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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Even More WitP: SWA, Brick, Herc, Bess

Sammy Batten of the Fayettesville Observer writes that former UH QB Shawn Withy-Allen recently had a workout with the Carolina Panthers.
If the Carolina Panthers suffer any injuries or need some help at quarterback during training camp, Shawn Withy-Allen from the Fayetteville Guard could get a call.

Withy-Allen worked out in Spartanburg, S.C., for Panther scouts last Friday, one day before the National Football League franchise began pre-season practice.

“I’m encouraged,’’ Withy-Allen said Thursday. “Anytime you get seen by NFL brass, it’s definitely a good thing.’’
SFI takes a look at the competition in 49ers camp for the "ted" linebacker spot. Jeff Ulbrich is currently a frontrunner.
Former starter Ulbrich, a heady and scrappy veteran, appeared to experience a career rebirth last year after losing his starting job in 2006. Ulbrich plays with intensity, is smart and instinctive and gets to the football with aggression. Ulbrich ran as the starter this spring and appeared capable of handling the job, though he's a bit undersized for what the 49ers are looking for at the position.
Due to injuries to the Arizona Cardinals' starting and backup center, Hercules Satele is currently working out as the backup center.
If the injuries to Peters and Johnson are significant, the Cardinals are likely to sign a center in the coming days. With Johnson and Peters out, the backup center is rookie free agent Hercules Satele from Hawaii.
Matty I of the excellent Phinsider blog is really pulling for Davone Bess to make the Dolphins 53-man roster.
Meanwhile, Davone Bess continues to open some eyes. Many people believe that he, along with Hagan and Ginn, have been the best 3 receivers in camp for Miami. Entering camp, I was anxious to see what he could do and he hasn't disappointed. Come August 9, he's going to be at the very top of my "watch list" when Miami plays their first preseason game. He has an opportunity here in Miami to really get involved in the offense. And the thing is, the Dolphins might have no choice but to keep him on the 53 man squad. I really doubt there's any chance Bess could be stashed away on the practice squad. I think a number of teams looking for receiver depth would be interested in claiming him before Miami could get him on the PS. And I think that this regime is too smart to let him get away - quite possibly Miami's 1st undrafted rookie gem in a long, long time.
Hope he's right!

WitP: Colt, IA-F, Mat, Lelie, Bess

A Washington Redskins fan, yocolifsavr, made a pretty cool video welcoming Colt Brennan to Washington DC.



Thanks to LizKauai for finding it. Here's a thread on ExtremeSkins.com discussing it.

Redskins blogger Curly R has a funny comment about the popularity of Colt Brennan in a post titled, "Redskins Training Camp Day Six - Gratuitous Colt Brennan Reference"
Colt Brennan has such a dedicated following that Tony Brown at Hog Heaven just puts Colt's name in blog posts to draw traffic. That's a cheap way to get hits Tony, and I want Curly R readers to know I'd never resort blatantly to putting Colt Brennan's name in a post for no real reason, nor would I consider writing stuff about Colt Brennan that really did not have to do with Colt Brennan just so I could get Colt Brennan hits. Colt Brennan.
Guess it worked!

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Tom Kowalski of MLive.com gives his analysis of the Detroit Lions' defensive linemen. Here's what he thinks about Ikaika Alama-Francis.
He's shown significant improvement and will see a lot of playing time at left end.
Thanks to Jim for sending the article.

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Mat McBriar had a nice punt in Cowboys training camp today.
While the Cowboys practiced punting from their own end zone, veteran Mat McBriar booted a 73-yard punt that even Adam Jones couldn't retrieve
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Ashley Lelie missed 49ers practice again with a strained calf.

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And Armando Salguero of "Dolphins in Depth" writes that Davone Bess looked good fielding punts today.
By the way, Davone Bess looked good catching punts and was generally efficient in team drills.

T.J. Alofipo Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai with the news:
T.J. Alofipo gave his verbal commitment this morning.
“That’s where I want to be,” Alofipo told The Advertiser.
Alofipo is 6 feet 1 and 235 pounds.
He said he has been timed at 4.7 seconds over 40 yards.
Last season, Alaofipo made 66 tackles, including 11.5 for sacks.
He also received scholarship offers from Arizona, Fresno State, Colorado State, Brigham Young and UNLV.
Congrats to T.J.!

UPDATE: Here's TJ's high school highlight reel. Check out that first play!



UPDATE 2: Here's some quotes from Alofipo from Dave Reardon's article.
"It's a perfect situation for me," said the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Alofipo, who will be reunited with former Silverado defensive coordinator Tony Tuioti. Tuioti, a former UH defensive tackle, joined the Warriors staff earlier this month.

Alofipo said he also received scholarship offers from Arizona, Fresno State, San Diego State, Army, Colorado State and Wyoming.

He has family in the islands.

"They tell me its beautiful there," Alofipo said.
And from Reardon's blog:
UH gets a “taller Pisa”

That’s how someone who has seen both play a lot described T.J. Alofipo, UH’s latest recruiting commitment. He sounds like the real deal. Big, strong, athletic and good speed.

One of his many scholarship offers was from Army, so that makes me assume he’s smart, too.
Woot woot!

JD, Mack, QBs, Bain, Etc.

First of all, thank you to Mr. Cut for filing that magnum opus of a report from the Waimalu town meeting. Take that, Leeward Current!

The speakers at the meeting, Greg McMackin and Jim Donovan, are being feted at the "Game On!" celebration/fundraiser tonight. My SportsHawaii post from last month has a link to the info/order PDF.

Speaking of SportsHawaii and Jim Donovan, check out the new SportsHawaii forum -- First and 10 with Jim Donovan.



Here's a message from SH's Scott explaining what it's all about:
Talk about taking the open door policy to the next level. Jim Donovan is taking an hour of his valuable time once a month to chat with the Sports Hawaii Ohana. It will happen the first Monday of every month at 10:00 AM. The first chat session is planned for Monday August 4th from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM.
Be there!

Greg McMackin talks to Dave Reardon about the QB situation going into fall camp.
"The four who will get the reps are Inoke (Funaki), Tyler (Graunke), Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch," McMackin said yesterday. "And then within a week and a half we're going to cut it to three quarterbacks. At a certain point before the ballgame (Aug. 30 opener at Florida) we're going to cut it down to two and one's going to get three-fourths of the reps and one's going to get a fourth of the reps.

"It's only going to be those four. Some guys will service the defense."
Stephen Tsai profiles receiver Aaron Bain.
UH coach Greg McMackin said he will award a scholarship to Bain this weekend.

"I liked (joining as a walk-on), having to prove yourself," Bain said. "Once you accomplish that, that's half the battle. Some people like to take things for granted. Everything is spoon-fed for them. I don't like that. I want to earn everything."
Congrats to "Yoda"!

Reardon has some news and notes about which coaches will be in the booth during games, how many players they plan to take to Florida, and some words from McMackin about special teams:
Hawaii may have offense and defense first-stringers in kickoff and punt coverage roles this season, as well as blocking on returns, coach Greg McMackin said yesterday.

McMackin said his rule is the NFL standard that a starter can play on one or two special teams "if he's the best player for the position."

Does that mean a premier player such as All-WAC outside linebacker Adam Leonard could end up on the kickoff return team, for example?

"If he's the best guy. If there's no one close to him, absolutely," McMackin said. "Obviously, we've got to be smart how we use them. A defensive guy, I don't want him to run down on the kickoff and have to be right in there."
And finally, Dustin Lepray of the Twin Falls Times-News has an article about the upcoming UH football season. It includes quotes from Coach Mack, Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard. Some great quotes from the players talking about their coach:
"Off the field he is very polite, courteous, sincere, he's very authentic," Leonard said. "But there's a side only the defense saw last year, which is halftimes when he's down your throat and intense. He turns red and his eyes are squinting. He's the most intense coach I've played for throughout my career."

Most think that the departure of June Jones, Colt Brennan and all those receivers will be too much for the Warriors to overcome, but Elimimian is glad he has the new coach.

"In time you will see why we are blessed to be in this position," Elimimian said. "To lose Coach Jones, who's been a staple for the last (nine) years of Hawaii football, is detrimental. But we're blessed because we know what kind of coach we have in Coach Greg McMackin."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Waimalu town hall meeting with JD & GM

(chawan_cut reporting in... I scribbled a bunch of notes on a sheet of paper, and this is my first ever "report" so alot of this might just turn out to be re-typing my notes, so bear with me. There was a pretty decent crowd, maybe ~60-70+ or so, although I didn't really look behind me to see who was there.)

Thank you to Rep. Mark Takai and the other legislators who held the town hall meeting at Waimalu Elementary school this evening. Their special guests were Athletic Director Jim Donovan (JD) and head coach Greg McMackin (GM). This was both JD's and GM's last public speaking event as they both will have to focus on the season ahead.
And coincidence? Waimalu's mascot is the Warrior.

And two alumni of the school are current UH Warriors, Aaron Bain and Rocky Savaiigaea, both of which GM had nice things to say about.
Coach Mack came up first and thanked us all for coming out to support the program and the school. In his 40+ years of coaching, the 2 years here, in '99 and '07 was his most enjoyable. The people of Hawaii are like no other. He passed around his WAC championship ring. (lemme tell you, thats one BIG ring. He said bling was for the players. What he liked was that it has Believe in bold on one side with the H helmet and the other side has his name and diamond head and a palm tree (or vice versa). GM said JJ promised him that he'd let him design the ring when they won the WAC championship, and he did. (and no, my hand is NOT that small)

Anyways, he said in '99 it was a challenging year, both on and off the field, and now, just like then, the economy was also tough. This year, fuel costs continue to rise, making travel harder than it has ever been.
But he does BELIEVE in his players (there's many seniors this year that have the experience of last season to grow from); his coaching staff (whom he gathered that all understand what coaching in Hawaii was all about); and his administrators (its 20x easier with JD at the helm).

GM has 3 goals while he's coach.
1) Graduate EVERY player. and this isn't because of APR. this is because its what's best for each student athlete in the long run. Aurite!
2) WAC champs EVERY year! Aurite! Aurite!
3) Bowl game EVERY year! Triple Aurite!
GM believes Hawaii has the greatest fans anywhere. From the amount of fans that showed up at the road games at San Jose, UNLV and of course the Sugar Bowl to even back in '99. The OT game against FSU for the WAC championship was the loudest stadium he'd ever been in, until this past year with the FSU, Boise St, and Washington games.
He and his players have taken to heart that after the end of the year last year they dropped from #7 to #17 in the polls, and as far as greater than #70 in the preseason polls this year. There's no talk of them being "Defending WAC champs" or anything. That might play into motivation this year I think.

New Athletic Director Jim Donovan then came up to discuss not only football, but the overall athletic department and his vision for it.
JD thanked Governor Burns for what we have today, a Division 1 program that we can be proud of. He believed that Hawai'i players could compete with anyone on the mainland. His ideas and beliefs laid the groundwork for Aloha Stadium, etc and allowed for UH to grow from it. He said we can't compare ourselves to our counterparts 2500 miles away. We're unique. We shouldn't feel like we're inferior to other teams, or anyone. We put on our pants the same as them.

JD mentioned that the WAC has been good to us since '78 and we've been good to the WAC. BUT that doesn't mean we shouldn't have the optimism to look elsewhere if its possible. For us to do that though we have be champions in every sport. JD said he talked to every coach and asked what was needed for them to succeed, and if they didn't have the resources, to let him know where they are lacking. *see further down as he brings this up again*
Last year, out of our 20 programs, we had 9 conference champions. 13 in the NCAA postseason, and 13 All-Americans.
He said running the business of an athletic department is difficult because its 2 main things, education and entertainment. Those 2 things contradict themselves however. In education, everything is supposed to be equal for the student. But in entertainment, its trying to be #1, to give the best value to the customer. JD also mentioned he's a strong believer in customer service. (where was that in the previous regime???)
JD also thanked the legislators present and the legislature in general for the support he's already received. They provided the extra funding in addendum to the donation by the Ching Foundation to help get Cooke field fixed.
When JD went to the legislature earlier this year, he was asked if he thought UH athletics was more important than the University. He said no. But he did compare UH athletics to a front porch. When UH athletics does well, it brings interest to the school, both nationally and internationally, as if a well kept, nicely decorated porch people would recognize and stop and want to come in to see the rest of the house. (enroll in UH, bring $$ to the school, etc). If UH athletics wasn't doing so well, it would be as if that same porch was dirty and in disrepair, and people wouldn't think twice about it as they passed it by.
JD then talked about how they're trying to make the program grow by continuing what JJ started. First off to keep the connection to Samoa alive. JJ took his SMU coaches and GM and some UH coaches this summer. They held clinics for both the players and coaches down there. They would like to keep that pipeline open as well as possibly get one going to Western Samoa, New Zealand and even Japan.
There's a huge market in Japan, as GM brought up an example as to look at how the Japanese media follow any Japanese player in any sport here in the US. The coverage is unbelievable. He doesn't want to just get a token player however, but someone that can play, maybe a slotback, WR, or kicker. Then that player can represent Japan and they can be proud of him and support him. He'd like Hawaii to be the Pacific Rim's team. If we can do that, it'll be a huge fan base and media share. This would definitely make us more viable and possible for another conference, say the PAC-10??

JD mentioned however that with rising fuel costs, their main focus is of course our teams and getting them to the mainland. Both of them said numerous times how prices have double and even tripled to the same destinations compared to last year. They will be flying commercial vice charter, but it cannot be helped. Its not only difficult for UH to fly there but for other teams to come here, so scheduling teams might soon be harder than it was previously (but not as bad as HF).
Both JD and GM stressed the importance of education, and how they want to impress on the kids at a young age to do well in school from as young as they can, because once they're juniors and seniors, its already too late. They also wanted to spread that word to Samoa as well (Samoa's main athletic director visited with GM this week).
JD went over his 6 main points, but I was only able to catch a few of them.
1) make UH a destination of choice by players
2) make it an ohana environment
3) conference champions in as many sports as possible
4) ownership of the teams not only to them but the whole state.
JD did have a disclaimer and pre-apology of sorts. He said that with the budget the way it is and with efforts to raise funds, there are possibilities that it might not be pleasant for some of the public, but it has to be done. He said the last thing he wants to do is displease and alienate a Warrior fan, but there are times when it can't be helped and it is out of his control.

Ok, after that, there was a short Q&A session with some of the public. Some very good questions were brought up and both tried to answer to the best of their ability.
1) Aloha Stadium's future & parking (JD responded with a quote from Stan Sheriff "Sometimes the questions that are asked are better than the answers you can give, and those are "Great questions"", and this was one of them.
- he realizes that Aloha Stadium has a limited lifespan, and something needs to be done, whether renovation or rebuild. it will soon become a safety issue with the steel.
- JD thought the location it is at now is the perfect spot, with both freeways passing it. also, when the rail gets done, a stop will be by the stadium, and he can see many park and rides happening on saturdays (like at many other pro parks in a city landscape)
- he said that it is really out of his control as the money is state money and its bigger than him.
- Rep Mark Takai pitched in saying that he believes something has to be done too. and he does not have the answer either whether to repair or start from scratch. He does believe however that UH should have control of its own stadium like every other college stadium out there. Rep Takai mentioned that they will try and learn from their visit to Florida to see how they and other big schools out there run things (YES! good idea!)
2) Question about JV and possibility of it being cut due to funding.
- Both JD & Gm responded with support for JV. They both expressed their thoughts of the negative aspects of not having it. GM was asked by HHSAA's Keith Amemiya to go to the legisture in support of JV, and GM is so in favor of it that he will sacrifice one practice later next month to help out.
3) Comment about Fight song and college tradition. one person brought a good point that he saw at the Sugar Bowl. When the Georgia band played their fight song, the whole Georgia fan base sang in unison. When UH played, our fans only clapped.
- JD saw this too, and he apologized for not knowing it either. GM and John McNamara are working with the UH band and cheerleaders to try to resolve this.
- GM said he's a college guy, JJ was more a pro style. GM knows that spirit of college football is in the songs, the cheerleaders, the students and the fans, and he wants to bring that atmosphere back to game days.
4) One lady was a proud UH alumnus, but had a hard time feeling that alumnus connection to UH at homecoming and at other events.
- JD responded with "thats another Great Question!!" heh. and it was. its hard to explain the apathy when it comes to alumni and UH. they're trying to resolve this too, starting with the letterwinners club and former players.

Ok, thank you for reading my book. Hope it wasn't too boring. I tried to remember as much as I could, but I haven't taken notes since I was in college, and back then I was dozing off in class at the same time. However tonight was very educational and entertaining (so JD and GM did a good job!) Hopefully that same enthusiasm from both their side at the athletic department and teams and our side as the public and fans will flow all season long.
Thank you again to Rep. Mark Takai and the other legislators for setting this up, as well as mucho mahalos to both Jim Donovan and Greg McMackin for their time to talk to the normal people like us. They truly are Hawaii's teams and they play for us and we are here to support them.

Warriors in the Pros: Colt, Bess, LP

Andrew Astleford of the Washington Post profiles Colt Brennan. Here's an excerpt:
His attitude has given teammates pause. Brennan quickly has gained a reputation as an antithesis to the stiff, all-business field-general prototype. He wears tights on the practice field. He cracks jokes with veterans. He plays the ukulele.

"He's probably one of the most interesting rookie quarterbacks I've ever been around," Campbell said.

"He just walks around and talks about everything. . . . He has these different styles that he dresses when he comes to practice. He has tights on. He has wristbands. I'm like, 'Colt, what's all this stuff you have on?' "

Said wide receiver Horace Gant: "He's cool, calm and collected. I think the Hawaii lifestyle rubbed off on him. . . . He puts me in the mind of a Brett Favre-type guy. It's not the conventional, drop-back quarterback style. He gets the job done."
Right on. The article is accompanied by a Redskins photo gallery, which includes some pics of Colt.

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Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano addressed the advantages of maybe perhaps bringing in a veteran receiver, and mentions Davone Bess.
If you're a young player like a (Davone) Bess, you're watching this guy make his release and say, 'Hey, I can learn from some of that stuff'.
Soooo, is this a good sign that Bess will be on the team regardless? Can't learn if you're cut, right? Hey, I'm just looking for the positives. Speaking of which, Bess did more impressing today.
I might take a lot of crap for saying this, but Anthony Armstrong was the receiver who stood out most to me Wednesday afternoon. He got separation, and had a few shake moves during 7-on-7 and team drills. Derek Hagan, who put together his third straight decent day of practice, was a close second, with Davone Bess being the third.

Bess has a way of dropping right into the soft spot in a zone. It's either a gift, or Hawaii's pass happy offense paying off. Right now I have him penciled in on my 53-man roster, but he did drop a pass or two during Tuesday's practice, which shows he needs to work on his consistency.
Bess also returned kicks and had a great catch.
Beautiful slant pass to Bess, about 20 yards down field. Bess breaks the coverage, and in a game would’ve had a 50 yard touchdown.
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And finally Leonard Peters got a little banged up in Chicago Bears camp, but sounds like he's okay.
8:06 p.m.: Lloyd is back, and Orton tried to hit him on a deep ball but overthrew him. After the play, reserve safety Leonard Peters left the field with tape wrapped on his chin.
8:22 p.m.: Peters is back after leaving the field with a chin injury.

JD the AD, Fall Camp, Previews, Cadiz, Etc.

After several months on job, UH athletic director Jim Donovan now has a contract. Ferd Lewis has a bunch of details.

Stephen Tsai interviews Greg McMackin about the upcoming season. Here's an excerpt about getting rid of the 220s:
On eliminating the 220s:

"I don't want anyone to pull anything. We're not giving endurance tests, which is a change. We're going to practice and work on conditioning. Conditioning is a big factor, obviously. We're going to have sudden changes during practices. We'll practice, then blow a whistle, and the offense and defense will run. Then they'll go back to their drills. It's realistic conditioning."
Lots of good stuff from that interview.

Over at Sportshawaii.com, regular practice observer NelsonO lists some things he's looking forward to seeing in fall camp.

Felix Chavez of the Las Cruces Sun-News has a 2008 UH preview, with lots of quotes from Greg McMackin and Solomon Elimimian.

Shawn Harrison of the Herald Journal in Utah has a preview as well, writing that UH will be relying on the defense early. It includes more quotes from Solimimian and Mack.
“I am really excited about our defense,” McMackin said. “We have two 300-plus (pound) mothers in the middle who also have speed. Speed is really important.”
Stephen Tsai writes that walk-on running back Joey Cadiz has made the 105-man fall camp roster. There's also info on other players:
Cadiz, who is 5 feet 6, is expected to serve on the scout team. But earning a berth against tough competition is quite an accomplishment. Mario Cox and Alonzo Chopp have been invited to rejoin Aug. 25, the first day of the fall semester, when the roster limit is lifted.
Wideout Jett Jasper, slotback Nate Nasca, cornerbacks Kawika Ornellas and Richard Torres, and offensive lineman Les Soloai also earned training-camp berths.
And then there's this:
It’s never too early to think ahead.
One of the 28 scholarship offers went to an eighth-grader.
Interesting!

Dave Reardon has a Sports Notebook with news about season ticket sales, Carl Clapp, Francis Maka's NCAA petition, a town meeting with Mack and JD at Waimalu Elementary School, and incoming JC offensive lineman Kainoa LaCount.
The highly regarded offensive tackle won't be able to report to camp until at least a few days into it because his last final at College of the Canyons (Calif.) is Aug. 7.

UH will likely keep a camp spot open for him, but LaCount could end up redshirting if he doesn't get up to speed quickly.

"I don't mind if I have to. It's another year to get bigger, faster and stronger," said the 6-foot-7, 290-pound Kailua High graduate. "It might be the best thing."
The article also has a nice fall camp schedule JPG.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Warriors in the Pros: Bess, CB, Manuwai

I guess it's good news that it's big news when Davone Bess drops a pass.
There were five dropped passes, including one by TE David Martin, who seems to have one every other day. WR Davone Bess' miscue was the real surprise. The rookie from Hawaii has caught everything thrown his way since the rookie mini-camp.
Not so good news for Davone's chances of making the team as the Dolphins will reportedly sign veteran receiver Terry Glenn. Then again, Bess has impressed so maybe it doesn't matter.

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Good sign for Colt Brennan, who is listed as 3rd string QB in the depth chart posted on the Redskins site. Be sure to watch the first NFL preseason game of the year this Sunday on NBC. Washington takes on Indianapolis, and Colt should see some playing time.

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In Jaguars camp, Vince Manuwai's move from left guard to right guard has been put on hold for now.
Manuwai is somewhat of a concern. Coming off his best pro season, Manuwai hasn’t been his old self early in this camp. He was moved back to his old left guard spot with the hope that it would help him regain his form.

“We’ve had a good chance to take a look at him on the right. I think there’s a comfort level for him on the left. Sometimes it’s good to have as few guys changing as possible,” Heck said of Manuwai in particular and of his line in general, as it attempts to overcome the loss of its leader, Meester.

2008 UH Football Schedule Poster

Below is a JPG of the 2008 Warrior football schedule poster -- click on it for a larger version. You can pick up the actual poster at various locations in Hawaii, or by sending a pre-paid mailing tube to the UH athletics department. Details can be found in this press release.



P.S. Man, Dan Kelly giving David Veikune the boot!

Otineru, Symonds, Maka, $400k, Pilares

Stephen Tsai writes that offensive lineman Daniel Otineru will sit out this year as he recovers from jaw surgery.
In May, he underwent a two-part surgery. The roof of his mouth was repositioned, and his jaw was broken, then reset forward a quarter inch.

Then came the difficult part: his mouth was wired shut for six weeks. During that time, he consumed protein shakes.

"That was hard — not being able to talk and eat," Otineru said. "It was pretty depressing every time I opened up the fridge."

He lost 30 pounds, going from 295 to 265.
He has received a medical hardship and will be back in 2009.

Tsai also writes about incoming kicker Brett Symonds.
Brett Symonds, a graduate of Chaparral High School, is set to report to training camp Aug. 4, making him the third kicker from the southwest California town to play for the Warriors. Eric Hannum and Dan "The Iceman" Kelly were raised in Temecula.

Symonds turned down scholarship offers from Weber State and Idaho State to enroll at UH as a walk-on. He said he welcomes the opportunity to serve as an apprentice during Kelly's senior season.
And ST has more player pics on the WB.

Dave Reardon writes that Francis Maka is still waiting to hear from the NCAA on the status of his medical hardship petition.

And Ferd Lewis thinks the UH-June Jones dispute over the $400k may be nearing a conclusion.

UPDATE: The Warrior Beat is hosting a chat with Kealoha Pilares at 11:30am HST. Be there!

UPDATE 2: Here's a link to the chat.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More WitP: Colt, Ulbrich, Elam, Manuwai

The news, it never stops! Chawan compiles some vids from tonight -- KITV's Robert Kekaula has an interview with Colt Brennan, who's been pretty popular among the Redskins fans at practice. Kekaula also has some footage of Samson Satele and Reagan Mauia from Dolphins camp. KGMB's Mike Cherry has some quotes from Colt's blog, and news about Ashley Lelie's calf injury. The compilation starts off with a KHON profile of former UH basketball player Carl English.



Jeff Ulbrich has some competition at the "ted" linebacker spot for the 49ers.
He produced 167 tackles in 2004 and is one of San Francisco's special teams stars.

But Ulbrich is being pushed by veteran Brandon Moore, San Francisco's leading tackler in 2006 along with newcomer Dontarrious Thomas and seventh-round draft pick Larry Grant. All three players have shown the team they have something to offer.

"Right now there is pretty good competition there," Nolan said. "All three of those guys are working in and out at that position. There is no clear-cut guy right now, although if I had to start today, Jeff would be the guy."
Paul Newberry of the AP profiles kicker Jason Elam, who's gearing up for his first season with the Atlanta Falcons.
Jason Elam is still getting used to the uniform. The red jersey. The black helmet with the Falcons logo on each side.

"I'm feeling pretty weird," he joked Monday, strolling off the field after another training camp practice on a sweltering Georgia morning.

Otherwise, he's got no complaints about going from one of the NFL's flagship franchises to one that is starting over yet again.

For Elam, this is home.
Thanks to fuzzylogic and 4uhfan.

And from the Big Cat Country blog, Vince Manuwai gets a brief mention in some observations from Jacksonville Jaguars camp.
# Vince Manuwai took on Jimmy Kennedy. It was pretty ugly on their first attempt. Manuwai made it look easy against Kennedy, walking him out of the way to clear a path for Cotrone.
# On their second attempt it looked like Manuwai might get the better of Kennedy again, but Kennedy pushed back, rolled off, and actually forced a fumble by Chauncey Washington.

WitP: Ikaika, Bess, Satele, Colt, Lelie, LaBoy

Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli continues to push Ikaika Alama-Francis in practice.
The Lions are counting on Ikaika Alama-Francis to contribute at defensive end this year, and Rod Marinelli is after him to be more consistent. An example from morning practice: In one drill, Marinelli praised Alama-Francis for having good pad level and good get off (he got under right tackle George Foster's pads and knocked him backwards with ease). In the next, Marinelli hollered that Alama-Francis needed to get off the ball better and "I haven't seen you make one play all day."
In Dolphins camp, Davone Bess showed off some moves.
Davone Bess continues to prove why he caught so many passes at Hawaii. He fakes Scorpio Babers out of his shoes on a down-and-in, and Babers lets out an audible cuss word that is not suitable for print.
Samson Satele has his hands full with Dolphins defensive lineman Jason Ferguson.
After closely monitoring the line play for the past four practice I've discovered C Samson Satele can't handle NT Jason Ferguson one-on-one. Ferguson puts him on skates in passing downs, and one-on-one drills. I'm struggling to figure out if this is a good thing or a bad thing for the Dolphins. You tell me? However, a good nose tackle SHOULD demand help from a guard.

By contrast, Satele handles Paul Soliai with ease.
Miami coach Tony Sparano addressed the situation:
"... we talked about guys on the field, each individual player on the field, when you're working your matchup, trying to make the guy across from you a little bit better. This is happening with Satele right now. Jason Ferguson gives a lot of people fits. It's hard to block him. I've said that before, he's hard to move. Even the guys in Dallas, the big strong guys, they would come off saying 'he's hard to move.' With Satele, this is good work for him. We don't have little noses in our conference. They're all big people, physical people, so this is good for Samson."
Colt Brennan has a new entry in his blog. Here's an excerpt:
It's cool to see the celebrity status of someone like Jason Taylor and what he brings to the team. It's really neat when you get out to the practice field and you have Jason Taylor at defensive end, Clinton Portis as your running back and Santana Moss as your wide receiver. You kind of pinch yourself a couple times.

When I'm around those guys, I'm actually pretty quiet. I understand where I am on the pedestal.
Ashley Lelie missed practice again.
WR Ashley Lelie also missed practice with a calf injury. Nolan said Lelie had an MRI on Sunday and could miss anywhere from a few days to a week.
And Mike Sando of ESPN.com says Travis Laboy has had a good start in Arizona Cardinals camp.
Travis LaBoy's speed could help the pass rush. Signed as a free agent from Tennessee, LaBoy proved disruptive in pass-rush drills over the weekend.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

WitP: Dolphins, 49ers, RGM, Colt (w/UPDATE)

The Sun-Sentinel's Miami Dolphins blog posted a current Dolphins depth chart. Samson Satele is #1 center, Davone Bess is #3 right wide receiver and Reagan Mauia is #1 fullback. Of course that could all change. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano addressed the fullback situation:
"I know Boomer has played special teams and Reagan is working with our special teams right now, so that will be important for whoever makes this team. The fullback will need to be able to contribute on that area."
Back to Bess, who continued to impress:
Davone Bess continues to show off his great hands, while Foster runs so fast, he has to slow down to wait for the pass to get to him.
Ashley Lelie is listed as day-to-day with his strained calf. He sat out practice today. Hope he gets back out there soon. Here's what 49ers coach Mike Nolan said about it:
Obviously, a couple of the guys are banged up a little bit. For some of them it doesn’t make too much of a difference. Arnaz Battle is nursing a little bit of a hamstring that kind of bothers him somewhat. He might take fewer reps at times, although he didn’t today. But someone like Ashley Lelie, naturally that gives someone else the opportunity to take some of those reps so it’d be important for him to get back. He should be back in a few days.
Defensive end Isaac Sopoaga was able to practice today, and showed off his coverage skills.
Observers caught a glimpse of defensive end Isaac Sopoaga’s ability to move during a zone blitz period. Sop dropped back in coverage and managed an impressive open field “tackle” of Delanie Walker.
From the same article, Jeff Ulbrich talked about a drill Mike Singletary had them run through:
The real show came during coach Mike Singletary’s infamous bag drill where each player shuffles his feet back and forth while stepping over their own bag. The drill continues until each player does the drill to Singletary’s satisfaction and he calls out their name.

“It’s a brutal drill,” said veteran linebacker Jeff Ulbrich. “It doesn’t matter how much you’ve prepared and trained for it in the offseason, it kills you. Your lungs and your legs are exhausted. It’s tough.”
LizKauai found this video from Chicago Bears practice -- Ryan Grice-Mullen (#15) can be seen catching the ball a few times.

And Colt Brennan continues his learning process in Redskins camp.
• Colt Brennan had the play of the day with a seam pass to Jason Goode who made a nice one-handed grab.
• Colt Brennan committed the gaff of the day with a poor throw that was picked by Shawn Springs
Photos of Colt from Sunday's practice can be found here.

UPDATE: KITV's Rob DeMello has practice footage of Colt and RGM.

WAC, Monteilh, Slipper Deal, Fehoko, Smith

Stephen Tsai writes about Fresno State's BCS dreams, and takes a look at each team in the WAC.

Billy Hull profiles UH safety Keao Monteilh.
Once almost too skinny to play Pop Warner football at age 11, Monteilh says he's close to 200 pounds after arriving at UH at around 170.

The extra weight and increased speed give Monteilh a confidence that has spread its way to the entire defensive unit.

"Defense-wise, our attitude is we're going to line up and we're going to beat you," Monteilh said. "No matter what you throw at us, that is how we think. We've got the attitude that we're going to take you 1-on-1."
Hull also takes a preseason look at the WAC teams.

Dave Reardon writes that Coach Greg McMackin might have a slipper deal in the works.
Greg McMackin free-toes it often at practice and whenever else he can. This led Rob DeMello of KUMU-1500’s Russ and Rob Show to ask Shoeless Mack why he doesn’t have a slipper deal yet.

One thing led to another, and now UH is in serious negotiations with Scott Hawaii, producers of fashionable flip flops.
Tsai writes that Whitley Fehoko is leaving Portland State to possibly join UH, and that Daniel Smith, who filed a lawsuit against UH for allegedly reneging on a scholarship offer, has joined PSU as a walk-on.
Fehoko, who originally played at San Diego State, left there and signed a scholarship agreement with Portland State. But because of family reasons, he wanted to return to Hawai‘i. The release allows him to contact UH.
Tsai also has an ad featuring Leonard Peters that will appear in ESPN the Magazine.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Warriors in the Pros: Bess, Colt, Lelie

Davone Bess made a good impression on at least three observers during the first day of Dolphins training camp.

The Sun-Sentinel:
Here's a quick summary of how the two quarterbacks performed: John Beck made a couple of nice throws. One was to Davone Bess, who beat Joey Thomas on a slant route to the sidelines. Bess jumped in the air to catch the ball for what would have been a 20-yard gain. He also caught a good sideline pass from McCown that in my opinion was the play of the morning for the offense.

Bess caught every thrown his way, and did it with his hands. I'll admit I didn't see anything special about Bess during my early exposure to him, but now I'm starting to get intrigued.
Palm Beach Post:
Someone should check Davone Bess’ hands for stick ‘em or super glue. The guy catches everything.
Palm Beach Post (again):
Davone Bess has vacuums for hands. The next time he drops a pass will be the first.
Ozzy from Dolphin Digest:
Now we have Devone Bess. He was all over the place this morning, and he dropped nothing. He made a real nice catch on the sidelines on that throw from McCown that I spoke about earlier. The ball was just a little over his head but he made a nice reaching grab for the ball, bringing it in just as he got his second foot down which made him tumble to the ground but he held on. He may be a tad small but he knows how to find seams, and is a constant threat to get open. I like his chances to last until the last cuts. We'll see how it goes though.
Last link via Dasda1 on WSN

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During a scrimmage today, Colt Brennan was 4 of 7 for 22 yards, and one of his passes was dropped.

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Ashley Lelie left practice early due to a strained calf.
Things have not gotten off to a good start for Ashley Lelie, who sat out most of practice this morning with a left calf injury. Lelie caught just 10 passes last season. He has to have a good training camp or he might not figure into the team's plans.

Lelie fell out of favor quickly last season when he missed most of the offseason program with a quad pull.

Odds and Ends

Some articles from the past week that didn't get posted for one reason or another...

Brian Murphy of the Idaho Statesman writes an article about Greg McMackin's positive effect on the UH program.
"This is going to be my last job," McMackin said at the WAC football media preview this week. "I want to do the best job I possibly can."

That's the kind of honest, humble, down-to-earth approach McMackin brought to a reeling Hawaii program.

"He definitely calmed the storm. And we know what kind of guy he is," Hawaii linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. "We know how good of a coach and how good of a guy he is."
Chris Fetters of Superprep.com (Scout) writes an article about Hawaii Speed and Quickness football camps.
"We're trying to make things affordable for everyone in Hawai'i and we're trying to be as inclusive as we can," Miano said.

Camps like Just Win! on Maui and Education First paved the way for a UH camp like the HSQ one to be successful. "We encourage kids to go to all of them," Miano said. "But at the same time, the University of Hawai'i needed to have a camp."

Just based on the turnout, it appears these camps were a bombshell waiting to go off.
The Hawaii Herald reprinted an award winning article by Joe Udell about his time spent watching UH beat Nevada in Reno last year.

Ferd Lewis wrote about the Central Arkansas game being an adequate fit for the 2009 opener.

Lewis also wrote how June Jones' comments regarding Tim Tebow last year may be used as Gator bulletin board material for the August 30th UH-Florida game.

And Felix Chavez of the Las Cruces Sun-News lists some of the WAC games he's looking forward to this year.

WitP: Ikaika, Mauia, LP, RGM, Colt, Sopoaga

Chrissie Wywrot of Detroitlions.com profiles and has Q&As with second-year Lions Calvin Johnson and Ikaika Alama-Francis:
Alama-Francis on how much his growth has changed his mentality: “Last year, I was thinking of the big picture; this year’s it’s one day at a time, one play at a time. If you can do that mentally then things are going to fly by. You’re going to play real fast and you’re going to get better with your technique because then you’re really focused on what you’re doing now and you can only get better at it.”
Ikaika is getting a lot of motivation to improve from his coach, Rod Marinelli:
Second-year player Ikaika Alama-Francis is in the unenviable position of being the whipping boy for head coach Rod Marinelli. So far in camp, Marinelli has been riding him pretty good. The reason is because Alama-Francis is a tremendous athlete, but he's inconsistent in his play. During a one-on-one pass-rush drill on Saturday, Alama-Francis put a great move on lineman Chris Patrick and literally bowled him over with a bullrush. The entire defensive line started hooting and hollering.

Later, in a team drill, it was Marinelli who was hooting and hollering -- but not in a good way. While the rest of the defensive line had an excellent practice in exploding off the ball, Alama-Francis was inconsistent. Between plays, Marinelli marched up to the d-line and blew his stack, telling Alama-Francis in no uncertain terms exactly what he thought of his effort.
MiamiDolphins.com has a training camp preview, which mentions Davone Bess and Reagan Mauia battling for roster spots.
Mauia, 23, began his college career on the defensive side of the ball as a 350-pound nose guard. The sixth-round draft pick has dropped almost 100 pounds since then and at 6-0, 260, has the ideal build of a fullback. He beat out 12-year veteran Cory Schlesinger for the starting job last year as a rookie and played in all 16 games, starting nine of them. He was the lead blocker for Ronnie Brown as Brown rushed for 100 yards in four consecutive games and carried the ball himself four times for five yards.
Leonard Peters made an interception during Chicago Bears training camp yesterday.
First-year safety Leonard Peters, who is fighting for a roster spot, picked off a Caleb Hanie pass that was tipped by linebacker Nick Roach.
If you have a subscription to "Bear Report" or maybe just a paid Scout.com subscription, you can listen to this audio interview with Ryan Grice-Mullen.

From yesterday's Redskins training camp, here's an observation from the Washington Times.
The quarterbacks might have had their best practice as a unit in camp in the morning. Jason Campbell had several excellent throws, and both of the kids (Colt Brennan and Derek Devine) had their moments. Todd Collins still sprinkled in some erratic tosses, but overall the group played better. Play of the day honors goes to wideout Anthony Mix, who hauled in a one-handed catch from Brennan along the right sideline. Leigh Torrance had quality coverage and Brennan threw the ball nicely, but the catch was superb.
And Isaac Sopoaga made a big impression on at least one play in 49ers camp yesterday.
--- Isaac Sopoaga is pure muscle and force when he’s let loose to push up the middle on a pass rush. He methodically drove guard Tony Wragge eight yards into the backfield during 1-on-1 drills.
The article also has mentions of Ashley Lelie and Jeff Ulbrich.

Update #1: vid of Colt @ practice, Bess & Mauia, Cooke Field.

Friday, July 25, 2008

WitP: Ikaika, Colt, 49ers, Dolphins

From the Detroit Lions website, Ikaika Alama-Francis talks about his first day of training camp this year, compared to his rookie season.
“My first practice was a lot better than last year,” said defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis. “This year at the beginning of camp I am really excited and I know what to expect. Just being around these guys for a year really helps you out. You’re confident and just back in it. I can go into it focusing on what I need to focus on, know what I’ve got to do and get better at it.”
In a follow-up to the Washington Times article, Corey Masisak has a lot more quotes from Colt that didn't make it to the article. Here's one:
ON HAVING PLENTY OF OPTIONS FOR A MENTOR:

"I’m in great shape. When it comes to just getting myself acclimated, coach Zorn is the guy I go to. He’s the one who coaches me up and I appreciate that he has invested some time in me. When he is out there coaching everyone and I need help, I can always go to Jason or Todd. They’ve been both been awesome toward me. It is always competitive, but here everyone has been great about making sure I have everything down."
Here's an audio interview with Colt (WMA file). Among other things, he talks about how Jim Zorn is leaving his throwing motion alone for now.

More photos from the ExtremeSkins.com Stadium forum can be found here, here and here.

The D.C. Redskins Examiner has a brief but positive mention of Colt:
Colt Brennan has a fantastic arm and a lightening quick release. However, his learning curve is going to be steep.
The Advertiser has a McClatchy Newspapers article about the ex-UH players on the San Francisco 49ers.

And the Sun-Sentinel's Dolphins blog has a pre-training camp projected depth chart.

WAC Media Preview News

Dave Reardon writes how WAC teams are running the ball more. Here's a quote from Solomon Elimimian:
Elimimian, headed into his fourth year as a starter, said the WAC has become more bruising since he was a freshman.
"It's definitely changed from pass-happy the past two or three years. It's more smashmouth and there are so many prolific running backs coming back," he said.
Dan Hinxman of the Reno Gazette-Journal has a similar article.
"It's one of the myths, and it's been a great marketing tool for the WAC, the wide-open league we have, but people don't realize how physical this league is. You look at the teams that have won the most consistently the last four or five years, they're physical. Even Hawaii. That's not a finesse football team. They look finesse, but they're physical."
And another about returning WAC rushers from The Las Cruces Sun-Times.

Nice article from the Idaho Stateman about Boise State wanting to take back what they feel is rightfully theirs.
This offseason, the coaches are intent on making sure the Broncos remember. Remember that they did not claim the WAC championship for the first time since 2001. Remember that it was Hawaii that walked away with the hardware.

That's why a picture of a jubilant Warriors team hangs in the Broncos' weight room. That's why strength and conditioning coach Tim Socha often wears a Hawaii "WAC champions" T-shirt and won't take his Hawaii Bowl ring - a sign of what the Broncos did not accomplish - off. Missing from everyone's finger is the WAC championship ring that players have grown accustomed to.

"We have a lonely finger," senior running back Ian Johnson said.
Hehehe.

Speaking of which, Stephen Tsai profiles Ian Johnson.

Stephen Tsai also profiles Ryan Mouton and Adam Leonard.

Dave Reardon has some notes from the WAC preview, which includes some quotes of the day:
Mumme on his beefed-up offensive linemen: "It's not good for our team meal bills, but it's good for (quarterback) Chase (Holbrook)."

Tomey on the lack of blocking by the Spartans last year: "A lot of people in our backfield and very few of them were ours."

McMackin on improved meeting-room amenities: "We've now got big-butt chairs for the linemen."
Here are more WAC notes from the Idaho Statesman, Shreveport Times and The News Star.

And Nick Jezierny of the Idaho Statesman has a useful article, interviewing each players from each team about the best places to eat near their respective schools. And I guess some things never change:
"Waikiki and the North Shore areas are awesome," Elimimian said. "Just stay away from the UH campus."
:)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Video: Colt, RGM, Sol (and Some Articles)

Here's another CC compilation. KHON's Kanoa Leahey reports on Ryan Grice-Mullen signing with the Bears and Ryan Mouton possibly playing some offense this year. KGMB's Liz Chun talks about RGM, and has a great news report from WUSA in Washington DC, which includes interviews with Colt Brennan and Jim Zorn. And KITV's Robert Kekaula has a report on Solomon Elimimian that includes audio excerpts from a Rob & Russ Show interview which can be found on the AM 1500 front page.



Speaking of Colt, the Washington Times has a pretty extensive feature article on him.

From the Redskins website, a training camp report that mentions how Colt performed on a few of his throws today.
Colt Brennan took a series of reps, against the first-team and second-team defenses.

On his first play, Brennan threw a pass across the middle that was easily intercepted by Marcus Washington, who whooped it up after the play.

Washington again torments Brennan. He gets a hand in front of a short pass to Marcus Mason running across the middle.

Brennan throws a nice deep pass to tight end Rob Goode, who makes the grab. The throw did not have a great deal of zip on it, but it produced results.

Then Brennan tossed a sideline pass to Burl Toler, who made the catch with a defender in front of him and a defender behind him. This throw had real nice touch.

Mack, Mouton, BBQ for Colt, RGM

WACSports.com has video of Greg McMackin and the other coaches addressing the media.

Here's a link to Dave Reardon's transcription again. From McMackin's comments, looks like Ryan Mouton may be figuring into the offense this season.
Mouton said he's excited about the possibility of some downs as a receiver.

"We've talked about it and Coach said he might get me out there for some screens and some other simple stuff," Mouton said in a phone interview today. "It's something I did in high school and junior college. It makes me feel good that the coach would have the confidence in me to do it at this level, too."
Here's more transcription of Coach Mack's comments, from Graham Watson's non-BCS blog on ESPN.com. UPDATE: Upon further review, I think the ESPN article is a separate Q&A with Mack.

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The University of Hawai’i Alumni Association of the National Capital Region in Washington D.C. hosted a BBQ for Colt Brennan. Their site has tons of pics from the BBQ.

Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post's D.C. Sports Blog Bog has a report.
You know, pot luck meal, Redskins logos, leis, a ukulele performance, convincing the the rookie QB to get behind the microphone and rock a few Hawaiian tunes, handing him a ukulele and getting him to strum. The usual deal for NFL rookies.

"He was faking it," they admitted of the musical portion of the celebration, but still, as a proud ukulele owner, respect to Colt for the effort.
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And not sure if it's just part of the formalities of trying out, but great news in any case as Ryan Grice-Mullen signed a contract with the Chicago Bears. Blog Down, a Chicago Bears blog, imagines a conversation between Coach Lovie Smith and RGM.
Ryan Grice-Mullen: Yeah, mon.

Lovie Smith: Hi Ryan. This is Lovie Smith, head coach of the Chicago Bears. I’m calling to see if you’d be interested in playing for us.

RGM: Irie, mon. Les do a dis ting alretty.

Lovie: Great. We’ll need you here today.

RGM: Sounds good, mon. I a bring me baseball bat n’ glove.

Lovie: Wait… Son, did you just say you’ll bring your baseball bat and glove?

RGM: Yeah, mon. Wah wrong wit dat? I be dee nex Cheepah Jonez, you see, mon.
Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald writes that RGM was suited up, but did not participate in practice today.

Warriors in the Pros: Colt, RGM, Ikaika

Here's video of another "throw-crap-at-the-QB" drill that Colt Brennan and the other Washington Redskins QBs ran through in training camp today. Looks like they're having fun.



Thanks to 4uhfan, who also finds these quotes from Colt about the drill.
Colt Brennan: “We’d done something like that in college, but this was kind of a barrage. I’ve never had six bags thrown at me at one time.”
Was Coach feeling sinister? “Ah, Coach Zorn just always wants to keep it loose and fun. They’re soft bags, and we’ve got these big pads and everything.”
Here's a photo of Colt dodging the barrage, which comes from this ExtremeSkins.com photo thread.



Great news for Ryan Grice-Mullen, who has a tryout with the Chicago Bears.
With his flowing dreadlocks, from a distance he looked like Devin Hester walking into the dining hall at Olivet Nazarene University Thursday morning.

It wasn't the holdout wide receiver but another pass catcher.

Ryan Grice-Mullen is here for a free-agent workout today. The Hawaii wide receiver went undrafted in April and was signed by the Houston Texans. He was released June 13 and never participated in OTA's because of a leg injury. The Bears can check out to see if he is healthy now.
Let's hope he's fully healed and can show what he can do.

And Ikaika Alama-Francis performed well in the first day of Detroit Lions training camp. From Tom Kowaski's first impressions of camp:
In the one-on-one pass rush drill, it was obvious that Ikaika Alama-Francis has spent some time working on his inside counter moves. He still has a long way to go, but his technique is better. These one-on-one drills will be important for Alama-Francis because he has to build up some confidence with his pass rush.
And from the Birk's Eye View blog:
In his first one-on-one of the day, rookie Gosder Cherilus set too deep and got beat inside by second-year end Ikaika Alama-Francis.

Mack, WAC News

Stephen Tsai has a great interview with coach Greg McMackin at the WAC media preview. Here's an excerpt:
On implementing his version of the four-wide offense:

"(Quarterback coach Nick "Rolo" Rolovich) is doing an unbelievable job with the quarterbacks. I know we're going to have an unbelievably great (starting) quarterback. I know we're going to be one of the top throwing teams in the country. I'm not worried at all. We've run this offense before. June did a great job running this offense. But this offense is special. We're really getting back to the basics. Ron (Lee) knows the basics. I know the basics. Rolo knows the basics. Brian Smith (the line coach) is as good as there is in knowing how to block the front. Alex Gerke (the backfield coach) helps us not only with the running backs but with the offensive line. I really believe in the people we have."
Dave Reardon has a preview of today's WAC meetings.

Reardon has a good rundown of the state of the WAC, both the good and the bad.

In his WAC preview notes, Stephen Tsai writes about Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian's golf outing, and the resignation of UH compliance officer Bill Bryant.

A good quote from Dave Reardon's WAC notes:
Robb Akey's Idaho team went 1-11 in his first season as head coach last year, prompting the best line from the three coaches who addressed the media.
"My wife got all the sharp objects out of our house," he said. "That was miserable."
By the way, congratulations to Dave Reardon, who has been promoted to Star-Bulletin columnist. Hope he'll still be writing lots of articles and stuff for his blog, which by the way, has a new entry full of Greg McMackin's comments at WAC Media Day.

There's more WAC preview coverage from:

The Reno Gazette-Journal

The Idaho Statesman

Idaho Statesman again

Lahontan Valley News

Nevada Appeal

Deseret News

The Fresno Bee

And ESPN's new non-BCS blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Video: WAC, Camp, PIAA, Rivers, Etc

Lots of TV news today, compiled by the famous Mr. Cut. KHON's Kanoa Leahey has a report about UH being ranked 4th in both WAC preseason polls and Solomon Elimimian being named Defensive POY. Leahey also mentions that Navy QB Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada was named to the Davey O'Brien watch list, and Jason Rivers was waived by the Titans. KHNL's Jason Tang profiles Doris Sullivan of the PIAA. KITV's Robert Kekaula has a report on Kimo Makaula committing to UH. And KGMB's Mike Cherry gets Tyler Graunke's thoughts on being ranked 4th in both WAC polls.

Warriors in the Pros: Colt, Rivers, Lelie


Colt Brennan launches a gray orb of death at starter Jason Campbell.

More photos of Colt Brennan at Washington Redskins training camp can be found here, here and here.

Here's some observations of Colt from the official Redskins blog:
For all you Colt Brennan supporters out there (the ones who want him to make the team, not the ones who expect him to be the starter), he made some sharp throws to the RBs in the earlier drills — mostly short stuff, but one nicely placed longer throw to Rock Cartwright. I didn’t spot him during the 11-on-11s, though.
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Bad news to report as Jason Rivers was waived by the Tennessee Titans. All the best to Jason.

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And here's a Q&A with Ashley Lelie, from the 49ers website.
Q: Martz has gone on public record saying that he thought you were extremely talented when you first came into the NFL and that he’s surprised that you haven’t been given more opportunity. How does it feel to have your coordinator speak that way of you, and do you sense you will be a bigger part of things this year?
A: It’s encouraging to hear that from a guy who has been to Super Bowls. It makes you want to get better and work harder and to digest this offense. It’s kind of a receiver’s dream to be in this type of offense where they air the ball out like this. I haven’t been in this type of an offense and so it’s like being a kid again. I feel like a rookie
Thanks to Jim, fuzzylogic and 4uhfan for spotting some of the articles.

Makaula, Blaze, Austin, Nauahi, Etc.

Dave Reardon has more quotes from Kimo Makaula, who committed to UH yesterday.
"It has been a dream to play at home and I am thankful Coach McMackin and his staff have made this possible for me," said Makaula, who also had an offer from UNLV. "I can play on both sides of the ball, but Coach wants me as a defensive end, so that's what I'm going to focus on at UH. Whatever the coaches want."
In his blog, Reardon praises Makaula and wonders if his commit might help UH in getting another sought-after recruit.

Stephen Tsai talks to Makaula about his dream to play for UH.
Makaula said he has "always been a UH fan. I went to pretty much all of the games. Last season was great, and I'm excited that coach Mack is the head coach."

He said he was inspired when McMackin addressed the campers last week. He also said he received positive feedback in e-mail exchanges.

"After speaking to coach Mack, he made me feel that Hawai'i is my home, and playing for Hawai'i is what I wanted to do. ... I know coach Mack will have a good team this year. I'm excited for that."
Tsai has some news and notes about the health of Blaze Soares, Shane Austin and Viliami Nauahi as they recover from injury.
Soares will become a full-time starter at left-side linebacker this season. He endured injuries during each of his first two UH seasons. Last year, he endured a left-shoulder injury and a stinger.

"It's sore, brah," Soares said of the injuries.

Of the stinger, he said, "You have no feeling whatsoever in your arm."

Despite the injuries, Soares kept playing.

"It's mind over matter," he said. "You have a different mentality. I'm not a wussy."
And Ferd Lewis writes about the talented coaches that have come out of the state of Hawaii.

...forgot to add Dave Reardon's Sports Notebook about Central Arkansas signing the contract for a 2009 game, along with notes from the WAC preview.

WAC News: Solomimian is Preseason Defensive POY, UH 4th

From the WAC football preview in Salt Lake City, the media picked UH linebacker Solomon Elimimian as the WAC's preseason defensive player of the year. Boise State's Ian Johnson is the preseason offensive POY. Both media and coaches rank Hawaii 4th in their preseason WAC polls, while splitting on who's #1. Here are the polls:
Coaches' Poll

Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Points
1. Fresno State (7) 63
2. Boise State (2) 57
3. Nevada 43
4. Hawai‘i 41
5. Louisiana Tech 33
6. San Jose State 33
7. New Mexico State 26
8. Idaho 15
9. Utah State 13
Media Poll

Rank Team (1st place votes) Points
1. Boise State (25) 383
2. Fresno State (20) 379
3. Nevada 296
4. Hawai‘i 243
5. Louisiana Tech 209
6. San Jose State 183
7. New Mexico State 167
8. Idaho 87
9. Utah State 78

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kimo Makaula Commits to UH

PIAA DS writes that Punahou quarterback Kimo Makaula has committed to UH as a defensive end.
Kimo attended the University of Hawaii Football camp where he was anaylzed by the coaching staff. After camp, Kimo received an email indicating he was being offered a scholarship for 2009 as a Defensive End. Kimo, who stands s 6'3, 225 lbs, contacted Coach McMackin to confirm the offer, spoke with his family then called Coach McMackin to commit.

Kimos parents said: As parents we are grateful that coach McMackin and his staff are giving Kimo an opportunity to stay at home and play

"It has been a dream to play at home and I am thankful Coach McMackin and his staff have made this possible for me."
Here's a quote from Makaula in an article from Dave Reardon.
"It has been a dream to play at home and I am thankful Coach (Greg) McMackin and his staff have made this possible for me," Makaula said.
And another quote, from the Advertiser.
"I made my decision, and I'm very happy with it," Makaula told The Advertiser. "I look forward to playing for Coach Mack."
Before he committed, Makaula was interviewed towards the end of Robert Kekaula's story in CC's second compilation video from the previous post. Here's a direct link to the vid. Congrats to Kimo!

UPDATE: Here's a story about the commit from Scout.com's Chris Fetters.
"It was a really easy decision for me," Makaula told Scout.com shortly after making his pledge to stay home and play for the Warriors. "I've always wanted to be a Warrior."

"I came to camp to show Coach Mack (McMackin) what I've got."

Makaula, at 6-foot-3 and 230 pounds, will play defense for the Warriors, despite starting last year's season at Quarterback for Punahou. He's currently ranked as the No. 65 QB in the country by Scout.com, as well as the No. 47 player overall in the Northwest, regardless of position.
UPDATE 2: Here's Makaula's 2007 QB highlights. He can play quarterback, he can play defensive end, and from the video's description:
Kimo is a junior and also plays Free Safety and is the team's starting punter.
Awww yeah.


Videos: Colt, Camp, Leonard Peters

Chawan Cut compiled some news stories from the past few days. KITV's Rob DeMello and KHON's John Veneri talk to Colt Brennan on the phone, KFVE mentions the Big Man's Camp, and Robert Kekaula interviews Leonard Peters about getting ready for Chicago Bears' training camp.



...and here are stories by KGMB's Mike Cherry and KITV's Robert Kekaula covering the Big Man's Camp.

Media Guide Online

The 2008 UH Football Media Guide is now online. This is due in part to the UH Athletics Department adopting a "Think Green" policy:
For both environmental and economic reasons, the University of Hawai`i Athletics Department has adopted a "Think Green" policy for its media guides.

Beginning this season, all UH men's and women's sports media guides, which will be printed on recycled paper, will also be available online at HawaiiAthletics.com. In the past, several tons of media guides were purchased each year and often 30-40 percent would eventually be disposed of because they were not picked up by season-ticket holders.
"In this day and age, with conservation being such an important issue world-wide, we could not condone throwing away several thousand media guides each year," Jim Donovan, UH athletics director, said. "With technology being what it is today and fans being able to download media guides via the internet, we decided to go this route and save a lot of trees."
Schedule posters and cards for football, Wahine soccer and Wahine volleyball are now available as well. Here are ways you can get them:
Pick Up
Posters and schedule cards are available at the first-floor entrance of the UH Athletics Department complex (1337 Lower Campus Road on the UH campus), across from the Stan Sheriff Center. Business hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

By Mail
Please follow the directions below:

1. Buy a USPS-approved mailing tube (must be at least 18 inches long).
2. At the post office, pay for shipping to the Athletics Department, plus the return postage (both should be the same amount).
3. Insert the return postage sticker inside the tube with your return address.
4. Insert a memo or note indicating which posters and/or schedule cards you would like to receive).

Mail the tube to this address:

University of Hawai'i Sports Marketing
1337 Lower Campus Road
Honolulu, HI 96822-2370

Colt Brennan's Blog / Interview

Colt got a training camp blog on the Washington Redskins website. Here's an excerpt from his first entry.
I'm getting reps right now and Coach [Jim] Zorn has been great. He told me, 'I want you to come out here and learn, but I'm going to be all over you because I want to make you a better quarterback.' So every time I run a play or throw a pass, he's right there and when I do bad things he's right there. And I told him, 'Good, because I need it.'

It's great when a coach takes that time and effort. It means he really wants me to do well. If he just let me walk back to the huddle and didn't say anything to me at all, I think that's when I'd start to get worried. He has been real hands-on with me and I really appreciate it.
A note on the page says Colt will be posting update throughout camp and the pre-season.

UPDATE: Here's an audio interview with Colt (WMA file). He talks about getting his legs back into shape after recovering from surgery and his overall experience in training camp so far.

Central Arkansas to Open 2009 Season

According to David McCollum of the Log Cabin Democrat:
After several weeks of negotiation, UCA has signed a contract to play the University of Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Friday, Sept. 4, 2009. The time will be announced, but Brad Teague, UCA athletic director, expects it to be about 6 p.m. Hawaii time, which will be about 11 p.m. (CDT).

Hawaii, a Western Athletic Conference team that played Georgia in last year's Sugar Bowl, will pay the travel expenses for the UCA team and furnish at $125,000 paycheck for UCA to play the game.
Via 4uhfan on WSN.

UPDATE: The Advertiser has a quote from Greg McMackin.
"I'm happy to be playing our first game next year at home," UH coach Greg McMackin said. "I know Jim (Donovan, UH's athletic director) called a lot of teams, and Central Arkansas stepped up to the plate. They're going to be a good team to open with. I have a lot of respect for their program."

Field Delayed? / Big Man's Camp / Media Preview / CN

Oh crap.
The much-needed revitalization of UH's Cooke Field is mired by accusations of unethical conduct at the state level
A contractor's allegation of unethical conduct by a member of a state licensing board who is also a competitor might keep the University of Hawaii football team from taking practice on a renovated Cooke Field this season.

The field was first slated to reopen before the start of the Warriors' season next month, but the reopening was later pushed back to October.

Now a contractor who would like to bid for the field-resurfacing contract has complained to the state Contractors License Board over a rule change that aces him out of the work. The change, he contends, was recommended by a board member who is also in the field turf business.

A UH official says the school will go ahead with the bid process but has expressed concern that the dispute could push back the field's reopening to December.
Brian McInnis has a report from the first day of the Big Man's Camp.
Kapolei coach Darren Hernandez helped the UH coaches for the second straight season. A handful of his Hurricanes linemen took part in the drills yesterday.

"During the individual breakout sessions, there's a lot of teaching and a lot of basic fundamentals but it's teaching them about life lessons, about being a good person, about working hard, being committed," Hernandez said. "I would encourage all kids to come out here, just the camaraderie, the coaching is great. Summer is almost over so for a lot of these kids, it's their chance to live it up one last time."
Dave Reardon is in Utah for the WAC Football Media Preview being held later this week. He writes that Kailua offensive lineman Chauncey Makainai was offered a scholie by UH. He also talks to incoming offensive lineman Kainoa LaCount.
He said he has one more summer school class to complete in order to earn his associate’s degree at College of the Canyons (Calif.).

“I hope to be able to be ready to jump into camp Aug. 7,” he said.

Fall camp starts Aug. 4.

Although he has prototype size and talent, LaCount may end up redshirting this season. Especially on the offensive line, it can be difficult to quickly become a productive player without plenty of repetition and bonding with teammates in the offseason.
Stephen Tsai has a bunch of photos from offseason workouts, along with a pic of the new UH football media guide, which Adam Leonard is taking to the WAC preview in his luggage.

And Corey Nielsen talks to the Long Beach Press-Telegram about committing to Hawaii.
The fact that McMackin has no plans to scrap Hawaii's pass-happy offense - former coach June Jones left to take over at Southern Methodist in January - didn't hurt, either.

"(The run-and-shoot) is really similar to our offense at Gahr," Nielsen said.
UPDATE: AM 1500 has an audio interview with Corey from the Rob & Russ Show up on their front page.
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