennan has been named to a watch list. Congratulations to Dan Kelly.
University of Hawai`i place-kicker Dan Kelly was named today to the Lou Groza Preseason Watch List as one of the premier college kickers in the country.

Kelly, a 6-3 right-footed kicker, is 23-of-32 in field goals over his two year career. Last season, he booted 13-of-17, including 9-of-11 from 39 yards and in.
Let's hope knocking kick returners to the ground is a skill taken into consideration for this award. Awww yeah.

David Farmer Gets a Scholarship

Dave Reardon has the details.
“That’ll be a fun call,” said Farmer, looking forward to phoning his parents with the news. “(Coaches) told me for a long time I was close. I never got discouraged because if you’re doing it just for a scholarship, you’re doing it for the wrong reason.”

He said he will enjoy one of the fringe benefits.

“Yes, my first scholarship breakfast,” Farmer said. “I’m on a diet, so it’ll just be cereal and mango. But it will taste great.”
Right on. Congratulations to Farmer.

UPDATE: Check out Leila Wai's video on David Farmer, with an interview after he got the scholie.

Blaze, Corners, Grasso, Etc

Dave Reardon writes about how the injury to Blaze Soares might keep him out of Saturday's game.
"If it's close, we're not going to play (Soares). I don't know that he's ruled out, we'll know more (today)," McMackin said. "If a guy doesn't practice ... We don't want to hurt him for the season.

"You always miss a guy like Blaze, but we've got a lot of guys, we've rolled those guys since spring as four starters," McMackin added. "We're blessed with some good guys behind them."
Brian McInnis profiles starting corners Myron Newberry and Gerard Lewis and how they've dealt with the competition.
Both Lewis and Newberry brushed off any worry about increased pressure to perform.

"Somebody goes down, the next person, they will do the job," Lewis said. "Only thing I was thinking was, do your job, and everything else pays off."
Stephen Tsai talks to punter Tim Grasso about getting the starting nod.
Told of Jones' decision after yesterday's 65-minute practice, Grasso said: "That's a first for me. It's awesome. It's something I've been working for. I worked my butt off all summer long for that moment to be named."
Another punter that should be applauded, writes Kalani Simpson, is Northern Colorado's Rafael Mendoza, who went through that whole ordeal being stabbed by his rival.

Also from Tsai's article:
  • More about Blaze Soares' injury.

  • Injury updates on John Fonoti and Raphael Ieru.

  • Details about the backup offensive linemen and some of their nicknames.

  • Ryan Grice-Mullins discusses his fashion sense.

Northern Colorado QB Dominic Breazeale talks about his hopes for Saturday's game, and the strategy the Bears may be using.
Breazeale isn't foolish enough to guarantee a victory, but he is confident enough in his team to believe an upset could happen.

"It's football and anything can happen," Breazeale said. "I have the mentality that I am going to go in and win the game. I am going to play to the best of my ability, and I hope everybody else does too. And we just have a great outcome."
"Controlling the ball is going to take a lot of effort from out of the running game and the line and everything in general," Breazeale said.

Still, the Bears know they will also need a ball-control passing game to keep Hawaii honest.
I think the UH defense will have a great game on Saturday.

And finally, Dave Reardon continues his opponent previews, taking a look at Fresno State.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fall Practice Week 4(?) Video

I think these stories might be from today. Thanks again Chawan.



And Leila Wai has an impressionistic video of the Warriors getting ready for practice.

News Coverage - Thursday to Sunday

Chawan Cut posted a new local news compilation. It's mostly coverage about ticket sales, with interviews with fans, as well as Liz Chun's coverage of Murphy's Pigskin Pigout.

CB, Ikaika, Depth Chart

More love for Colt, the Advertiser has a new USA Today profile of him up.

And Ikaika has a new entry in his rookie diary. Some excerpts:
“But the key is to learn from those mistakes and get better. My first sack came – it is a thrill when you get one but I don’t want to stop there. I want some more – I want that feeling again over and over and over. That’s the plan, so I’m just going to keep working and work for those.
“(I think I am going to get some snaps at tackle) – I think that’s the plan. It’s exciting; they see something in me at tackle and at end, so whatever they want me to do – if they want me to play quarterback I’ll try to play quarterback if that’s what they really want me to do. I won’t be a very good one but I’ll try.
And Stephen Tsai has posted the depth chart just released by UH. I post the whole thing here, but read the whole blog entry and you can see our intrepid CC declare his love.
Offense
LWO—Jason Rivers, Greg Salas.
LSB—Davone Bess, Michael Washington
LT—Keith AhSoon, Laupepa Letuli
LG—Hercules Satele, Lafu Tuitoi-Mariner
C—John Estes, Larry Sauafea
RG—Larry Sauafea, John Estes
RT—Keoni Steinhoff, Brysen Ginlack
RSB—Ryan Grice-Mullins, Aaron Bain
RWO—C.J. Hawthorne, Malcolm Lane
QB—Colt Brennan, Tyler Graunke
RB—David Farmer, Kealoha Pilares

Defense
LE—Amani Purcell or David Veikune
LT—Fale Laeli, Keala Watson
RT—Michael Lafaele, Siave Seti
RE—Karl Noa, Francis Maka
SLB—Blaze Soare, C.J. Allen-Jones
MLB—Solomon Elimimian, Timo Paepule
WLB—Adam Leonard, Brad Kalilimoku
LCB—23 Gerard Lewis, Ryan Mouton
S—Jacob Patek, Dane Porlas
S—Keao Monteilh, Desmond Thomas
RCB—Myron Newberry, Keenan Jones

Specialists
K—Dan Kelly, Briton Forester
P—Tim Grasso, Briton Forester
PR—Davone Bess, Myron Newberry
KR—Jason Rivers and Ryan Mouton; Malcolm Lane, Kealoha Pilares

Chad Owens Released

Good luck to Mighty Mouse.
Five NFL Europa alumni and return man Chad Owens were among the nine players released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday afternoon.
“It’s always hard, but you’ve got to do it,” said Head Coach Jon Gruden. “You’ve got to reduce your roster when it’s time to reduce your roster. We’ve made some tough decisions today, and it doesn’t mean that these guys’ careers are over. I think there’s a chance some might come back; some might move on elsewhere. But it’s always tough. You spend a lot of time with these guys, and you want them to do well.”

Liveblogs - Monday

From UH Sports Extra.

From The Warrior Beat, which also has highlights of June Jones' WAC teleconference.

And while you're waiting for updates, a news article from the Hamilton Spectator, speculating as to whether Timmy Chang will get the start for the Ticats next week.

UPDATE: Crap. Reardon reports that The Blaze might miss the season opener because of his pulled hamstring.
A team source said he doesn’t expect starting strongside linebacker Blaze Soares will be able to play when Hawaii opens the season Saturday against Northern Colorado.
“I’m not sure about Blaze, but it sucks for Blaze because he just came back from the shoulder injury,” Elimimian said. “Brad (Kalilimoku) will step in there and we’ll be fine.”

C.J. Allen-Jones is listed as No. 2 behind Soares at strongside linebacker and will also likely see early playing time Saturday.
Hopefully this will give him time to heal for the road trip.

Ilaoa, Estes, Herc, Gibson, Etc

Nate Ilaoa had 5 rushes for 18 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards in yesterday's preseason game against the Steelers.

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Dennis McKnight has praise for offensive linemen John Estes and Hercules Satele.
"In my opinion, right now, John Estes is the best offensive lineman in the country, bar none," McKnight said. "... even with one arm."
During blocking drills, when McKnight is working with the tackles, Satele will tutor the guards and centers.

"Herc knows what we have to do as a group to get better," Mc-Knight said. "I trust Herc with my life. To have him take the centers and guards to work on something, that doesn't worry me at all."
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Dave Reardon profiles true freshman safety Le'Marcus Gibson, who may or may not redshirt this year. The way he first got in touch with UH is pretty cool.
How does a kid from Starkville, Miss., end up in Hawaii?

Via the video game NCAA '07, of course.

Le'Marcus Gibson was playing it last year when he noticed one of the UH starting safeties was a senior.

"I sent them a highlight tape, almost as a joke. I never thought I'd hear from them," Gibson said. "Then I got a call."
Haha, that's great. Glad he's a Warrior.

And finally, Dave previews New Mexico State, who should be surprising a lot of people this year.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rivers, Austin, Scrimmage, CB, Etc.

Jason Rivers is profiled in this article by Jason Kaneshiro.
Rivers said he never doubted he'd find his way back. And with his focus reset, he finished second on the team in receptions (72), yards (1,178) and touchdowns (10) on his way to second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors in his junior season.

"It helped me to appreciate being here," Rivers said of his year off. "Coach Jones talks all the time about it being a privilege being here and I took it for granted. Losing that year, not playing, that was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

"Once I lost it, that's when I figured out how much it meant to me. I wasn't going to give up, I was going to try my hardest to get back."
Stephen Tsai writes about the backups getting a few knocks in during yesterday's scrimmage.
In a cringe-inducing sequence, Austin fielded a high shotgun snap and, before he could set up to pass, was KO'd by the perfect storm of linebackers Po'okela Ahmad and R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane.

On the over-load blitz, defensive end Elliott Purcell bracketed an offensive tackle long enough to give Ahmad an unobstructed path to Austin. Kiesel-Kauhane arrived at the same time.

"I thought he wasn't going to get up," Kiesel-Kauhane said of Austin.
Also from that article:

More about who made some big plays in the scrimmage, including Tua Maheley and Josh Leonard.
  • Ryan Mouton is coming on strong, ascending to #2 left cornerback.

  • Fale Laeli resumed practice, while Blaze Soares sat out.

  • Keahi Watson has been cleared to practice.

Dave Reardon has more details from the scrimmage.
Others earned VIP cards to the Katoosh Klub, including freshman safety Le'Marcus Gibson, for getting low enough to give as much as he got from 280-pound running back Jason Laumoli.

"I saw big 45 and knew I had to get the legs," Gibson said.

Junior defensive tackle Josh Leonard can claim the rarity of rarities after bagging Santos -- a real-live sack of a UH quarterback in practice.
Also from the article:
  • Davone Bess and Jason Rivers may not be return men every game.

  • Slotback Eric Shaffer may redshirt.

Dave Reardon has a San Jose State preview.

Ferd Lewis writes about Colt Brennan striving for perfection, even ridiculous perfection.
They have kept him dreaming, too. The thought of a perfect game — no incompletions — teases him. Difficult to be sure for someone who has authored, on average, 41 passes per UH appearance. The closest he's come is a 32-of-39 (82 percent) showing in a 68-37 bombardment at Fresno State. "To go a whole game and not have an incomplete, well, that would be awesome. That would be so sweet."
To see a box score with Colt going 35 of 35 would be nuts -- big dog nuts!

And finally, Pete Thamel, the writer who wrote that excellent NY Times profile on Colt, writes an article/blog entry about Brennan's chances in the NFL. It has interviews with Coach Jones, Matt Leinart, and NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt.
As for Brennan, his view on both the N.F.L. and the Heisman trophy are simple. If he leads Hawaii to a strong season, he’ll get his share of accolades and have a secure professional future.

“I could throw 70 touchdowns, but if we go 5-7 no one is going to care,” Brennan said. “If I throw 30 touchdowns and go 12-0, then I think people may say that I have a shot. All I care about is winning the football games.”

Warriors in the Pros

Isaac Sopoaga had a great game yesterday in a 49ers preseason game against the Bears.
Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga, playing in place of the injured Aubrayo Franklin, turned in perhaps his best game as a 49er, regular season or no. Sopoaga and his 334 pounds filled up the middle well and he recorded three tackles, two for losses.
And from a 49ers report card from the San Jose Mercury News.
Who helped themselves

Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga stuffed Chicago runs for no gain or negative yardage four times in the first half.
Teammate Ashley Lelie did well as well.
Lelie productive again: Newcomer Ashley Lelie was on the receiving end of four of Dilfer's completions, again getting open both down the field and on short routes, while leading the 49ers with 48 receiving yards.
Teammate Jeff Ulbrich served as special teams captain and finished with two tackles.

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Samson Satele did well against the Tampa Bay Bucs.
Rookie center Samson Satele had a good night – again – and was key during a first-down conversion on a 3rd and 1 quarterback sneak.
Samson also had precautionary x-rays taken last night, but he should be fine, according to Stephen Tsai. Reagan Mauia sat out the game recovering from wrist surgery. Didn't read anything about Tala Esera.

On the other side of the field, Chad Owens returned two kicks for 50 yards and 2 punts for 15 yards.

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Ikaika Alama-Francis had a sack against the Colts and finished with two tackles.

======

Pisa Tinoisamoa had an impact in his game against the Raiders.
But linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who was all over the field in the first half, forced a fumble, with fellow linebacker Witherspoon recovering in the end zone for a touchback.
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Timmy Chang finally got some playing time after a few week's watching the Hamilton Ticats' offense sputter. He finished 4 of 6 for 38 yards. And Timmy might be seeing a lot more playing time in the near future.
It wasn't all Jason Maas' fault but he was terrible, fumbling twice inside the Montreal five-yard line to cost chances at majors.
And it appears Maas will pay the price.
"He didn't play particularly well," Charlie Taaffe said of his starter.
But then this:
"We have to answer some questions about Timmy Chang if in fact he can play. If one guy isn't doing it we have to give the other guy a chance. We're never going to find out about him if he isn't out there playing."
I don't know about you but that sure sounds like Chang starts Labour Day.
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And finally, let's hope Nate Ilaoa gets a lot of playing time today as the Eagles play the Steelers on NBC today. Be there!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Returners, Veikune, Leonard, Etc

Stephen Tsai writes that Davone Bess will be the punt returner for the upcoming season, while Jason Rivers will be one of the kickoff returners.
Jones' usual policy is to restrict a starting player from serving as a full-time punt returner until his senior year.

But Jones said Bess, a junior, will be an exception.

"Davone is the most natural punt returner I've seen," Jones said. "I'm going to let him do that."
Until this summer, Rivers, a fifth-year senior, had not returned kicks since he was a senior at Saint Louis School in 2002.

"He has a future in the NFL," Jones said. "He can return kicks. He's a real strong guy. I want to give him an opportunity to get on film doing that."
June Jones, helping out his players, right on. Also from that article, ST writes that freshman center Sila Lefiti, junior left tackle Ray Hisatake and junior defensive tackle Chris Leatigaga will redshirt this year, while freshman linebacker Po'okela Ahmad, who grayshirted last year, will play this year, a lot of it on special teams.

Dave Reardon has a Utah State preview.

Dave also has a profile of defensive linemen David Veikune and Josh Leonard.
The versatile linemen will fill several roles in UH's various defensive packages. Their smarts -- as well as their strength and quickness -- make them valuable.

"David showed us last year that he has the physical tools to play a variety of spots and the mental capacity to fill multiple roles. His role will expand," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said.
Leonard -- a highly-decorated defensive end at Sierra College (Calif.) -- could have gone to Nevada, Boise State, Wyoming or Washington and had a better chance of moving right into a starting spot. He elected to join what he knew to be a crowded defensive line at UH.

"I was expecting it. I knew Hawaii had great athletes," Leonard said. "I chose to come here for the competition. I wasn't going to get it anywhere else."
I was actually hoping UH would retain the 3-4 when Glanville left, but just reading about the depth and talent along the defensive line, going to a base 4-3 seems like a great move, and goes to show you how much I know. Also from that article:
  • A mini-profile of running back Jason Laumoli.

  • Injury updates on Jacob Patek, Solomon Elimimian, Adam Leonard and Blaze Soares

And finally, some details about the parking changes being implemented at Aloha Stadium this year.

Liveblogs - Saturday

Here are the practice reports that were once liveblogs.

From Stephen.

From Dave
.

And here's an AP article from Jaymes Song previewing the UH season, which starts one week from now.
It took a couple seasons for Colt Brennan to feel totally comfortable running Hawaii's high-flying offense. Brennan summed up how he's going to operate this year: "full throttle."

"Last year, we knew we were going to be good, but we didn't know how good," he said. "This year, we know we're good. We know we have the opportunity to win every football game and it's up to us to take advantage of that."
"Colt is at the point now where he can teach the system," quarterbacks coach Dan Morrison said. "He sees things that he didn't see before and has a great understanding of the system."

Brennan agreed.

"I feel like a veteran and it's an awesome feeling," he said.
So Colt might actually be better this year. As Kelly Bundy once said, "The mind wobbles."

Friday, August 24, 2007

More Colt

Looks like "Colt Brennan Day" was a week early. To go along with today's excellent Sporting News and New York Times profiles, here's another national article on Colt, this one from the Los Angeles Times.

Laeli, Hawthorne, Farmer, Punters, Etc.

I'm pretty late in posting these links, but I was excited about the Sporting News and New York Times articles from earlier in the day (see previous posts).

Stephen Tsai profiles Fale Laeli, who trained hard in the offseason and is now first-team defensive tackle.
"Fale improved his endurance, and that's been a real benefit," McMackin said. "Plus, he comes off the ball quickly."

In the base defense, the two defensive tackles — Laeli and Michael Lafaele — are called "gold."

"If it weren't for them, we couldn't play our package," McMackin said. "When we're successful, it's because the tackles are making something happen."
Also from that article:
  • Brashton Satele's grandma has been coming out early to watch practice

  • Malcolm Lane talks about taking tai chi and ballet, the latter to improve balance.

  • Injury updates on Raphael Ieru, Jacob Patek, and Timo Paepule

Brian McInnis profiles receiver C.J. Hawthorne.
Receivers coach Ron Lee said it's imperative for Hawthorne to have a big season, in part to help free up All-Western Athletic Conference slotbacks Ryan Grice-Mullins and Davone Bess. He's been absorbing the Warriors' offensive schemes as fast as possible since December.

"He's geared up for that, running well after the catch and he's fast enough to beat anybody on top as well as catch it underneath and turn it into a big play," Lee said. "So he's going to be real explosive, keep (the defense) honest."
Jason Kaneshiro profiles running back David Farmer.
Farmer -- whose father, Dave, played at USC and was Jones' teammate with the Atlanta Falcons in the late '70s -- played fullback at Aptos (Calif.) High School and could have accepted academic scholarships to several schools. Instead, he chose to walk on at Hawaii.

"Thank God I took that risk," he said. "I never would have expected to accomplish as much as I have here. I'm a better person for it and I never would have known if I hadn't taken the risk."
Billy Hull writes about the competition at punter between Tim Grasso and Briton Forester.
"It's too close to call in my opinion because Briton is real consistent and I like his short, compact stroke," Mc-Knight said. "If (Grasso's) consistency holds up to what he's been doing recently then yeah, he might be the guy."
Dave Reardon has an Idaho preview, and talks to Jacob Patek and Solomon Elimimian about their injuries.
"I tried to fight it off, but it's a little too tight. I don't like watching, period. It feels like you're separated from the team," Patek said. "At the same time it doesn't bother me. Young guys like (true freshman) Le'Marcus (Gibson) got some much-needed reps."
And finally, I contributed to a "Blogger Q&A" about the Warriors to the Saturday Sound Offs blog, which is doing a nice job of covering the college football scene. Be there!

Warriors D

I've been calling this year's Warrior defense THE MONSTER, but some of the Tsaikos have come up with nicknames as well, and have been informally voting on them. One of the best ones has come from "Da Punchbowl Kid," who came up with the name, accompanying phrase and the logo design:



Awww yeah, I'll buy that t-shirt. Thanks, DPK! For real, make a t-shirt!

Liveblogs - Friday / Colt in New York Times

I haven't posted today's articles yet, but here are the liveblogs.

From Dave Reardon.

From Stephen Tsai.

And this is cool, Dave points out that Colt is on the front page of the New York Times website. Here's a screenshot in case it goes away.



More national exposure for Brennan and UH. Be there!

UPDATE: Glad I took the screenshot, his picture is off the page now. Anyway, it's a really great article.

In the National News

Start your day with this article by Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, profiling Colt Brennan and June Jones. A lot of the info Warrior fans already know, but it's a really well written article for a national publication about the ordeals June and Colt have gone through, and I may or may not have gotten choked up reading it. Ahem. Here's an excerpt:
It's late afternoon in paradise and the sun is settling into sleep with a magnificent orange horizon. The first week of preseason camp is wrapping up, and Brennan is walking off the field and signing autographs. A young fan asks if Brennan remembers him.

"I spoke to your class this spring, right?" Brennan says.

Boys and their heroes: a beautiful rite that never gets old.

More fans on the islands are making the drive -- or flight -- to the Honolulu campus to watch the team practice and play. They know this season could be special: The Warriors have a soft schedule and could finish unbeaten and find a spot in a BCS game. Boise State and Utah have proved it can be done.

A big season could vault Brennan to the top of the first round of the draft and could have NFL teams again looking at Jones -- a guy whose pass-happy offense was successful in the stodgy NFL, the coach who led the Falcons to the playoffs, the coach the Chargers desperately wanted.

Two men who shouldn't be where they are, on the verge of something neither could have imagined.
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Here's a great article Garret found in the LA Times about the rise of the WAC.
Never in its many incarnations has the WAC entered a fall campaign with more visibility.

"It's not a one-hit wonder," Boise State tailback Ian Johnson said of the conference. "It's not a gimmick show."

The WAC is excited. Overnight guests attending July media days in San Jose received hotel room key cards with WAC football information stenciled next to the magnetic stripe.

The WAC is opening doors.

Boise State's win over Oklahoma in last season's Fiesta Bowl still reverberates. The Broncos didn't win the national title despite finishing as the nation's only 13-0 team, but their performance gave the WAC credibility you can only win, not buy.

"What's good for the conference is good for us," Hawaii Coach June Jones said of the ripple effect. "Boise kind of set a standard that everyone's shooting for. . . . I think much of the preseason hype is because of their success."

The WAC has not one Heisman candidate, but two!
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And Steve Cameron of the Merced Sun-Star writes about Hawaii, the WAC and how the whole BCS system prevents most teams from competing for a national title.
Trust me: Northern Colorado, UNLV and Charleston Southern aren't going to trouble Jones' team. Hawaii does finish the year against Washington, but that game is also in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

OK, so why doesn't Hawaii have a shot at playing in the national title game?

Well, it starts with the preseason rankings.

Hawaii checks in at No. 23 in the AP poll, and slotted at No. 24 in the USA Today rankings.

Boise State, by the way, got a similar back of the hand from voters -- 23rd in the USA Today poll and No. 24 on the AP chart -- despite finishing at No. 5 last year.

You simply cannot jump from those lowly positions all the way to first or second no matter how many doggone games you win.

Simple math tells you that it's impossible for all those teams currently ranked above Hawaii to lose at least twice.
Cameron goes on to discuss Hawaii's weak schedule, which doesn't help. Maybe next year, coming off an undefeated season and a BCS bowl win, with UH playing Florida in the Swamp, Oregon State in... Beavertown(?), Washington State at home, and the WAC in general getting better and better. Can always dream!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Your Daily Colt News

Here's today's Colt Brennan profile, this one from Jaymes Song of the AP. It's actually a great article. An excerpt:
Bess said Brennan's returning to Hawai'i showed a lot.

"It showed he cared about the team and it also showed money isn't everything," he said. "By him coming back, it made everybody happy and made all of us closer as one."

Brennan has spent the past couple of weeks contending with a flurry of media interviews and photo shoots. Despite the success and notoriety, he remains low key, humble and hungry.

"Nobody's a big shot on this team. Any time my face starts getting in the paper too much, they do a pretty good job making fun of me, bringing me back and making me humble," he said.
And here's today's watch-list-Colt-has-been-named-to, the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year Award.
The 2007 Walter Camp Player of the Year recipient, which is voted on by the 119 NCAA Bowl Subdivision head coaches and sports information directors, will be announced on the ESPN/Home Depot College Football Awards Show in December. The winner then receives his trophy at the Foundation's annual national awards banquet on Jan. 12, 2008, at the Yale University Commons in New Haven.

Last year's recipient was Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith.
I'm losing track of how many watch lists he's on already. In fact, I could've sworn I already read that he was on the Walter Camp list weeks ago. Anyway, great news!

Livebloggery - Thursday

From The Tizer.

From The Sextra.

And while you wait for updates, Al posted this on the ST blog, a pretty long profile of Samson Satele, from the Miami Herald. An excerpt:
''It's cool, but I have to focus on getting my stuff done so I get that starting job against Washington [in the Sept. 9 season opener],'' Satele said. ``If I get that first start, the job is mine. They have guys they can bring in, or guys here to push me, so that motivates me. At first my eyes were big, like a deer in the headlights. I didn't know where to go, didn't know what to call. Now I'm getting it down to a T, although I'm not all the way. I need to get faster.''

Keao Monteilh, Fale Laeli, Starting Defense

Stephen Tsai profiles safety Keao Monteilh, who was named a starter yesterday.
"Keao showed up," head coach June Jones said of the the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior. "He's been playing very well for us."
In December 2005, Monteilh suffered from appendicitis. His grades suffered while he recovered. In March 2006, he was dismissed from the team because of his academic problems. But he was reinstated in August 2006, and last January he earned back his scholarship.

"I like to play safety," Monteilh said. "You get to see more. You get to see how the plays are developing."
Great perseverance through adversity. Right on. In an article about the starting defense, Dave Reardon has a great quote from Rich Miano, praising Monteilh:
"His understanding of the defense is unprecedented," Miano said. "He has a knack. He understands football. He has good skills and a feel for the game. We thought he could tackle, but he was out all year (as a redshirt last season)."
Back to Tsai's article, he writes about Fale Laeli, named one of the starting defensive tackles.
Keala Watson entered training camp as the No. 1 left tackle. But Laeli moved ahead, in part to his first-step quickness.

"Fale has had such a great fall practice," McMackin said. "He has worked himself into a starting tackle. That's nothing against Keala."

McMackin said he considers right tackle Michael Lafaele, Laeli and Watson as first-team players in the two interior-line positions. "They're the first three," McMackin said.
McMackin also talks about Josh Leonard moving from end to interior.
"Josh Leonard is playing really well," McMackin said. "We took his speed from the outside and put it inside. He's 275, 280, but he's a fast tackle. It's just a way to get more speed on the field."
MONSTER. Also from the article:
  • John Fonoti, who injured his feet falling off a roof, will be held out of practice until at least Monday.

  • Linebacker Kevin Konrath will redshirt.

Jumping back to Dave Reardon's link, which actually starts with a funny article about June Jones and Greg McMackin getting knocked down by their own players in separate incidents yesterday.
"I got up quick, didn't you see? It took two or three of them to get me," McMackin said. "I just got too close and our guys are playing fast."
The next article on that page is the aforementioned Reardon article about the starting defense.
"We're pretty well set -- I didn't really think of it, but we are," McMackin said. "We're still rolling three teams. We think our second unit is pretty strong too, and some of those guys on that third unit we respect a lot, too."

Especially if the Aloha Stadium game against Northern Colorado is the blowout expected (UH has been mentioned as a 53-point favorite), it'll be AYSO time -- everybody plays -- on both sides of the ball.
The same page has Dave's preview of Charleston Southern. P.S. here's Dave's UNLV preview that I forgot to link to yesterday.

On the Warrior Beat blog, Stephen Tsai has a break down of the first-team defenses for three different defensive packages.
Base (4-3): LE—Amani Purcell. LT—Fale Laeli. RT—Michael Lafaele. RE—Karl Noa. SLB—Blaze Soares. MLB—Solomon Elimimian. WLB—Adam Leonard. LCB—Gerard Lewis. LS—Keao Monteilh. RS—Jacob Patek. RCB—Myron Newberry.

Nickel (4-2-5): DL—Purcell, David Veikune, Lafaele, Noa. LB—Elimimian, Leonard. CB—Lewis, Newberry. S—Desmond Thomas, Patek. NB—Monteilh.

Oky (3-3-5): DL—Purcell, Lafaele, Noa. LB—Soares, Elimimian, Soares. CB—Lewis, Newberry. S—Thomas, Patek. NB—Monteilh.
The post also has a bio of PIAA's Doris Sullivan.

Jason Kaneshiro and Billy Hull write that while the offensive line is pretty much set, with Keith AhSoon, Hercules Satele, John Estes, Larry Sauafea and Keoni Steinhoff from left to right, Lafu Tuioti-Mariner figures to be in the mix.
McKnight and head coach June Jones feel Lafu Tuioti-Mariner deserves a chance to play, too.

"Right now I think Lafu could play anywhere inside guard or center. It's still really close for him," McKnight said. "I think right now Lafu is probably the first guy inside if he's not starting."
The article also mentions that A.J. Martinez, still recovering from injury, stopped by practice, and Murphy's Pigskin Pigout is tonight. Visit this Na Koa page for more info.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Responses to Ian

Some of these reponses have been in print already, but here's the video:

Posted by Chawancut, June Jones responds on KHON.



Posted by UHBows, ESPN's Joe Schad reads some of Colt Brennan's comments regarding the controversy.



UPDATE: Here's a link to KHNL's story (with video) about this whole deal.

Fall Practice Week 3 Video

Another video from the one, the only, the Chawancut. Big props to him once again.

Colt Q&A

There's an "SI On Campus" Colt Brennan Q&A up on SportsIllustrated.com. Here's an excerpt:
On coach June Jones's offense

He spreads responsibility across the offense, which makes it fun. I have more confidence when I don't have to call every play, change every protection and change receivers' routes. From that standpoint, Coach is a genius and I love him.

On being called a system quarterback

Damn right I am. And I love this system. But you see me make plays even when it breaks down. That separates me from guys in this system in the past.

On entering the 2007 draft, then changing his mind two days later

Everything happened too fast. Before my five TDs in the Hawaii Bowl no one talked about me as a big-time pick. Then I sent my projection to the NFL, and it came in really high -- a mid-first-round pick. What the hell? Then I realized the NFL combine was soon, and I'd have to gain weight. I just wasn't ready to leave. My heart was still in Hawaii.

Liveblogs Wednesday

Here are the links:

Reardon's blog.

Tsai's blog.

...and while you're waiting for updates, another Hawaii Warriors preview, this one from The Sports Network.

Rudy, Brian, LBs, OL, IS

Rudy Ruettiger, inspiration for the movie "Rudy" was a guest speaker at a team meeting yesterday in which graduate assistant Brian Kajiyama was presented with a grant from the June Jones Foundation.
"Brian is an awesome guy," Ruettiger said. "He kind of stuck around, and now look at what he's done."
"He made such a commitment to help us," Jones said. "His mom and dad have helped so much for eight years. They live on the Windward side. Can you imagine the commitment his family made trying to help him get his doctorate? I wanted to help in some way."

That's when Jones decided to present Kajiyama with the grant. "It's just a small gesture," Jones said.

Kajiyama said: "I'm shocked, because I really didn't do anything special. I'm extremely grateful to coach Jones and his staff for letting me be a small part of the Warrior family."
Congratulations to Brian! Also in the article are injury updates on John Fonoti, Raphael Ieru, Adam Leonard, Mario Cox and Solomon Elimimian.

Jason Kaneshiro profiles the injured starting linebackers, Leonard, Elimimian and Blaze Soares as they ease their way back to practice. He also writes about the backups who have been getting a lot of valuable experience.
With the trio taking it slow, C.J. Allen-Jones, Timo Paepule and Brad Kalilimoku (already considered a starter by defensive coordinator Greg McMackin) worked with the first defense yesterday. The increased repetitions have helped some who started farther down the depth chart get up to speed with the 4-3 system.

"I feel a lot more comfortable than before," said Paepule, who has played in Elimimian's spot. "At first I was a little shaky. I understand what Solomon goes through now, he has a lot of pressure. Being in that middle you're like the quarterback of the defense. We have a good relationship, we trained together this summer, we're real tight, we help each other out. It's good competition."
At the bottom of that page is an article about the first-team offensive line getting time to gel as center John Estes practiced again, back from injury.
Chemistry was the theme of yesterday's practice. Several potential starters mentioned how important it is for them to develop the same bond that was shared by the seniors from a season ago.

"Us five have been together for a couple years now, so we just need to continue to build together," junior Keoni Steinhoff said.
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Athletic director Herman Frazier addressed the whole Ian Sample thing. From Dave Reardon's article:
UH has started its own investigation, Frazier said.

"The alleged things reported on the Internet are under review by the university," Frazier said. "We've already had four or five meetings since Friday. This takes precedent over some other things."
Sample's accusations of rigged drug testing have no basis, Frazier said.

"Through the comments (Sample) made, he had no evidence of it. He pretty much says it himself," Frazier said. "But we will do a thorough review, because we take it very seriously."
At the end of the article, Frazier says the final two games of the 2008 season will be announced at the end of the month...

Michael Tsai has more from Frazier regarding the drug-testing aspect of Ian's deleted chapters.
"The NCAA does random testing so nobody in our department chooses those people," Frazier said. "I can refute that right off the bat. Just knowing how that's handled, that's not an issue."

Independent of the NCAA's random tests, Frazier said the university also conducts its own drug testing of all new athletes during their first week of classes as well as periodic random tests throughout the year.

"I'm a big proponent of drug testing," Frazier said, citing his involvement with the Olympics and the selection of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to test U.S. athletes.

"I probably know more about drug testing than most people you would encounter," he said. "I speak nationally on panels about drug testing, so I would know if there are any irregularities within our testing program — first hand."
Frazier also takes a swipe at blogs in general, but I'm just going to let it go. Maybe file it away for later use if need be, like all those other quotes from the AD. Hehehe.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Urine Sample

Colt Brennan addresses Ian Sample's humbloggery in this ESPN.com article by Joe Schad.
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan said Tuesday that his ex-teammate's claim that the school manipulates drug testing to avoid placing top players in jeopardy is false.

"The thing he really messed up on was to say some players aren't drug tested," Brennan said of former Hawaii wide receiver Ian Sample's claim. "I've been tested. I don't know of one person on the team who hasn't been drug tested by our university. The school tests every player before the season. And now there's an investigation? I know I've peed in a cup. We all have."
Hawaii players have been told to be expected to be available for interviews with school compliance officials.

"Perception is a huge thing," said Brennan, who added he will not read the book. "I just hope this is handled responsibly by the media and by the NCAA. We're going to really try to concentrate on football now."
Let's hope this distraction doesn't linger going into the season. Eleven more days.

Non-BCS Conferences, 25 Hour Countdown

Tom Dienhart of the Sporting News ranks the non-BCS conferences. Well, look who's first.
1. WAC: The getting is good out west. Check out this roll call of coaches: Hawaii's June Jones, San Jose State's Dick Tomey, Nevada's Chris Ault, Fresno State's Pat Hill, Boise State's Chris Petersen. Yeah, pretty good.

And I happen to think New Mexico State's Hal Mumme is an eclectic sideline Caesar who has the Aggies poised for big things. Add it all up, and there are two legit Top 25 teams in this league -- and four other strong programs.
Dienhart seems like a very smart man. And as a bonus, he ranked the Mountain West third, behind C-USA. Ouch! I kid my MWC friends.

Dienhart also ranks Colt Brennan as the top non-BCS player, with Davone Bess at #11 and Jason Rivers at #52.

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ESPN is going to have a 25-hour countdown show leading up to their first college football game broadcast of the season, and it looks like UH is taking part in the festivities.
ESPN's Twenty-Five Hours of College Football Presented by TIVO starts at 7 p.m. ET Aug. 29 and continues until the Tigers-Bulldogs kickoff 25 hours later. Some regular shows, such as SportsCenter will remain intact, but with more emphasis on college football, while offbeat fare fills time slots. The University of Hawaii team practice was moved to 9 p.m. in their time zone to fill the 3 a.m. ET slot.
That should be interesting.

P.S. Colt Brennan is on the Davey O'Brien Watch List. Here's the full list.

Liveblogs, Warrior QBs for Charity, Miller

A little behind today. Here are the liveblogs, which are no longer live.

UH Sports Extra. Excerpt:
7:56 a.m.: Backup OL Raphael Ieru is apparently injured. He’s on the side, walking up and down the hill.

8:01 a.m.: Jake Santos and Kiran Kepoo are the scout team QBs.

8:08 a.m.: Mario Cox is back from his hamstring and getting some reps with the 1s.
The Warrior Beat. Excerpt:
7:19 a.m. — Scout teams have been formed. The scouts are wearing yellow jerseys.
Ryan Perry and Spencer Smith are on the scout team.
The post also has an injury update on John Fonoti, a short recap of the Warrior Quarterbacks for Charity event last night, and the bio of some foolio!

Back to Reardon's blog, he also has a recap of the charity event.
We are told it was an extremely touching moment when a 91-year-old former UH football player — a member of the 1941 team — finally received his letter tonight, 66 years later.
Great story.

Reardon also has a post about J. David Miller, the author of the other Warriors football book, with his response to the whole Sample controversy. Here's part of what he writes:
To compare Ian Sample’s book to Hawaii Football: A Story of Faith, Hope and Redemption is unfair; we’re not using relying on half-truths, allegations or accusations to sell books. Our book is about faith, hope and redemption, and how one man – June Jones – took a program that was on the verge of extinction and turned it into a Top 20 program with a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. Our project wasn’t based on a single person’s perspective; or a single season – to the contrary, it’s a nine-year slice of Hawaii football that nobody has seen, read or heard before.
A book I've been looking forward to reading. Visit Warriors' Haka for more details.

KR to RB, Rocky and Keala, Practice, Etc

Stephen Tsai writes about Korey Reynolds' move to running back.
On Sunday, Jones told Reynolds: "If you stay on defense, you're not going to get on the field this year. We've got eight or 10 D-linemen. You're going to redshirt. If you make the change to offense, I'll also put you on special teams and forgo the redshirt year."

Reynolds, who also played H-back and tight end at nationally ranked Hoover (Ala.) High last year, said the offer was not a surprise.
Also from that article:
  • John Fonoti suffered injuries to both ankles.

  • Blaze Soares and John Estes were back to practice after sitting out with injury.

  • Running back David Farmer talks about playing without a scholarship.

  • Links to even more Leila Wai videos.

Brian McInnis profiles defensive linemen Rocky Savaiigaea and Keala Watson, who have slimmed down over the summer, but not to worry.
"I felt grouchy, you could feel it hit you," said Savaiigaea, who went from 336 in the spring to 298 at the start of fall camp. "It was like a food withdrawal."

"Oh yeah, it was brutal," said Watson, a 295-pound junior from Nanakuli. He checked in at 335 going into the summer.

It's all part of a master plan to get the linemen attuned to Greg McMackin's new 4-3 defensive scheme this season, which requires the bangers to rely as much on quickness as strength.
Defense? MONSTER!

As for the offense, Dave Reardon writes that it's pretty much set.
People who have watched Brennan over the past two years know he is capable of such tremendous strings of accuracy. But was there something special this day, the first of fall classes? School was definitely in session.

"This was the first time we had the starting offensive line together," Brennan said. "Everyone was confident and we had it going."
Also from the article:
  • Running back Jayson Rego was back with the team.

  • Math genius Francis Maka got a basic math course this semester.

Kalani Simpson writes about hitting (and not hitting) in practice.
But I confirmed my suspicions with a few players. Don't even look at Colt the wrong way. But should some unsuspecting freshman end up on the wrong end of intersecting trajectories?

Well, katoosh. But then everyone picks himself up, and the offender will be reminded not to hit.

And then a coach will say quietly, "Eh, good hit."

"That's exactly how it is," one of the offenders said.
Reardon profiles our second opponent, Louisiana Tech.
Dooley's first task is to ensure the Bulldogs don't repeat the 3-10 debacle of 2006. He plans to do so by ball control on offense.

"It's probably our biggest challenge, convincing the team this is the way to win," said Dooley, the son of Georgia coaching legend Vince Dooley. "Running the ball is important to me. It helps your defense develop toughness. That's my philosophy."

In the next breath, however, Dooley sounds like Steve Spurrier.

"But if I've got guys who can catch it, we'll spread 'em out and sling 'em around," he said.
And Reardon expands upon yesterday's response to the Sample story.
"The main thing I hope is that it doesn't have a negative effect on what we're trying to accomplish," said Brennan, quarterback of the No. 23-ranked Warriors.

Props to Tombo!

Thank you for providing this site and your sacrifice for the last few years. The Honolulu Advertier's Stephen Tsai has recognized you for your effort.

Since you probably won't toot your own horn, I'll do it for you. (that just doesn't sound right).

Here's the link:

Tombo Ahi's blog gets Blogged....


also, here's the "new" resized banner to fit the border constraints. just click on it to see it full size. just something i made up real quick to go with all thats been going on recently with IS' book fiasco. (well, not the book, but his excerpts online). i'm pretty sure the book is good, but myself, and many others are already disenchanted with what has come about with the negative national coverage on this. i don't want to read the book anymore.

National News

As the story makes the national rounds, Ian Sample talks about his blog.
Sample said he does not regret posting the deleted passages.

"I'm a little saddened that the blog detracted from the attention of the book, which is the most important part," Sample said. "That's my only error. I don't regret putting it up. I wish both (the printed and online versions) could have been together. In the blog, there's maybe three paragraphs that people are talking about. In the book, it's 120 pages. I wish people could look at both instead of looking at a few paragraphs, and judge me or judge the situation by that."
Unfortunately, many people are not buying the book because of what was on the blog. Although I'm sure there are some who will because of it.

Onto more positive national news, some CFN pundits write their college football predictions for the year, with several of them forecasting UH to win the WAC, and a couple seeing a BCS bowl game in the Warriors' future, along with some Heisman talk. From Pete Fiutak:
A: Winner of the Heisman – Colt Brennan, Hawaii – The numbers will be too gaudy to ignore for a second year in a row, and this time around, he'll have the record to back it up.
BCS Bowl Matchups
Rose – Wisconsin vs. UCLA
Sugar – Michigan vs. Hawaii
Fiesta – Oklahoma vs. Louisville
Orange – Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia
BCS Championship – USC over LSU
From Richard Cirminiello:
WAC – Hawaii – Forget the WAC. The Warriors have the right mix of talent and flimsy schedule to run the table, and make a pitch for an at-large BCS bowl berth.

BCS Bowl Matchups
Rose – Wisconsin vs. Cal
Sugar – Oklahoma vs. Florida
Fiesta – Texas vs. Hawaii
Orange – Boston College vs. West Virginia
BCS Championship – LSU over USC
Ahhh, the possibilities. Season starts in less than two weeks!

Around the NFL

Some recent "Warriors in the Pros" news:

Isaac Sopoaga has improved and impressed with his recent opportunity starting at nose tackle for the 49ers.
After reviewing game film, Nolan said he was encouraged by the strong play of Isaac Sopoaga, who has been playing nose tackle in place of injured Aubrayo Franklin (knee).

Sopoaga held the point with more consistency, occupying blockers and creating play-making opportunities for the linebackers.

"Isaac played his best game in the two years that I've been here," Nolan said. "I was very pleased with his play and the other guys were better than we were a week ago."
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Fellow 49er Ashley Lelie has been doing well as well. Here's an excerpt from a profile on 49ers.com:
“Each week I’m just looking to get better,” said Lelie. “That’s the goal of every preseason game so that when you get to the regular season, you are ready to go.”

Head coach Mike Nolan said he felt like Taylor Jacobs was probably his third receiver after a solid and consistent camp showing, but Lelie is right there in the mix and has come on strong in recent days.

“Competition brings success, everyone is just competing and that’s pushing everyone to play better,” said Lelie. “I think however it ends up that the competition right now is really going to show when the season gets going. It’s just making our whole position better.”
Lelie is also profiled in The San Mateo County Times. An excerpt:
Jump to Saturday night, Lelie's first time to have a real shot at catching passes from Smith. There, things began to click.

In the first half there were two receptions, the first for 20 yards, when he was wide open, and the second for 14 yards. There was an incompletion that Smith threw behind Lelie that both blamed on, of all things, the 6-foot-3 Lelie's Tommie Smith-like stride.

"I think with my stride being so long, I probably got down the field too far," Lelie said. "It was supposed to take six steps, but my six steps may be different from somebody else's six steps."

"He is different," Smith said. "His stride ... can kind of throw off those timing routes. I really hadn't been in a game with him until (Saturday)."
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In Miami, Reagan Mauia had surgery on his wrist, but is expected to continue playing with a cast. And Tala Esera had a chance to work out with the first team offensive line.
Right guard Rex Hadnot missed the morning practice with a toe injury sustained when Alabi stepped on his foot during the walk-through portion of Sunday's practice. ''It was funny until it was bleeding,'' Hadnot said.

Hadnot returned for the afternoon practice. During the morning session, he was replaced on the first team not by Mormino, but by Tala Esera, an undrafted free agent from Hawaii. ''He's doing a pretty good job,'' Cameron said of Esera.
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And here's a fan report on Dane Uperesa, along with some great photos, from HawaiianBuckeye on WSN. A short excerpt:
Good feet and quick to engage and protect. He would help out when needed and DID NOT let anyone get past him at all from what I saw. Bruddah was flawless from what I could see through my lens.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What's That Saying About "No Such Thing As Bad Publicity?"

The AP has picked up on the Ian Sample story.
HONOLULU (AP) — University of Hawaii athletic officials on Monday said they will look into allegations raised by a former receiver, including the claim that school officials and players manipulated NCAA-mandated drug tests.

Ian Sample, who recently published a book chronicling the 2006 season entitled, Once A Warrior, released unpublished material on his blog about excessive drinking, widespread use of marijuana, sex with groupies and rigged drug tests.

Sample, who now plays professional football in Japan, wrote that he's "convinced the 'random' tests are not random at all."
Earlier today, Dave Reardon had this response from June Jones.
One chapter on the Internet implied that UH rigged drug testing so that key players who used marijuana or steroids were not tested.

"Absolutely a lie," Jones said, in making his first extensive public comments on the book. "It's a farce to assume we hand pick them. We don't have anything to do with it."

Jones said the NCAA sends the school a list of names of players to be drug tested.
"It's unfortunate," Jones said. "These are the greatest kids in the world. It's a shame someone would throw them under the bus. In this day, with the Internet, anyone can say what they want.

"It's so dishonorable. Some of those things do happen, but to suggest it's condoned. ..."
Guess we'll see how this plays out. Just in time for the start of the season!

Malcolm Lane / Rosters Expand/ NoCo

Jason Kaneshiro profiles sophomore receiver Malcolm Lane, who is practicing with much more confidence than last year.
"Last year coming out on the field as a little kid from Germany, I was scared of everybody, scared of competition," Lane recalled of his first year as a receiver with the Warrior football team.

"Now I'm just out there and it's like I'm not scared of anybody. I feel like I can beat any DB they put in front of me. ... I'm more focused and the confidence is there."

Though a bit timid at first, Lane found himself playing in 11 games as a freshman. Now a year of experience has Lane playing with more swagger and in contention for even more playing time in his sophomore season.
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Stephen Tsai writes about the players who will join or rejoin the team now that rosters can expand.
Reporting to the Warriors are quarterback Kiran Kepo'o, slotback Mitch Farney, offensive lineman Nate McKay, defensive end Antwan "Tua" Mahaley, defensive tackle Keahi Watson, linebackers Jared Lene and Corey Peredes, cornerback Camron Carmona and safety Kenny Estes.
Tsai also has injury updates on John Estes, Malcolm Lane, Khevin Peoples and Siave Seti.

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Dave Reardon has an article about out first opponent, Northern Colorado.
Things weren't always this bad for Northern Colorado.

They were actually national champions in 1996 and 1997 in Division II.

But the Bears were 1-10 last year, playing a full schedule in the Big Sky Conference while making their final transition to the medium-time.
Nice one.

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Practices go back to being early in the morning, so liveblogs are done for today.

Today's Warrior Beat.

Today's UH Sports Extra.

Both with the news that true freshman Korey Reynolds is moving from defensive end to running back.
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