The UH football team takes off for Atlanta
after this morning's practice.
"Just getting there is going to be a big accomplishment," UH coach Greg McMackin quipped yesterday after the Warriors held a light practice to begin game-week preparations for Saturday's opener at No. 5 Florida.
The Warriors were to have their final practice at home this morning and depart for Atlanta this afternoon. They'll work out at Georgia Tech tomorrow and Thursday before heading down to Florida.
Jason Kaneshiro also writes about the return of Tyler Graunke and Brent Rausch. And Solomon Elimimian spoke about remaining at outside linebacker in his return to practice, with Brashton Satele taking the starting spot at middle linebacker.
"Brashton's been doing a great job in the middle and coach thought it would be best for me to play outside," said Elimimian, who has a streak of 24 consecutive starts. "It's been good and Coach Cal's doing a great job in helping me come along and make the transition."
Stephen Tsai writes about the coaches setting the 66-player travel roster
And head coach Greg McMackin finalized a travel roster that includes four quarterbacks, five running backs, nine receivers, 12 offensive linemen, 11 defensive linemen, eight linebackers, 14 defensive backs and three specialists.
Dave Reardon has a couple notes about the depth chart
Erik Robinson and Mana Silva are listed tied at strong safety, but Jason has it on good authority that E-Rob is the No. 1 at this point. … Jeramy Bryant is a mild surprise at No. 2 corner behind Jameel Dowling, but not too much of one because Bryant had a great camp.
Brian McInnis and Jason Kaneshiro's Sports Notebook has a quote from coach Brian Smith about the offensive line rotation
going into the Florida game.
Expect a seven-man rotation at the minimum.
"That's the group I'm planning on going with," Smith said. "Kia's going to play a bunch left, and some right, too. I'm planning on Ray getting in and playing. And we'll see from there."
Also from the article: Erik Robinson's ascendancy to first team strong safety, and Bryce Kalau'oka'a'ea's move from QB to running back.
Kalau'oka'a'ea, who rejoined the team on the first day of the fall semester, was informed that he'd be changing positions by quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich just before the team took to the grass practice field.
"There's too many quarterbacks, so they put me there," the Castle graduate said. "That was by surprise, there was some talk that I would go to defense. Oh, it was a big change."
HawaiiAthletics.com has quotes about the Florida game from Ron Lee, Adam Leonard, Brent Rausch and Greg McMackin
“It’s important for us to play our hearts out. We’re playing for the state of Hawai`i. We wear Hawai`i on our jerseys. I told the players today that they have two names on their jersey. Their name on their back is theirs and their family’s. They play for their family and we play for the state of Hawai`i. These guys know that and they are going to give every effort they possibly have because they know they are playing for the people of Hawai`i. I heard a lot of people are going to go to the Florida game. The loyalty is unbelievable and the team feels responsible to play for them.”
Ferd Lewis asks, Why is UH playing at Florida?
He lists reasons why this trip doesn't make much sense.
Shuttles to and from Aloha Stadium on game days will no longer be handled by TheBus. Instead, private companies will be offering rides
at an increased price.
The change comes as a result of a new Federal Transit Administration regulation, under which federally funded public agencies such as the city's cannot operate charter services in competition with private operators. So goodbye, $3 one-way fares and $6 round-trip fares.
Five private charter companies will offer islandwide service, charging $13 for round trips and $8 one way to or from the stadium for each game. Season passes are $60 to $70, depending on the time of purchase. Without reservations, service is on a first-come, first-served basis.
The article includes a list of companies and pickup locations.
Dave Reardon takes a look at NMSU
In a Maui News article from a couple of days ago, former UH and 49er great Jesse Sapolu talks about keeping tabs on the Warriors
''I keep up, I really do,'' he said. ''I went with June (Jones, Hawaii's previous coach) and coach (Greg) McMackin to do a clinic in Samoa last month. It is good that they are all friends and help each other out. I was at the Sugar Bowl. I flew in from Cleveland, where the 49ers were playing. We were all excited. People talk about the result of the (Sugar Bowl) game, but I think it was a major step forward - for the budget, for June, for McMackin - to steal one of those BCS bids. It is a miracle to go up against schools with those kinds of budgets and that kind of backing.Florida Media:
A smooth transition from Hawaii to Florida media as Dave Reardon introduces UH to UF fans in a special article for the Gainesville Sun
FloridaToday.com has a quote from Adam Leonard about the early start time
"Right now, I'm happy that we've been practicing at 7 a.m. for the last four years," senior linebacker Adam Leonard said. "It's cool. It's something that your body definitely has to get adjusted to. . . . You always get excited to play football, any chance you get during the day. If it's at seven in the morning or 12 at night, any time you've got an opportunity to get out on the field it's a blessing, and I always get my juices flowing."
The article also includes quotes from Greg McMackin and other notes.
With star UH linebacker Blaze Soares out for this Saturday's game, Florida will also be without one of their defensive playmakers
The latest victim is All-Southeastern Conference LB Brandon Spikes, who will be a game-time decision for Saturday's opener against Hawaii thanks to a right foot injury.
Spikes planted wrong and twisted his foot during a practice last week. He practiced sparingly Monday.
This is in addition to five
Gators that suffered torn ACLs in training camp and others, including crazy-fast receiver Percy Harvin, out with nagging injuries. The article also includes this quote from sophomore corner Joe Haden:
"It's going to be a really good test for us," sophomore CB Joe Haden said. "They're going to come out and throw the ball at least 40 times. This is a chance for the secondary to make a name for ourselves."
UF coach Urban Meyer talks about preparing to face Hawaii
"It's the same system," Meyer said Monday. "It's much harder to prepare for a team where the coach was thrown out of there because they weren't very good and then they change everything up.
"We're playing as if there's no changes in their offense, defense and special teams."
The one thing Meyer said he expects to see is a lot of short, quick passes. Last year's defensive back unit might have been wary of Hawaii's pass-heavy offense, but his year could be different, as Meyer has raved about the improvement and maturity of his secondary during training camp.
Also from the article, Tim Tebow is upset that UH receiver Rick Taylor isn't making the trip.
Tebow looked devastated at the news.
"That's terrible," he said.
Tebow had hoped to be reunited Saturday with one of his former Nease receivers Rick Taylor. Taylor plays for Hawaii but has been hampered by a pulled groin in practice. Because Hawaii has a limited roster coming to Gainesville, Taylor won't make the trip.
"It's a real shame because Rick is close to Timmy and James Wilson," said Ken Taylor, Rick's father and a coach at Nease.
The Sun also has a breakdown of UH
The Warriors must learn from last year's Sugar Bowl and find a way to block faster, more athletic defensive ends they normally don't see in the WAC. If they can't, they'll be in for a long, loud afternoon in The Swamp. Hawaii also must hope they can attack Florida's defense in the same way teams like Georgia, Michigan and Auburn did last year. The Warriors' best chance to stop Tim Tebow might be to keep him off the field.
Brady Ackerman of Gator Country has a UH-UF game preview titled, "Same old look for Hawaii"
Florida will counter Hawaii with a nickel and dime package. I expect UF to play a lot of three-man lines, daring Hawaii to run up the middle. UF’s advantage will be with its edge pressure and speed of its defensive ends. Florida will also start in bump coverage, even if it’s a disguised zone. It is important for the corners to recognize the combination route coming to them and pass off the receivers in zone. Hawaii wants you to run man-to-man because they will pick apart the flats. Florida’s outside linebackers/nickel backs will have to really close and be active in any blitz packages for the Gators.
David Jones of News-Press.com discusses UH's 5000 mile trip to play Florida
, using it as a jumping off point to discuss how high fuel prices are affecting athletic departments around the country.