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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Video: Erik Robinson, Post-Spring, Etc.

Here's last night's Chawan-pilation of news from KITV, KGMB and KFVE. Erik Robinson gets a tryout with the Bills; Greg McMackin, Jovonte Taylor and Dustin Blount discuss spring practice and what comes next; and there's a KFVE promo about their 25th anniversary covering UH sports.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Warriors in the Pros: Robinson, Bess

Former UH safety Erik Robinson will get a tryout with the Buffalo Bills, according to Stephen Tsai:
Erik "E-Rob" Robinson has earned a tryout with the Buffalo Bills.
He will participate in the Bills' rookie camp, starting tomororw.
"It's cool," Robinson said. "It's an opportunity. I feel blessed. I'm going to try and make the best of it."
If Robinson does well, he might earn a free-agent contract.
And Davone Bess talks about his dreams of running the Wildcat possibly being dashed.
Wide receiver Davone Bess was a high school quarterback in Oakland and was itching to be used in the Wildcat last season, but he understands his chances got a lot worse when the Dolphins drafted West Virginia quarterback Pat White in the second round.

"I was always ready,'' said Bess while fishing for bass in the Dolphins junior angler fishing clinic in a lake behind Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. "But we're lucky to get a great athlete who plays like that and could take our game to another level.''

Offseason Workouts, Elimimian

Jason Kaneshiro looks ahead to the offseason.
To maintain the momentum the Warriors built through the spring, UH head coach Greg McMackin said the team will continue its conditioning program until final exams before the players head into their summer workouts.

"I think this is really the push time," McMackin said. "We have two more weeks to get better and we're going to use every second and every day we have.

"This is where the work escalates. ... They want to win the WAC championship and to do that you have to work to get better."
Kaneshiro also reviews some of the progress made this spring.

Solomon Elimimian, along with track & field star Annett Wichmann, were named 2009 Bonham Award winners.
The award is given annually to the top male and female senior student-athlete who “best exemplifies the ideals for which Jack Bonham stood for in the areas of athletic excellence, academic achievement, public service, leadership and character.”
Off the field, Elimimian was a three-time Academic all-WAC selection. He was actively involved in community service and participated in numerous church functions.

“Solly was the school’s career leader in tackles, but that never mattered to him,” head coach Greg McMackin said. “He only cared about the team’s success and while he was here, we won. In his four years, we won 35 games, made it to three bowl games, and finished either first or second in the WAC three times. He took it upon himself to make the defense better and he did everything he could to make sure it happened.”

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Kickoff Times Set

HawaiiAthletics.com has released a list of the kickoff times for most of the games on the 2009 schedule. I'll update the one on the right. There's also some info about homecoming, etc.
UH’s season-opener against Central Arkansas on Friday, Sept. 4, will begin at 7:05 p.m. at Aloha Stadium while the Warriors’ nationally televised season-finale against Wisconsin on Saturday, Dec. 5 is still to be determined.
Also, the Utah State game on Nov. 7 has been designated as UH’s Homecoming Game while the Nov. 28 game against Navy is Military Night.

2009 Schedule
Sept. 4 Central Arkansas 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Washington State TBA
Sept. 19 at UNLV 6:00 p.m. PT
Sept. 30 at Louisiana Tech* (ESPN2) 7:00 p.m. CT
Oct. 10 Fresno State* 6:05 p.m.
Oct. 17 at Idaho* 2:00 p.m. MT
Oct. 24 Boise State* 6:05 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Nevada* 1:05 p.m PT
Nov. 7 Utah State* (Homecoming) 6:05 p.m.
Nov. 14 New Mexico State* 6:05 p.m.
Nov. 21 at San Jose State* 5:00 p.m. PT
Nov. 28 Navy (Military Night) 6:05 p.m.
Dec. 5 Wisconsin (ESPN or ESPN2) TBA

* denotes WAC game
Times subject to change

WitP: Travis LaBoy Released

Wasn't expecting this. LB/DE Travis LaBoy has been released by the Arizona Cardinals, along with CB Roderick Hood and Edgerrin James.
The release of the oft-injured defender will save the team $2 million on this year's cap, but a league source notes the team will absorb about $4.6 million in dead cap space. LaBoy lost his starting job late last season to veteran DE/OLB Bertrand Berry.

"It's never easy to release veteran players who have contributed to the team's success and these three individuals certainly fall into that category," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt. "But like every decision we make, it simply comes down to what is in the best interest of our football team and what gives us the best chance for success. We're grateful to all three of them for their contributions and wish them nothing but the best in the future."

Bryce Kalauokaaea Charged

I missed this story earlier, and I wish I was still missing it. I hate posting crap like this. Back-up QB Bryce Kalauokaaea has been charged for allegedly threatening his pregnant girlfriend with a knife.
A University of Hawaii backup quarterback was charged April 14 with first-degree terroristic threatening and fourth-degree criminal property damage after allegedly threatening his pregnant girlfriend with a knife.

Bryce Kalauokaaea allegedly held a knife to his girlfriend of five years and also threatened to kill her dog during an argument April 12 at their Waiahole home. He was arrested later that day and is free on an $11,000 bond.

Kalauokaaea, a walk-on from Castle High School, where he was named the OIA Offensive Player of the Year in 2005, and his attorney did not return calls to the Star-Bulletin.

Football coach Greg McMackin said, "He was suspended and did not take part in spring practice."

McMackin refused further comment.
SportsHawaii.com has a discussion thread about it.

WitP: Elimimian, Mouton, LP, Colt

Stephen Tsai talks to Solomon Elimimian about his tryout with the Bills.
Elimimian played middle linebacker his first three UH seasons. He rotated between outside linebacker and middle linebacker last season. Silberman said Elimimian will receive work at both positions during the rookie camp, which runs Thursday through Sunday.

"Nothing has been easy for me," Elimimian said. "I've had to prove myself my entire life. This is another challenge.
Tsai also has quotes about Ryan Mouton from a Tennessee Titans coach:
Marcus Robinson, who coaches the Tennessee Titans' defensive secondary, said he expects Ryan Mouton to contribute this season and then compete for a "starting job in 2010."
"He has great burst, and he's tough," Robinson said. "He plays bigger than his size. He's a vicious hitter. He makes plays. I think he's going to make as much of an impact for us as our first pick."
Tsai also has notes about UH's offseason conditioning program and the coaches needing to finalize the 105-player fall camp roster.

In an article mentioning Elimimian's tryout with the Bills, the Star-Bulletin notes that former UH safety Leonard Peters will take part in the Minnesota Vikings camp.
Fellow former Warrior Leonard Peters will attend camp with the Minnesota Vikings.
And finally, Augie T posted a funny video featuring Blaze Soares and Colt Brennan showing off their "MMA skills."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Warrior Bowl Photos and Video

In addition to Chawan Cut's gallery, both Island Sports Media and UH fan marquez35 have some great photos from the Warrior Bowl.

And the UH Athletics department has posted some highlights from the game on Youtube.

Video: Draft News

Chawan Cut compiles the post-draft news from KHON, KHNL, KGMB and KITV. Solomon Elimimian gets a tryout with the Bills; David Veikune, Jake Ingram and Ryan Mouton are interviewed; Adam Leonard still hasn't received an offer.

Elimimian Invited to Bills Rookie Camp

From the Star-Bulletin:
"They'll fly him in and take a good look at him in the minicamp," said Wynn Silberman, Elimimian's agent. "If he does as well as I know he can, he'll get a deal to continue with them."
He'll be reunited with former UH receiver C.J. Hawthorne, who was on the Bills practice squad last season.

WitP: Post-Draft News on Veikune, Mouton, Ingram and Colt (w/UPDATE)

Thanks to Chawan Cut for doing an awesome job compiling news, video and photos this weekend. Here are a few more Draft-related news links.

ClevelandBrowns.com has a David Veikune profile page and two articles mentioning him here and here.
Browns General Manager George Kokinis said Veikune "is a guy we did some homework on. He's got a big-time motor. When you look at the tape the thing really jumps out is the way he finished plays and ran to the football. He can get to the quarterback."

"I love the guy's motor," head coach Eric Mangini said. "He has toughness, aggressiveness and I like his ability to change direction. There's a smoothness to the way he changes directions."
Orange and Brown Blogs has a David Veikune press conference transcript.
(On his experience at linebacker) - “At Hawaii we dropped a lot in zone coverages and things of that nature. Also, in high school I played a little bit of linebacker but it is a new position for me and I know I need to come and work extra hard to get a lot more natural in that aspect and stuff like that. It’s definitely a new position for me and I’m really excited.”
Some Browns blogs approve of Veikune being drafted, including Dawgs by Nature...
I personally love this pick. Veikune is aggressive and tough, the kind of LB we need.
...and Browns Mix.
This is a "sleeper pick". We like it. Veikune is not as big as many defensive ends at six feet two inches tall and 260 pounds, but he is very strong. He bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times at the Combine in Indy. He impressed many scouts at the Combine and at workouts since with his superior quickness and tireless motor. Most important, he has amazing pass rush ability which fills a huge hole in the Browns currently.
Titans Online has a Ryan Mouton press conference transcript.
(on where he thought he would be drafted)

I had heard fourth round with a couple of other teams. Tennessee, when they talked to my agent, they told him they were really, really interested. He told me they were the most interested. So looking at the fourth round and the teams that were also interested, we knew it would have to be earlier than them so we figured maybe third round, late third round.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talked about drafting Jake Ingram during a post-draft press conference.
Q: You don’t normally see a long snapper drafted. What was it about Jake Ingram that you really liked?
BB: We thought that Ingram would be in competition for the position with Nathan [Hodel]. He’s an athletic guy, a little bit smaller than some of the snappers in the league, but a little bit more athletic than most of the snappers in the league. I think his athleticism versus his size is kind of the comparison or where the competition will be. [He’s] an experienced guy. He’s done that. He can block. He can cover pretty well. His snaps are accurate; they had good velocity. So I think that he will be competitive for that position. I felt like he was a top player for his position in the draft.
And Colt Brennan will have some friendly competition after former Missouri QB Chase Daniel signed a free-agent contract with the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins return starter Jason Campbell, veteran backup Todd Collins and second-year third-stringer Colt Brennan, the former record-breaker from Hawaii, who finished third in the 2007 Heisman Trophy voting, a spot ahead of Daniel.

"I’m excited to play with Colt and learn just as much as he’s learned in the past year," Daniel said. "We became pretty good friends during award ceremony circuit, so I’m glad I know somebody."
"I’m happy where I landed because when a team really wants you, it makes a difference," he said. "They’re more willing to give you a shot and they’re more willing to let you learn. They had success with Colt Brennan. So, they’ve had a spread quarterback come in there and throw the ball around."
P.S. Redskins coach Jim Zorn had some good things to say about Colt a few days ago.
On Colt Brennan, Zorn said the rookie was dealing with a torn labium in his hip last season that has since been surgically repaired.

Brennan's developed a stronger arm through training over the year and has been told that the preseason is "his time."
"You are going to be excited by what you see from Colt Brennan this summer."
But Zorn said it was unlikely that Brennan would displace Jason Campbell as the starter. Campbell has also worked to get better.
UPDATE: Jason Kaneshiro has a post-draft wrap-up.

Leila Wai has a video interview with Jake Ingram.

Stephen Tsai interviews Ryan Mouton and Jake Ingram, and has some news about Solomon Elimimian.
Linebacker Solomon Elimimian, meanwhile, was mulling offers from the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills last night.
And Dave Reardon has a Further Review column looking at why Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian weren't given much attention.
Leonard and Elimimian are small by NFL linebacker standards, and haven't displayed enough speed to the scouts to make up for it. Even Aaron Curry, a linebacker some called the best pure football player in the draft, was devalued due to his position.

"A lot of scouts hide behind numbers rather than stepping forward and trying to evaluate talent," Silberman said. "They're protecting their jobs, and it's easier to defend yourself if you point at numbers."
Reardon goes on to note how being undrafted worked out for Davone Bess. The column ends with a great line about Jake Ingram:
As for Ingram, it was a snap. He was in demand.

"As soon as the Patriots picked him, I got a text from another team," Silberman said. "It was a four-letter word."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jake Ingram is a Patriot!, Update: FA deals for J Leonard and J Dowling. TV news

UPDATE #2: Here's the local tv coverage of the draft. Interviews with Ingram and Mouton

UPDATE #1: Tsai reports Free Agent deals for Josh Leonard (Texans) & Jameel Dowling (Cardinals).

Ingram selected in the 6th round. 198th overall. Congratulations!!!

Honolulu Advertiser's breaking news:
...."no wasted motion in snap. ... Very good accuracy. Punter rarely has to work to secure the snap. ... Works hard to maintain his lane on punt coverage.".....

and a quote from Ingram on ST's blog.
Ingram, who was 230 pounds at the NFL combine and Pro Day, said he was told he should weigh close to 240 when he reports to mini camp on Thursday.
"I'm going to eat right now," he said.

short blurb in the Star Bulletin

and another short mention by the Boston Herald

We saw Ingram hanging out on the field watching the Warrior Bowl yesterday. I guess that was his way of taking his mind off of it.

More news to follow as fans and the media analyze the picks....

Mouton goes in third to Titans! Update: Press conf vid

UPDATE: Here's vid of that press conference.

Congratulations to Ryan Mouton! 94th pick overall to the Tennessee Titans!

coverage by the Advertiser: and some quotes from Stephen Tsai.

When the 93rd pick was on the clock, Mouton received the call. He was asked: "How would you like to come out and be a Tennessee Titan?"
Mouton will report to the Titans Thursday to participate in rookie camp. He is being looked at as a cornerback, nickelback and special-teams player. KIckoff returner? Punt returner?
"Whatever it is, I'm willing to do it," Mouton said.

and Star Bulletin:

and some quotes from head Coach Jeff Fisher

we sat tight and had two corners that we thought had third round value and we got the one we wanted in Ryan Mouton

and from the Tennesean:
In Mouton, the Titans got a versatile corner who also has return skills.

more to follow...

its been a busy past 2 days, here is UH's official press release (with stats) from the game.

& here's more coverage from THE Princess at the HA of the Warrior Bowl. Hope that steak tasted great!

More Veikune news

From the Star Bulletin

local tv coverage

Warrior Bowl reports (w/UPDATE)

chawan here filling in for tombo...

From Stephen Tsai who talks about the trick play for TD as well as the play of the rest of the UH team.

"He kept his mouth quiet," Cal Lee said of his brother's game preparation. "He didn't tell me anything. I knew about another trick play, but he didn't run it."
Greg Alexander, who exits spring training as the No. 1 quarterback, completed 10 of 15 passes for 152 yards, including a 3-yard scoring pass to wideout Rodney Bradley.
The game, before 3,726, marked the final day of spring training.

and Ferd Lewis' column about LWJ and his upcoming senior season

Yesterday, Wright-Jackson was feeling good — and showing it. "Best I've felt in a long time," he said.

also, i took a few pics

and here's the local coverage with some highlights:

UPDATE (by Tombo Ahi): Here are today's Star-Bulletin articles covering the Warrior Bowl...

Jason Kaneshiro has a wrap-up.

Kaneshiro also has some news and notes about Dustin Blount's opening TD, the performance of the offenses, Billy Ray Stutzmann's TD catch, injury news and Junior Day.

And Dave Reardon likes what he saw from the offensive lines.
But the best stat for the UH offense yesterday could translate into a huge plus for the Warriors this fall.


No holding penalties.
First-year offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said the Warriors have vastly improved their technique this spring, and that leads to improved confidence.

"They're learning to block with their feet. They moved their feet well today and they stayed on their blocks," Shaw said.

Their were five "sacks," but that's deceiving because the orange-clad quarterbacks were off-limits for tackling.

"When the quarterback's off-limits, sometimes it helps the defense," Shaw said. "They don't have to tackle him. What I liked is I didn't see anyone come in scot-free."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

David Veikune Drafted by Browns

David Veikune was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft.
University of Hawaii defensive end David Veikune today received news of his stroke of good fortunate at, of all places, a golf course.

Veikune said he was on the 13th hole when he received his dream call: the Cleveland Browns selected him in the second round, the 52nd player overall.

"It's a great feeling," Veikune said. "It's such a relief."

Veikune said his father became emotional. Veikune then received a kiss from his girlfriend.

"It's awesome," Veikune said.
Here's some quotes from Veikune from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Veikune started only one season at Hawaii at left end. He's been described as a "weight room warrior" and will be a project to convert to outside linebacker in Mangini's 3-4 scheme. The coach also believes Veikune has the versatility to play at inside linebacker.

"I was a player that played everything, whatever the coaches wanted," Veikune said from Honolulu. "Nose guard, D-end ... just a relentless player who doesn't take a play off, gets to the quarterback and makes big hits."
Some analysis from The Sporting News.
Scout's take: Veikune helped himself at the Senior Bowl, where he had his first chance to play elite talent and he held his own. He shows a good first step off the snap and is a classic hardworking overachiever who will play beyond his athletic skills.

Correspondent's take:
How he fits: David Veikune was a 4-3 end at Hawaii but will be an outside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4. He is a late bloomer who was born in Alaska and didn't play a lot of football early on. He didn't start until his senior year with the Warriors. He has so-so speed in relation to his draft position, but Browns scouts like his relentless motor. He may have been a reach, but he shows the kind of hunger the new Browns regime wants to mix into the team. When he'll play: The Browns can afford to experiment with Veikune in the preseason and allow him to focus on playing special teams at first. They hope he can work his way into a rotation while learning the nuances of a 3-4. He figures to be coachable and has the upside to be a starter down the road.
Congrats to Veikune!

Warrior Bowl, NFL Draft

Today is the Warrior Bowl and the start of the NFL draft. Here are the links to get your live, local, late-breaking news:

Message Boards:I'll be away from the computer today, but I'll try to post a wrap-up late tonight or tomorrow.

Stephen Tsai previews the Warrior Bowl. He documents some great smack talk between Dustin Blount and Ryan Henry.
The opposing University of Hawai'i football teams would like to settle a beef in today's intrasquad Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium.

"Betting is illegal, so there are no bets, but there's a guarantee I will be eating a steak dinner," said slotback Dustin Blount, who will play for the Makai team. "Ryan (Henry) will be eating hotdogs."

Henry, a slotback for the Mauka team, said: "I don't like hotdogs. I don't eat them. But Dustin is used to eating them. He'll be doing that after the game Saturday."
Jason Kaneshiro talks to coach Greg McMackin about what's at stake.
"I want them to have fun and come together," McMackin said. "You've got to have fun playing football or it's not worth it. They've been really working hard, so I want them to go out and play good football, because there's a lot of jobs on the line. There's a lot at stake.

"I'll tell them I want them to have themselves ready just like it's a regular ballgame mentally, and then have fun playing football. We're going to meet Sunday and make decisions, so this game definitely figures into what's going on."
Kaneshiro also has rosters for both the Makai and Mauka.

And from Niners Insider, some pre-draft hype for David Veikune.
How can you not love David Veikune of Hawaii? He can squat 500 pounds and bench press 485, he has a fine motor and can drop into coverage. He could be a real find in the mid-rounds, particularly after his nine-sack senior year. The knock on him is the same as English; he might not have the quickness to be a factor as a pass rusher.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Video: Warrior Bowl and NFL Draft Previews

HawaiiAthletics has a video previewing tomorrow's Warrior Bowl. It includes interviews with Greg McMackin, John Estes and Malcolm Lane.

And Chawan compiles the news. KGMB profiles Jake Ingram and previews the Warrior Bowl. KHNL previews the game as well. KITV has a short preview of the NFL draft. Stories include interviews with Ingram, McMackin, Rocky Savaiigaea and Brashton Satele.

WitP: David Veikune, Josh Leonard

Jason Kaneshiro profiles David Veikune.
After participating in Hawaii's pro day on April 2, Veikune's schedule of team visits kept him on the go as he criss-crossed the country to Philadelphia, Denver, Tennessee and Miami.

"At least I got some frequent-flier miles off of it," Veikune said. "It was pretty tiring, plus the time change. I tried to stay in shape. I'd always try to run and lift everywhere I went."

Veikune's name has popped up as a possible third- or fourth-round pick, and he said he's received calls from most of the teams in the league making sure they have his contact information for the weekend.

As for his preference of destination ...

"Who doesn't like to be in a warm place?" Veikune said. "But if I'm in the cold, hey, I'm going to embrace it."
Kaneshiro also talked to Josh Leonard.
"Before (pro day) I still had a good amount of teams interested," he said from his home in Sacramento. "The pro day helped solidify me hopefully as a late-round pick or a free agent."

Leonard said he's heard from about 20 teams since pro day and could play tackle in a 4-3 alignment, as he did at Hawaii, or end in a 3-4 front.
And KGMB interviewed Veikune yesterday.

Spring Day 14 Wrap-Ups

Stephen Tsai profiles Malcolm Lane, and highlights his TD catch in practice yesterday.
Lane, aligned on the right side, was given a "choice route," in which he had the option of running a post pattern or a fade route along the right sideline. The Mauka team was in a two-deep zone, with cornerback Tank Hopkins in tight coverage and safety Mana Silva assigned to Lane's half of the field.

"On that type of play — a cover-2 — I have to set the corner, then fade up the sideline," Lane said.

It was a coverage Lane, who is averaging 17.0 yards per catch in his UH career, has seen often. The wideout's decision is influenced by the cornerback's move. If Hopkins leans one way, Lane goes the other.

Hopkins shaded to Lane's right, and Lane broke to the left. As Hopkins tried to follow, Lane cut back to the right. Rausch delivered a spiral between Hopkins and the on-charging Silva.

"It was a tight spot to throw it," Rausch said. "Malcolm made it happen. Malcolm has the most experience (among the wideouts), and it definitely paid off on that."
Tsai also has notes about the backup QBs and tomorrow's Junior Day.

Jason Kaneshiro has some news and notes about Malcolm Lane's catch, and tomorrow's autograph session before the Warrior Bowl.

Dave Reardon has some info about tonight's UH football alumni reception. He also has notes about Myron Newberry and Gerard Lewis playing for the Amarillo Dusters of the af2.

Completely Off Topic

Maru the cat vs a big box.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Video: Spring Day 14 Practice, Warrior Bowl Preview

In tonight's Chawan-pilation, KGMB and KHON interview Greg McMackin about Saturday's Junior Day and the Warrior Bowl. Jon Medeiros and Rocky Savaiiagaea also talk about the game.

SportsHawaii's Scott has also posted some footage of today's practice in the April 23rd practice report thread.

Spring Practice Day 14 Reports

Stephen Tsai:
In a preview for Saturday's Warrior Bowl, the Mauka and Makai teams competed in heated — and vocal — 2-minute drills.
Shane Austin threw well for the Mauka, capping a drive with a ricocheted pass that he caught. Hey, he was open.
The only scoring came on a 70-yard psss from Makai's Brent Rausch to wideout Malcolm Lane.
Jason Kaneshiro:
On the Makai team’s possession, Brent Rausch spotted single coverage on Malcolm Lane on the right side and hit him in stride for a 70-yard touchdown, with the rest of the team following Lane to the end zone.
“I know there’s going to be a couple people looking for my head (on Saturday), but that comes with the turf,” Lane said.
On SportsHawaii, Kahuluu Imua Warriors:
It was spirited! Austin started out really well with many accurate throws, most to Pollard. A TD was called back because an Oline jumped to early, then a theoretical sack by Ahmad but despite the great play by the offense the D held deep in their territory.
...and NelsonO:
The Warriors unveiled their new punt formation today under the direction of Coach Tormey. Since I am not supposed to divulge new formations, I just wait until Stephen Tsai mentions it. Actually this formation may be new to Hawaii, but I have seen other teams utilize this formation.

Filling in as the punter today was defensive tackle Tuika Tufaga. He will be placed on scholarship, but I can tell you it is not because of his punting ability.
The Warriors spend a lot of time practicing their red zone offense. Probably because if they can squeeze the ball into the small windows of the red zone, they can squeeze the ball into anyplace. This morning, Royce Pollard made a beautiful catch in the end zone on a pass from Greg Alexander.

The NFL-bound David Veikune observed practice today. LaCount also observed practice and he is absolutely huge.

WitP: Veikune, A. Leonard, Elimimian, Ingram

Stephen Tsai talks to David Veikune about the upcoming NFL Draft.
The National Football League draft is this weekend, and David Veikune will be thinking about the greens.

"I'm going to go golfing," said Veikune, a former University of Hawai'i defensive end who might be selected as early as the third round.

Veikune has drawn strong interest from several NFL teams. The Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins brought him in for personal workouts.
In an article about Kaluka Maiava, Jason Kaneshiro also writes about Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian.
Former Hawaii linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard are also looking for a chance to break into the league. Elimimian's agent, Wynn Silberman, said teams that run a Tampa-2 defense have shown interest in Elimimian, UH's all-time leading tackler. Leonard had a workout with the Seattle Seahawks after his performance at Hawaii's pro day.

"I have confidence no matter how I get in I have the ability to make a team,” Leonard said.“The goal is to get into a camp, but I’m pretty confident I’ll get drafted.”
And check out Jake Ingram, who's on Twitter. I wished him luck and he responded:
@tomboahi Thanks! I'm so nervous I am probably just going to work-out all weekend...
Whoa, I got the scoops! BREAKING: Jake Ingram working out all weekend.

Anyway, best of luck to all the Warrior draft-hopefuls.

Spring Day 13 Wrap-Ups

Stephen Tsai writes about Inoke Funaki doing it all.
McMackin said the "Noke" is a complement to the base four-wide offense.

"Basically, it's a third-down, red-zone deal," McMackin said. "But with Inoke's talent, it can go beyond that."
Tsai also writes about cornerback and pre-med major Steven Christian balancing football and school, Brashton Satele trying to lose weight, and some scholarship news:
McMackin announced that defensive tackle Tuika Tufaga would go on scholarship this summer. Tufaga is part of the three-player rotation at the two defensive tackle positions.

Earlier, it was announced that quarterback Shane Austin would receive a scholarship.

That leaves one available scholarship for a current walk-on. The leading candidates are slotback Jon Medeiros, running back Jayson Rego, linebacker Corey Paredes, defensive ends Victor Clore and Liko Satele, and kicker Brett Symonds.
I'm thinking it has to be Rego, but they all seem deserving. Tough decision!

Jason Kaneshiro takes a look at the receivers, highlighting the JC transfers who redshirted last year.
"Redshirting was a wonderful thing," slotback Ryan Henry said. "It gave me a chance to get stronger, put on some weight, get familiar with the offense and just adapt to being out here. It was a blessing in disguise and the coaches knew what they were doing."
Not suiting up on Saturdays still left the redshirts with opportunities to contribute on game weeks.

"It was kind of hard to accept it at first, but after that I took pride in being on the scout team and took it as a learning experience and a chance to get physical with the starting defense," said Henry, who played some quarterback when the Warriors were preparing for an option team.
Kaneshiro has some news and notes about Funaki as well as Friday's alumni reception and Saturday's Junior Day and Warrior Bowl.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Video: Spring Day 13 (w/UPDATE)

Mr. Cut compiles the news. KITV interviews slotback Kealoha Pilares, KHON interviews Inoke Funaki and Greg McMackin about "The Noke" formation. Mack also talks about the upcoming "Junior Day". KGMB talks to Aaron Kia, Gordy Shaw and John Estes about the state of the offensive line. And KHNL has more about The Noke.

UPDATE: Leila Wai interviews Inoke Funaki.

Spring Practice Day 13 Reports

Stephen Tsai writes that UH broke out "The Noke" at today's practice.
The Warriors today uveiled "The Noke," a scheme in which running back Inoke Funaki takes the direct snap.
"I am so honored," left guard Ray HIsatake said, "to be in an offense named after a great man. Inoke is a living legend."
It will be an easy transition for Funaki, who played quarterback during his first four years at UH. There's a twist in the scheme in which quarterback Greg Alexander can curl deeper into the backfield, creating a double-pass option.
The only drawback is Funaki, not wearing the protective orange jersey assigned to quarterbacks, was a live target during team drills. He suffered a cut on the left side of his neck from linebacker Po‘okela Ahmad.
"He went for the jugular," Funaki said.
Via HawaiiAthletics' Twitter page, a look at the wound.

Jason Kaneshiro has some notes from practice.
Inoke Funaki made a return appearance at quarterback at this morning’s practice. Funaki, now a running back, took seven snaps at the end of the team period, and ran option plays on five and attempted two throws. Head coach Greg McMackin said the staff wanted to install the package, to be used primarily in short-yardage situations, during the spring and work on it more in fall camp.
>> The defense was a bit short of cornerbacks with Jeramy Bryant and Melvin Hopkins sitting out most of practice and Chris Black still sidelined by an ankle injury. Lewis Walker and Richard Torres got most of the first-team repetitions. Walker made a leaping one-handed interception in 7-on-7s.
On SportsHawaii.com, some fan reports from crackers and Kahuluu Imua Warriors. You might need a look at the roster to decipher crackers' report. Here's an excerpt from KIW's:
Offense: WRs and Slots look good again, Blount and Jovonte has speed and it showed this morning and so does Rodney Bradley who continues to impress. Great one handed bullet pass Ro Bra (Bradley) caught in drills. Ryan Henry, Salas, and Medeiros looked very good and consistent. I was never high on Lofton but he has improved a lot and I see why the coaches can't pick starters which is good bad news. Hope to see a rotation at these skilled reciever spots.

Video: DeJuan Hathaway, Gordy Shaw

From last night, Chawan Cut compiles the news. KITV profiles UH trainer and MMA fighter DeJuan Hathaway. KGMB interviews offensive line coach Gordy Shaw.

WitP: Mouton, The Leonards, Maka, Patek

Jason Kaneshiro interviews Ryan Mouton about the upcoming NFL Draft.
A recent mock draft on sportingnews.com lists Mouton as a fourth-round pick. According to others, he could be headed to the free-agent route.

"I really don't know what to expect," Mouton said.

While the workouts carry weight with scouts, UH associate coach Rich Miano, who is also the Warriors' NFL liaison, said Mouton "put enough stuff on film," to make teams take notice.
"They look at a lot of things," Mouton said. "A lot of them will look at what you did in the combine and pro day, but the one thing they can't take away is what you did on the field."
Colt Brennan might have a different opinion (see previous post).

Stephen Tsai writes that Ryan Mouton will work out for the Tampa Bay Bucs on Friday. Tsai also writes about Adam Leonard...
Leonard has received interest from several teams, including his hometown Seattle Seahawks and the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "I'm looking forward to this weekend."
...and Josh Leonard.
Before Pro Day, he drew little interest. In the past three weeks, he has received inquiries from 20 NFL teams. The Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills and Dolphins have shown the most interest, sending T-shirts and hats — the photo-op accessories for draft weekend.
Ikei Performance, where former UH players Josh Leonard, Francis Maka and Jacob Patek trained for Pro Day, has posted Pro Day highlight videos of all three on their blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Warriors in the Pros: Ingram, Bess, Colt, Mouton

Via the Advertiser, USA Today talks to Mel Kiper Jr., who has some nice things to say about Jake Ingram.
Forget quarterbacks for a moment. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. knows about another prospect who sends tight spirals backward and between his legs.

"Jacob Ingram out of Hawaii is a very good long snapper, so he's probably going to get drafted in the fifth, sixth round," Kiper says.
Dolphins receiver Davone Bess has some... things to say about Mel Kiper Jr.
The Dolphins know they need help at receiver but insisted to NFL types their group is better than some believe. ''We're underestimated,'' Davone Bess said. ''We hear Mel Kiper and Todd McShay saying the Dolphins don't have receivers. It's a smack in the face. We can't buy into it.''
Dan Steinberg of the D.C. Sports Bog has a long interview with Colt Brennan, who discusses his dislike for the NFL Draft, especially the misinformed circus surrounding it, with pundits like Ron Jaworski criticizing and talking smack.
Brennan hasn't talked to most of his draft-day critics, and he doesn't seem to have a Gilbert Arenas-sized vendetta about all this. He was smiling throughout our conversation. But he won't forget what was said, either.

"To watch Jaws do what he did, to watch him come out and say those things....The worst part about it is that if it was true, if it was legit, then I can't say anything," Brennan continued. "But the fact was, he was misleading, and wasn't really honest about his critique of me. I've lost a lot of respect for the draft, is what I have. I'm speaking specifically on me alone. I'm biased, I'm saying I'm biased, but that's basically where I stand on it."
You can watch Jaws spouting off on draft-day here and here.

Speaking of the draft, ahem, Ryan Mouton is listed as "rising" in SI.com's latest Rising and Sliding article.
Ryan Mouton/CB/Hawaii: Mouton is a terrific package of speed and athleticism and a player with a huge amount of upside potential. Several teams are not enamored with the class of cornerbacks available to them this weekend and are ready to roll the dice on Mouton somewhere in round three.

Spring Day 12 Wrap-Ups

Greg McMackin tells Stephen Tsai that all but three of the starting positions are still up for grabs.
Only center John Estes, who is being trumpeted as an All-America candidate, quarterback Greg Alexander and defensive end Fetaiagogo John Fonoti will exit spring training No. 1 at their positions.

"Everything else is competition," McMackin said. "And that's good. Competition is making us better."
Tsai also writes about injuries to Rick Taylor and Quentin Beaver, and has a profile of cornerback Jeramy Bryant.
Bryant, who redshirted last season after transferring from Los Angeles Harbor College, is the leading candidate for one of the starting jobs at corner. He also is practicing as a nickelback.

"Technically, he's very sound," McMackin said. "He's smart. He has a great attitude. He can run. He has great anticipation on the ball. He's very aggressive. I'm very comfortable with him starting at corner for us."
Jason Kaneshiro profiles linebacker Mana Lolotai.
Lolotai put in a solid day's work last Saturday and alternated with senior Brashton Satele at middle linebacker in yesterday's practice.

Lolotai has been working primarily with the second unit during the spring, but got a few repetitions with the first unit after an impressive performance in last Saturday's scrimmage.

"We have to know how to play with each other," Lolotai said. "Playing with the ones, I get that more fast-paced tempo."
Kaneshiro also writes about nickelback Richard Torres.
"People don't realize how quick he is," associate coach Rich Miano said. "He turns the corner. He knows how to knife in there, he knows how to time up the cadence."

Torres has been the Warriors' top nickel back in the spring, a position filled by Ryan Mouton last year. Along with putting pressure on the passer, Torres had a productive practice in the secondary yesterday, breaking up a deep pass and later stripping the ball from a receiver.
And Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times catches up with some former Huskies coaches, including current UH special teams/safeties coach Chris Tormey.
But Tormey wasn't sidelined long. He quickly got in touch with Hawaii coach Greg McMackin, a longtime friend who had been a coach at Idaho in the late '70s when Tormey was a player there.

Interestingly, Tormey replaced former UW player Ikaika Malloe on the Hawaii staff as Malloe left for Yale. Until he gets more permanent housing, Tormey is living in the 34th floor of a condo overlooking the ocean, 10 minutes from campus. "So life is good," he says.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Video: Spring Day 12

KHNL's Li'l Timmy takes a look at the UH secondary. Video includes interviews with Spencer Smith and Jeramy Bryant. Thanks again to Chawan Cut.

UPDATE: Leila Wai interviews receivers Kealoha Pilares and Greg Salas as well as receivers coach Craig Stutzmann.

Spring Practice Day 12 Reports

From Stephen Tsai:
Inoke Funaki continues to impress as a running back.
A coach marveled at Funaki's abiity to "get skinny" on rushes, vernacular for being able to run without ever getting hit squarely.
• Slotback Rick Taylor was on crutches with an injury to his right ankle. He will undergo X-rays today.
• Defensive tackle Quentin Beaver did not practice because of strained rotator cuff in hiis right shoulder. He suffered the injury last week, then aggravated it during the past Saturday's scrimmage.
And Jason Kaneshiro:
>> Cornerback Jeramy Bryant was a busy again in today’s practice. He had an interception along the sideline and was involved in two big collisions while closing hard on the ball.

>> Receiver Daniel Lofton made a nice diving catch for the second straight practice.

>> Defensive end John Fonoti showed off his speed and hustle in chasing down receiver Ryan Henry downfield.

Warriors in the Pros: Jake Ingram, Colt

Jason Kaneshiro profiles former UH long snapper Jake Ingram, who will be waiting by the phone this Sunday.
Whether that call comes during the draft or after with the offer of a free-agent deal, Ingram is looking forward to a shot at making a roster.

"Before I wasn't really thinking about (the draft)," said Ingram, who will spend Sunday at his Mililani home, "but it's getting closer and I am starting to get a little anxious.

"To get a call and have a team have enough confidence to use a draft pick to select me, that would be unbelievable. Especially as a long snapper."
The D.C. Sports Bog catches up with Colt Brennan and a couple of his teammates at a Washington Capitals hockey game.
See, Colt had never been to a Caps game before, though he's been to plenty of Ducks games. His buddy warned him that he'd better wear a red shirt. Colt declined.

"I thought I'd kind of feel like a dork if me and him showed up together wearing matching red t-shirts," Brennan said. "But now I got here, and I'm like, 'You should have made me wear red.' "

That's why they stopped off at a retail location during the second intermission, where Brennan dropped $200 or so on an Ovechkin jersey. He planned on giving it to his cousin, but he immediately slipped it on, tags and all.

"Now I'm official," he said. "Now I'm legit."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Warrior Bowl Info

Schedule and info for this Saturday's Warrior Bowl, from HawaiiAthletics.com:
From 1:00-2:30 p.m., members of the UH football team will be available in the south concourse for autographs and photos. Fans are encouraged to bring their cameras and items they wish to have signed. Head Coach Greg McMackin will be available for autographs and photos from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in the south concourse.

Members of the football team participating in the autograph session are: Greg Alexander, Inoke Funaki, John Estes, Aaron Kia, Malcolm Lane, Keahola Pilares, Greg Salas, Leon Wright-Jackson, Jeramy Bryant, Mana Silva, Spencer Smith, R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, Brashton Satele, John Fonoti, Rocky Savaiigaea, and Tuika Tufaga.

Beginning at 3:00 p.m., the Warriors will conduct a full-contact intrasquad scrimmage which will include four 15-minute quarters. Fans are invited to sit in the stands on the Makai side of the stadium.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet will be open during this time and fans must pay the $1 per person parking fee to enter the parking lot. Children ages 12 and under are FREE. Entrance to the stadium is FREE for all ages.
Be there!

Spring Day 11 Reports and Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro reviews yesterday's scrimmage.
"The good thing about being a head coach is when the offense is making big plays, I was coaching offense. When the defense was making big plays, I was coaching defense," UH head coach Greg McMackin said after the scrimmage at Ching Field.
Don't be modest!
The Warriors' top three quarterbacks all led touchdown drives. Defensively, McMackin praised linebacker Mana Lolotai's play and five players came down with interceptions.

"I thought Mana Lolotai was just outstanding," McMackin said. "He's been playing like that all spring. (Linebackers coach) Cal (Lee) and I have to look at the film, but he's playing pretty good at middle linebacker."
Stephen Tsai takes a look at the receivers.
"You look a lot better as a coach when you've got the thoroughbreds," said Craig Stutzmann, who tutors the receivers. "The players we had last year did a good job. But this year we've got more overall speed, more depth. We've got guys who can flat-out run."
Tsai also writes about a big hit between friends Jeramy Bryant and Ryan Henry, as well as Mana Lolotai's big day.

Leila Wai has video from the scrimmage, with interviews with McMackin, Mana Silva and Rodney Bradley.

UPDATE: Sorry, had to get rid of the embedded video from the Advertiser - it was crashing my browser for some reason. I was able to find a direct link to the coaches clinic video, but not the scrimmage.

Wai also has video from the coaching clinic, including interviews with Punahou coach Kale Ane and Kahuku coach Reggie Torres.

On WSN, rbaloha has a report.
+ Offensive Line -- Pass blocked very well. Aaron Kia appears in better condition. Displayed nice footwork, balance and hand placement. The run blocking is still a work in progress.
+ Wrs -- Rodney Bradley is amazing. Fast with nice hands. Javonte Taylor made some nice catches and displayed a second gear when the ball is in the air. Salas is a natural at slot and provides a big target. Mederios played well. Appears faster. Daniel Lofton and Billy Ray both made plays. By far the best collection of receivers in the JJ era.
+ Qbs -- Alexander is playing okay. learned to throw the ball away if a play does not exsist. Less of a windup release. IMO Austin is the #2 and the future starter for the next 2 years. Nice mobility, outstanding arm and field moxie.
+ DBs -- As a group are fast and athletic. Corners are unafraid to lower their heads and play the run. #4 made several outstanding plays. Spencer Smith is playing fast and making hits.
rbaloha posted the same report on Sportshawaii.com, with bleedgreen808 and uhwarriors chiming in with their observations.
My overall impression is that the offense is way ahead of where it was last spring. The O-line (1st and 2nd team) play particularly in pass pro is much better. The trap, shovel screen and wide receiver screen blocking still have a ways to go. While not all passes were completed, it's clear the QBs have a much better understanding of the offense. Alexander in particular got to the backside receivers as well as getting to the 4th read on occasion. He even threw it away when needed. Rausch and Austin shared reps with the second group. Initially Austin looked a little sharper, but in later series made some bad decisions and throws. The offense still has a long ways to go to get to mid-season form, but it was encourging to see the big improvement from last spring.
Jason Kaneshiro has some news and notes about the scrimmage and former UH player and current Kauai High coach Mike Tresler coming back to attend the coaching clinic.

And Dave Reardon takes a look at the progress of quarterback Brent Rausch.
"Brent's got an arm not a whole lot of guys have," quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. "He's worked on his discipline and his consistency. He's got a gun, but we want him to anticipate more."

Most agree that despite his potential, Rausch was far from ready to step in for a Heisman Trophy finalist last year.

"That probably didn't help him at that point," Rolovich said. "He put some stuff on himself. He had to learn to let it go, and he has."

RAUSCH'S TAKE ON last year?

"Over with."

Not that he regrets having been king for a day.

"It was definitely a learning experience. I was humbled, going from last on the depth chart to the top and back down."

Rausch is steadier. His shoulders don't hunch after a bad play anymore. Teammates and coaches notice that kind of thing, especially when it's a quarterback.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Day 10 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro profiles linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane.
Kiesel-Kauhane is among the strongest members of the team, but he focused more of his energy on developing speed rather than strength in preparing for his senior season.

He went through a regimen of agility drills and plyometrics designed to enhance his quickness.

"I didn't want to get too bulky like the previous years," he said. "I was coming in strong, but my speed wasn't how I wanted it to be.

"The speed workouts helped me, I can feel it. I'm not second-guessing my speed any more, but there's always room for improvement."
Kaneshiro also writes about Jesse Sapolu's visit to yesterday's practice.

Stephen Tsai writes about Sapolu's visit and takes a look at receivers Rodney Bradley and Mike Tinoco.

And be sure to check out Island Sports Media's photo gallery, which includes a lot of UH football pics.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Video: Jesse Sapolu Visits

KGMB interviews Jesse Sapolu, who addressed the Warriors today. John Estes and Aaron Kia are also interviewed.

UPDATE: Leila Wai has an interview with Jesse Sapolu.

Spring Practice Day 10 Reports

Kahaluu Imua Warriors at SportsHawaii.com:
I was watching the Oline and the Defensive put on an all out blitz and each defender was pickup-I almost cried, :lol: just like on the chalkboard. Although the line still let guys in at times they are more competitive with the D and they will only get better.
I like the miss counts the Offense is using at times to keep the D honest. There was multi offside violations by the D. I wished we used this simple thing with the SEC games. Play calling was much better with short dump passes and schuttle passes that were called durning heavy blitzes.
TheDuke has a report as well further down the thread.

Stephen Tsai:
Jesse Sapolu made an appearance at today's practice. He gave a speech on unity — one that UH center John Estes, in particular, found to be inspiring.
• As of now, nobody is going to redshirt. Greg McMackin said decisions on redshirts won't be made until deep into training camp ... and maybe into the season.
Jason Kaneshiro:
>> Saturday’s practice is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at Ching Field. The schedule will be similar to last week’s practice on Maui when the team practiced for the first hour and held a scrimmage in the second half. McMackin said more of the veterans will play in this week’s scrimmage than in last week’s. The staff will host its coaches clinic prior to practice. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

Spring Day 9 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro profiles offensive lineman Raphael Ieru.
A knee injury sidetracked him early in his Hawaii career and managing his weight became an issue at times over his four years with the Warriors. Now the senior is locked in a tight battle for a starting job on the offensive line, strengthened by the experience.
Although Shaw is in his first season at UH, he can see a difference between the player he studied on tape and the performance Ieru has delivered this spring.

"He's much quicker, he's got more staying power," Shaw said. "His conditioning has allowed him to go 10, 15 plays if we need to and he's not getting tired and he's really running hard downfield."
Stephen Tsai writes about Rocky Savaiigaea participating in team drills for the first time since undergoing surgery for a torn tricep.
"For the first day, it feels good," said Savaiigaea, who will be a fifth-year senior in the fall.

In the first week of the 2008 training camp, Savaiigaea suffered a tear to his left triceps. He tried to heal through aggressive rehabilitation. But he aggravated the injury, and then underwent surgery.

The surgeon drilled two holes into a bone. The tendons were attached, then looped through the bone for added support.

"That gave it stability," Savaiigaea said.
Tsai also highlights the continued improvement of defensive back Richard Torres.

And Kaneshiro has some news and notes about Rocky Savaiigaea and the defensive backs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Video: Spring Day 9

Chawan Cut compiles the news -- KHON interviews Gordy Shaw, John Estes and Aaron Kia. KITV profiles Inoke Funaki. KFVE talks to brothers Billy Ray and Craig Stutzmann. KFVE also interviews former Warrior Kenny Patton about a football training camp for 8th to 12th graders he is helping to run.

Spring Practice Day 9 Reports

Stephen Tsai:
Defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea today participated in team drills for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn left triceps.
Savaiigaea played left tackle in the base scheme (4-3) and nose tackle in the Okie defense (3-3-5).
He said he felt fine, but likely will be restricted in the remaining six practices.
• Richard Torres has solified the job at nickelback.
Jason Kaneshiro:
>> Lametrius Davis and Kenny Estes took the first-team repetitions at the safety spots in the team period. Mana Silva and Spencer Smith, the starting duo so far, remained first in the other periods. Associate Coach Rich Miano said the progress Davis and Estes have made this spring convinced the coaches to give them at look with the first unit today.
NelsonO at SportsHawaii.com:
Going into spring practice, I thought there would be more competition for the #1 QB spot. But actually the real battle is for the back-up QB spot. Shane Austin has closed the gap between himself and Brent Rausch. I’m really surprised at the progress Austin has made.

At running back, all the top candidates are seniors; Leon Wright-Jackson, Inoke Funaki, and Jayson Rego. If granted an additional year of eligibility Daniel Libre, another senior, should be in the conversation. Like Shane Austin, Funaki is really coming on.

No changes to the first team offensive line since the beginning of spring practice. Today, the second unit consisted of (from left to right) Clayton Laurel, Austin Hansen, Sila Lefiti, Brysen Ginlack, and Adrian Thomas.
Lots more info where that came from. Thanks to all for the reports!

Kenny Estes, Clinic, Les Keiter

Jason Kaneshiro profiles safety (and kicker?) Kenny Estes.
Football became Estes' focus after graduation, but he picked up some weight when he started living on the Manoa campus, which cost him some of the speed he displayed in high school.

Coming into the spring, he made an effort to drop the extra pounds to pick up a step on the field.

"I've been trimming down and felt like I got faster, quicker, more agility," said Estes, who also dealt with an injury that limited his action last fall. "I knew I was lacking speed last year. This year I watched my weight, watched what I eat."

The effects of his new look have been evident to the coaches.

"You see his speed, you see him accelerate to the ball, you see his pursuit, that guy is a different guy," Miano said.
HawaiiAthletics.com has info and a schedule for this Saturday's Warrior Football Coaching Clinic.

Stephen Tsai, Cindy Luis and Dave Reardon remember legendary sportscaster Les Keiter, who passed away yesterday.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Day 8 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro profiles Shane Austin, who quarterbacked the scout team last fall.
"I tell those (scout team) guys, 'You're going to go against the best defense we have every day, three days at least in a game week.' ... Having a head coach (Greg McMackin) who's on the defensive side of the ball a lot, that's a great opportunity to show him you can play."

Austin, a 6-foot sophomore, developed some of that composure while staring into a veteran Warriors defense throughout the fall.

"Before everything kind of seemed blurry because everything was going so fast," he said. "But now that I got all that work I feel more comfortable when I drop back. I can feel the pocket and slide up into it. ... Everything's kind of slowing down for me now."
Stephen Tsai has an article featuring defensive lineman Chris Leatigaga, offensive tackle Adrian Thomas and receiver Jon Medeiros.
Medeiros is listed as the Warriors' No. 1 left slotback. He faces daily challenges from wideout Greg Salas, who is working at slot this spring, and Ryan Henry. "They're right on my tail," Medeiros said.

Which is why he ignores his injuries.

"I suck it up and play hard," Medeiros said. "My spot out there is on the line. I have to continue to work hard."
Leila Wai has some video from yesterday's practice. She interviews R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, Greg McMackin and Greg Salas.

Tsai and Wai will have Inoke Funaki as their guest on the Warrior Beat Show today at 10am HST.

And Jason Kaneshiro writes about the Warriors preparing to face option teams and schemes this season.
McMackin said Central Arkansas, Washington State and UNLV — the Warriors' first three opponents — all have a form of an option scheme in their offensive packages. They'll also face Navy, coached by former UH quarterback Ken Niumatalolo, and its spread option offense in late November.

McMackin said the Warriors will put in the basics of its option defense in the spring and continue to review in the fall so it'll be ready when an option team comes up on the schedule.

"We're playing so many option teams, every week we'll have at least a 10-minute session on the option," he said.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Practice Day 8 Reports

Some brief reports of Day 8 from Stephen Tsai:
• Inoke Funaki continues to impress as a running back, breaking off two more long runs.
• Remember defensive tackle Chris Leatigaga? He was a heralded recruit in 2007. But he did not play that season because of a torn meniscus, and he was down on the depth chart last season. But he has earned a lot of reps in recent practices.
And Jason Kaneshiro:
>> Right tackle Laupepa Letuli sat out today’s practice, but is expected to return on Wednesday. Adrian Thomas took his place with the first team. “We didn’t give up any sacks and he played admirably in there,” offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said of Thomas, a junior from Australia. “He’s a very improved football player through eight practices.”

Spring Progress, Andrew Fauumu, Maui

Jason Kaneshiro takes a look at the team's progress at the halfway point of spring practice.
Player evaluation is one of the primary tasks of spring practice and Saturday's scrimmage on Maui left UH with seven practices down and seven to go leading up to the April 25 spring game at Aloha Stadium to solidify the depth chart while developing depth at various positions.

"I think we're getting and better and better, but we have a ways to go," head coach Greg McMackin said. "This isn't by any means where we want to be. I think we're getting better and you can see it."
"I'm very happy with the progress that we've made," new line coach Gordy Shaw said. "We played a pretty clean scrimmage as far as mental errors.

"One of our emphasis this spring was to reduce the penalties we have and understand the use of our hands is allowed but not everywhere and anywhere. ... We're starting to play fast and that comes from understanding what we're doing."
Robert Collias of The Maui News profiles offensive lineman Andrew Fauumu.

And Dave Reardon writes about the logistics getting in the way of having another regular season UH football game on Maui.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Video: More from Maui

CC finds one more report from KHON about Saturday's scrimmage on Maui. Defensive lineman Bo Montgomery is interviewed.

Maui Scrimmage Wrap-Ups

Robert Collias of The Maui News has a wrap-up of yesterday's practice and scrimmage on Maui, and profiles former Baldwin HS and current UH running back Jayson Rego.
Rego returned to the field where he played Pop Warner football and one season on the Baldwin varsity as a sophomore, and when he entered the controlled scrimmage, the 3,000 or so fans in attendance seemed to pay more attention.

He was in to block on a couple of occasions earlier, but the clear highlight of the day for Maui fans was when Rego joined Austin, the No. 3 quarterback, in the backfield on the final drive.

Rego had a 6-yard run before Austin hit Dustin Blount on a 29-yard strike across the middle that put the ball on the defense's 6-yard line. Rego broke into the end zone on the next play, but the holding call negated the score, much to the crowd's chagrin.

''I knew there was going to be a lot of people coming out, because on Maui there is a big fan base,'' Rego said. ''It made me feel like I was small again, hearing everybody cheer. So, it was great.''
Jason Kaneshiro has a wrap-up and highlights Inoke Funaki's big day at running back.
Once the Warriors got into their scrimmage at War Memorial Stadium, former quarterback Inoke Funaki wowed the nearly 3,000 fans in attendance with two long gains, including a touchdown.

"He found a home, he really did," UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. "He made a few guys miss, he has good vision, which we all knew. And he likes it, he sticks his nose in there blocking. ... He'll be a weapon."
Starr Begley of The Maui News talks to some of the fans who attended, including a former UH recruit and a possible infiltrator!
Baldwin senior Mana Rosa, last season's Maui Interscholastic League defensive player of the year, as well as the Bears' Micah Kahoohanohano and Kamehameha Maui teammates Matthew Kahoohanohano and Chase Bell were in attendance as well.

''I came to talk to the coaches,'' said Rosa, who will play at Oregon State in the fall. ''They offered me a scholarship so I just wanted to check them out, say hi, while they're here, even though I'm going to Oregon.''
Walking through the parking lot to the stadium, Louis Cambra of Pukalani was concerned that he wouldn't get past the gate with his coolers...
''You better write that in the paper if they don't let me,'' Cambra joked. ''I've been a longtime UH fan. We're here to kill some time, but we're actually spies. My grandson, (Baldwin graduate) Jojo Dickson, goes to Idaho.''

UH athletic director Jim Donovan tells Collias that he won't rule out another regular-season game in Maui sometime in the future.

Kaneshiro has some news and notes from the day.

And Dave Reardon has a Further Review column about the Maui fans, Jayson Rego and Inoke Funaki.
Funaki, converting from quarterback, looks like he might have been at the wrong position all this time. He's a slasher, but on one play yesterday he turned crasher. Smelling the goal line, the 190-pound Funaki katooshed safety Rykin Enos, who's not a small lad by any means at two bills.

It was Bo Jackson-Brian Bosworth, except Funaki didn't run out of the stadium.

'Noks knows.

"I'm nothing like Bo Jackson -- he was a beast," Funaki said, laughing. "But I know what play you're talking about, saw it on ESPN Classic. I'm a classic kind of guy."
Right on.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Video: Maui Scrimmage

Chawan compiles the news coverage of the Maui scrimmage from KITV, KGMB, KHNL and KHON. Includes highlights as well as interviews with Greg McMackin, Shane Austin and Jayson Rego.

UPDATE: KGMB's Liz Chun had a 10pm news report with more highlights and interviews.

Maui Scrimmage: Photos and Reports

Chawan Cut has a couple hundred photos from today's practice and scrimmage at Maui's War Memorial Stadium. Here are a few of them:

The Star-Bulletin's Jamm Aquino has several excellent photos on The Aperture Cafe blog.

Stephen Tsai has some photos as well.

Jason Kaneshiro has some notes from the game.
>> Most of the established starters on offense — Greg Alexander, Greg Salas, Malcolm Lane, Kealoha Pilares, John Estes among them — sat out the scrimmage, which followed an hour of practice. There were two touchdowns scored in the scrimmage.

>> Inoke Funaki was one of the big performers. He scored on a 22-yard run behind the right side of the line and later turned a shovel pass into a 31-yard gain.

>> Quarterback Shane Austin enjoyed a solid day. He hit Rodney Bradley for a 48-yard reception on his first throw of the day.
Dave Reardon did a play-by-play on Twitter and has some notes on his Quick Reads blog.
Shane Austin looked great at times today.

Quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said this about him:

“He’s on time, he gets rid of the ball. He was in some good situations, and after they see the tape, they’ll make adjustments.”


Inoke Funaki made a beautiful 31-yard run on a shovel pass, and a 22-yard touchdown run. At the end of the TD, the 190-pound Funaki leveled 200-pound safety Rykin Enos two yards in front of the end zone.

Definitely the katoosh of the day.
An anonymous commenter in the last post shared some observations:
Shane Austin had a great scrimmage should be the #2 QB. Shane completed more passes with very nice reads and throws with precise bombs that the receivers dropped that could have gone for TD's. Shane seems very comfortable while in the pocket and scrambled nicely avoiding several sacks.
Our defensive front rarely penetrated the OL, so either the OL got better or defense got a lot of work to do.

I say overall it was a good scrimmage with the defense giving up just 14 points to run plays. 2 TD's and a 2 point conversion.

Funaki will be a huge threat this year for sure!
Some fan notes from SportsHawaii.com as well as WSN here and here.

And HawaiiAthletics.com has a wrap-up.
“It was an excellent effort by our guys today,” McMackin said. “We kept a lot of our starters out of the scrimmage and it allowed us to get a good look at our other players. People were making plays on both sides of the ball and I thought the crowd brought out the best out of our guys.”

Senior running back Jayson Rego, who hails from Wailuku, drew the biggest cheers with a series of bruising runs, including an apparent touchdown scamper. The touchdown was called back by a holding penalty, but it was fun experience none the less for the Maui native.

“I can’t really explain how good it was,” Rego said. “I haven’t been home for a long time and being able to play in front of all the people I used to play in front of when I was a little kid, was a great feeling. I enjoyed it a lot and I know the fans really enjoyed it too.”

Maui Scrimmage

Scrimmage on Maui today! Check the usual suspects for the live updates:

Message Boards:Chawan Cut will also be there and hopefully he'll have a report and/or some photos up later today/tonight.

Robert Collias of The Maui News has a preview.
McMackin said today's scrimmage will be the real deal.

''We are going to do an hour's practice, do some of the things we have to do,'' he said. ''Then we will go for an hour scrimmage with 60 to 70 plays. We will have officials and flags and it will be a full game-type scrimmage. This is our first scrimmage of the spring. Normally we don't scrimmage this early, but we thought the people would want to see a little bit. I knew you guys would want to see some hitting.''
And here's a preview from Jason Kaneshiro.
The team will run through a normal practice for the first hour, then hold their first scrimmage of the spring in the second hour. McMackin said the plan is to run about 60 plays in the scrimmage.

Since the Warriors started practicing in pads a week ago, the coaches have reminded the players to stay on their feet during contact drills to reduce the risk of injury. Today's session offers a rare chance for live tackling.

"It's always good to go full speed," linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said. "The coaches are talking about just staying pro style (in practice). It's good, but you can't really have as much contact as you'd like to. So that'll be fun."

Friday, April 10, 2009

Video: Hawaii Bowl, Maui Scrimmage

C-Cut compiles news from KGMB, KFVE and KHON about the Hawaii Bowl signing a deal with the Conference USA and tomorrow's scrimmage on Maui. Aaron Kia, Greg McMackin and Greg Alexander are interviewed.

Hawaii Bowl Back with C-USA

The Star-Bulletin has an article about the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl renewing its tie-in with Conference USA.
The 2009 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl will include a team from Conference USA as the opponent to Hawaii or another Western Athletic Conference team should the Warriors not qualify for the game.

The Conference USA team will either be the league's second place team, or another mutually agreed upon bowl eligible team from the conference.
The Sheraton Hawaii Bowl was slated for the Pac-10’s seventh selection this year, but because the Pac-10 had only five bowl eligible teams in 2008, all parties mutually agreed to void the Pac-10 Conference selection for 2009.
...here are some of the top C-USA teams along with their 2008 records:

Tulsa (11-3)
Rice (10-3)
East Carolina (9-5)
Houston (8-5)
SMU (redacted)

FWIW, those are some pretty good teams.
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