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Monday, August 31, 2009

Update: Tonight's news, WitP: Ingram, Satele, Colt

Congrats to Jake Ingram, who won the battle to be the Patriots' long snapper.

UPDATE: Here's local news coverage of it along with UH players talking about preparing during Game Week!

Meanwhile, Samson Satele is still battling to be Oakland's starting center.
Raiders coach Tom Cable declared the position open as ever as Oakland prepares for Thursday's exhibition finale at Seattle. Who knew replacing former starter Jake Grove would prove so hard?

"There are things that I like and there are some things where I don't feel like he's getting it quick enough," Cable said. "There's definitely competition there."
Cable said the issue here is making line calls because "in this system, the center has to run the show."

Satele admits it's been a learning curve going from Miami's power blocking to Oakland's zone-blocking scheme. His agility is considered a better fit for the ZBS, but it didn't help that he missed most the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery.

"When you don't know the offense, it's kind of hard," Satele said. "It's easier once you learn it. It's a perfect offense for what I'm good at."
There are rumors that Chase Daniel is the favorite to be Washington's third-string QB.
According to ESPN.com, Chase Daniel looks to be the favorite to win the third-string quarterback job for the Redskins over Colt Brennan. According to the report, the job is Daniel's to lose, but Brennan will get one more chance to play his way onto the team in the final preseason game.
Colt talks to Warpath Confidential about his game vs the Patriots.
It’s kind of like last week. Obviously I had a couple mistakes here and there which are gonna happen every game. I moved the ball. I had some good things happen. Looking back I can think of a couple errors I had. One time I knew I should have thrown a hot route real quick on a run play, if they stack the box you’ve got to get it outside. Little stuff like that, that obviously you can get coached up on. Besides the interception I thought I moved the ball well against a good defense and showed some progress from the first two weeks.

Rausch at #2, Previews, Predictions

Stephen Tsai writes that it looks like Brent Rausch is the #2 QB.
It appeared fourth-year junior Brent Rausch nudged ahead of third-year sophomore Bryant Moniz in the competition for the No. 2 quarterback's job. Rausch took the majority of snaps. "You have to report what you see," head coach Greg McMackin said.
Tsai talks to Nick Rolovich about the other QBs and has some good news regarding John Estes, Chris Leatigaga and David Hafoka.
Senior defensive tackle Chris Leatigaga has been diagnosed with a dislocated left knee cap. The injury is not as serious as initially feared, and he will be able to play this season.

"It all depends on how good the rehab is and how fast my leg reacts," said Leatigaga.

Defensive tackle David Hafoka, who transferred from College of San Mateo in January, expects to resume practicing this week. He missed training camp because of a herniated disk.
Jason Kaneshiro talks to John Estes about not taking Central Arkansas lightly.
John Estes was still in high school back in 2004. But he points to Hawaii's opener that fall as a cautionary tale for the current Warriors.

"In 2004 we lost to (Florida Atlantic) and we had a pretty good team," Estes said. "We had good players, but if you're not ready to play you're going to get your (butt) kicked."
Kaneshiro also notes that the official backup QB decision may not have been made yet, and has some injury news about John Fonoti and Mana Silva.

Via MLive.com, the AP has a UH football preview.

Ferd Lewis has some game predictions. He thinks UH will go 8-5.

Hard Knock Sports has some game analysis and predictions, with a bonus Hawaii Bowl prediction. 7-7 is their final tally.

And Jason Kaneshiro previews New Mexico State.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WitP: Pisa, Colt, Kynan, Ryan

Pisa Tinoisamoa had three tackles against the Broncos tonight.

Looks like both Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel will see a lot of playing time when the Redskins face the Jaguars on Thursday.
It sounds like Zorn will use the bulk of the time on offense to evaluate quarterbacks Chase Daniel and Colt Brennan, who are battling for the third spot. He said backup Todd Collins will "possibly" play, but both Daniel and Brennan will definitely play.
Kynan Forney is still in a battle for the Chargers' starting right guard spot.
Louis Vasquez and Kynan Forney split time at right guard last night, and the battle to start at that spot might continue into the regular season.

“Those guys are competing their (rear ends) off,” Norv Turner said. “Someone is going to start Sept. 14. But just because someone starts the opener doesn't mean they're going to start (all) this year.”

Vasquez started and played three series in last night's 27-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons before Forney came in to get a series between first-team right tackle Jeromey Clary and first-team center Nick Hardwick.
Forney, who appeared to have a lock on the starting job before a strained neck muscle sidelined him last week, made a few big blocks last night.

“Being out last week you don't get to work on your overall timing,” he said. “Also being out a year, I'm trying to get back to game speed and strength. I've got to stay healthy, keep getting better on my technique.”
Even though he's still sidelined with a sprained ankle, Ryan Mouton is still in contention for the Titans' kick returner job.
The coach said doesn't have a depth chart but that his returner is on the Tennessee roster right now. That could include rookie cornerback Ryan Mouton, who averaged 19.3 yards on returns before hurting his left ankle.

"I think our returners are on our roster, and who returns for us for the opener, that remains to be seen," Fisher said.

Flashback: UH 72, BYU 45

Beautiful, beautiful game. Chad Owens, Ashley Lelie, Channon Harris, Nick Rolovich. Thank you, 2120kaohu.

SB's UH Football Preview, Breakdown, Offense, Etc.

The Star-Bulletin has a 2009 UH football preview with a clever theme and title:

But what does aak mean?
This mag is aak in Internet age

It's essential to keep up to date with the new lingo and technology
Fortunately for the University of Hawaii, McMackin is "aak" and has done his best to bring the program up to date in the war room and on the football field. He understands what those 140 words in a tweet can mean.
Stephen Tsai has a breakdown of each position heading into game week(!!!). Here's an excerpt about the secondary:
Ailments have led to a shuffling of the secondary nearly every practice. Safeties Mana Silva and Kenny Estes have missed time. Tank Hopkins and Lametrius Davis were set to share the left cornerback's job. But both have had minor injuries, and Kawika Ornellas, who was added to the active roster two weeks ago after suffering from tendinitis in both knees, has taken reps as the No. 1 corner. Jeramy Bryant is set at right corner. The Warriors have three different schemes involving a fifth defensive back. Aaron Brown and Richard Torres each have specific roles as nickelbacks.
Jason Kaneshiro takes a look at the UH offense.
"I think we're right on schedule," Lee said after putting the receivers through some extra drills after Friday's practice. "We're giving the first two units all the reps (this) week to really sharpen up the timing with the QBs.

"We dropped a couple passes (during Thursday's practice). That's why we stayed after working on our hands. But I think we're right on schedule. We just need to go play."

One of the facets that might cause Lee some anxiety is the lack of game experience for most of the receiver corps aside from returnees Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares.

Jovonte Taylor, Jon Medeiros, Royce Pollard and Joe Avery combined for 15 catches last season. Rodney Bradley, a projected starter at wide receiver, is looking forward to his Division I debut, as are redshirt juniors Ryan Henry and Dustin Blount.

"They're talented as can be and they understand what we're doing, but we're going to see how they play on (Friday)," Lee said. "We're coming along nicely; we're ahead of last season by a bunch. It's just a matter how they show up when the lights go on."
And Kaneshiro previews Utah State.

WitP: this weekend's highlights

from this past weekend's games

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WitP: Lelie, Sopoaga, Ulbrich, McBriar, Veikune, Elam, Mauia, Colt, Bess

Ashley Lelie had 4 catches for 52 yards tonight against the Seahawks, including a nice 33-yarder on an underthrown pass. I think he's secured himself a roster spot on the Kansas City Chiefs, at the very least.

KCChiefs.com has some post-game quotes from Lelie.
Talk about what tonight meant to you? “It means everything-my job. Any opportunity you get you have to go out and show what you can do. QB Matt (Gutierrez) gave the best chance to make a play on every ball he threw. I haven’t had that in awhile, where I come out of my route and the ball is in the air and I don’t have to wait on it. I haven’t had that since one of the first years of my career. It feels good to be in a real offense.”

On going to fade maybe one time too many: “Just a little miscommunication on our part. We have to get better as a duo. It’s just getting a feel for the quarterback and the quarterback getting a feel for you. When you get into the offense so late, it’s a little miscommunication.”

How much more comfortable are you now than a week ago? “Probably a hundred-fold. I got a chance to really watch what the starters did, and got to see all the calls they were making and the hand signals and everything. So just the extra week of film and everything helped me out a lot.”

Another week allows you really immerse yourself? “Definitely. Another week to get better at running the offense, get better at getting on the same page with the quarterbacks and running routes and doing stuff how they want done here.”

Are you starting to feel a little bit at home here? “A little bit. I’ve still got a long way to go, as you can see.”
Isaac Sopoaga had 3 tackles, Jeff Ulbrich had 1 tackle, and Mat McBriar has 4 punts for 32.8 yards(?) as the 49ers beat the Cowboys 20-13.

David Veikune got some first-team reps at outside linebacker in today's game against the Titans. He assisted on one tackle.

Jason Elam was 2 of 2 on field goals with a long of 40 yards in the Falcons' victory over the Chargers.

Reagan Mauia had 1 catch for 3 yards for the Arizona Cardinals on Friday.

Redskins.com has an article about Colt Brennan's performance in yesterday's game vs the Patriots.
Later in the third quarter against New England, Brennan faced a 3rd-and-10 at the Patriots’ 33-yard line.

Mitchell got a step on his defender and was open as he raced for the left corner of the end zone. Brennan’s pass was on target and Mitchell pulled the ball in just as he crossed the goal line for a 33-yard touchdown catch.

“At first I didn’t think the play would be there, but the safety stayed inside,” Brennan said. “Marko did a great job. He was supposed to run a hitch and stop, and then he realized the defense had busted the coverage.

“So he put his hand up and ran for the end zone. I saw him at the last second and threw it to him.”

And a burden was lifted, if only for a moment.

“Last year [in preseason], I was taking chances and it seemed like everything was going great,” he said. “This year, it seems like every time I take a chance, I pay for it. To finally get in the end zone and finally have a touchdown, it is like a monkey is off my back.”
Thanks to Patty G for the article.

Warpath has more post-game quotes from Colt.

Warpath Confidential thinks Colt probably helped himself.
Meanwhile, Brennan went from possible camp cut to likely sealing his No. 3 slot. Brennan opened by throwing a 99-yard touchdown interception. Last year’s wonder seemed truly lost. But, Brennan later threw that deep touch pass that Campbell can’t deliver with a perfect 33-yard scoring strike to Marko Mitchell. Suddenly, the rookie quarterback with a penchant for big plays was back.
And here's a really short video of Davone Bess speaking to the Miami press, from MiamiDolphins.com.

UPDATE: From the Sun-Sentinel, looks like Bess is in a 3-way battle for Miami's #2 receiver spot.
There aren't many starting spots on the Dolphins' roster that don't have a tenant, even if it's a temporary one. But coach Tony Sparano admits there's a flashing "vacancy" sign on the starting receiver spot opposite Ted Ginn Jr. Auditions are being held daily among Greg Camarillo, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline.

Sparano said all three will play against New Orleans on Thursday "until we see what we need to see."

He also hinted that the player who prevails will be the wideout who produces the most big plays.

"Teddy has got the long speed and all those things, so you think that's where your home run is. But we have to get more chunks [of yards] on offense. I'm looking for a guy that can gobble up yards out there opposite [Ginn]," Sparano said. "We need a guy who can make some bigger plays on the other side."

D-Line, Backup QB, Previews

Jason Kaneshiro looks at the depth of the UH defensive line.
While X-rays taken that night didn't show any breaks or nerve damage in his left knee, Leatigaga had an MRI performed yesterday.

Leatigaga, a 6-foot-4, 305-pound senior, redshirted in 2007 after transfering from Foothill (Calif.) College. He played in just one game last season, but after a solid spring entered this season looking to play a more prominent role in the defensive tackle rotation this season.

"Chris has been one of the hardest workers in the offseason," defensive line coach Dave Aranda said. "He dedicated himself to making a statement in his senior year."

Although the Warriors use two tackles in their 4-3 base alignment, the coaches consider Vaughn Meatoga, Rocky Savaiigaea and Tuika Tufaga starters in the defensive tackle rotation. They were followed by the trio of Leatigaga and redshirt freshmen Geordon Hanohano and Haku Correa on the second line of the depth chart.

"There's not a lot of places where you have six defensive tackles you're comfortable playing in the game," Aranda said. "Hopefully we can get that back."
Anyone know the status of JC transfer David Hafoka? He's listed on the official UH football roster again, which is good news. Last I read about him was from an August 7th article by Brian McInnis and Jason Kaneshiro.
Defensive tackle David Hafoka, a junior-college transfer who practiced with the Warriors in the spring, is not on the fall camp roster. He is being held out as a precaution due to a back strain.
Let's hope he's healthy again.

Stephen Tsai writes that the battle for the backup QB spot is still not settled.
It will be another few days before the coaches decide between fourth-year junior Brent Rausch and third-year sophomore Bryant Moniz. Greg Alexander is the starter for Friday's season opener against Central Arkansas.

A choice was supposed to have been made when training camp ended a week ago. But Rausch and Moniz have been impressive in 6-on-7 and team drills.

The coaches prefer to give Alexander two-thirds of the reps in passing drills, with the No. 2 quarterback taking the rest.

"The only rush is if you need a No. 2 guy, you've got to have that decision made," head coach Greg McMackin said. "I don't want to go all the way to game time."
Tsai also writes about Leon Wright-Jackson practicing as the Wildcat QB, and has an injury/haka report.

WACSports.com has an extensive UH football preview.

UPDATE: No wonder the WAC Sports article sounded familiar. It's a compilation of HawaiiAthletics.com's position-by-position previews.

And Jason Kaneshiro previews Nevada.

Friday, August 28, 2009

WitP: Colt Brennan

Colt Brennan was 6 of 12 for 81 yards tonight against the Patriots. He did throw an interception that was returned 99 yards for a TD, but he followed that up by throwing a beautiful 33-yard touchdown pass to Marko Mitchell in the next series. Colt and Jason Campbell were the only two Washington QBs to play in the game. Their final preseason game is at Jacksonville next Thursday.

UPDATE: Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post's DC Sports Bog has a great article about Colt, with lots of quotes from after the game.
"Pretty abysmal," Brennan said, describing how he was cussing himself out even as he tried to chase down cornerback Jonathan Wilhite. "I couldn't believe it when it happened. It was kind of surreal for a second. I was like, 'Not again...Are you serious?' "

And then he walked to the sidelines, and walked into the warm embrace of Interceptions Anonymous, Redskins style. Casey Rabach came up to offer a word of encouragement. So did Chris Cooley. So did Jim Zorn. And so did every quarterback on the roster, from Daniel to Todd Collins to Jason Campbell.

"I mean, these are guys you're competing with, and they're rooting for you," Brennan said with a shake of his head. "I mean, that's pretty impressive, considering it's the NFL, [considering] it's such a business
And it wasn't just guys on the offensive side, either. Several defenders, including cornerback Fred Smoot, came up to Brennan after the interception, urging him to forget about the past and find some success before the night ended.

"That's my guy, man, that's my guy," Smoot said. "I love Colt Brennan, man. You know what? There's some guys that's born to do what they're doing, and they just get the perfect name, the perfect everything. He's one of those guys to me. He just reminds me of Brett so much. I've been around Brett Favre so long, and I see a lot of Brett in Colt. I feel like I've got to look out for him and take care of him. That's my guy."
And another really nice quote from Smoot:
"Think he can play? I think he's gonna be great," Smoot said. "I don't say that about a lot of players. Put it like this, the Falcons traded Brett Favre years ago. I just hope we don't make that mistake."
UPDATE 2: KHON has footage of the pick and TD pass, starting at around three minutes in.

WitP: Bess, Brennan, Hunter, Forney, Tinoisamoa

Davone Bess had 1 catch for 11 yards and returned 4 punts for an average of 6 yards in yesterday's preseason game against the Bucs. He also had an amazing diving one-handed out-of-bounds catch, which you can see in the KITV portion of last night's Chawan-pilation.

The Redskins vs the Patriots is coming up in a few minutes. Redskins Confidential lists Colt Brennan as one of five players to watch.
QB Colt Brennan
He’s running more complicated plays than Chase Daniel, but he still needs to prove that he can run them well and make good, quick decisions. He hesitated on his interception last week, not to mention he stared down the receiver, and then took a chance. Brennan could use a strong game. Actually, he needs a strong game because the threat from Daniel is real. Two weeks ago I never would have thought that.
Both Colt and Chase are scheduled to play in the second half. The game will be broadcast on CBS.

Wayne Hunter talks about his pass-catching ability.
There may a new Jet throwing his hat into the ring for the wide receiver competition.

Offensive lineman Wayne Hunter caught not one, but two balls from qb Erik Ainge on bootlegs during 11-on-11 drills, to raucous cheers from his fellow players.

“The guys are helping me out with letting me know what my route is in the huddle, and I know they have to go through their progressions first before they come to me,” Hunter said. “If I’m open, I’m open. It’s a good thing I can catch the ball.”

“For how big he is, he’s so athletic it’s crazy,” Ainge said. It’s amazing what that guy can do, he does stuff like that all the time.”
Kynan Forney continues to battle his neck injury as well as his competition.
Looks like Louis Vasquez will start at right guard, as he continues to work with the first team. Kynan Forney's neck injury has limited his work, and Vasquez may yet be able to slip into the starting spot. Still, the Chargers would like Forney's experience there.
Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune writes how Pisa Tinoisamoa is fitting in with the Bears.
The strong-side linebacker spot was supposed to be a three-way battle between Tinoisamoa, Jamar Williams and Nick Roach, but Williams (foot) and Roach (concussion) are out with injuries. Most figured Tinoisamoa, who started the first two exhibitions, had the inside track regardless, considering he was a productive veteran in St. Louis and played one season under coach Lovie Smith with the Rams.

"I won't say it has been an unfair competition. It has been an unfortunate one," Tinoisamoa said, referring to the injuries to Williams and Roach. "I'm getting a lot of the reps, which is helping me. But then again, it's less for them. Once they get healthy, we'll get it all going again."

Off-Topic Friday

Aloha Stadium Practice, Leatigaga, Jovonte, Etc.

Stephen Tsai has a wrap-up of last night's practice at Aloha Stadium. There was some good news, and some really bad news:
Leatigaga was hurt during a one-on-one drill. His left knee buckled, and he fell to the turf in a dazed heap. Leatigaga was face down for about 10 minutes while trainers tried to offer medical assistance.

Later, Leatigaga was carried into a van, and taken to the hospital for an MRI.

"It was really disappointing," head coach Greg McMackin said. "We have to see how it turns out. I hope everything is OK. ... It was a freak thing. Nobody went down low. He sort of jammed his knee. It wasn't like anybody was going on his knees. I pray he's OK."
Jason Kaneshiro has some notes from the practice. He also profiles Jovonte Taylor.
Taylor is the leading contender to return kickoffs for Hawaii this season, and the Warriors hope his combination of speed and elusiveness can ignite the return game.

Along with Taylor, Kealoha Pilares and Royce Pollard have also taken turns returning kicks in practice.

The Warriors turned in several big plays in the return game last year. Malcolm Lane, who is redshirting this season, ranked 18th in the country in kickoff returns and Ryan Mouton's touchdown return at Fresno State sparked a historic road win for the Warriors.

Taylor flashed his potential with three returns for 57 yards against Florida, but he missed most of the season due to an illness.

"It's something I've always done," Taylor said.

"You have to read your blocks, but it comes natural. ... You have to have that feel for it. You have to be fearless. You have to know sometimes you're going to get hit. But you just have to get up and get back to it."
Kaneshiro also has some news about the likely punt returners:
Punt returning is an area where the Warriors are seeking improvement. Hawaii ranked last in the country (119th) in that category with a total of 62 yards in 31 returns.

Junior receiver Ryan Henry has gotten the most work returning punts, a role he's eyed since he arrived on campus. Dustin Blount and Greg Salas have also gotten work fielding punts in practice.

"It's something I take pride in. I take it serious. It's something I did in JUCO and high school and had fun with it," Henry said.

Salas, known for his sure hands, said he hasn't returned punts since high school, but "you just have to keep practicing it and it comes back to you. It's like riding a bike," he said.
And Kaneshiro previews Boise State.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wahine Clinic, Bess, Under the lights....

KHNL has some video from the Wahine Football clinic last night with some of the women on the field...

Here's tonight's news with some Davone Bess highlights in Miami's preseason game. Also the Warriors get to practice at Aloha Stadium in preparation for next week's season opener.

WitP: Pisa, Wayne Hunter, Colt

The Chicago Bears have officially named Pisa Tinoisamoa their starting strongside linebacker.
“We have some good linebackers here and they all have played well, but Pisa’s been steady and been that way throughout,” said coach Lovie Smith. “He really played well this past week against the Giants.

“He brings energy, he hustles, he’s a tough guy, and he’s played at a high level in the league before, so we have an idea [how he’ll perform]. We let it play out and he deserves to be called the starter now.”

The most impressive of Tinoisamoa’s four tackles in last Saturday night's win over the Giants came when the 6-1, 230-pound linebacker stuffed bruising 6-4, 264-pound running back Brandon Jacobs in the hole for no gain.

“Being here has just been a great experience,” Tinoisamoa said. “It’s good to be named the starter, but I know that I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain and perform.”
Woot woot!

New York Jets tackle/tight end Wayne Hunter can catch the ball.
T Wayne Hunter flashed some great hands today with two nifty catches on back-to-back plays. For someone who's 6-5, 303 pounds, he can really catch the ball and that's why the Jets have been using him sometimes as an extra tight end or on the tackle eligible play.
The Washington Post's Jason Reid writes that both Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel will play in the second half against the Patriots tomorrow.

And Reid takes a closer look at what Jim Zorn may be looking for in his 3rd string QB.
If Zorn believes Daniel could be no more than a No. 3 quarterback because of his height (he doesn't appear to be as tall as he's listed in the team media guide), then I guess it wouldn't make much sense to keep him over Brennan, who defintiely has ability but takes too many chances with the ball. He has thrown two interceptions in 17 attempts.

Some in the organization have been a bit put off by Brennan's swagger. They view him as a way too arrogant for a guy who hasn't accomplished a thing in this here league. I've always enjoyed my conversations with Brennan, in part because we have that California connection. I covered the high school he attended, Santa Ana Mater Dei, when I was a cub reporter at the Los Angeles Times. We also share a fondness for In-N-Out Burger (it's a West Coast thing).

Several people in the organization have told me they really think Daniel can play at this level despite being vertically challenged. And if he were to perform well Sept. 3 in the final preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, another team might sign him if the Redskins did not include him on the opening 53-man roster. The Redskins also figure another team definitely would sign Brennan, who clearly has the potential to be more than a No. 3 quarterback.

Lefiti, Ieru, Tackling in Practice, Etc

Stephen Tsai profiles backup center Matagisila Lefiti.
Lefiti is a third-year sophomore from Mater Dei, a football power in Southern California.

He met the NCAA requirements to play as a freshman in 2007, but fell short of UH's standards. After June Jones, who was UH head coach at the time, pledged his support of Lefiti, he was allowed to enroll at UH under probationary status. The terms called for Lefiti to not play football in 2007 while earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average for the fall semester.

"I took care of that," Lefiti said, noting his academic status is now "fine and dandy."

He also has progressed in his field work. In training camp, he has practiced at center, right guard and left guard.
Tsai also has injury news about Tuiatua Tuiasosopo, Tank Hopkins and Clayton Laurel, info about a benefit for former UH DB Mark "Scooby" Scroggins, and a note about Jovonte Taylor staying in Hawaii over the summer to catch up with missed school work.

Jason Kaneshiro profiles offensive lineman Raphael Ieru.
Ieru, who peaked at 365 pounds early in his UH career, reported for his final fall camp at 315, about 10 pounds lighter than his playing weight during spring practice.

"Running was brutal, but it's all worth it," said Ieru, the Warriors' starter at right guard as they approach next week's season opener against Central Arkansas.

Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw gave Ieru a target of getting to 315 after spring ball, and has noted the difference in his mobility and conditioning in preseason practices.

"It's made a tremendous difference in his stamina, and, knock on wood, he hasn't missed a practice or a drill," Shaw said.

"His durability is outstanding now ... and his movement has improved tremendously.
Kaneshiro also has notes about Jon Medeiros and tonight's practice at Aloha Stadium.

Ferd Lewis writes about the balance Greg McMackin is trying to set when it comes to hitting and tackling in the preseason.
This is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of football at UH and the philosophical tug-o-war over how much hitting is enough has probably been waged many of those seasons. One school of thought, embraced by Dick Tomey while he was at UH, held that the more a team hits in preseason practice the more game-ready it will be. But sometimes UH was its own worst enemy in injury-plagued starts, too.

On the flip side, the June Jones-held pro theory says it is wiser to save the wear and tear for the season, even if the crispness of tackling and blocking sometimes suffer in the beginning.

Attempting to plow the middle ground is McMackin, who has worked with both men and styles, coming to recognize the merits — and potential pitfalls — of each. "You don't ever want to lose anybody (in preseason), but I don't want to sugarcoat it, either," McMackin said.
And Kaneshiro previews Fresno State and Idaho.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WitP: Forney, Mouton, RGM, Colt, Bess, Lelie

Kynan Forney is wearing a neck brace as he recovers from injury.
Kynan Forney, who is wearing a neck brace to help limit the possibility he will aggravate his neck strain, split first-team reps at right guard with Louis Vasquez. The Chargers are still limiting Forney's work. The brace forces Forney to alter his movement a little, but Forney figures he will have to wear it for en extended period: “I don't need anything shutting me down for three or four days again.”
Ryan Mouton continues his recuperation from a sprained ankle.
Rookie cornerback Ryan Mouton (left foot) remains in a walking boot.

Not that Fisher is worried.

"We're resting. We're being smart about it. We'll practice them when they're ready to practice and play them when they're ready to play," he said.
Ed Klajman profiles Ryan Grice-Mullen.
"Ryan's got, I believe, tremendous, tremendous skills and speed," said Buono. "And in our game, if you can get him the ball in space, he is, in my mind, as dangerous as any returner who's playing right now. He's going to be one of those guys who people will stand up out of their chairs because he's that exciting. I'm just toughing him up (by making him a returner) and making him a better prepared football player and that will make him a better receiver. Every game I get excited about him because I can see the growth."
Colt Brennan talks to Warpath Confidential about the interception that changed everything.

Davone Bess talks about his competition in Miami.
The usually dependable Bess, who has only three catches for 19 yards in the first two games, didn't help himself by failing to pull in a beautiful, 20-yard rainbow from quarterback Chad Pennington on Saturday. Then again, Hartline didn't tear it up, either, although he would have needed a long shovel to catch a couple of the passes from Pennington and Pat White.

``Your job is at stake every time,'' Bess said. ``That's what this game is about. When you go out, you've got to take that mind-set that you don't want to be left behind.''
Ashley Lelie made a nice catch in practice.
WR Ashley Lelie showed his speed and got loose on a deep ball down the left sideline. One of the reasons the Chiefs brought him here was to be a deep threat and his catch today really showed off his speed.
And Lelie's coach talked briefly about his progress.
Will we see more of Ashley Lelie?

“I think that he’ll have another week under his belt of understanding the offensive system. He’ll be in a rotation like everybody else and we’ll try to maximize that as best we can. If I could say let us have 120 plays on offense in this game I would, but that’s not the way it goes.

Video: Alex Dunnachie

In tonight's Chawan-pilation, KGMB's Liz Chun profiles punter Alex Dunnachie.

John Estes, Mana Lolotai, R.J. Kiesel Kauhane, Rocky Savaiigaea, Etc.

I picked a fine time to be away from the computer most of the day. The Advertiser published like fifty articles about the history of UH football. Visit HawaiiWarriorBeat.com to view them all.

I also helped out Kevan from OBNUG a little bit with his WAC preview on the MidMajorMadness.com blog. Of course he repays my kindness with jokes about Hawaii. But that's okay. He shall taste bitter defeat come October 24th. Fun fact: Bitter defeat tastes like Idaho russet potatoes.

On SportsHawaii.com, Kahaluu Imua Warriors has a report from this morning's practice. Here's an excerpt:
At first I was worried on the 7 on 7 drills. Coaches Miano and Tormey were really pushing the DBs so that the O could not move the ball. And it worked but it really made me worry about the O. The DBs were playing real tight on the speedy recievers. But the O started hitting their stride. Lead by Alexander and Medeiros. Medeiros has field speed and great hands. Than Salas and Jovonte started to catch a few than others, mostly from Alexander with the D only giving a couple feet of clearing in thier coverage but Alexander got it in perfectly, fustrating the D. Same with the 11 on 11. There wasn't any long balls given up but lot of 5 to 15 yard passes. Good run by Leon and YAC by Salas. Soares was on a tear most of the day with Brown and Bryant doing well also.
Stephen Tsai has some news and notes. A couple of those notes:
• Center John Estes did not practice because of a bruised left shin. He expects to resume practicing Sunday.
• Ryan Henry is the No. 1 punt returner, and Jovonte Taylor is working as the No. 1 kickoff returner.
Jason Kaneshiro has some practice notes as well.
>> With Tank Hopkins sitting out this morning’s practice, Kawika Ornellas, a redshirt freshman from Mililani, got a look with the first team at left cornerback, rotating with Lametrius Davis. Ornellas spent much of fall camp rehabbing a knee injury and was added to the roster last week.
Tsai profiles Mana Lolotai.
"He dedicated himself to getting quicker, faster, stronger," defensive coordinator Cal Lee said.

Lolotai spent four weeks in Arizona participating in trainer Chad Ikei's intensive workout program. Lolotai was placed on a strict low-carb diet — small portions, frequent light snacks, lots of salads — and focused on footwork and speed drills.

"He came back in excellent shape," Lee said of the 6-foot, 230-pound junior.
Tsai also writes about Matagisila Lefiti and Bronson Tiwanak battling to be John Estes' backup.

And Kaneshiro takes a look at Aiea alums and UH team captains R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane and Rocky Savaiigaea.
Savaiigaea and Kiesel-Kauhane have traveled the same path since the seventh grade, making their mutual ascension with the Warriors this season all the more significant for both.

In being voted the Warriors' defensive captains, joining center John Estes, they reprise the roles they held as Aiea seniors in 2004.

"In high school we were captains together too and we had our front-row lockers. It's kind of reminiscent of the old days," Savaiigaea said. "The biggest thing is to get respect from our peers like that to vote us as captains means a lot."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Video: R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, Colt, Gameplanning, Wahine Football Clinic

In tonight's Chawan-pilation, KHON's Kanoa Leahey profiles linebacker and team captain R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane. KGMB's Liz Chun looks at the Redskins' QB battle and talks to Greg McMackin about gameplanning for the first three games of the season. She also previews tomorrow's Wahine Football Clinic.

WitP: Purcell, Veikune, Forney, Ingram, Colt, Hunter

Via ScoutNFLNetwork.com, the Cleveland Browns have placed Melila Purcell on injured reserve after he cleared waivers, according to a league source.

According to Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, David Veikune took some first team reps in practice today. The article doesn't say if it was inside or outside.

From Monday's press conference, Browns coach Eric Mangini addressed Veikune working both inside and outside.
(On David Veikune playing at outside linebacker)- “He played there quite a bit this past game, Mary Kay (Cabot). We got him some reps there. We’ve been working him primarily inside, but having him pay attention to the outside stuff. We worked him some there last week. It’s tough for a rookie. You have a lot of information, now you’re getting a lot of different spots. You try to keep them in one area as much as possible, sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t. The other benefit of moving around is, you do get exposed to a lot and you take in a lot and that can be really helpful down the line as well.”
Veikune spoke to Cabot about his preference.
Veikune said he feels more comfortable on the outside.

"Both are definitely new positions, but I'd guess outside linebacker is a little more natural for me," he said. "But I'll play wherever coach wants me to."
The Orange and Brown report has a Q&A with David Veikune and one of his teammates. Here's an excerpt:
Do you believe all the positional transitioning is hurting your overall development?

“No. I don’t think so. At first when I came in…all these positions and everything…I would have thought that, but it really hasn’t. Every day I work to get better and better and I think that’s really helped me out.”

Over the past two weeks, can we discuss the differences you are seeing transitioning to inside linebacker?

“So many reads, run/pass reads. When you have your hand in the dirt all you do is go after the quarterback and sack that quarterback. You have to think a lot as a linebacker.”
Chargers guard Kynan Forney worked with the second team offensive line as he recovers from a neck strain.

Jeff Howe of NESN.com profiles Jake Ingram, who talks more about surfing off the New England coast.
“It was cool,” said Ingram, a laid-back 23-year-old from Oahu. “Just, the water was so cold, a little different than Hawaii. Not as much power behind the waves, but it was definitely a lot cleaner because it wasn’t windy or anything. It was cool. I didn’t have a wet suit, so my ears were frozen.”

Ingram hit the beach with his girlfriend, whose family lives by Hampton Beach. He went to the University of Hawaii with her sister, and the pair began dating when Ingram came to the area for rookie camp in the spring. None of the surf shops were renting out boards because of the hurricane, so his girlfriend’s cousin loaned him one for the day.

The long snapper, who is battling for a job with veteran Nathan Hodel, has been surfing since he was about six years old, a practice that seems to be as common in Hawaii as walking.

“That’s just what we do,” Ingram said. “That’s like our playground out there in the ocean. If you get a day off and you want to have fun, the ocean is where it’s at. I’ve always been around it and just enjoyed it.”

Eventually, if Ingram earns the chance to stick around New England for awhile -- he might have the slightest of edges in the competition with Hodel -- he is hoping to check out some popular surf spots in Cape Cod. While it’s much colder in the water here than in his native Hawaii, Ingram is just excited to be playing for a team that resides near the ocean (obviously, among other things the Patriots offer).
Here's another article about the battle for the Washington Redskins 3rd QB spot between Colt Brennan and Chase Daniel.

And New York Jets right tackle Wayne Hunter lined up at wide receiver in yesterday's preseason game vs the Ravens.
Despite the first-team offense struggles, this won't be a vanilla scheme. Just look at the first play from scrimmage when tackle-eligible Wayne Hunter -- yes, 6-5, 303-pound Wayne Hunter -- lined up as an outside wide receiver and went in motion. Hunter blocked on Thomas Jones' 6-yard run to the left side. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is going to use wrinkles like this every week.

Revised Depth Chart, Backup QBs, Central Arkansas, LaTech

Stephen Tsai has the revised depth chart up on the Warrior Beat. Some interesting excerpts:
Running back: 1. Leon Wright-Jackson/Inoke Funaki. 2. Alex Green. 3. Jayson Rego. 4. Chizzy Dimude. 5. Hogan Rosehill, Kainoa Carlson.
Left end: 1. Elliott Purcell. 2. Paipai Falemalu. 3. Victor Clore. 4. Cameron Allen-Jones. 5. Tua Mahaley, Earvin Sione, Aaron Rink.
Strong linebacker: 1. Corey Paredes/Blaze Soares. 2. Josh Rice. 3. Art Laurel. 4. Tim Brown.
Weak linebacker: 1. R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane. 2. Po‘okela Ahmad/George Daily-Lyles. 3. Joseph Malabuyoc.
Tsai also writes that Heather McMackin will be today's guest on The Warrior Beat Show today at noon HST.

In his article, Tsai analyzes the depth chart, writes about the haka being brought back and the naming of the team captains, and takes a look at the battle for #2 quarterback.
One of the key battles — the No. 2 quarterback's job — will be extended for at least two more practices.

Entering training camp, Rausch and Shane Austin were bracketed at No. 2, with Moniz at No. 4. Despite a sore right (throwing) arm, Moniz has played well in training camp — enough to move into the competition for the role as top backup.

After a lengthy meeting Sunday, it was decided that Rausch and Moniz would be bracketed at No. 2, and Austin would take mental reps during practices.

McMackin said establishing a clear No. 2 quarterback is important in setting the practices leading to the Sept. 4 opener against Central Arkansas.

McMackin said Alexander will get two-thirds of the reps in 6-on-7 and team drills; the No. 2 quarterback will receive the other third.
Jason Kaneshiro writes about the depth chart, the captains, the rosters expanding, and the rise of the Phoenix out of Leilehua (!), Bryant Moniz.
Moniz had impressed the coaches with his progress during spring practice and fall camp and elevated his profile with a solid performance in a scrimmage last Friday, throwing the lone touchdown pass of the day.

"He's got a great feel for the game," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "Throws the ball, quick release, knows the offense, very smart, very fast. He gives us another dimension. He's definitely somebody we think can win games for us."
Via the Deseret News, here's an AP article about the growing pains the UH defense has gone through as it's gotten rebuilt.
Vaughn Meatoga, a sophomore who is expected to start this season, seemed disgusted when he recalled that the team's defensive line mustered barely enough sacks to "count them on one hand" throughout spring practice.

In the annual spring game in late April, the offenses combined for 48 points in the first half and recorded three touchdown passes longer than 50 yards.

It was so clearly a defense drowning in unfamiliarity, but it is a problem that has slowly been remedied in the four months since, coach said.

"We didn't have that chemistry," McMackin said of his defense in spring ball. "Everyone was trying to get their own job. I think now in the fall, guys are finding their position, starting to play next to guys and there's more of a teamness and a oneness. For about the last week, they've really come together. We've been getting turnovers. We've been making plays."
David McCollum of the Log Cabin Democrat writes about Central Arkansas preparing for their opener against UH.
Serious preparations for the opener begins today.

“We’re locked into game mode now,” Conque said. “There’s a different sense of urgency when you enter game week. In preseason camp, the focus was entirely on us. Now, we preparing to play a game and the pace picks up.”
Kaneshiro has a preview of Louisiana Tech.

And Ferd Lewis takes a look at ticket sales.
Based upon early trends, the University of Hawai'i is projecting a distribution of "about 33,000-35,000 tickets" for its Sept. 4 season-opening football game with Central Arkansas, athletic director Jim Donovan said.

With 10 days remaining, Donovan and UH officials said they are "hopeful" a surge of walk-up sales in the waning days might lift the projections — which includes both sales and "comps" — higher.

UH said it has sold approximately 22,250 season tickets to date and, as of yesterday afternoon, about 400 individual game tickets for the season opener.

"When all is said and done, we may be down about 5,000 tickets from last year," Donovan said. UH reported distributing 39,446 tickets for the 2008 opener against Weber State and a turnstile count of 36,247.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Video: Bryant Moniz, Captains, Ha‘a, Etc.

In tonight's Chawan-pilation of UH football news, KHON interviews Bryant Moniz about battling for the #2 QB position, while KGMB's Liz Chun interviews both Moniz and Brent Rausch. Chun also has the names of the new team captains (Rocky Savaiigaea, John Estes and R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane), notes that Greg Salas will return punts, and reports the players voted to bring back the haka (not the ha‘a). KITV has a report on the captains and the upcoming Wahine Football Clinic. KFVE interviews Greg Salas and Corey Nielsen about the first day of school and mentions the Wahine Football Clinic.

WitP: Purcell, Forney, Ingram, Veikune, McBriar, Colt

The Cleveland Browns waived Melila Purcell today. Hopefully he'll be a candidate for the practice squad or injured reserve.

Kynan Forney is expected to be back practicing by midweek.
# Head coach Norv Turner said he expects right guard Kynan Forney (neck) to practice by midweek.

# If so, it's a safe bet Forney holds onto his starting job. He's had a good camp, and Vasquez has some learning to do.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick addressed the long snapper competition today.
Q: [On the battle at the long snapper position between Nathan Hodel and Jake Ingram.]
BB: I think they’ve both done a good job. They’ve been pretty consistent and there are always little things that you’re always working to improve, or maybe perfect is a better word. It’s such a specialized spot and job, but overall I don’t think … Really, we haven’t had any problems with it. I’m not saying it’s been perfect. There’re things that could be improved. They’ve been efficient. It’s a good competition. The extent that they’ve played, the operations men have been good with both of them in there, including practice. It’s a pretty good competition.
Sounds like the same thing we've heard all preseason, which I think is good. The pressure doesn't seem to be getting to Jake, as he recently surfed off the New England coast.
A native of Hawaii, he recently borrowed a friend's board and did some surfing at Hampton Beach, taking advantage of the swells created by Hurricane Bill.

"The water's a little colder than Hawaii, but it was nice," he said.

Asked if anyone recognized him as a member of the Patriots while he was on the beach, the 23-year-old, who is vying for the long snapper position, said, "No."
The Cleveland Browns continue to play David Veikune at both inside and outside linebacker positions.

Mat McBriar again discussed the Cowboys' new low-hanging scoreboard today.
The punter who will be kicking more in the new Cowboys Stadium than anyone else isn't bothered by the huge video display boards looming over the middle of the field.

"Our game plan is to kick to the sidelines. So for myself it's not in my mind," Dallas Cowboys punter Mat McBriar said Monday. "I know it's there, obviously. But it's not something that catches my eye as much as guys who are kicking straight down the field."
Looks like Colt Brennan is officially battling Chase Daniel for Washington's third quarterback spot.
For the fourth consecutive season, Todd Collins will be the Redskins' backup quarterback, and Colt Brennan is in a battle with rookie Chase Daniel for the No. 3 job, Coach Jim Zorn said today after practice at Redskins Park.

When camp began, Brennan supposedly was competing with Collins for the right to be starter Jason Campbell's primary backup. But Collins, who will be in his 15th season, solidified his standing when he went 8 for 11 with 70 yards in a preseason-opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

"We saw that Todd was not willing to kind of bow down and give up his No. 2 spot," Zorn said. "So the competition is for the No. 3 spot, and Chase is making a statement about that."
Here's a quote from Colt:
"Last year, I wasn't playing solid football, but my stats were really, really, awesome," Brennan said. "This year, I'm not really playing bad at all. It's just, unfortunately, my stats really aren't that great.

"You only get so many chances in preseason, that why you've really got to capitalize. I've got two more opportunities coming up. I've just got to make sure to capitalize on these two more opportunities. We've got a game on television this week. I'm excited. I've got two more opportunities to make something happen."
The DC Sports Bog looks at the Colt vs Chase battle:
"The NFL dude, it's amazing what two weeks will do to you," Brennan said. "Two weeks ago, everyone's saying you're the most interesting battle for the No. 2 job in the NFL. Two weeks later, you're competing at No. 3 and supposedly dating a pop star. That's just the NFL, I guess. I can't wait 'til next week and the week after. Luckily there's still plenty of good that can still happen."
Here another article from NBC Washington.
Daniel's clearly outplayed Brennan so far. But is it enough? Will the undrafted guy beat out the second-year sixth-rounder? Coach Zorn says he's "right in the mix."

But Zorn also indicated that it's too early to make that final decision. The first-team offense will play the first half of the next pre-season game (they can certainly use the work!), leaving the final game as the Daniel/Colt showdown.

It'll be a great opportunity for Chase. It will certainly have the Cult of Colt munching on their fingernails.

New Additions

With the first day of class comes the first day the UH football roster can expand. Both Stephen Tsai and Jason Kaneshiro have news about about who has been added.
The roster expanded with the first day of school bringing the total to 119 players. Those added to the roster included: running backs Kimo Alo and Kahekili Kalalau; offensive lineman Daniel Johnson; defensive linemen Ho‘oikaika Cavaco-Amoy, Bo Montgomery, Ikaika Mahoe, Waylon Lolotai, Joshua Manupuna, Kaniela Tuipulotu and Kamalu Umu; linebacker Kaiser Iuta; and defensive backs Jeff Muller and Gary Nagy.

Warriors in the Classroom

With classes starting today and the season opener less than two weeks away, Jason Kaneshiro takes a look at what the Warriors will be doing in the coming days.
» New faces: The roster expands on the first day of school, with the invited newcomers expected to contribute primarily on the scout teams.

» A new depth chart: The coaches met over the weekend to review the footage of Friday's scrimmage to further define the depth chart as they begin honing the repetitions in practice to those on the top lines.

» A night out: The Warriors are scheduled to practice at Aloha Stadium on Thursday night in a closed session to get a feel for playing under the lights.

» A return to the routine: Other than the Aloha Stadium practice, the team will get into their regular-season rhythm of 7 a.m. practices and afternoon meetings sandwiching classes.
As Stephen Tsai writes, one of the things the Warriors may not be doing is practicing the ha'a.
It appears the three-year production of the Hawai'i football team's pre-game chant might be coming to an end.

The UH seniors will decide tomorrow whether to continue performing the ha'a, which has gained national attention and spawned imitations in Texas, Utah, New Mexico and California.

"It's up to the players," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "I mentioned it in the meetings. I told the players it was their decision to do it or not do it."

The players have not practiced the ha'a during spring training or the 2 1/2-week training camp, which ended yesterday.

With UH's fall semester starting tomorrow, the players have limited free time. The season opener is Sept. 4 against Central Arkansas.

"Right now we're not thinking about the ha'a," senior defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea said. "We're thinking about the first game. That's our only focus."
Tsai also writes that Scott Enos will be the kicker.

On The Warrior Beat, Tsai has news and notes about Tank Hopkins, Michael Wadsworth, Kenny Estes, Earvin Sione, Royce Pollard and Alex Green.

From this weekend, two Chawan-pilations. First, KFVE profiles Inoke Funaki and has some WitP news.

KGMB has some stuff about Mat McBriar, and KFVE talks to Rocky Savaiigaea about his PSA.

And Jason Kaneshiro previews Washington State and UNLV.

Warriors in the Pros

On Saturday, Colt Brennan was 3 of 5 for 42 yards against the Steelers, but also threw an interception. Via The Cooley Zone, Colt talks about his performance.

Thanks to Patty G for the link. Chase Daniel is also interviewed in that clip, and he had a great game, throwing for 2 TDs in his NFL preseason debut. Now some are saying Daniel is ahead of Colt for the 3rd QB spot, while others think Colt is fine. In any case, the QB situation has changed.
Is last year's summer sensation about to lose his spot as the No. 3 quarterback? It's hard to imagine, despite what Chase Daniel showed Saturday night. But Brennan can't assume that he'll make the roster, either. He has not exactly had a great summer. He entered camp thinking he could get the No. 2 job, but there's no way that will happen. Brennan made a bad decision on his interception Saturday, throwing into heavy coverage after staring down the receiver. Before then, he had a good drive going.
As the final installment of the Advertiser's Fab 50, Stephen Tsai profiled Colt.

Davone Bess had 1 catch for 7 yards, as well as a punt return for 19 yards against Carolina. Earlier in the week, Bess talked about being a visual learner.
"Even though you know it from a mental standpoint, when you're writing it down, it's almost like you're engraving it into your system," Bess says.

"It kind of beats it into you and makes you want to go out and perform and do all the right things. I pretty much write almost everything down."

Bess also makes full use of the team-issued yellow highlighters.

"If I have to make something known, I'll put an exclamation mark at the end of it with a highlighter," Bess says. "Something to make it stick out."
Mat McBriar averaged just 40 yards on his 6 punts against the Titans, but perhaps something was on his mind.
When Trapasso sent his third-quarter kick into the undercarriage of the huge Mitsubishi Electric being, it was embarrassing. Jerry's $1.15 billion structure was on display in a nationally televised open house and - oops - the oversized couch wouldn't fit through the doorway.
Since it is possible to be raise JumboJerry - it was already scheduled to be adjusted for U2's Oct. 12 concert - it needs to happen and happen now. Even McBriar admits the possibility of hitting the structure could be a mental distraction.

"I don't think I'll really get near it," McBriar said after Friday's game. "But is it possible? Yes."
Jason Elam was 2 of 2 on field goals against the Falcons.

In the Browns vs Lions game, David Veikune had one tackle while Ikaika Alama-Francis had two.

Pisa Tinoisamoa had four tackles vs the Giants, impressing Da Bears Blog in da process.
David Haugh was right about Pisa Tinoisamoa. He is the team's strongside linebacker. There were a series of about six plays where Pisa was in on every single tackle, assisting both Urlacher and Briggs in bringing down the dominant Brandon Jacobs. I knew he was a good tackler but I didn't know about his speed. Hard not to be excited about this linebacking corps (And no, I'm not going to go crazy about Urlacher being trampled by BJ.)
In the 49ers win over the Raiders, Isaac Sopoaga and Jeff Ulbrich had one tackle each. Ulbrich apparently caused havoc around the QB, and Isaac Sopoaga played most of the game, starting at left defensive end and then moving to nose tackle.
"It was just a decision made as a staff going into the game," Singletary said. "We wanted to play him a little more at nose, because he's more familiar with it, rather than put any of other our guys at nose for an extended amount of time."
Kynan Forney did not play this weekend as he recovers from a neck injury.

Vince Manuwai started for the first time since last year's season-ending knee injury. He talked about how he felt:
"I felt good," Manuwai said. "Going against the first defense was the good part. You get the feeling of going against their starters instead of going against the second or third defense. You really test the knee."

So how would he rate his performance?

"Some good and some bad," Manuwai said.
And in the CFL, Ryan Grice-Mullen returned 4 kicks for 99 yards and 4 punts for 28 yards.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fall Camp: Day 14

Stephen Tsai writes about the 3-way competition for backup quarterback between Brent Rausch, Shane Austin, and Bryant Moniz. He also has news and notes from the scimmage.

Dave Reardon writes that Bryant Moniz helped himself a lot yesterday.
Do the coaches think Moniz made a big move?

"Yes, but he's been helping himself all along," quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. "This has been a three-horse race for a couple of weeks now."

Offensive coordinator Ron Lee usually reserves much comment until reviewing tape. When asked about how much Moniz's stock rose yesterday, he was succinct and emphatic.

"A lot."
Jason Kaneshiro has a wrap-up of the scrimmage as well.

And Kaneshiro previews UH's first opponent, Central Arkansas.

Friday, August 21, 2009

2009 Media Guide Online

The 2009 UH football media guide is now online. Hard copies are also available:
Fans interested in obtaining a hard copy of the football media guide can purchase them at either of the Rainbowtique locations or by calling the UH Sports Media Relations Office at (808) 956-7523. The cost of the media guide, which commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the first UH football team, is $20.

Rocky Savaiigaea in PSA

UH Manoa, in partnership with the Hawai‘i State Department of Health and the Office of the Governor, will begin airing two public service announcements addressing the problem of domestic violence in Hawai‘i. Bob Nash, Domelynne Nash and Bobby Nash are featured in one of the spots. Rocky Savaiigaea and his mother Chicki Savaiigaea are in the other:

HawaiiAthletics.com Previews: Secondary, Special Teams

HawaiiAthletics.com concludes their positional previews with a look at the secondary and the special teams.
For the first time in five years, UH is in search of a new placekicker. Newcomers Brian Blumberg and Scott Enos will battle it out for the starting job.

“We have two qualified place kickers, both of whom were outstanding placekickers in junior college last year,” Tormey said. “They’re in a pretty heated competition now and as soon as we get closer to game time it will start to sort itself out.”

Meanwhile, there will be another Ingram in the fold. Luke Ingram joins the squad this year and looks to replicate the success of his older brother at long snapper.

“Luke is very consistent and has outstanding speed on the ball,” Tormey said. “He takes his job very seriously and works hard to evolve his talent. He’s another young guy that has a bright future here at UH.”

Fall Camp: Day 13

All the best to former UH defensive back Kent Kafentzis.
Today, Kafentzis undergoes a procedure to remove an 8-centimeter cancerous tumor that is located in his left kidney and affecting a major artery. It is a perfect storm that will require cardiovascular and heart surgeries.

"They told me I'm the unluckiest guy they've met," Kafentzis said. "It's rare. It's one of those dealt-a-bad-hand kind of things. I have to pray to get through this, bigger and better, like the 2009 UH football team."
Stephen Tsai also writes about Royce Pollard and Jovonte Taylor returning kicks, Inoke Funaki practicing on three separate special teams, and Alex Green taking his turn in the Noke formation.
During spring training, the Warriors installed their version of the Wildcat Offense, in which the lone running back takes the direct snap and either runs or throws off a rollout. The Warriors named their version after Inoke Funaki, a converted quarterback.

Now they have expanded to allow running back Alex Green to also serve as the wildcat.

"It's the Noke-AG package," Green said, proudly.
Jason Kaneshiro profiles Kealoha Pilares.
A relatively slight 175 pounds when he graduated from Damien, Pilares checked in for fall camp this month at around 200 pounds, having developed an appreciation for lifting since joining the Hawaii football program.

"I just like working out; it kind of gets your mind off of everything else," the junior slotback said. "It's kind of a natural high. Just working out in the morning, starting your day off right.

"It's been helping me a lot in my game, just being stronger. I've increased my speed and just being able to withstand some of the hits."
Kaneshiro also notes that there's a scrimmage today, Kenny Estes is back at practice after missing three days with a strained shoulder, and parking gates at Aloha Stadium opening an hour earlier than last year.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Murphy's Pigskin Pigout

Warriors in the Pros: Melila Purcell Injured

Hope this isn't as serious as this sounds.
Purcell carted off: Third-year defensive lineman Melila Purcell, the Browns sixth-round pick in 2007, was carted off the field at the end of practice with a left leg or foot injury that appeared serious. It happened on a touchdown run on one of the final plays of practice. He grabbed his leg and then slumped over in pain. The trainers immediately removed his shoe, brought the cart over and helped him on it. He couldn't put any weight on the leg. No details were provided after the session.

WitP: Ryan Mouton, Colt Brennan

Dave Reardon has an update on Ryan Mouton's injury.
Former Hawaii and current Tennessee Titans’ defensive back Ryan Mouton said today he’s been diagnosed with a grade 2 high ankle sprain. Mouton suffered the injury Tuesday morning in practice. He said the injury may keep him out the rest of the preseason as a precaution, since high ankle sprains are easily re-aggravated. The Titans have three more preseason games before their Sept. 10 opener at Pittsburgh.

“It’s frustrating because I was really getting into a rhythm,” Mouton said in an email conversation with the Star-Bulletin.
Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has started selling "Chris Cooley is my Life Coach" apparel. From The Cooley Zone blog, here's a pic of Colt modeling one of the shirts.

UPDATE: I originally thought the "life coach" quote originated from Colt Brennan, but LizKauai says the phrase did not come from him. I just assumed, doh!

UPDATE 2: The origins of Cooley as life coach, from the AP:
It started when an online report suggested a romantic link between Washington Redskins teammate Colt Brennan and pop singer Simpson, who recently broke up with Dallas quarterback Tony Romo. Cooley thought such a story was too good to kill off right away, so he persuaded Brennan to tell reporters: "My life coach, Chris Cooley, said that I should neither confirm nor deny it."

This being the Internet age, it wasn't long before "Cooley" and "life coach" were linked everywhere. Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Cooley now is selling "Chris Cooley Is My Life Coach" T-shirts on his Web site.

Fall Camp: Day 12 Wrap-Ups

Stephen Tsai profiles Jake "Animal" Heun.
The Animal is a football beast.

"Jake is a typical Lattimer from the movie, 'The Program,' " Hawai'i linebacker Blaze Soares said of Jake "Animal" Heun. "He's mental. He's always making noise. He brings a lot to our linebacker corps. He's Jake. That's all I can say."

"He's an aggressive guy, man," said graduate assistant Michael Smith, who also is an aggressive guy. "He's one of the guys you like to coach. He gives you 100 percent every play."
Tsai also notes that Corey Paclebar and Steven Christian are expected to undergo season-ending surgeries.

Brian McInnis profiles Paipai Falemalu, who is learning the intricacies of the defensive end position.
Since playing linebacker for UH through spring practice, Falemalu has refined his technique to make himself an asset up front. As the second team left end behind Elliott Purcell, much of his progression — at the coaxing of his position coach, Dave Aranda, and teammates — has revolved around giving maximum effort even when he isn't sure about a particular play.

As in, don't hold back your full strength, even if you don't know what's going on.

"Coach Aranda and Coach (George) Lumpkin are real good coaches, and have helped me a lot," Falemalu said. "And my teammates help me; if they see me doing something wrong, they always say to turn your hips more, you have to club more. 'Be more violent.'
McInnis also writes about Corey Nielsen coming back to practice after being medically cleared to play. Great news.

And Dave Reardon maintains the faith in Leon Wright-Jackson.
By now, they were supposed to be bronzing his bust. Instead, they're just calling him one. Some said he was out of shape, some said he was tentative.

He was hurt. Turf toe and other maladies.

"Little nagging injuries. You just have to know you're going to play on it best you can, and it's going to hurt," Wright-Jackson says.

He's the big, fast back everyone covets. But other than one play, it just hasn't happened for him yet. The four-receiver, pass-first run-and-shoot offense isn't ideal for him, but many others have thrived running out of it.

"It's been a little frustrating. But it's in the past. There's nothing you can do about it," he says.

THERE'S ANOTHER reason I believe Leon Wright-Jackson will have a big senior season. Maybe I'm naive, but I prescribe to that notion of good things happening to good people.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Video: Moving Out, Pigout, Mouton, Defense

In tonight's Chawan-pilation, KGMB talks to the players as they move out of the studios, and they preview tomorrow's Pigskin Pigout; KHON reports on Ryan Mouton's injury, and KHNL takes a look at the defense without Brashton Satele.

Warriors in the Pros: Bess, Solomon

Davone Bess did well in practice today.
Davone Bess was the star of 11-on-11 drills, catching several passes while continuing to work with the first team ahead of Greg Camarillo, who got in only four plays in Monday night’s exhibition opener.
Thanks to Jim W for that article.

And here's an article from BuffaloBills.com mentioning Solomon Elimimian's signing with the team.
With the open roster spot Buffalo for the second time in a week addressed their linebacking corps signing Solomon Elimimian. Much like Sanborn, the undrafted free agent rookie was also one of the three-day tryout players for the Bills during the club’s rookie minicamp this past May. As a result Elimimian has some basic knowledge of Buffalo’s defensive system.

Elimimian (6’0” 225) was the WAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a senior for Hawaii in 2008, and finished his career as the school’s all-time leading tackler with 434. He has experience as both an outside and middle linebacker.

HawaiiAthletics.com Preview: Linebackers

HawaiiAthletics.com continues their positional previews with a look at the linebackers.
Satele’s absence paves the way for junior Mana Lolotai to grab a starting spot at the middle linebacker position. Lolotai was a special teams regular last year and also saw time as a reserve. Redshirt junior Jake Heun, moves from running back to middle linebacker, and will serve as the backup.

“I think what you look for in a middle linebacker is leadership and those guys are showing good leadership so far,” Lee said.

R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane started four games last year and played a key part in UH’s road upset of nationally ranked Fresno State. The senior is slated to start at the weakside position. Blaze Soares, who missed the entire 2008 season, will be the X-factor. The return of Soares at strongside backer gives the Warrior defense a huge boost with his explosiveness and big-play ability. Soares appeared in nine games in 2007 and 12 as a freshman in 2006.

However, with Soares not at a full 100 percent, it could be a breakout year for sophomore Corey Paredes, who is in line for a starting spot outside.

“I think people don’t realize who he is” Lee said. “They know Blaze, they know Brashton, they know RJ. I think Corey is a guy that will come out before it’s said and done.”

Don Weir / Pigskin Pigout Tomorrow

MidWeek's Bob Hogue profiles Na Koa executive director Don Weir. Here he talks about tomorrow night's 14th annual Pigskin Pigout:
“The entire proceeds go to helping the football program,” Weir says. “We’ve got a live auction and silent auction. One of the premier items will be a weekend getaway for two to San Diego, (complete with) airfare, hotel, meals and tickets to the Redskins-Chargers game, (where two lucky fans) will hopefully get a chance to see Colt Brennan.”
Here's the event info:

What: 14th Annual Pigskin Pigout
Why: To benefit University of Hawaii Football
When: August 20, 2009 5:30 P.M.
Price: $100.00
How: Call 531-0422

Fall Camp: Day 11 Wrap-Ups

Jason Kaneshiro talks to Brashton Satele about having to sit out this season due to his shoulder injury.
Brashton Satele won't be on the field this fall. But the Hawaii linebacker doesn't consider his season to be completely over.

"I have to be here for my team," Satele said after the Warriors' practice yesterday. "Even if it's just as a vocal leader, I'm going to be here for them no matter what."
"It hasn't really bothered me because I have no regrets over what happened," he said, "because I put in hard work and I busted my butt every single day this summer. It's frustrating, but I don't have any regrets. Nothing's really bothering me right now. I'm fine with it.

"I'm just excited to watch these guys play, because I know we're going to be a good team so I'm just excited for the season."
Kaneshiro also writes about the Pigskin Pigout to be held tomorrow night at Murphy's Bar and Grill and the 11-on-11 scrimmage set for Friday.

Stephen Tsai talks to Brashton and has some good news regarding Corey Nielsen.
Freshman quarterback Corey Nielsen yesterday received medical clearance to resume practicing.

Nielsen had been held out after suffering from shortness of breath during a practice last week. He was initially diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat .

But an echocardiogram and treadmill test did not show any problems.
Tsai also has some injury news about Kawika Ornellas, Kenny Estes, Paipai Falemalu and Inoke Funaki.


As part of the Advertiser's Fab 50 series, Stephen Tsai writes about the Warriors' crazy 2007 season.
It almost ended before it started.

The Warriors narrowly defeated host Louisiana Tech in the season's second game.

"After the game," said Manny Rezentes, UH's director of security, "the coaches said: 'This is going to be a miracle season.' "

Each week, the number of followers grew.

"It kept getting bigger and bigger," Rezentes said.

During a road trip, an autograph seller filled his room with dozens of UH replica helmets. He waited in the lobby, begging for autographs. He did not want them personalized.

After Brennan signed his 10th helmet, Rezentes stepped in, closing down the rags-to-eBay-riches scheme.

"We had so many people trying to wiggle their way in," Rezentes said.
And CBS Sports has posted its WAC All-Decade team for the years 2000-2009. Six UH players are on the list.
Colt Brennan was the fifth player from Hawaii to make the squad, joining Bess, Lelie, offensive lineman Samson Satele, linebacker Solomon Elimimian and returner Chad Owens.

Owens almost made it as a wide receiver too, but was more valuable as a kick returner. Owens tied the NCAA record for most TDs on kick returns in a career with eight (six punts and two kickoffs) and had five punt returns for TDs during his senior year. He finished his career with a school-record 29.4-yard average on kick returns.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WitP: Injuries

The AP has some relatively good news about Ryan Mouton's injured ankle.
Titans rookie cornerback Ryan Mouton sprained his left ankle Tuesday morning and had to be carted off the practice field. Coach Jeff Fisher called it a "significant sprain" but said it should not keep Mouton out for the rest of the preseason.

Fisher said Tuesday night they would treat Mouton aggressively but did not set a timetable for his return, saying some players respond quicker than others. Mouton was seen wearing a boot, and Fisher said team officials initially worried the ankle might have been broken.
Here's another article from The Tennessean with more quotes about Mouton.
The injury puts the Titans in a tough spot at nickel back, at least for now. Mouton had been filling in for Vincent Fuller, who has a groin injury. Cornerback Tanard Davis worked at nickel during Tuesday night's practice.

“Ryan was getting his hands on the ball in practices, playing great,’’ Fuller said. “He was balling out there, and all of us realize that. You hate to see a rookie get hurt because it slows his momentum. But Ryan is going to help us this year. This won’t change that.’’

Another rookie cornerback, Jason McCourty, said he spoke with Mouton briefly.

“I’ve only been around him a little while, when we got back from practice and meetings, but he’s just taking it like there’s nothing he can really do about it, injuries happen,” McCourty said. “He’s just going to continue to watch film in meetings and come out here as soon as he can.”
The North County Times has an update on Kynan Forney's neck injury.
Right guard Kynan Forney was back at practice after missing Monday's workout with a lingering neck problem that acted up during Saturday's loss to the Seahawks. Turner said that despite the injury Forney isn't on a set practice schedule and his participation will be based upon his status on a given day.
"I think it's like any injury like that," Turner said. "If he can practice, he' ll be involved. We're not trying to protect anybody or give anyone rest. He needs every rep he can get."
And Vince Manuwai is being cautious in his return from knee injury.
Vince Manuwai, who along with fellow veteran guard Maurice Williams was lost for the season after suffering an injury in the opener last season, is working just once a day in double-practice days as he rebounds from a torn ACL (Williams has returned from a torn biceps setback). The team is taking a cautious approach. Manuwai sat out the first quarter of the preseason opener, but came off the bench and is expected to be ready to start the regular season at left guard.
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