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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

from Mr. Ahi and myself, chawan, have a great and safe Happy New Year's Eve celebration and here's to a prosperous New Year for UH sports and all of you fans out there!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WitP: Pisa, Bess, LaBoy, McBriar

Via the Advertiser, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune talks to Pisa Tinoisamoa about his hopes to remain a Bear after this season.
The linebacker injured his right knee on the first series of the opener in Green Bay, missed three games and then re-injured the same knee in Atlanta before undergoing season-ending surgery.

"I hope I come back," the seven-year veteran said. "I haven't talked to (coach Lovie Smith). I didn't want to be a distraction.

"I'm comfortable here. I like the guys. I like the whole thing. ... It was a breath of fresh air."
NFL.com has video of Davone Bess making an acrobatic catch against the Texans this past Sunday.

The National Football Post notes that Travis LaBoy has been reinstated by the NFL after serving a suspension.

DallasCowboys.com has a Q&A in which they note how much of a weapon Mat McBriar is.
ASA ARREY - ALBUQUERQUE, NM: Hey guys. I was listening to Talkin' Cowboys, and I gotta say you hit the nail on the head about Mat McBriar. His punting has really put our defense in some good spots. Is it safe to say the defense might not be what it is without him there? I do know that things were pretty rough last year when he wasn't there.

Rob: McBriar is an underrated weapon in terms of field position. He was arguably the Cowboys' best offensive (or defensive, depending on you look at it) player against Green Bay. The Domenik Hixon TD return hurt his overall net average, which is hovering around 40 yards. He definitely should've been in the Pro Bowl conversation.

Nick: He's a very important part of the puzzle. It seems like any type of punt they need, he usually provides it. If they need to flip the field position, he's been able to do that with booming punts and he's also very good at the short punts to pin teams inside the 15-yard line. Without a doubt, McBriar was missed last year and we're seeing that this season.

Moniz in SI

Bryant Moniz was featured in a collection of news items titled "Strangest Stories of a Strange Year" in the December 28th issue of Sports Illustrated. The online edition doesn't have the illustration, so here it is. Click on the image for a larger version.

Returning Home

I hate to link to the Warrior Beat these days because a spam blog called "General Sports Blog" reprints whatever I post and then posts trackback spam in Tsai's comments. But Tsai has a lot of news this past week, so.... sorry about the spam. Damn you General Sports Blog!

"The Beast" is transferring to UH.
We're proud of all of Hawai‘i's Sons — the ones who stay or go away — but we have special appreciation for defensive tackle Ryan "The Beast" Eastman because we consider him to be part of our blog family.

According to proud papa Bulla, The Beast has secured a release from Weber State and is ready to compete for the Warriors. There's paperwork to be filled and a tryout to attend, but we're hopeful he will successfully fulfill his dream of playing for the hometown team.
Tsai wrote that Malcolm Lane is all set to rejoin the Warriors. Tsai also pays tribute to the hard-working Jon Medeiros in that post.

And Marquez Jackson is likely returning to the UH football team. Not sure how many years of eligibility he has.
Remember Marquez Jackson?

He said he is registered for the spring semester and hopeful of competing with the Warriors. Jackson originally enrolled at UH as a slotback. He then left to play for the Rainbow Warrior basketball team. And then he left UH.

Jackson said he is focused solely on football.
...Chawan Cut suggested using a URL shortener for the links, so hopefully that works.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Warriors in the Pros: Colt Brennan

Rich Campbell of Fredericksburg.com talks to Colt Brennan about spending his season on injured reserve, and what he hopes for next year.
"It has definitely been a real test," said Brennan, who has missed the whole season on injured reserve following hip surgery in September. "I'm so glad that I'm a couple weeks from totally closing that chapter and moving on to something totally awesome."
He has come a long way from his standout rookie preseason in 2008. Remember when Redskins fans were pining for head coach Jim Zorn to replace Campbell with Brennan? That seems like eons ago.

Brennan has a humble outlook these days. With his pedigree as a sixth-round draft pick, he realizes that Allen and a new coach might deem him expendable.

"I still feel like I really, really have to go out there and earn a lot of respect," he said.

Spending the last few months as a bystander has reinforced that point.

WitP: Mouton, Veikune, Ingram, Ulbrich

Ryan Mouton left in the first quarter yesterday's game against the Chargers with an ankle injury.

Eric Mangini, who I believe is still coach of the Cleveland Browns, addresses David Veikune's progress.
(On David Veikune)- “He is doing what I’m asking him to do and that’s to remain consistent. As we identify different areas we want him to improve in, to really work at it. One of the areas was his ability to press the guards. I think that’s gotten better. The block recognition, which I think is the toughest things that a person goes through from having their hand in the dirt to going back, is recognizing all the different things that can happen. The other thing that he’s improved on is his communication. Being an interior guy, you don’t just have to get lined up yourself, you have to get everybody else lined up as well. It’s coming up, it’s getting the call from the coach, giving it to the group, making the adjustment, recognizing the blocks. It’s a dramatic shift in responsibility from having your hand in the dirt and being in an even front or an over front and your two jobs are spill the outside run and contain on pass.”
Here's another interview with Jake Ingram, this one from Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.
On attending the University of Hawaii: “I always wanted to play for Hawaii. I remember my sophomore year of high school and it was Hawaii versus BYU, the last game of the regular season. I was in the nosebleeds and said ‘I will play for Hawaii one of these days.’ I grey-shirted coming out of high school, worked hard, got a highlight video out, and talked to a few schools – Boise, Oregon -- and then Rich Miano of Hawaii called me up and said they wanted me to walk on. I thought to myself ‘this is my shot.’”
And Jeff Ulbrich will be honored this Sunday as he is added to the 49ers' Ten-Year Wall.
Ten-Year Wall :

2009 additions: LS Brian Jennings and LB Jeff Ulbrich

What it is: The honor recognizes those 49ers players who have contributed at least 10 years of service to the franchise. Both Jennings and Ulbrich reached the landmark this season. Ulbrich will be appearing in front of the 49ers Faithful as a player for the last time this Sunday versus the Detroit Lions, as he announced his retirement earlier this season.

Hawaii Bowl Wrap-Ups

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hawaii Bowl Previews

To be honest, reading these previews just makes me sad.

Christmas Eve clash, by Jason Kaneshiro

Hawaii Bowl tale of two offenses, by Stephen Tsai

Ault-Jones main event takes center stage today, by Dave Reardon

In any case, hope everyone has a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

funny pictures of cats with captions

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WitP: Colt Brennan Update

From the Washington Times, looks like his recovery from surgery is going well:
Working into shape

Quarterback Colt Brennan, who underwent hip surgery in September and has spent the entire year on injured reserve, is expected to be cleared to begin in early January.

"I'm taking it a lot slower than the first surgery," he said. "Right now, I'm feeling great - all of the aches and pains I've had are almost gone. I haven't felt this good in a long time."

Brennan has undergone the same surgery on both hips since leaving Hawaii.

"I'm really interested to see what happens at [quarterback] - I just hope that I've shown a lot of flashes of potential but have had bad luck," Brennan said. "I hope they give me a chance to show my growth and what I'm capable of while healthy."

Marcus Umu Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai writes that St. Louis safety Marcus Umu will become a Warrior.
Making safety a priority, the Hawai'i football team yesterday received a commitment from one of the state's top defensive backs.

"UH is the best place for me," said Marcus Umu, a safety from Saint Louis School.

Umu said he is 6 feet 1 and 192 pounds. He was told he will compete at both safety positions at UH.
Congrats to Marcus! Here's his senior year highlights:



And his junior year highlights:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blaze, Manley, WAC, JJ

Stephen Tsai writes that Blaze Soares has signed with an agent.
Soares had a slim chance to successfully appeal the NCAA for an exemption that would allow him to play for the Warriors in 2010.

But after consulting with friends and family members, Soares opted to apply for the 2010 National Football League draft.

"I'm ready to start the next chapter in my life," Soares said. "I hope I have a chance to play at the next level. It's always been my dream to play in the NFL. I hope all of the blessings are on my side."
Leilehua QB Andrew Manley will play for New Mexico State instead of accepting a grayshirt offer from UH.
Manley said it was the only scholarship offer he received for next season.

He said Hawai'i offered him a chance to attend classes part time in the fall (paying his own way and not playing football) with the possibility of receiving a full scholarship in January 2011 — a process called "grayshirting" — but he opted to take New Mexico State's immediate scholarship offer instead.

"UH wanted me to grayshirt, but there's no guarantee with that and I could end up with nothing," Manley said. "New Mexico State had been talking to me the past couple weeks, since the (Hawai'i/Polynesia vs. Mainland) all-star game, and I liked what they offered. I thought it would be the best for me."
Paul Honda has an article about Manley as well. Dave Reardon was the first to speak to Manley about it yesterday.
He also said there’s a benefit to going to a WAC school.

“I get to come home every other year to play at Aloha Stadium in front of friends and family,” he said. “That is a great bonus.”
Ferd Lewis writes about the recent performances of WAC teams in bowl games.

And SMU coach June Jones will today's guest on the Tsai & Wai Warrior Beat Mid-Day Show today at approximately 12:10pm HST.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

John Cooper Pelluer Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai writes that LB/DE John Cooper Pelluer will become a Warrior.
"I definitely love the atmosphere of Hawai'i," said Pelluer, a defensive end from Skyline High in Issaquah, Wash. "There's nothing better than waking up every day in Hawai'i. The coaching staff is just awesome. I love everybody there. I'm really excited to be a Warrior."

Pelluer's great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle are Washington State alumni. His father, Scott, was a linebacker who played five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. His uncle, Steve, was a quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.

Washington State is "where my dad and mom met," Pelluer said.

But Pelluer, who received offers from Washington and Washington State, said UH was the best fit. He took his UH visit last weekend.

"I wanted to go where I felt I was really wanted," Pelluer said. "I got that vibe, that feel, from Hawai'i."
Congrats to Cooper!

June in Hawaii

Stephen Tsai writes about the return of June Jones, and recounts some of the drama that occurred when he left UH.

Jason Kaneshiro writes about JJ as well.

Ferd Lewis has a column about some of the mixed feelings that remain.

And Na Koa is giving away Hawaii Bowl tickets.
Na Koa has two tickets to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Makai Orange, Section F, Row 19, Seats 14 &15) as well as a Reserved Parking Pass Sections 1-7.

To be eligible to win these tickets send Na Koa, via Na Koa's office FAX (956-8473) the following information:
1. Name
2. E-mail address

This information will not be used or sold to outside interests.
One entry per individual
Winner announced on Monday.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sapolu Signs Letter of Intent / Nixon Signs with UTEP

Jason Kaneshiro writes that offensive lineman London Sapolu is now officially a Warrior.
The first piece of Hawaii's 2010 recruiting class is officially in place.

The Warriors received a letter of intent from London Sapolu, the son of former UH standout Jesse Sapolu, as the mid-year transfer signing period began on Wednesday.

Sapolu, a 6-foot, 295-pound offensive lineman from Orange Coast (Calif.) College, will enroll at UH for the spring semester. He gave a verbal commitment to the Warriors last summer and finalized the process by submitting his letter.
Kaneshiro also has notes about John Estes, Greg Salas and players who are graduating tomorrow.

UPDATE: Looks like UH lost a recruiting battle with UTEP for Travaun Nixon.
UTEP’s 2010 football recruiting class got a jump-start on Wednesday when junior college cornerback Travaun Nixon signed a national letter of intent to play for the Miners
UTEP?!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dee Maggitt Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai writes that cornerback Dee Maggitt will become a Warrior.
"I just loved the coaches and all of the players and Hawai'i in general," said Maggitt, who completed a week-long visit to O'ahu.
Maggitt said he also had received offers from Washington and Washington State.
One scouting service rated Maggitt as the top high school cornerback in Washington state.
"I've been at Lakes for 25 years, and he's the best shut-down corner we've ever had, and we've had some good ones," Miller said.
Congrats to Dee!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Recruiting, Scholarships

Stephen Tsai has great news about Bryant Moniz and Luke Ingram receiving scholarships.
Quarterback Bryant Moniz, a 2007 Leilehua graduate, and long-snapper Luke Ingram, a 2008 Mililani graduate, have been told they will be placed on scholarship in January.
And Tsai has some potentially not-so-great news on the recruiting front.
The Warriors had received verbal commitments from three JC players, but only one — lineman London Sapolu of Orange Coast Community College — is expected to sign today.

Defensive end Siaki Cravens of Long Beach City College will sign in February, the first day of the spring signing period. Cravens will join the Warriors in June.

Cornerback Travaun Nixon of Ventura Community College committed to UH three weeks ago. Since then, he received an offer from Pac-10 schools, including USC.
Hopefully he keeps his commitment, but that's tough competition.

And Bobby Curran has a column highlighting UH's recruiting battles.
The only thing that is inexcusable is for UH not to make an all-out effort to sell what the program it does have, which is a chance to play in front of friends and family, and to open doors in the future within the state.

Still, UH is never going to get everybody; some want to experience the Mainland and are committed to leaving. UH does do a good job keeping the door open to those who go away and become unhappy.

Offensive line and line-backers are needs the Warriors will try to address.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking Ahead to 2010

Jason Kaneshiro reviews the injury-plagued 2009 season and looks at who's coming back next year. Here's an excerpt about the QB spot:
Although Moniz will top the chart going into the spring, he'll have to fend off Shane Austin, Brent Rausch and a group of freshmen to maintain that position next fall.

"Competition is good for everybody," McMackin said. "Mo did a great job and earned being penciled in, but we're going to open up the competition."
And I've updated my unofficial roster sorted by class for the 2010 season, including a column for the current verbal commits. Big thanks to dcwarrior, who had some great suggestions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

WitP: Ulbrich, Bess

Cam Inman of the Oakland Tribune profiles Jeff Ulbrich.
BILL WALSH HAD it right with linebacker Jeff Ulbrich.

That goes for drafting him onto the 49ers in the third round in 2000, and especially for what he said to Ulbrich a few years later during a break at practice.

"He came up to me on the sideline and let me know he was proud of the way I'd become a pro," Ulbrich said Friday while sitting in the 49ers' trophy-laden lobby. "I grew up around here and understood his legacy, so that's one of the highest compliments I've ever gotten in football."

Ulbrich confirmed this week that his 10-year career is over, his final season robbed by a concussion two months ago. He certainly was a pro, embodying the spirit of an overachieving grunt and lasting far longer than his initial goal of three seasons.
Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post profiles Davone Bess.
"He's playing with much more confidence," Camarillo said. "His patience and his knowledge of the offense have grown. He knows what he's doing, he knows the ins and outs, he knows the details, and that's what's allowing him to play at such a high level."

Bess has been a revelation almost since he signed with Miami as an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii in May 2008. His 54 catches last season was just two behind Ginn, the former first-round pick, for the team lead.

Offensive coordinator Dan Henning said playing in coach June Jones' pass-happy system at Hawaii prepared the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bess for the NFL.

"I guarantee you that he's caught more balls than any 23-year-old on the planet," Henning said. "If you go to June's practices, with the run and shoot, that's all they do."
Via the Advertiser, Jeff Darlington has an article featuring Bess.
"Anytime we're in a situation when it's third down, I want the target on me," Bess said. "I want to be the guy to make that play."

Whether Bess or Polite, both players have been crucial to Miami's ability to sustain drives better than most other NFL teams. This duo is an underrated combination of running and receiving when the Dolphins need them most.

Bess and Polite are the biggest reasons Miami is the second best team on third downs. It has converted 48.6 percent of 185 attempts.
And from a few days ago, another Bess article from Darlington.
Speaking of which, consider Miami's current situation: A former University of Michigan quarterback showed the first major signs of a comfortable connection with an overachieving slot receiver who was overlooked in his draft class.

Sounds a little bit like the connection between Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Welker, doesn't it? Brady and Welker are one of best quarterback-receiver combinations of the decade.

``Every time I am on the sidelines I am watching Welker,'' Bess said. ``I want to take my game to the next level, see what I can learn from these players and put it to my game and see where it can go.''

Bess is a gritty, aggressive receiver who didn't seem to have the size to make it in the NFL. But now, he's proving he has all of the proper skill sets to be a productive pass catcher, even causing the Patriots to often double team him Sunday.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

WitP: Ulbrich, LP, Bess, McBriar

Mindi Bach of CSN California has a video interview with retiring 49ers linebacker Jeff Ulbrich:



Paul Radley of The National profiles Leonard Peters.
His rise has been steep. It is just five months since he was first encouraged to pick up a rugby ball, yet he will already be playing his second international competition with the USA sevens side when they kick off the second leg of the IRB series in South Africa today.

Any opponents planning to pick him up on his style choices, such as the black nail-polish on his thumbs, would be better advised to think again.

He may be a rugby novice, but his skills on defence are already “beyond exceptional”, according to his coach Al Caravelli, which is a relic of his days playing as a safety in the NFL. It was the destructive side of rugby which first attracted him to the game.
Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel profiles Davone Bess.
Work hard. Get better every day. Stay humble. Be patient. Be thankful.

Those are the five mantras that hang prominently on a sheet of notebook paper that sits on the left wall of Davone Bess' locker.

These daily instructions have been there since he made the Miami Dolphins roster as an undrafted rookie last season, and he constantly goes over them.

They serve as a constant reminder of where he's come from, and what's enabled this former Hawaii standout to find his niche as an NFL slot receiver.
And it looks like Tony Romo is taking back the holder position from Mat McBriar.
"I'd prefer not to do it, I think, for obvious reasons," Romo said Thursday.
Uh oh.

Na Koa Lunch Report, 2011, Zac Quines, Inoke Funaki

uhwarriors has the final Na Koa Lunch Report for the year up on NaKoa.org. Here's an excerpt:
Tuioti recalled that he played for UH from 1995 to 1999 and was part of the 19 game losing streak as well as the turnaround season in 1999. During the 6 game losing streak this year, he felt some of the same feelings he had during the 19 game losing streak. But this year’s team did not throw in the towel like his teams in 1997 and 1998. This year’s team “had the will to continue to fight”. They learned, bought in and believed and gave themselves a chance to play in a bowl game.

The loss to Wisconsin was tough on the players because they feel they let the State down. We needed to play mistake free, but we didn’t. The underclassmen really wanted to win for the seniors and are motivated to do better next year.
Jason Kaneshiro has some attendance figures for this season. Numbers were slightly down.

Kaneshiro also writes about UH finishing the 2011 schedule.
UH opens 2011 with a home game against Colorado followed by back-to-back road games at Washington and UNLV.

Scheduling UC Davis the next week guarantees the Warriors will not have a string of three straight road games, as was the case this past season when a Seattle-Las Vegas trip preceded their Western Athletic Conference opener at Louisiana Tech.

"We're trying to do what we can to make sure we don't have three consecutive road trips," Donovan said.

The Oregon State game to close the regular season fills a late-season void left when Washington State pulled out of its contract.

When the Cougars pulled out of the game scheduled for Nov. 26, Donovan said Oregon State contacted UH about filling the spot as part of a home-and-home series.
Stephen Tsai profiles new UH commit Zac Quines.
"Ever since I was little, this is something I always wanted to do," Quines said. "I always watched their games. Being a fan of UH, my dad was always telling me I would go there and 'one day we'll tailgate at your games.' Ever since then, I've been keeping that in mind. Finally, the day has come, and I'm going to be a Warrior."

Quines said he is 6 feet 3, 210 pounds, and once ran 40 yards in 4.68 seconds.

Mililani coach Darnell Arceneaux praised Quines' football IQ.

"He understands his keys, and he understands the game," Arceneaux said. "The great thing about him is he brings it every day. Once he turns it on, it's on. He has a great future. He'll fit right into college ball."

Arceneaux likened Quines, who played middle linebacker for the Trojans, to UH linebacker Blaze Soares.
And Russell Tolentino of Ka Leo profiles Inoke Funaki.
Inoke Funaki’s time with the Warrior football team has come to an end, but his journey in life is far from over.

“I see Inoke as a real big impact in the public, especially in (his hometown) Laie,” junior offensive lineman Andrew Faaumu said. “Everyone knows Inoke. Even when we travel, people know him and they know what he’s done and what his capabilities are on and off the field.

“His future is looking real bright.”
Godspeed, Inoke!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Zac Quines Commits to UH

Stephen Tsai writes that Mililani linebacker Zac Quines will become a Warrior.
Zac Quines of Mililani High told the Warrior Beat he has accepted a football scholarship from the Warriors. Quines, a linebacker, said he is 6-3, 210 and once ran 40 yards in 4.68 seconds.

"Ever since I was little, this is something I always wanted to do," Quines said of playing for the Warriors.
Congrats to Zac! Via bowfan on SportsHawaii.com, here's some highlights:

WitP: Ulbrich, McBriar, Satele, Mouton, LP, Bess

Jeff Ulbrich talks to Matt Maiocco of The Press Democrat about his decision to retire and go into coaching.
“I’m done,” Ulbrich said. “I don’t want to take a chance of doing any damage.”

Ulbrich does not know exactly how many concussions he sustained throughout his career. He sustained countless hits to his head while playing 124 regular- and post-season games with 78 starts.

His high-speed collision in the 49ers’ fifth game of the season was unlike any he previously endured. With symptoms lingering far longer than normal, Ulbrich was placed on injured reserve eight days after playing his final game.

Ulbrich said his condition has improved greatly in eight weeks, but he still has some sleep problems and minor headaches.

“Nothing bad,” he said. “My speech and thoughts are a lot more clear. From the doctors’ perspective, everything will be all right.”
Ulbrich said his short-term goal is to be a defensive coordinator, linebackers or special-teams coach. Eventually, he said he wants to become a college head coach.

“I think the opportunity to work with young, impressionable kids during their first time away from home and acting as a surrogate dad excites me even more than the coaching part of it,” Ulbrich said.

And Ulbrich has plenty of enthusiasm for the coaching side, too.

He already has a blue print of the defense he plans to run as coordinator.

He said he has tailored his defense specifically for the kinds of athletes San Jose State is able to recruit. The university is expecting to hire a head coach next week to replace Dick Tomey, and Ulbrich hopes to be considered for a spot on the new staff.
Best of luck to Ulbrich wherever he ends up! *cough* Manoa *cough*

And ex-NFL kicker defends Mat McBriar over the kicking situation in Dallas.
A former NFL kicker isn't so sure holder Mat McBriar should be blamed for Nick Folk's missed 42-yard field goal attempt in the Dallas Cowboys' 31-24 loss to the New York Giants.

Folk and McBriar, the team's punter, said the hold was poor because it was leaned forward. But a replay shows the ball appears only slightly off center.

The ball sailed knuckleball style wide left, causing Folk and McBriar to display frustration. After they returned to the sideline, Folk yelled at McBriar.

“If the ball is tilted slightly backward or forward, it shouldn't make that much of a difference,” Tony Franklin said Tuesday. “The only time I had kicks that looked like that is when I happened to catch the ball when it was still spinning. ... (The hold) shouldn't have affected it at all, but, hey, different strokes for different folks.”
Samson Satele resumed practice today after suffering a game-ending calf injury against the Steelers.

Ryan Mouton was one of several Titans players to visit patients at a Nashville hospital on Tuesday (lots of pictures).

Rohan Alvares of Gulf News profiles rugby superstar-in-waiting Leonard Peters.
American Football was what kept the 27-year-old busy and the only connection he shared with rugby was through his Samoan father.

Fast forward to December, Peters returns to America with "very good memories" from his debut international rugby outing.

Speaking to XPRESS, he said: "I had no expectations of playing at all coming into it. But I got to play all the games, I scored my first try, so I'm just enjoying every­thing about rugby right now."
And Tim Graham of ESPN.com has a excellent profile of Davone Bess.
"Unless you're really watching football, you probably wouldn't know about Davone," said Colt Brennan, his quarterback at Hawaii.

"When I think about Davone, I think he's the next big receiver you're going to hear about. You haven't heard about him yet, but he's working his way up to somebody who's going to be a big name in your mind for years to come."

Bess had a breakout performance Sunday, helping the Dolphins pull off a ginormous 22-21 comeback victory over the New England Patriots in Land Shark Stadium.

On an afternoon the Dolphins turned quarterback Chad Henne loose, Bess caught 10 passes for 117 yards -- both personal bests -- and his first touchdown of the year.

All the more impressive was the Patriots at times were double-covering Bess, a tactic Dolphins coach Tony Sparano noticed toward the end of their first game against the Patriots in Week 9.

"I think that there was clear emphasis on the Patriots' part to try to take Davone away," Sparano said.

That's right. Bess has gone from undrafted to a double-cover danger.

2011 Schedule Complete

...with the addition of Oregon State and UC Davis to the schedule. From HawaiiAthletics.com:
University of Hawai‘i Athletics Director Jim Donovan announced the addition of a two-game, non-conference football series with Oregon State and a single non-conference game against UC Davis.

The OSU games are scheduled for Dec. 3, 2011 at Aloha Stadium and Sept. 13, 2014 at Reser Stadium while the UC Davis game is slated for Sept. 24, 2011 at Aloha Stadium. With the addition of both OSU and UC Davis, the 2011 schedule is complete.

“We are pleased to continue our series with Oregon State and to be able to add another quality Pac-10 opponent to our future schedules,” Donovan said. “We have many ties to the Pacific Northwest, especially with Oregon State, and this is an opportunity to strengthen our non-conference schedule in 2011 with another Pac-10 opponent. One of my goals when I was hired was to complete our football schedule several years out and with the help of Associate AD Carl Clapp, we’ve been able to accomplish that.”
I will refrain from making any Herman Frazier comments!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Video: Blaze, Estes, Next Year

Thanks again Mr. Cut.



Speaking of Blaza and Estes, Stephen Tsai writes that they'll attend the NFL Combine.
Estes has been invited to compete in the NFL combine, which begins Feb. 21 in Indianapolis.

He also received an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game Jan. 23 in Orlando, Fla.

Soares, a Castle High graduate, also has been told he will be invited to the NFL combine, a remarkable turnaround for a player whose availability was in question entering this season.
Jason Kaneshiro talks to them about their NFL dreams.
Estes is the fifth UH player to earn first-team All-WAC honors three times, joining Gary Allen, Davone Bess, Jason Elam and Al Noga. He'll graduate with a degree in communications this month before pursuing an NFL career. He's hoping for an invitation to the Senior Bowl and will spend the coming months training for his shot.

"That's what I'm excited about; now it's just football," Estes said.
"As of right now my chapter at UH is done and it's time to close the books and start a new chapter in my life. Hopefully the NFL is what it is," said Soares, dousing any lingering speculation that he might appeal for another year of eligibility.

"My dream was always to be an NFL player, and the door is cracked right now. I just have to get my foot in the door and try to get there. All I need is the opportunity."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Warriors in the Pros: Bess Press

Miami coach Tony Sparano had some good things to say about Bess today.
(On Davone Bess' performance against the Patriots) - "He did a nice job yesterday. Obviously one of the big things, running after the catch was critical. I think that there was clear emphasis on the Patriots part to try to take Davone away. There was some double coverage out there on him at times, and Davone did a good job beating double coverage a few times. A few times they had him in and out on some things, and he made some good decisions, and caught the ball and split it and ran it, and broke a few tackles, did some good things that way. Got a little bit better yesterday, one of the things Karl's [Dorrell] been doing a good job of and getting on his back about is route depth, being patient in some of these things, and he was pretty patient, which helped the process a little bit I thought yesterday. We just have to do a good job at the end taking care of the football and keeping the ball closer to our body."
Bess is profiled on MiamiDolphins.com.
"It was exciting and it's been something the whole receiving corps has been looking forward to," said Bess, who ranks near the top of the league in third-down conversions among receivers and is No. 1 in receptions among second-year receivers. "The coaches definitely had the trust and the confidence in us to get the job done and the offensive line did a great job at blocking and giving Henne time to sit back and pretty much pick apart the defense."
MiamiDolphins.com also has video of a press conference Bess had with the Miami media.

The Miami Herald has quotes from Bess and quarterback Chad Henne.
Altogether, Bess caught 10 Henne passes for 117 yards. Henne loves throwing to Bess because, as the QB puts it, ``Some of the [secondary] guys don't want to press him out there at the corner position.''

They don't like pressing Bess because if they press too close and miss, Bess is apt to be long gone.

Bess offered his own perspective on Henne. ``Every time they throw us the fastball, Chad is willing to hit the home run.''
And the Herald's Armando Salguero compares Bess to Wes Welker.
Same with Davone Bess. He has been Miami's best receiver all season long. Unfortunately for him, the Dolphins don't have a deep threat go-to guy that would do for him what Randy Moss does for Wes Welker. I covered Welker and am now seeing Bess up-close. Bess is every bit the player and would get similar results if and when Miami finds a star receiver.

That addition will free Bess to play the slot rather than outside. And that's when you'll see this kid take off because he is perfect for the position against nickel backs and safeties.

Monday news: WAC awards

All-WAC, Awards, Next Season

All-WAC teams have been announced. UH players on the first team are John Estes, Blaze Soares and Greg Salas. Aaron Kia was named to the second team.

In addition, Alex Dunnachie has been named the WAC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Dunnachie, a freshman from Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia (Marcellin College), punted six times for a 49.2-yard average in the game against Hawai‘i. He had four punts of at least 55 yards including a season-best 66-yarder in the first quarter. Two of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line and three were returned for a total of just eight yards.
At last night's banquet, John Estes was named the Warriors' MVP.
The Hawai'i football team's ironman — center John Estes — yesterday was named winner of the Alec Waterhouse award as the Warriors' most valuable player for 2009.

Estes started all 54 games of a UH career that ended with Saturday's 51-10 loss to Wisconsin. In a study by UH's sports information department, Estes' streak is the longest in NCAA Division I-A history.
Blaze Soares was named the Ben Yee Most Inspirational Award. Here are the rest:
Left slotback Greg Salas was named UH's top offensive player, and safety/nickelback Spencer Smith was selected as the top defender. Salas and Smith are juniors.

Corey Paredes, a linebacker who was placed on scholarship in August, was named the top special-teams player.

Other awards:

Captain's Award: R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane.

Scout Team Award: Brett Leonard.

Scholar-Athlete Award: Mana Silva.

Most Improved Player: Jon Medeiros.

Warrior Club: Rocky Savaiigaea.
Congrats to all!

Dave Reardon reviews five key plays from the Wisconsin game.

Jason Kaneshiro looks ahead to next season.
With the departure of 10 senior starters, the Warriors have some holes to fill, particularly on the offensive line, where four seniors ended their careers.

The Warriors will have a new starter at center for the first time since 2007 with the departure of John Estes, who received the Alec Waterhouse most valuable player award at the banquet.
Salas, the Warriors' most outstanding offensive player, returns along with most of the receiver corps. Salas finished fourth in the country in receiving with 122.3 yards per game. His 106 receptions and 1,590 yards were the second-highest single-season totals in school history.

Kealoha Pilares and Jovonte Taylor are also juniors. Rodney Bradley is starting his rehab from a broken leg.

Safety Spencer Smith was named the most outstanding defensive player and is part of secondary that didn't have a senior this season. Mana Silva, winner of the scholar-athlete award, also returns as the Western Athletic Conference's leader in interceptions.

Linebacker Corey Paredes, winner of the special teams award, and Jake Heun figure to help fill the void left by Soares and senior captain R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane. Aaron Brown showed some of his play-making potential before a hamstring injury led to a redshirt year.
Stephen Tsai writes that graduate assistant Mike Smith will likely not return next season.
Word on the street is Mike Smith will not return as graduate assistant next season. Smith, a former linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens and Texas Tech, was instrumental in scouting, crafting strategy and helping to refine Blaze Soares' skills. Smith might have a couple of opportunities with NFL teams.
However, contrary to rumors, defensive coordinator Cal Lee will be returning.

Dave Reardon doesn't seem too optimistic about next season.

The worst part about not making the Hawaii Bowl is that the matchup would've been perfect for various reasons.

And don't forget that Jim Donovan should be participating in a First and 10 chat on SportsHawaii.com this morning.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Video: Quotes from the seniors, Bess highlights

Chawan's Cut for tonight.

WitP: Bess, Satele, McBriar, RGM

Davone Bess had his best NFL game today, catching 10 passes for 117 yards including a touchdown as the Dolphins beat the Patriots 22 to 21. New England coach Bill Belichick had this to say about Bess:
(On Miami receiver Davone Bess, who had 10 receptions for 117 yards) "He ran good routes, and Henne hit him. He did a good job. He gets open and catches the ball. He did a good job.''
Samson Satele left the Raiders-Steelers game today with an ankle injury.

Buck Harvey of MySanAntonio.com profiles Cowboys punter Mat McBriar, highlighting some of the mistakes he and the other Cowboys have made lately.

And the BC Lions have made a contract offer to Ryan Grice-Mullen for next season.
However, the Lions have already made contract offers to three of their four free agents and received positive feedback from defensive end Ricky Foley, returner Ryan Grice-Mullen and offensive lineman Dean Valli, according to the coach.

UH vs Wisconsin Wrap-Ups

Warriors bowled over by Badgers, by Jason Kaneshiro
"Just being in the locker room it was a lot of emotion," said center John Estes, who started all 54 games in his career, "because for the seniors we're not going to be in that setting ever again, which is sad. I'm going to miss the boys, everything, Aloha Stadium."
"It's sad, the dream ends here," linebacker Blaze Soares said after posting a game-high 11 tackles. "I got very emotional (in the locker room) and I never do. Being a Warrior comes to an end here and it hit me."
"We just never got anything going, we never got in a rhythm and I probably had the worst night of the season," said Moniz, who completed 15 of 34 passes. "Letting down all these seniors, how hard they worked, wasn't able to get them that bowl game, I just feel bad about it.

"It was one of those nights and it's too bad it had to be this night."
UH senior night a sour affair, by Paul Honda
"(The other seniors and teammates) are always family. That's my family now," said Wright-Jackson, who rushed five times for 42 yards. "I'm always going to keep in touch with them. We just got so close through this process, from sophomore year, when I got here. It's unbelievable, they took me in. They're always going to be my brothers, I'm never going to forget them."
"It was great, despite it didn't turn out exactly how we wanted it to," Funaki said as he exchanged hugs with well-wishers. "Blaze, John (Estes), a lot of the senior leaders, they were trying to keep us up in the half, trying to get us motivated (when we trailed 27-3). Try to finish strong. Sometimes it goes in your favor, sometimes not. It's all a part of the journey, I guess."
Warriors' run for Christmas Eve Hawaii Bowl falls short, by Stephen Tsai

Clay punishes UH, by Paul Honda

Clay shows Hawaii brings out best of Wisconsin RBs, by Stacy Kaneshiro

Hawaii 5-1: Badgers throttle Warriors, by Jim Polzin of Madison.com

Badgers blitz Hawaii in regular-season finale, 51-10, from UWBadgers.com

Badgers win in rout, eye Outback Bowl berth, by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Badger report and Report card, by Potrykus

Short snaps, from the Star-Bulletin
The Warriors' offensive struggles meant freshman punter Alex Dunnachie had a busy night.

Despite beginning the night with a 20-yarder, Dunnachie averaged 49.2 yards on his season-high six kicks. Included in those was a 66-yard boot, his longest of the season.
Wisconsin gives Hawaii 1 more embarrassing loss, by Dave Reardon

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Wisconsin 51, Hawaii 10

A really heartbreaking way to end the run towards the bowl. I just want to say thank you to all the seniors for giving it their all and making this an exciting year. Here are the post-game summaries:

Warrior Football Ends Season With 51-10 Loss To Wisconsin, from HawaiiAthletics.com
Blaze Soares led all players with 11 tackles, while Spencer Smith posted 10 tackles with two for loss, including a sack.
No Hawaii Bowl: Wisconsin routs Warriors, by Stephen Tsai
The Warriors, who fell behind 21-0, could not catch up. Not with an offense that could not find a rhythm, and certainly not after their best player — left slotback Greg Salas — left in the third quarter with an injury to his right hamstring.

Salas fell short in his bid to set UH single-season records for receptions and receiving yards.
Wisconsin blows out Hawaii 51-10, by Jason Kaneshiro
The loss, before a crowd of 37,018, snapped the Warriors’ four-game winning streak and left them one win shy of bowl eligibility. A win would have earned them a spot in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.

UH ends Greg McMackin’s second season as head coach at 6-7.
Badgers end Warriors’ bid for bowl berth, by Mark Niesse of the AP

Ways to Follow the Hawaii vs Wisconsin Game


Being There:

Buy tickets through HawaiiAthletics.com, or at Aloha Stadium. Game starts at 6:30 pm.

HawaiiAthletics.com has info on fan promotions and ticket discounts.

The Aloha Stadium website has directions, parking, shuttle bus and other info.

Fans are encouraged to...



So if you're going to the game, wear green! And via SportsHawaii.com, Chawan Cut has some keys to the game:
i've been yelling and screaming for our teams the last how many years (also yelling at the refs).
My secret:
Megaphone

+
Coughdrops

+
Water (or beverage of your choice)

Television:

ESPN2


Streaming Video:

ESPN360.com, if your ISP supports it.


Theaters:

On Oahu: at Consolidated's Ko'olau Theatre
On Maui: at Consolidated's Kaahumanu Theatre


Radio:

On Oahu, ESPN 1420 AM. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KPUA in Hilo, KMWB in Kona. And via Chris Hart:
On Kauai folks can listen to the games on FM87.7 and ESPN Hawaii on Kona and Hilo this year.
Via UWBadgers.com, a few other choices:
On the radio, Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas will be calling the action statewide on the Wisconsin Radio Network, including 1310 AM in Madison. Fans can also listen to the game online for a fee with InsideBadgerSports.com. In addition, Saturday’s game can also be heard on SIRIUS Radio on channel 127 and on XM Radio, channel 196.

Streaming Audio:

Via ESPN1420AM.com


Live Stats:

SideArmStats.com, via HawaiiAthletics.com

ESPN Scoreboard


Twitter:

@StephenTsai
@DaveReardon
@HawaiiAthletics
@HawaiiFootball
@Joshontheradio

....

References -- HawaiiAthletics.com and UWBadgers.com.

Note: Please comment with any corrections, additions, changes, etc. Thanks!

Game Day: Hawaii vs Wisconsin

Senior Night. Huge game with huge implications against a huge opponent with huge offensive linemen. GO WARRIORS!!!!!!

Win for Warriors means bowl berth, by Stephen Tsai
There is a lot at stake when the Warriors host 8-3 Wisconsin in tonight's regular-season finale.

Center John Estes will clinch the NCAA Division record for career starts when he plays in his 54th consecutive game.

Left slotback Greg Salas is six catches and 155 yards from setting the school's single-season record for receptions and receiving yards.

But, most important, a victory tonight means "we can keep playing football," UH linebacker Blaze Soares said.
Great quote by Soares, even if I don't know what it means:
Soares said: "You have to love the situation we're in. We win one game, we play our old coach (SMU's June Jones in the Hawai'i Bowl). The way our season started and the way we're trying to finish it, it's a very pleasing feeling. We have to take care of business. We want to go out there, scramble some eggs."
Warriors' defense has big task, by Stephen Tsai, has breakdowns of the offense, defense and specialists of both teams.

Hawaii seniors put it all on line, by Jason Kaneshiro
The (losing) streak could have shredded the team, but the Warriors' seniors kept it grinding into November. One win turned into four and suddenly UH hit December with a fourth straight postseason berth within sight.

"Right there they showed a lot of leadership, and that's probably what brought us back and kept us together," sophomore quarterback Bryant Moniz said. "We could have just folded and ended up a 2-10 team, but we stuck together and kept fighting and now we're on a roll."
Also, congrats to Inoke Funaki:
Senior Inoke Funaki is among 30 student-athletes who will participate in the NCAA Football Coaches Academy set for Jan. 10-12 in Orlando, Fla.

"Coaching is one of my career ambitions and I'm excited to be able to learn from the best in the collegiate coaching profession," Funaki said in a release.
Here's the release from HawaiiAthletics.com.

UH win would top off roller-coaster season, by Michael Tsai. In this excerpt, Rocky Savaiigaea talks about some of the more vocal fans who jumped off the bandwagon during the losing streak:
Still, Savaiigaea said, it was difficult not to notice the turn in public opinion.

"It really hurt," he said. "People were cheering us on when we were 2-0 and saying how they were loyal fans. But then we started losing a few and there was hardly anybody in the stands, everyone was calling for people to get fired, and people were saying that they had no faith in our team."

He credited his coach for taking the brunt of the criticism and for keeping the team together despite the emotional toll exacted by each fresh loss.

"The people who say 'fire him,' or put up these Web sites, they're not the ones waking up at 4:15 every morning and working hard to make us better," he said.
UH to face Wisconsin with bowl eligibility at stake, from the AP via the Maui News
''We're all in,'' said UH coach Greg McMackin. ''This is the point where they don't need a pep talk or anything. They know what's riding on it, and they're working hard. They know how to win. We have a very big challenge, but I believe our guys are up to it.''
Wisconsin Badgers Football: Hawaiian Style, by Jeff Robbins of Channel 3000 Sports
While it will surely be tempting for Bielema and offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to let Scott Tolzien finish his at times inconsistent season with a flourish, the smartest offensive game plan will be to let simply let John Clay, Montee Ball, Zach Brown, and whoever else feels like getting into the backfield run the ball and keep Hawaii’s scary offense off the field. The strategy won’t shock anyone, but it should work.
A high-stakes hula dance, by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and their clever headline writers
The stage is set for both teams and the stakes are high, certainly higher than it appeared they would be just a few weeks ago.

Hawaii enters its regular-season finale Saturday night (10:30 Milwaukee time, ESPN2) needing a victory over visiting Wisconsin to secure a berth in the Hawaii Bowl. The Warriors would face SMU, which, coincidentally, is coached by former Hawaii coach June Jones.

"They'll be playing for a bowl game," UW coach Bret Bielema acknowledged. "They'll be playing on Senior Day. It's a very emotional day and they'll have a lot riding on it."
Five things to watch, by Potrykus
One of the keys in the loss at Northwestern was UW's inability to get to quarterback Mike Kafka. Like Kafka, Hawaii's Moniz relies on three-step drops and gets the ball out quickly. UW's defensive linemen must get to the quarterback, but they'll need tighter coverage by the linebackers and secondary to make Moniz hold the ball longer than he'd like. Unlike Kafka, however, Moniz isn't hesitant to break the pocket and run for yardage quickly if he can't find an open receiver.
Wisconsin vs. Hawaii: 5 things to watch, by Tom Mulhern of Madison.com
UW ranks third in the Big Ten and 18th nationally on third downs, converting 46.7 percent. A big part of that is staying in manageable down-and-distance situations. The goal is four yards on first down, which has happened 168 times. That has resulted in 147 first downs (87.5 percent). Gaining at least four yards on first down makes the offense go.
Wisconsin vs. Hawaii: Who has the edge?, by Mulhern
The closing act of the Badgers’ regular season is a bit tougher than it looked a month ago when Hawaii was 2-6. The Warriors are known for three things: a dynamic passing offense, winning games at the end of the season and defending their home turf with all the passion they can muster.

The Badgers have two big edges: their running game and the fact that Hawaii is tied for 105th in turnover margin. Clay will attempt to reprise big games at Aloha Stadium by former UW tailbacks Ron Dayne, Michael Bennett and Brian Calhoun.
Oates: Finale now the most important game of the year, by Tom Oates of Madison.com
A matchup that seemed neither difficult nor significant is now both for the Badgers, who need a win to keep their hopes for the Outback Bowl alive and will have to get it against a team that has a four-game winning streak and needs a victory to become bowl-eligible. Oh, and the Warriors throw the ball as well as any team in the country, a strength that hits UW in its most vulnerable spot.

"They're playing well now and there's motivation," UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. "You're fooling yourself if you don't expect the best (from them), regardless of circumstances."

Friday, December 04, 2009

Friday news: Estes, Seniors

The Seniors, Estes a Rimington Finalist, Wisconsin

Stephen Tsai pays tribute to the seniors. And via the Warrior Beat, he pays special tribute to this senior:



Jason Kaneshiro profiles senior John Estes.
Estes continued to progress even as he adjusted to an ever-changing line of position coaches, from Wes Suan to Dennis McKnight to Brian Smith and finally Shaw this season.

Shaw coached a Rimington Award winner while at Minnesota and saw similarities between Estes and Greg Eslinger when he arrived in Manoa for spring practice.

"He's everything people told me he was when I got here," Shaw said. "He's tremendously reliable, trustworthy, hard-working, all those intangibles that really make a guy a great player instead of just a good player. He doesn't cut corners, he's a good calm leader."
And Estes was just today named a finalist for the Rimington Award.
Hawaii senior John Estes is among six finalists for the Rimington Award, presented annually to the nation’s top center.
Joining Estes on the list released today are Chris Hall (Texas), Jake Kirkpatrick (TCU), Maurkice Pouncey (Florida), Matthew Tennant (Boston College) and J.D. Walton (Baylor).
The winner will be announced during the ESPNU/Home Depot College Football Awards show on Dec. 10.
Kaneshiro talks to Gordy Shaw about his history preparing for Wisconsin.
Gordy Shaw tends to see red when Wisconsin comes to town.

Coaching at neighboring Minnesota for 14 years, Shaw developed frosty feelings for the Badgers in their annual battles for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

So preparing for Hawaii's regular-season finale as the Warriors' offensive line coach has rekindled some of those feelings from his Big Ten days.

"It's been an interesting week," Shaw said. "I've probably had over 50 e-mails from ex-players I coached at Minnesota saying, 'Go get 'em coach. We know what you're like in a Wisconsin week.' I've toned it down a bit."
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profiles a Wisconsin defensive end that Gordy Shaw is probably paying close attention to.
O'Brien Schofield expects to receive the same level of personal attention in Hawaii that he was given at Northwestern.

"I was getting double-teamed that whole game, even triple-teamed," Wisconsin's senior defensive end said, referring to UW's 33-31 loss at Northwestern on Nov. 21. "I didn't have a one-on-one that whole game. They did a good job game-planning against me. It was a physical game.

"I felt that at times I wasn't a factor because of how well they were game-planning for me. . . .  It was hard. I had two people mirroring me the whole time."
Kaneshiro has some news and notes about the 100th anniversary gala, Greg Salas nearing Ashley Lelie's school record for yards in a season, and freshmen Mike Wadsworth and Aulola Tonga preparing to go on their missions.
Both are planning on going on Mormon missions next year and will likely learn of their destinations after the spring semester.

"I've looked forward to it since I was a little kid," said Wadsworth, who has 11 tackles and recovered a fumble.

"Special teams is really fun and just being able to get a little reps in practice, I have a good grasp on the defense so when I come back I'll have a head start."
Ferd Lewis writes that UH hopes to have 40,000 people in the stands for tomorrow's game.

Ben Breiner of The Daily Cardinal previews the game.
On paper it should be easy-going for a Wisconsin rushing attack that matches the Big Ten’s top rusher in powerful senior running back John Clay against Hawaii’s run defense which allows 193.58 yard per game, 104th in the country.

Despite the numbers, however, senior left tackle Gabe Carimi expects a stiff test from the Warriors front.

“What this Hawaii team is, they’re real dense guys, really thick, heavy and they’re going to be hard to move,” Carimi said. “They do a decent job of pass rushing. I think they’re a lot better with their run stop.”
That's some bulletin board material for the UH d-line. He's calling you guys dense!

Michael Bleach of The Badger Herald previews the game as well.

Jim Polzin of Madison.com has some Badger news and notes.

Polzin highlights the Wisconsin secondary, which has had an up and down year.
"As soon as you feel pretty good about a game or two games, about the kids understanding the concepts and practicing hard and moving forward and being ready to take that next step, then you face a game to where they take another step back," Cooks said. "Now you're back to square one."

That's where Cooks' players find themselves after the Badgers' 33-31 loss to Northwestern on Nov. 21. The Wildcats had 364 passing yards and became the fourth team this season to have at least three passing touchdowns against UW, which ranks 76th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

The cornerbacks aren't solely to blame for those issues, but they're clearly the weakest link on the team.

Cooks' biggest issue with Smith, Brinkley and backup Antonio Fenelus has been a lack of consistency. The young corners - Smith and Fenelus - are sophomores, Brinkley - a junior - will be good in one game and bad in the next.
Polzin has a blog entry about the team's trip to Pearl Harbor, a bus breaking down, and practice.

UWBadgers.com has an article about the Pearl Harbor visit.

ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg has a Q&A with Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema.

And Ferd Lewis takes a look at some bowl possibilities for WAC teams depending on the outcome of tomorrow's game.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday news

WitP: Jeff Ulbrich

Hey Coach Mack, one of your former players is looking for a coaching position.
Rathman on SJS list? Running backs coach Tom Rathman has been mentioned as a candidate for the head coaching job at San Jose State.

Retiring linebacker Jeff Ulbrich wants to begin a coaching career next season and is interested in San Jose State as an assistant coach. He's a San Jose native.

Reports: Na Koa, 100th Anniversary Gala

uhwarriors has this week's Na Koa Lunch Report up on NaKoa.org.

And over on SportsHawaii.com, kazz has a review of his night attending the 100th Anniversary UH football gala.

UPDATE: HawaiiAthletics.com has an article about the gala.
Approximately 1,000 University of Hawai‘i football supporters attended the Centennial Celebration Gala, Wednesday night at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel, which culminated the season-long celebration of the 100th Anniversary of UH’s inaugural football season.

The event raised $275,000, the largest amount for a single event in the University’s history. Proceeds benefit the UH football program with $100,000 going towards supporting the football program and the other $175,000 towards an endowment for football operational expenses.

Wisconsin, Chizzy, Etc.

Jason Kaneshiro takes a look at Wisconsin's offensive line.
The Badgers' front, reinforced by two tight ends, has plowed a path for sophomore John Clay to run to Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year honors and provides protection for quarterback Scott Tolzien.

All of which creates a formidable task for Hawaii's defensive front seven as the Warriors try to extend their season to Christmas Eve and the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

"This is the best O-line we've seen," Hawaii defensive line coach Dave Aranda said. "They're the most physical inside and their tackles are very long and very athletic. If you take the best of each O-line that we've seen and put them together, it's what these guys are."
Kaneshiro also writes about Tua Mahaley's role on the scout team and Kenny Estes sitting out Saturday's game due to a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Stephen Tsai writes that running back Chizzy Dimude may see an expanded role against Wisconsin.
"He's a class act," McMackin said of the 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior, who transferred from Laney College in July. "He's a big-time player, but he's willing to help us get ready by playing on scout team. To do that shows he's a team guy."

Dimude is expected to have an expanded role for Saturday's game against Wisconsin — in part because of his elusive running, in part because No. 2 running back Alex Green is recovering from a sprained shoulder.

In the Warriors' four-wide offense, the running back is the backfield blocker.

"Protection-wise," McMackin said of Dimude's early struggles as a blocker, "is why he didn't get more reps. He's an excellent runner. Now we're able to use him to give us a change of pace. And he's better in the pass protection."
Tsai also has news about Kenny Estes' injury, Jake Heun expected to start at middle linebacker, and Brent Rausch exploring the possibility of getting another year through an exemption.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a look at Wisconsin's secondary.
Devin Smith looks into the eyes of the questioner and without hesitation makes an emphatic statement that initially sounds stunning.

Wisconsin's secondary, the sophomore cornerback insists, is eager to take the field Saturday night against pass-happy Hawaii.

"I don't think our confidence is shaken at all," Smith said, referring to the unit's subpar play in UW's loss to Northwestern in the Big Ten Conference finale. "I think our confidence has grown throughout the season.

"I don't think it is going to shake our confidence one bit. I think we are looking for another challenge and looking to make up for what happened."

Really?

"They are ready to rock and roll," secondary coach Kerry Cooks said. "That is what you love, especially as a defensive back. You've got to have that mentality.

"They're going to accept this challenge. We know it's a big challenge in front of us. We've got to go out and play ball."
Jim Polzin of Madison.com has some news and notes.

So does UWBadgers.com.

Polzin profiles Wisconsin receiver Isaac Anderson.

Brian Lucas of the UWBadgers.com blog has a diary of Wisconsin's plane trip to Hawaii.

And Dave Heller of the Journal Sentinel has a round-up of UH-Wisconsin score predictions.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wed night news

WitP: Josh Leonard, Colt, Bess, Pisa, Elam

Stephen Tsai writes that former UH defensive tackle Josh Leonard has signed with the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Pewter Report has some details.
The Bucs signed defensive end Josh Leonard and cornerback Jamar Love, and released wide receiver Darnell Jenkins, who signed to the team's practice squad last week.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Leonard spent the offseason, training camp and preseason with the Houston Texans. He notched 33 sacks in two years at Sierra JUCCO, where he was an All-American. Leonard notched 4.5 sacks in two seasons (26 games) at Hawaii.
Matt Terl of the Redskins Blog talks to Colt Brennan about Easy Bake ovens and his rehab from surgery.
But one Redskins quarterback was happy to admit that he was a big fan of the Easy-Bake.

"Dude, I had two sisters," Colt Brennan said. "Now, I don't wanna say that I HAD an Easy-Bake oven, but I HAVE baked with the Easy-Bake oven. And it tasted good."

"They're making more stuff now," Leslie Daniels (wife of Phillip) added, "like chocolate cake, and sugar cookies. Cupcakes. And now they're making real food, like little pizzas, tortillas, all variety of foods that you can put in there."

"I can't imagine," Brennan said, shaking his head in seemingly genuine astonishment. "When I grew up, it was like brownie and chocolate chip cookies. That was it. Now? The possibilities are endless. I saw kids buying Legos today that I wanted to buy. I had the ranch and the horses and the castles, but the stuff they got going today is unreal."

(Brennan also said that he's rehabbing on schedule and looking forward to getting back on the field this offseason. Let me head off the inevitable comments by reminding people that he's STILL on injured reserve and thus STILL unavailable to play this season.)
CBS football analyst Steve Tasker insults every Miami Dolphins receiver, except one.
Tasker, who worked Sunday's game for CBS, said he likes what he's seen of Chad Henne and would like to see the Dolphins put the game in his hands more than they have.

"They have to face the fact they have to open (the offense) up a little bit, to try to cultivate more of a big-play mentality. Of course, I don't know how much you can do when you've got Ted Ginn Jr. and Brian Hartline as your top receivers.

"I do like Davone Bess a lot. But the other three (Ginn, Hartline and Greg Camarillo) are guys (opponents) don't worry about."
Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel had this tweet about Bess' 3rd down production:
Dolphins WR Davone Bess is the second best in the NFL in third down receiving. He's caught 23 passes for 183 yards. Behind NY's Steve Smith
The Bears have finally placed Pisa Tinoisamoa on injured reserve. He suffered a season-ending knee injury back in October.

And D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution bids farewell to Jason Elam.
Farewell to Jason Elam.

He was a consummate professional to the media while with the Falcons. He didn’t run and hide in the cafeteria just because things weren’t going perfectly.

Even on Sunday, when he knew he’d played his last game for the Falcons, he talked the AJC’s Ken Sugiura.

“You always feel pressure,” Elam said. “I feel pressure in practice. If you don’t feel pressure, it’s a sign you don’t really care and you need to get out.”

Wisconsin, Estes, Funaki, Moniz

Via Channel3000.com, the Sports Network has a UH-Wisconsin game preview. Here's an excerpt about Wisconsin's offense:
The success of the Badgers this season has been predicated on the team's ability to move the ball on the ground, and that seems to be the job of John Clay who ranks first in the Big Ten and is 19th in the nation this week with an average of 111.3 ypg. Clay has taken the lion's share of the carries (241) and has produced a hefty 1,224 yards and 13 touchdowns, all while averaging better than five yards per attempt. The team as a whole checks in with 4.5 yards per attempt and 198.1 ypg to rank second in the league and 18th in the country. Compared to the opposition, which has logged just seven rushing scores in 2009, the Badgers have hit the end zone 24 times on the ground, taking that much more pressure off Scott Tolzien under center. Tolzien has managed to complete 62.4 percent of his attempts for 16 touchdowns and it is clear that his top targets are Nick Toon (49 catches, 713 yards, four TDs) and Garrett Graham (41 catches, 502 yards, seven TDs).
HawaiiAthletics.com has some game notes and info.

Stephen Tsai writes about John Estes' durability.
Estes, a senior center, will be making his 54th consecutive start when Hawai'i hosts Wisconsin Saturday. According to a UH study, that will clinch the record for most starts in a row by a Division I-A player. Louisiana State left tackle Ciron Black will make his 53rd start in this year's bowl game.

"It's cool," Estes said. "It's staying healthy and working hard and being blessed."
Tsai also notes Inoke Funaki's selflessness.
With injuries to the top two quarterbacks, Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch, Funaki surely would have taken control if he still were a quarterback.

But, Funaki said, "It's worked out for the best. Look at how well Moniz is doing. He's having a good season, better than what I could have had, no doubt in my mind. I watch him making a lot of those throws and reads, and the poise he has. I know it's not easy. I walked in those shoes before. I see him doing a lot of great things out there. It looks good for the team's future."
The article also has a link to a video that includes interviews with Coach Mack, Bryant Moniz, Greg Salas, Estes and Ray Hisatake.

Jason Kaneshiro has news and notes about Funaki, Travaun Nixon, and some injured Warriors:
Laupepa Letuli won't participate in Saturday night's ceremony in hopes of having his opportunity a year from now.

Letuli started the first three games of the season at right tackle, but hasn't played since injuring his knee prior to the Warriors' trip to Louisiana Tech. He plans to petition for another year of eligibility to extend an injury-plagued career.
Bradley's season ended at Idaho on Oct. 17 when he suffered a broken leg. He began walking without crutches last week and expects to begin rehabbing soon with a goal of being back up to speed for fall camp.

"I'm going to be busting my tail all offseason, so my senior year I can be 100 percent and be able to dominate," Bradley said.

Senior linebacker Brashton Satele, who had season-ending shoulder surgery in August, is also hoping to get another year.
Tom Mulhern of Madison.com profiles Bryant Moniz.
The Hawaii football team's passing attack has been so good for so long, it doesn't seem to matter who is at quarterback.

From Timmy Chang to Colt Brennan, the Warriors always seem to find prolific passers.

They could put a pizza delivery guy behind center and he'd throw for 300 yards in a game.
Okay, I get mad when people dismiss UH QBs as just being "system QBs," but that's pretty funny.

UWBadgers.com has another round of news and notes and links.

Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel talks to some of the Badgers about staying focused.
"It can play with your mind a little bit," sophomore cornerback Devin Smith acknowledged of traveling to Hawaii, a trip Smith and most of his teammates haven't made. "I've always got to remind myself there is a game as well."

With an apparent berth in the Outback Bowl at stake for UW (8-3), the staff has put together a tight itinerary and reminded the players of the importance of winning the regular-season finale.

"The coaches have tried to make it as similar to a regular game week as possible," junior quarterback Scott Tolzien said. "The key is to get there and treat it just like a regular game. It's Hawaii. It's going to be a little bit more sexy atmosphere, I guess you could say.

"We've just got to try to keep it the same and focus on the game."
Potrykus profiles Wisconsin running back John Clay.

Bryant-Jon Anteola of The Fresno Bee writes about UH's Hawaii Bowl quest.

The Idaho Statesman name their very own All-WAC team. Greg Salas, John Estes and Blaze Soares represent UH on that list.

Here's another cool UH football fan blog: Mainland UH Warrior Fan Club

And big thanks to Blaze Soares for answering my question about C&K during yesterday's Warrior Beat Show. Take a trip down memory lane on their Youtube page. Thanks to Tsai and Wai as well for the unexpected win!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Video: Wisconsin, John Estes, SMU to Hawaii Bowl, Etc

Tonight's Chawan's Cut of news from KITV, KGMB and KHON.

WitP: Elam, Laboy, LP

Bad news for Jason Elam as he was released by the Atlanta Falcons today.
Veteran kicker Jason Elam felt that he had one more miss before the Falcons would release him.

He was correct.

The missed 43-yard field goal on Sunday against Tampa Bay was his last miss for the Falcons. The legendary kicker and Bryan Pittman, the team's long snapper, were both released on Tuesday.
Elam has missed seven field goals this season after making 29 of 31 attempts in 2008.
More bad news as ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that Travis LaBoy, who is currently a free agent, has been suspended for four games by the NFL.
Free-agent DE Travis LaBoy was suspended four games. Suspension will begin immediately and will last until NFL reinstates LaBoy.
And finally some good news, as former UH safety Leonard Peters was praised by his rugby coach.
The USA sevens side may have been regarded as a soft touch on their past trips to the UAE, but their opponents at this weekend’s Dubai Rugby Sevens had better prepare themselves for a shock, according to their coach.

Al Caravelli is set to unleash his side’s new secret weapon onto the world stage when the tournament starts tomorrow, and their pool opponents – England, Kenya and Russia – had better take heed: He tackles like a “Mack truck”.

An International Rugby Board world series event is a tough baptism of fire for someone who only took up the game five months ago, but Leonard Peters already has an impressive sporting pedigree to call upon.
As a defensive back, he has adapted quickly to rugby’s destructive side, and his tackling skills are “beyond exceptional”, in the opinion of his new boss.

“He has great footwork and he hits like a Mack truck,” added the former Argentina and US sevens player Caravelli.
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