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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Mouse back in da house

Official press release from the UH athletic department.
and as reported by Stephen Tsai from the Star Advertiser:
"I'm happy to be back," said Davis, who was a UH assistant from 2004 to 2006 during a five-decade career in which he was head coach in four professional leagues. "I'm good friends with Gregory" - he pointed to UH head coach Greg McMackin - "plus, I like Hawaii. I like the kids. I like Nick. Nick's the right kind of guy. If he weren't the right kind of guy, I couldn't do it. I hope it works out for everyone. What the hell, I hope it works out for me."

and Ferd Lewis' take on why Coach Mack has made the coaching changes. WIN.
Welcome back to the Warrior Ohana Mouse Davis!

Also a bonus from another football fan blog, Pre-Snap Read, a preview and opinion of our 2010 season and team.
Hawaii is stacked at receiver, as is typically the case. The Warriors return all-American candidate Greg Salas, he of the 106-grab, 1,590-yard 2009 season; his yardage output was good for third in the country.
The U.H. defense is led by a very good secondary. Surprisingly stout last fall — its numbers were aided by the fact teams ran at will on the Warriors — the defensive backfield should be even better in 2010, thanks to the return of the entire two-deep. Senior Mana Silva, a former Oregon State transfer, was terrific in his first year of starting action with the Warriors: 74 tackles, fourth on the team, and a team-leading six interceptions.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

WitP: Owens Back to CFL, Histake, Colt

Chad Owens, who recently left the Montreal Alouettes for personal reasons, has been acquired by the Toronto Argonauts.
The Toronto Argonauts acquired receiver/return specialist Chad Owens from the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday for a fourth-round draft pick in 2011.
“Chad is an experienced receiver and return specialist who will fill a need for us in the development of our offensive and special-teams schemes,” Argos player-personnel director Mike Hagen said in a statement. “We are excited to acquire a player of Chad's abilities.”
Okay then! Hope Chad gets to play this season.

LaShana Marshburn of Panther Insider profiles Ray Hisatake.
Hisatake, for all his accomplishments, is more potential than production. After not playing high school ball, he started his college career at the College of San Mateo. He spent two seasons as a defensive tackle for the Bulldogs before transferring to Hawaii and moving to the offensive side of the ball.

“I think what Carolina sees in me is just the upside of the potential that I have to learn to pick up the game,” he said. “They see something in me that they can build on.”

Physically, Hisatake has everything the Panthers look for in offensive linemen. He is well built at 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds. He is strong and quick. Additionally, he has an aggressive mentality that stems from his days playing defense.
And Jason Reid of the Washington Post interviews Colt Brennan.
Brennan said the atmosphere at Redskins Park is similar to what he's experienced elsewhere when he's been a part of winning teams - specifically during his period of success at Hawaii under then-Coach June Jones - and he predicts "success right away."

"One thing that is super fun, and the way this is relatable to June's offense, is June attacked defenses no matter what was going on," Brennan said. "We always had an answer to some degree. Last year it felt we always had to revolve around what the defense was doing. Well, this year, it's again we are attacking defenses.

"We are very aggressive. We are trying to score and score a lot. ...It's super exciting, because it's an offense where I get up in the morning, I like coming in, I like learning the new plays, learning the new concepts. I already see so much success at this time of year and compared to the last few years."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

WitP: Owens, Hawthorne Leave Alouettes

Hope all is well with Chad Owens, who left the Montreal Alouettes for personal reasons.
In other news, Chad Owens, who was expected to be the team’s returns specialist, has left Als for personal and family reasons.
And C.J. Hawthorne was among the team's roster cuts on Monday.

Lelie, Manu, QBs, Spain, Chimara, Etc.

Stephen Tsai profiles Ashley Lelie, who will be a student manager for the Warriors this season.
"Finishing my degree is the main thing," said Lelie, who relinquished his senior season to apply for the 2002 NFL draft. "I have a year left. If I can take care of a couple of incompletes, it will be less than that. But it will be good to be around football again. I was starting to miss it."

As a student manager, Lelie will receive a tuition waiver and be allowed to offer advice to the receivers.

"I definitely want to help the team out," Lelie said.
Tsai has a bunch of notes on the Warrior Beat blog, including great news regarding Veni Manu:
Also, defensive end Veni Manu, who signed in February 2009, apparently has earned enough college credits to play for the Warriors this season. He attended orientation sessions.
Yesterday, Tsai wrote that six QBs will be invited to fall camp.
Quarterback Corey Nielsen is not on the Warriors’ preliminary training-camp roster.

Instead, he will join the team Aug. 23, the first day of UH’s fall semester, when the training-camp roster may expand from 105 players.

Bryant Moniz, Shane Austin, Brent Rausch, David Graves, Cayman Shutter and Kevin Spain are the quarterbacks on the training-camp roster.
Tsai profiles Spain and mentioned a cornerback who is also invited to fall camp.
One of the surprises of unsupervised workouts is Davidson Chimara, a cornerback from Miami.

Chimara is 5 feeet 9, 185 pounds, and both quick and physical. He has been invited to the Warriors’ training camp.
And finally, WAC football officials will be able to view replays in HD.
The University of Hawaii Warrior games will start using a high-definition instant replay system created by XOS Digital Inc. during the upcoming football season.

The Western Athletic Conference and its nine member schools will use technology licensed by XOS Digital, an Orlando, Fla.-based content management solutions and digital media services company.

The new format will allow WAC officials a clearer, real-time view of a play in question that is more precise than what fans see at home.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Warriors in the CFL: Owens, Hawthorne, Libre, Elimimian

Chad Owens had an impressive 26-yard punt return for the Montreal Alouettes in their preseason victory over Toronto.
And Chad Owens, looking to replace the departed Larry Taylor on kick returns, had one impressive 26-yard punt return up the middle and looked solid, although Trestman said he is still deciding who will get that job.
Here's another mention of Owens.
And a spot, you would figure, should also be found for Chad Owens, who joined the Als late last season. At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, he's perfect for the CFL -small and quick. He returned a punt 26 yards and almost broke free for a touchdown against Toronto.
Also in that game, C.J. Hawthorne had 1 catch for 7 yards.

Solomon Elimimian had four tackles for the BC Lions while Daniel Libre had 5 carries for 24 yards for the Edmonton Eskimos as BC beat Edmonton 36-32.

Friday, June 18, 2010

WitP: Colt, Libre, Brashton

Warpath Confidential has a mini-camp note on Colt.
# Brennan to Thomas – Colt Brennan showed some nifty footwork and a little bit of arm as he play actioned on a bootleg to his own right, stopped, and threw a forty-yard strike downfield to the streaking Devin Thomas for the touchdown.
However, Rich Tandler notes that Colt had trouble with consistency.
Another inconsistent day for Colt Brennan. First he completed a nice deep sideline pass to Thomas, who made a bobbling catch. But a little later on, he just couldn’t get the ball out of his hand on consecutive passes, drawing the ire of the coaches.
Daniel Libre has been impressive in Edmonton Eskimos practices.
The Eskimos will get a good look at import running back Daniel Libre, who will see a good share of playing time despite only arriving on Tuesday.

But he has looked impressive so far in practices.

“I think (he has) the athletic ability as far as quickness, being able to stop on a dime, change your directions,” Hall said of the five-foot-eight, 185-pound Hawaii product. “When you look at most small backs that come up here, that’s their attributes, that’s what they do.

“(John) Avery was here, he was built for the CFL with that shiftiness, that ability to make people miss in space. Because of (Libre’s) stockiness and his physical makeup, I think he can be a force running in between the tackles.”
UPDATE: Stephen Tsai has an update on Brashton Satele.
Satele, who signed as an undrafted free agent after his NCAA appeal for an extra year was denied, is listed behind All-Pro Bart Scott and fifth-year pro Lance Lowry at weakside linebacker. But Satele has received significant practice time on special teams and in dime situations.

“It’s great here,” said Satele, who has been invited back for training camp, which begins July 31.

The Jets’ mini-camp ended a couple of days ago, but Satele was encouraged to remain in the area for another three weeks to work out at the Jets’ facilities.

Heed Ferd's Words!

Ferd Lewis writes that UH needs to be prepared for the next conference shuffle.
UH should take to heart the events of the past weeks with a sense of urgency and lay the groundwork so that when the next tsunami of expansion rolls across the major college landscape it is holding onto something more than just a prayer.

Because while the departure of Boise State significantly weakened the Western Athletic Conference this week, it could have been worse for UH. Much worse.

The nightmare scenario would have been if the MWC lost more than Utah and been forced to raid the WAC for multiple members without knocking on UH's door. Imagine being stranded in a WAC minus Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

UH vs USC game will be played

Thank goodness. Via the Star-Advertiser:
But an NCAA spokeswoman told the Star-Advertiser today, "The Committee on Infractions has delayed the penalty that precludes (USC) from playing a 13th game."

She said the "committee noted a number of factors" including the game had been scheduled "for at least five years" and that ticket had already been purchased."

WitP: C.J., Libre, Pisa

C.J. Hawthorne had 3 catches for 15 yards in his CFL preseason debut.
Wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne took part in his first CFL game on Sunday. He finished the game with 15 yards on three catches. "I think I played a good game. It was great to be back out there and play some football but there's a lot to be done to be better mentally and physically on and off the field."
The Toronto Sun has a note on Daniel Libre.
The Esks plan to have a real close look to see what RB Daniel Libre can show in game conditions this Sunday.

“Each time he carries the football, he’s getting more comfortable,” said Hall. “So far, he’s done a good job.

“When you bring players in during training camp, you’d like to see what they can do in the first preseason game you can put them into. That’s his evaluation. We didn’t bring him here to put him on the roster in regular-season until we see him play.”
Pisa Tinoisamoa talks about battling back from his knee injury and battling Nick Roach for a starting spot.
Roach, who started 15 games in 2009, downplays his competition with Tinoisamoa.

"You can't really take (starting) personally,'' he says. "It's about who's going to be the most effective for us on the field. Basically, no matter who ends up starting, we're both going to end up contributing in a significant way.''

Tinoisamoa agrees and is a staunch Roach supporter, even after absorbing the ball to the face. The duo actually seemed inseparable during this weekend excursion.

"I'm not going to try to say Nick's not the starter right now,'' Tinoisamoa says. "I watched him last year. You have to go with that.

"Right now, my role still is getting defined, for the most part. I never go in trying to short myself, but I understand what we're dealing with. We have a very talented player in Nick Roach that a lot of people don't know about. … I think Nick Roach is the future.''

Tiwanak, No Media Guides, USC, WAC

Stephen Tsai profiles center Bronson Tiwanak.
UH head coach Greg McMackin acknowledged that Tiwanak will enter training camp in August as the No. 1 center. Matagisila Lefiti, who was No. 1 exiting spring training, will miss all of training camp - and possibly the Sept. 2 season opener - after undergoing foot surgery.

"I hate to see a teammate go down," said Tiwanak, who will be a fifth-year senior in the fall. "I have to step up and do my best. I don't walk around telling myself, 'I'm No. 1.' As far as I'm concerned, it's open competition. I'm trying to work hard every day."
Tsai also writes about Cory Daniel getting healthy again after losing 50 lbs last year due to walking pneumonia, and a walk-a-thon to support strength coach Tommy Heffernan's daughter.
Lolotai was one of the few Warriors to complete the 38-mile walk from Hauula to the base of Diamond Head.

"I made it to the Hygienic Store (in Kaneohe)," defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu said.

"Fourteen miles doesn't cut it in a 38-mile world," Lolotai said.
Tsai writes that UH will no longer print any media guides.
UH is joining the growing number of schools that will no longer print media guides for wide distribution. The guides will be available on the school’s Web site.
Cutting production will offer significant savings for UH, which used to spend about $100,000 publishing media guides for each of its sports. It cost about $30,000 to print hard-copy media guides for only football and women’s volleyball last year.
Ferd Lewis writes that UH and USC are asking the NCAA to issue a ruling on the September 2nd season opener.
Donovan said he has been told USC has also been in contact with the NCAA regarding the issue. A USC spokesman has refused comment.

Several members of the Division I Committee on Infractions Issues have declined comment on the matter. At least two have referred questions to an NCAA spokesman, who has yet to respond.
Spokesman on vacation???

And the headline of the day award goes to this Ferd Lewis column: In a world where dollars rule, the WAC is offering change

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jake Heun: Animal

Via poopsnorkler on SportsHawaii.com, here's footage of Jake Heun's 42-second victory in his amateur MMA debut.

WitP: Libre, Sopoaga, LaBoy, Mouton, Elimimian

As noted by Garret on The Warrior Beat, Daniel Libre has joined the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. Joanne Ireland of Canwest News Service profiles Libre.
Libre, a compact muscular prospect with quick feet, had his first workout with the club on Tuesday. To make room on the roster, the Eskimos released import defensive end Michael Williams.

“It’s cold here, being from Hawaii, so there’s some culture shock, but I like it. I had not run like that for a while. That was a lot of reps today. I can’t wait for the pre-season game,” said Libre, who will play Sunday when the Eskimos take on the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.
Also from the article:
He had a head-turning season in 2008, was the cover boy for EA Sports NCAA Football 2010, yet one year out of the game had quickly turned into two.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com profiles Isaac Sopoaga.
Isaac Sopoaga is like a kid in a candy store once his size 14 football cleats hit the 49ers practice fields. Spend a short period of time with the 6-foot-2, 330-pound defensive tackle and it’s no secret that he’s one of the team’s most passionate players about the game of football, no matter what day of the year it happens to be.

Sopoaga proved his infatuation once again on Tuesday, as one of the defense’s longest tenured players admitted just how much fun he’s having during offseason practices.
The article also has a quote from Sopoaga's teammate Travis LaBoy.
utside linebacker Travis LaBoy said he likes the way he’s fitting into the 49ers defense thus far. “I feel like the system is a good fit for my abilities,” LaBoy said.
Ryan Mouton worked out with the first team for the Titans when veteran cornerback Tye Hill went down with an injury.

And despite his hamstring injury, Solomon Elimimian continues to make an impression on the BC Lions coaching staff.
Also moving up on the depth chart, at least to designated import status, is fellow rookie Solomon Elimimian, who also is making Buono quickly forget that by releasing Haley his team got nothing out of the offseason trade in which he was acquired from Hamilton for Jerome Dennis.

Lefiti, USC, Bradley

Stephen Tsai writes that center Matagisila Lefiti will miss training camp as he recovers from foot surgery.
It is an untimely setback for Lefiti, who was center John Estes' primary understudy the past two seasons. Estes, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars, started all 54 games of his Warrior career.

Lefiti, a fourth-year junior in the fall, exited spring ball as the No. 1 center. But because of recurring problems with his left foot, he decided to have surgery.

His availability is in question for the scheduled Sept. 2 opener against Southern California.
That is, if there is a Sept. 2 opener against Southern California. Ferd Lewis has a column about the potential fiasco.
Suspicion is that the NCAA committee meted out the penalties determined to throw the book at USC without having glanced at the Trojans' upcoming schedule. At least you hope it was an oversight, since the committee was at work on this for four months.

Because common sense would suggest the Warriors have no part in whatever went down at USC and no cause to be punished for it.

Forcing USC out of the Sept. 2 game would be a considerable hardship for the Warriors, who have been counting on it as a $1 million-plus payday and, perhaps, their single most lucrative check outside of the Sugar Bowl.

The scary part is that if this was, indeed, an oversight on the NCAA's part, it apparently isn't in a big hurry to correct it with anybody. The NCAA hasn't used the intervening five days to say, "Oops, never mind, our mistake."
In better news, Rodney Bradley is almost there in his recovery from a broken leg.
Left wideout Rodney Bradley was impressive during 7 on 7 drills yesterday, declaring himself “pain-free” in his surgically repaired left leg.

In last season’s game against Idaho, Bradley suffered fracures to his left tibia and fibia. Part of the operation included the insertion of a rod to stabilize the leg. The rod remains, but the pain is gone, Bradley said.

He said he is at “90 to 95 percent,” and claimed he was running at half-speed yesterday, although he was able to make sharp cuts and create space from a cornerback. He said he should be ready for the start of training camp in August

Monday, June 14, 2010

USC Game

Ferd Lewis writes that it's possible USC will have to cancel this year's game with UH.
Donovan said if the game was canceled UH would lose "more than a million dollars -- and that is a conservative estimate" for an athletic department running approximately $2 million in the red.

It is the marquee home game on UH's schedule, for which season-ticket sales are currently under way. USC's last three appearances here have been sellouts, and the Trojans have requested 7,200 tickets for this one, which will be shown by ESPN.

Donovan said, based upon his experiences with the NCAA, he believes "they will do what makes sense." Donovan said UH is contacting the NCAA but that "any appeal will have to come from USC since it is their case."
I can't imagine that the NCAA wouldn't allow an exception in this case. This would hurt UH more than USC. People have bought plane tickets, booked hotels... ESPN is scheduled to broadcast the game...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Warriors in the Pros

Lots of news from the past week:

The Orange and Brown Report has an article about the potential of a breakout season for David Veikune.
Veikune weighed 270 pounds last year, well above his ideal playing weight. This spring Veikune not only looks like a football player -- he is moving like one. He is in the crowded but unsettled pack fighting for playing time at inside linebacker. He has dropped almost 20 pounds and worked his butt off in the offseason to become stronger.
Veikune has recently been practicing with the first team.
In 11-on-11s, Chris Gocong and David Veikune lined up as the starting inside linebackers, with Scott Fujita and David Bowens on the outside.
Mat McBriar is ready to become the Dallas Cowboys holder again.
The holder position became a sensitive subject around Valley Ranch last year when kicker Nick Folk complained about McBriar as the holder.

With Folk gone, and David Buehler as the new kicker, McBriar has returned as the holder.

It's a better situation for the Cowboys because McBriar can develop a quicker chemistry with Buehler than Romo.

"I like doing it with David," McBriar said after the first practice of the mandatory minicamp. "We can go back to the side and we get all that work in, it feels good."
Travis LaBoy talks about working at outside linebacker for the 49ers.
LaBoy had six or more sacks in two of his final three seasons with the Tennessee Titans before the Arizona Cardinals signed him in 2008. He had four sacks in his first four games with the Cardinals but a foot injury that required reconstructive surgery derailed his career in Arizona and he did not play in 2009 after being released.

Now he’s returning to the area where he was raised and getting a fresh start with the team he grew up rooting for as a youngster.

“I’m still knocking off some rust, getting back in the flow of football, but every day I get a little better,” said LaBoy, who has played primarily defensive end so far in his NFL career.
Rich Tandler has some Colt Brennan notes from Washington's last OTA until training camp.
11:10—Colt Brennan is firing passes with zip and accuracy as receivers run patterns against no defenders.
12:05—Brennan cooled off later in the drills. After one throw that looked particularly confused, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan came over and coached up the young quarterback.
Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen are working on returning punts for the Dolphins.

In Jaguars practice, Kynan Forney tossed Tyson Alualu to the ground.
As for fights during OTA’s, it seems only guys who have a slim chance to make the team engage it in. They have a lot to prove and are fighting hard to do it. If a no-name tries to make a name by belting a big name, look out. The only effective thing I saw was Kynan Forney toss Tyson Alualu to the ground. It was clean and fair, but showed tenacity. If the no-names want to make a name, show tenacity, not fighting. Fighting is after the fact and useless.
Mike Beamish of The Vancouver Sun profiles Solomon Elimimian, who is fighting through a hamstring injury.
To people like head coach Wally Buono and defensive coordinator Mike Benevides, the talent and drive shown by Elimimian in B.C. Lions rookie camp last week may have been enough to buy him some consideration while he waits for his untimely injury to heal.

Elimimian hopes so. A highly touted linebacker from the University of Hawaii, Elimimian felt like a lost soul after he was cut from the camp of the Buffalo Bills last season. Having it happen for a second time would be equally punishing to his psyche.
C.J. Hawthorne has been impressing in practice for the Montreal Alouettes.
There's no shortage of talent at wideout either. Even with all the usual big names at that position, rookie C.J. Hawthorne opened a lot of eyes on Thursday as he made at least three spectacular catches that got his teammates cheering.
And Brandon Eaton has rejoined the Chicago Slaughter of the IFL.
Brandon Eaton (OL), is another former member of the Chicago Slaughter and fan favorite during the 2009 Championship season. At 6'2 and 310 lbs, Eaton played college ball for the University of Hawaii where he was awarded All-Conference honors as a senior.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bye Boise (w/UPDATE)

Oh well.
Boise State on Friday accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference in 2011 as the two-time Fiesta Bowl winner seeks out a league that’s a better launching pad into lucrative postseason bowl games.

Boise State, currently a Western Athletic Conference member, would become the Mountain West Conference’s 10th member. The move would be effective July 1, 2011.
Some thoughts from Stephen Tsai:
It was no surprise that Boise State would one day leave the WAC, but it still was jolting that “one day” would be today. The Broncos will be joining the Mountain West.

Sort of reminds me of a guy who invites himself to a party.

For all of the posturing, this is a blow to the WAC — and UH — with a direct hi to the bank accounts. Boise’s departure means:

• Losing potential BCS money.

• Having a diminished national TV value.

• Losing the Humanitarian Bowl.

• Forcing the remaining WAC football teams to scramble for one more game each year starting in 2011. (And that won’t be easy to fill, since UH has filled the bookened dates. It’s tougher to book the October/November pukas.)

For the WAC, there is no good news.
UPDATE: Stephen Tsai and Dave Reardon discuss the possibilities for UH going forward.

Week in Review

Bryant Moniz talks to Stephen Tsai about trying to regain the trust of the team.
At the final team meeting of the spring, Moniz stood at the podium in the UH athletic complex auditorium, then issued an emotional mea culpa.

"It was hard to face your teammates and apologize for not being there," Moniz said. "It was rough, but I got through it. I'm very sorry."

Soon after that, head coach Greg McMackin announced that Moniz would rejoin the team.

Moniz said he has tried to keep fit by working out up to three times a day. He trains with his girlfriend's brother and several former high school classmates at Leilehua. He now weighs 207 pounds, 15 more than at the end of the 2009 season.
Jake Heun is a fighter.
Heun, who aspires to a career as a mixed-martial-arts fighter, will meet D.J. Poti of Maui in a heavyweight bout tomorrow in the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. The 14-bout card begins at 5 p.m.

"It's something to do in the offseason to keep me in shape," said Heun, who trains at the Ultimate Fight School near UH. "I've got to start getting ready for life after football."

While coaches usually frown on off-field activities that are deemed to be "dangerous," UH head coach Greg McMackin gave his blessing to Heun.

"It's not dangerous if you win," McMackin said. "This is something he really wants to do. I support his decision."
UH has improved its NCAA APR score.
For the first time in the six years since the NCAA instituted its Academic Progress Rate report, none of the University of Hawaii-Manoa's athletic teams are at risk of losing scholarships for classroom under-performance.

All 18 teams surpassed the multi-year benchmark by which the NCAA measures academic retention, progress and graduation for athletes for the 2008-09 academic year, according to an NCAA report.
However, some UH opponents will be losing scholarships.
Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico State have all been sanctioned for failing to meet the NCAA's Academic Performance Rate benchmark for the 2008-09 year, the NCAA announced yesterday.
Another UH opponent will be losing scholarships, but for an entirely different reason.

UH has reached a settlement with Daniel Smith, who was suing the school.
The University of Hawaii has agreed to an undisclosed settlement with a former high school football recruit who sued the school claiming it reneged on a scholarship offer in 2008.

Daniel Smith of Boise, Idaho, alleged that the school did not fulfill its promise of a scholarship when it changed head coaches from June Jones to Greg McMackin in a case that took on national implications.
Some articles about how the massive conference re-alignments now taking shape may affect UH:

Who Will Take the Bait? by Ferd Lewis

Changing landscape could mean a much different WAC 'footprint'
, by Dave Reardon

UH faces scheduling quandary, by Lewis
With the Pac-10 and Big Ten conferences seemingly headed toward expansion to 12 or 16 members, UH fears its popular December finale could be impacted or face extinction.
"We're trying to find a way to keep the (Pac-10 and Big Ten) conferences in the mix," Donovan said.

One proposal under study, Donovan said, would be to strike a deal whereby the conference agrees to send a designated representative here. That way if, for example, Wisconsin qualified for the conference championship game, a division runner-up would come in its place.

"Either that or we could take out insurance on the (opponent)," Donovan said.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

WitP: LaBoy, Veikune, Sol, C.J., Forney, Manuwai

The Press-Democrat has a profile of Travis LaBoy.
Still rehabbing the torn tendons in his left foot that cause him to miss the entire 2009 season while a member of the Arizona Cardinals, LaBoy has been taking part in position drills during offseason OTAs (voluntary practices), but has seen almost no time in 11-on-11 team period.

That changed this morning, when he found himself in the mix at outside linebacker. LaBoy said after practice that he's been feeling good, and doesn't expect to come away too sore from today's activity.
Jeff Schudel of The Morning Journal catches up with David Veikune. The article also has a short video interview with him.
Veikune waddled to the scale near the shower area of the locker room last fall and when the dial stopped spinning it registered he weighed 270 pounds. He looked like the guy on the midnight shift at the donut shop whose idea of three square meals a day were glazed, powdered and custard-filled.

This spring Veikune not only looks like a football player — he is moving like one. He is in the crowded but unsettled pack fighting for playing time at inside linebacker. He has dropped almost 20 pounds and worked his butt off in the offseason to become stronger.
Browns coach Eric Mangini had a few things to say about Veikune in his daily press conference.
(On David Veikune’s improvement)- “Sometimes with that, it comes with experience and it comes with time. He has a year under his belt of hearing the terminology, learning the concepts of the defense, being on his feet, our offseason program, transition from living in Hawaii to living in Cleveland. All of those factors come into play. As I’ve said before, it hits different for each guy and I think he has really benefitted as well from being able to work with the first group and working in one spot I think has helped him too. All of those factors combined.”

(On if Veikune has dropped 20 pounds)- “His weight has fluctuated a little bit. He came in a little heavier and he got a pretty light during the course of the season. I think right now where he is at is a real good weight. He’s about 250-255, but he’s put together.
Solomon Elimimian is nursing a hamstring injury.
Rookie rush end Dominie Pittman missed Monday's practices due to headaches, and linebacker candidate Soloman Elimimian joined starting linebacker Anton McKenzie on the sideline with a hamstring injury.
C.J. Hawthorne has joined the Montreal Alouettes.

And Jacksonville.com has an update on the Jaguars' current offensive line situation.
The Jaguars continue to use two groups of interior offensive linemen. With the first unit, Brad Meester is the center with Kynan Forney and Uche Nwaneri at the guard slots. In the second group, Nwaneri moves to center and Vince Manuwai and Justin Smiley handle the guard spots.

Coach Jack Del Rio said it's still too early to know how it will sort out, but it appears likely that Nwaneri will start at guard or center and the rest of the players will fight for the other spots.

"It's going to be competitive," Del Rio said. "So the best way to handle this situation is let them compete and let them play it out. It's too early to try to forecast how that will play out."

Sunday, June 06, 2010

WitP: Francis Maka, Colt, Sol

Here's a highlight reel of Francis Maka's season with the Arkansas Diamonds of the IFL. Looks like he's been tearing it up!

Colt Brennan helped his friend and teammate Chris Cooley, who held his inaugural art show on Friday night.

And here's a note about Solomon Elimimian, from the BC Lions opening of training camp.
Buono's call for a return to smash-mouth football had defensive players Tad Crawford, Solomon Elimimian and Stanley Franks delivering sharp tackles on a lively opening day.

Farewell to the Advertiser

Today is the last day the Honolulu Advertiser will be printed. It's sad to see that the end is actually here, after 154 years in business. Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Star-Advertiser. Dave Reardon mentions who will be the sports writers for the new paper.
Ferd Lewis, Ann Miller, Curtis Murayama and Stephen Tsai were among our competitors and friends across the hall. Tomorrow, they bring their talent and combined experience of more than 100 years covering Hawaii sports to the Star-Advertiser.

They join our diverse group of experienced veteran and young energetic sports journalists, including Billy Hull and Jason Kaneshiro, who are on the mainland covering every pitch of the Rainbows and Wahine.

Paul Arnett, the Star-Bulletin's "lead dog" as the UH football writer for more than a decade, has led us through rocky times nearly as long as sports editor. He is as excited as the rest of us about the new venture.
Sounds like an all-star sports staff supergroup. I'm expecting greatness! All the best to them.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

WitP: Colt, Estes, Veikune, Pisa, Jovonte

Rick Snider of the Washington Examiner profiles Colt Brennan.
One errant snap is how the Washington Redskins quarterback measures success amid team OTAs. The third-stringer only receives limited snaps behind Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman, so impressing a new coaching staff isn't easy.

"I don't get many reps, so you either have great days or bad days out here," Brennan said. "If you complete your run of plays, then everything looks great. If you make one or two mistakes, it feels like a bad day. You just try to have as many great days as you can."
Rich Campbell of Fredericksburg.com had some OTA notes about Colt.
**I saw QB Colt Brennan make one great throw and one horrible throw. The good: Brennan hit WR Roydell Williams in-stride in a tight window, beating S Anderson Russell, near the left sideline for a 20-yard gain. Brennan was rolling left and threw across his body, but the ball was very strong.

The bad: LB Alvin Bowen picked off Brennan in red zone drills and would have returned it for a touchdown if the play had been allowed to progress that far. Brennan was looking to throw over the middle and didn’t see Bowen until it was too late. He tried to hold up, but the ball slipped out of his hand and easily into Bowen’s. Brennan yelled an obscenity as Bowen sprinted the other way, to the defense’s delight.
Off the field, Colt has been awesome to one of his fans.
Barnum, who graduated from Morton Ranch in 2009, was alledgedly stabbed in the heart with a screwdriver at the Citgo gas station on Franz and Westgreen in April.

Since then, the road to athletic stardom has not been easy.

Barnum is currently a patient at the Texas Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, an extension of Memorial Herman Hospital. Here, doctors are working diligently via therapy treatment to get him back onto the playing field.

“Everyday is a struggle,” Jemela admited. “It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but he continues to get better.”

Little did Barnum know that a part of his treatment would include correspondence with his all-time favorite quarterback, who has taken a special interest in Barnum’s underdog story.

“I just wanted to do something that would make Sean smile, so we reached out to the Washington Redskins. Within an hour, they e-mailed and called us back,” Jemela said.

And the response has been overwhelming.

“Colt Brennan calls and text messages me almost everyday just to see how Sean is doing. He’ll even leave voicemails for me to play to Sean with words of encouragement,” Jamela said.
ESPN.com's AFC South blog spotlights John Estes in an "On the radar" post.
Jacksonville needs better play from the center position, and undrafted rookie John Estes from Hawaii has a shot to make an impact in the middle of the Jaguars’ offensive line.
The Orange and Brown Report has a David Veikune update.
LB David Veikune has been stationed on the inside after coming in originally as a pass rushing defensive end in college. Mangini said he has taken advantage of his opportunities with D’Qwell Jackson out.

“David has taken advantage of the reps he’s received with D’Qwell not being here,” he said. “You can see his communication level improving and he showed different levels in college and last season. Now, he’s getting added value in his time here.”
If you have a Scout.com account (I don't), you can read a Q&A with Pisa Tinoisamoa.

And Jovonte Taylor has been drafted by the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

WitP: Bess, RGM, Colt, Kynan, Manuwai

Davone Bess had to cut a radio interview short this morning because he had to call 911.
Wide receiver Davone Bess was doing a phone interview with Jorge Sedano of 790-AM The Ticket at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday when he witnessed a one-vehicle accident right in front of him.

“I just saw the tail end of it,” he said after the Dolphins’ morning OTA workout inside the bubble at their Davie practice facility. “The dude was swerving side to side and then — wooh, wooh, wooh — flipped over three times. It was crazy.

“It happened right where you’re merging from I-75 to I-595,” Bess added — the same intersection where former Dolphin linebacker David Griggs died in a car accident in 1995.

Bess cut the interview short, pulled over and called 911, then waited to see if the driver was OK. Other drivers who witnessed the accident also were pulling over. Listen to the interview here.
Nice. Here are some notes on Bess (and Ryan Grice-Mullen) from the football field:
-- Sparano named Bess, Grice-Mullen, Pruitt and Sheets as the possible returners.
-- Dolphins WR Davone Bess said he lined up more outside than he did at slot during today's OTA session.
-- If I had to guess, Kory Sheets and Ryan Grice-Mullen are the team's fastest KOR options. Both can move, but can they elude.
Bess spoke to the Miami media today; here's video from MiamiDolphins.com.

More notes on RGM and Bess:
The easiest way to tell Davone Bess apart from Ryan Grice-Mullen, his former Hawaii teammate, is by looking at their legs. In the last two seasons Bess has developed tree trunks for calves. RGM’s calves look like little sticks. But honestly speaking, if your eye site isn’t good enough to see their numbers (15 for Bess and 17 for RGM) or RGM’s blonde tips on his dreads, it would be impossible to tell them apart on the field. They look and move just alike.
And one more on RGM:
Found it interesting that CB Jason Allen struggled to cover Ryan Grice-Mullen in the slot. Not sure if that says something about Allen, or RGM…..
Rich Tandler of CSN Washington has this evaluation of Colt Brennan.
Colt Brennan seems to be much more comfortable in Mike and Kyle Shanahan’s new offense than he was in Jim Zorn’s. As it’s unlikely that McNabb will see more than token playing time during the preseason, Brennan should get his chance to show if that comfort translates into consistent play against other teams. Given Grossman’s familiarity with Kyle Shanahan’s offense, it’s unlikely that Brennan will move past him into the primary backup role, but he could make his case for 2011 and beyond.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio talks about the state of their offensive line.
“Kynan (Forney’s) had a good spring…He’s working very hard in the weight room. He’s more comfortable in our system and I think he’ll fight for some time. I think Uche (Nwaneri’s) been a little inconsistent but he has been a good player for us at both guard and center. I think Vinny (Manuwai) still has a ways to go.”
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