In two days, Ikaika Alama-Francis not only switched positions, transitioning from a defensive end to outside linebacker, but he also worked his way into the discussion of who could become a starter.
Alama-Francis, who carries 275 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame after losing 15 pounds, replaced rookie Koa Misi as the starting strong side linebacker in Saturday morning's practice. By Saturday evening, Alama-Francis was back with the second team, but he had still completely leapfrogged Quentin Moses, Erik Walden and rookie Chris McCoy.
Coach Tony Sparano said Alama-Francis' position switch isn't just the team dipping their "toe in the water." It's serious and likely permanent based on how fluid Alama-Francis appears when dropping back into coverage to defend tight ends.
4:51 Terrence Austin does something that a rookie seventh-round draft pick can't do. He drops a Colt Brennan pass that was right in his hands. Austin missed most of the preseason work due to his school schedule at UCLA, and he can't afford to generate much ill will if he wants to stick around.
5:09 Colt Brennan slips a good pass to Dennis Morris down the seam. So far, in the extremely early going in the competition for the third-team quarterback spot, advantage Brennan.
Richard Bartel – Bartel showed off a pretty impressive arm and good accuracy. Colt Brennan said after that even though he and Bartel are roommates, and despite the fact that Brennan likes Bartel, Bartel is annoying him by how well he is playing.
Colt Brennan – Brennan did not hurt himself today, playing fairly well with good accuracy, but he is getting fewer snaps so far this camp and Bartel looks sharp.
Vaughn McClure has an update on the competition between Chicago Bear teammates Nick Roach and Pisa Tinoisamoa.
"I think there's just a respect for each other," Tinoisamoa said after reporting to training camp Wednesday. "It was weird because I didn't know anything about Nick Roach, and I don't think he knew anything about me last year.
"Then we watched each other out there. And we were just like, 'To the best man.' It could be quite a battle."
Health might be the deciding factor. The knee still appears to be a minor issue for Tinoisamoa, while Roach has had hamstring and concussion issues in the past.
July 29th, 2010 at 12:58 pm
UH Letterwinners is in need of an original leather football helmet.
We have copies of all helmets going back to the leather period.
Once we have this helmet the collection is complete and we can start to make a travelling show to garner support for UH athletics.
Chad Owens faces his old team when the Toronto Argonauts visit the Montreal Alouettes today. Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette talks to Chad, who says he has nothing against Montreal.
Bruno Burnoski, Owens's Florida-based agent, told a Toronto reporter via email the Als wanted to cut his client's salary to $42,000 from $70,000. Another source told The Gazette the Als wanted to suspend Owens, meaning they would retain his rights. Predictably, he balked at both potential scenarios.
Owens refused comment on the potential reduced salary. "That's (the Als') version."
We're certain of this much: The relationship between Owens and his new employers has been pure bliss. In Toronto's opening two games alone, he returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown along with a field goal 117 yards for a score. He's averaging 19.4 yards on kickoff returns and 12 yards on punts.
And Owens also is getting the opportunity to play receiver; he has caught seven passes for 81 yards. He leads the Canadian Football League in combined yards, with 749.
Predictably, he said facing the Als is just another game. "I'm focused on playing the game," he said. "I've moved on and am happy to be in this situation ... still doing what I love.
"There's always incentive," Owens added. "You want to break one every week - no matter if you have history (with a team) or not."
I'm sure he secretly hopes that he lights them up! Would be awesome if he could score a TD or two against them.
That veteran Anton McKenzie holds such a belief about players like rookie Solomon Elimimian is even more remarkable when you realize that putting Elimimian on the field could come at his expense.
"We've got to get him back on the field," McKenzie said of the 23-year-old rookie, who watched practice for a second straight day with an ankle injury suffered when he tried to make a tackle on Andre Durie of the Toronto Argonauts in Friday's 24-20 loss.
"He's a great kid. We talked pretty much all week going over things for last week. It's too bad he's hurt and both of us can't be on the field."
Linebacker Mike Johnson (ankle) is also doubtful for Edmonton. Former University of Hawaii linebacker Adam Leonard would take Johnson's spot on the active roster.
Via Patty G, Donovan McNabb talks about spending "Hell Week" in Arizona with some of his teammates, including Colt Brennan.
And McNabb expects that time together -- that so-called Hell Week -- to pay dividends, not just for him, and not just for the receivers, but even for Colt Brennan. "It was truly big for us. It was it was something we'll benefit from I think mid-season toward the end of the year. I think for us coming into camp having kinda an upper-hand -- [knowing] a little bit more about the offense and what Kyle Shanahan likes to do in this offense and in his mindset -- it was easy for myself and Colt because we were just getting out plays, working with each other as well as throwing with the receivers and getting our time in and chemistry there."
Satele and Kia are from Mililani while Hunter hails from just outside Honolulu. Although Hunter understands the transition that Kia and Satele might be facing, he believes that they’ll soon get used to the East Coast and that he can help make the cross-country experiment easier on them.
“It feels good just talking from experience,” Hunter said. “When I went to Jacksonville from Seattle, we had about three or four guys who were from Hawaii so it made that transition much easier for me. I’m assuming they feel the same way. When they first came here, they brought me a sweater from Hawaii. It was nice because you got that aloha spirit roaming around the locker room, which is what I always missed from Hawaii. Just having that island connection just makes our connection better.”
David Veikune is one more linebacker with something to prove. He was lost last season.
Part of the blame for that is on the coaches. He was a defensive end in college (Hawaii) and the Browns worked him at inside and outside linebacker. He played in 10 games last year and never made a tackle.
Veikune got heavy last year and was pushing 270 pounds. He lost 20 pounds and is concentrating on inside linebacker. He and fellow second-year linebacker Kaluka Maiava will back up Jackson and Fujita.
Caveat: if you're a defensive back, please do NOT catch Greg Salas.
Tsai talks to Salas, who along with Vaughn Meatoga, represented UH at the WAC Preview.
"There's no added pressure," Salas said of the UH-generated promotions. "I like it. It's fun. I'm confident in my abilities, but I was able to do what I did last year because our team helped me out."
During the interview session, each player was stationed at his own table. From a few feet away, Meatoga watched as reporters huddled around Salas.
"I have a website, too," Meatoga said, smiling. "It's called Facebook.com."
Heyohhhh! Meatoga talks about how offseason conditioning has been with Tommy Heffernan at the helm:
Heffernan, who replaced Mel deLaura as the lead strength coach, implemented a strict offseason workout program.
"It was like night and day," Meatoga said. "A lot of people took it upon themselves to get bigger and stronger and faster."
Aside from the season opener against USC, all UH games will be on PPV this year. When I was a little kid, I became a huge UH fan because I just happened to catch games on TV for free. I just hope we aren't losing too many future UH fans because it's all behind a pay-wall.
Rick Snider of the Washington Examiner writes that Colt Brennan will need to beat out career backup Richard Bartel for the 3rd QB spot or he'll get cut. Seems like it's a foregone conclusion that Rex Grossman is #2.
Watch this duel over the preseason. New coach Mike Shanahan plays no favorites. Indeed, don't be surprised to see a couple more unexpected names leave in late August after an offseason Black Friday purge that claimed 10 veterans like Randy Thomas, Cornelius Griffin and Fred Smoot.
Shanahan inherited Brennan and that's a huge difference over drafting him. Brennan was the choice of Vinny Cerrato, whose late draft choices were just one of 698,065 reasons why he was finally fired in December.
Bartel is a carryover, too. However, he gained much of the offseason work while Brennan recovered from surgery. Shanahan already senses what Bartel can do after an impressive offseason. But preseason games will decide who stays. Both figure to get plenty of snaps as the Redskins won't risk McNabb beyond the minimum.
I think this is just Rick Snider's way of getting links and hits from the Cult of Colt. But I'm too smart to fall for his tricks! Ahahah, oh wait..
Of all the position battles that will take place in August, the open cornerback spot should be the most intriguing.
"We learned a lot from last year. I know I did,'' Mouton said. "When you are thrown in there like that, you don't know what to expect, and we had to go through the struggles. But now we've learned a lot. From last year to this year I have gained a lot of confidence, and you have to have confidence in this game.
"We're all friends and we're competing. But we all have our eyes on the job.''
...while the New England special teamers struggled for a good bulk of the 2009 season, the Hawaii product was essentially flawless from start to finish, never blowing a single snap in his rookie season. He’s not Lonie Paxton yet, but for where he is in the overall development of his career, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Ingram has certainly proven his worth to the franchise.
Stephen Tsai conducts a Q&A with Greg McMackin. Here's a quote about promoting Dave Aranda to defensive coordinator:
"I feel he's an outstanding coach. He knows the package as well as anybody. He's a brilliant guy, and a well-informed guy. He's always working to get smarter in football, going to pro camps and going to clinics and calling people, and watching tapes. We sort of shared the duties the past couple of years, as far as calls at certain points. I have no doubt he's ready to go. He made a good percentage of the calls from halfway last season, and I have complete confidence in him."
Among changes for the stadium's 36th year of operation, according to officials:
» a new LED "Aloha Vision" video board
» touches of "Warrior green" paint
» a whole sideline of new seats in the orange level of the mauka side
» repaired steps and new hand railings
» "reduced bounce" pedestrian bridges
» a new roof
» reinforced structural framing
» a new south plaza concession stand
However, a potentially huge money maker for UH is not happening right now:
Construction of luxury suites and sky boxes has been proposed, but no funds have yet been allocated, officials said.
Te'o redshirted as a freshman in 2009. In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, Te'o will not be allowed to play in any games for the Warriors this season. But he may practice, attend meetings and work out with UH teammates.
Te'o rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a Kahuku senior in 2005.
Here's his senior year highlights:
Tsai talked to Bengals backup QB Jordan Palmer, who's been working out with the UH receivers. Palmer had some good things to say:
Palmer said he was impressed with the receivers, particularly senior slotbacks Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares.
"Greg has a lot of talent," Palmer said. "He's easy to throw to. He's a big guy (6 -foot-2) who gets it, 'get it' meaning he understands football, he understands routes. I say 'come flat on this,' he knows what I'm talking about. He seems like a real cerebral player. I've known him for only two days, but it seems he knows every route, every position, every coverage. Guys like that have a real opportunity to make it in the NFL."
Tsai also writes that former UH defensive lineman Mike Lafaele helped out with summer workouts.
Associate athletic director Carl Clapp said UH anticipates spending $423,357 in airfare, room, board, transfers and other expenses on the trip.
UH is contracted to receive $350,000 for its West Point appearance and $500,000 for the game in Boulder, Colo.
In Warriors in the Pros news, Chad Owens had a quiet game with 1 catch for 7 yards, 4 punt returns for 41 yards and 1 kick return for 15 yards in the Toronto Argonauts' 24-20 victory over the BC Lions. On the other side of the field, Solomon Elimimian had just one tackle, but also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.
Solomon Elimimian, who had a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in the game, was also injured.
Earlier, Lemon left the game temporarily after he was cranked in the ribs by Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian. But the Argo QB returned and put on a gutsy closing display to give the Argos the win.
"I got him in the best place I could," Elimimian said of Lemon. "I'm glad he's okay. It's football. And he's a football player. He was under duress all night. We wanted to make him feel uncomfortable."
Brennan and McNabb have been working out together at Fischer Sports, studying the playbook, going through the same sets of drills. And that will continue this week, when some of their other teammates arrive for "Hell Week."
This is Brennan's first offseason working out with Fischer. Early in the process, Brennan felt some discomfort in his right knee and had minor arthroscopic surgery to clean up his meniscus. That means that entering just his third year in the league, Brennan has now had scopes on his right hip, left hip, right knee and left knee.
Despite all the work, we're hearing that Brennan feels as healthy as he has since college, and Fischer reports that the quarterback's recent workouts show no signs of pain or injury.
"He's really working hard to take his game to the next level," Fischer said. "He looks great.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com profiles Seattle assistant special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich.
McBride is 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. He said he was timed at 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He drew interest -- but not scholarship offers -- from UCLA and Tennessee last fall. Both had hoped he would have been able to transfer in January.
McBride said he kept in contact with UH associate head coach Rich Miano. Because the Warriors used up their allotment of scholarships for 2010, McBride was told he could join as a preferred walk-on.
"If I want a scholarship (in 2011), they told me I would have to work for it," McBride said. "I'm all for it. I don't mind. When I first got to (Mendocino), they told me I had to earn a starting job. I worked hard for it. It's the same with this. I know it's better for me to work hard for something than to be given something. I'm going to work hard."
Season tickets for the 2010 University of Hawai‘i football season go on sale Monday, July 19. Fans can purchase season tickets online at HawaiiAthletics.com, visit the Stan Sheriff Center Box Office (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.) or call 944-2697 during the same hours.
In WitP news, Solomon Elimimian had 6 tackles in his first start for the BC Lions on Friday.
Chad Owens had 3 catches for 35 yards, 7 kick returns for 129 yards, and 6 punt returns for 31 yards as Toronto beat Calgary on Wednesday. He also caught a 2-point conversion near the end of the game to seal the win:
Q: What advice would you give to a young football player? A: The best advice I could give to a young football player is never let someone tell you that you can’t do something. If you have a goal, hold on to it and strive for it no matter what. For me, it was always “he’s too small, he’s not strong enough, he’s not fast enough” and I guess that’s what motivated me. Education has got to come first and foremost but just go for it.
But at Hawaii, where he is currently listed as the No. 1 left guard entering the 2010 season, Leonard could prove to be more dynamic; he's expected to see some time at center after one his teammates suffered an injury during spring practice.
"I'll be starting somewhere. I may see some snaps at center in camp, but left guard is where I'll probably end up at," Leonard said.
With zero offers on the table just two years prior, Leonard now had a choice - Kansas, Cal, Marshall, Nevada, UTEP and San Diego State all pined for his services.
But it was Hawaii's locale, culture and passion that intrigued Leonard, who visited Honolulu for his very first trip, and decided not to visit anywhere else.
"You always kind of wonder what could have happened, but I definitely have no regrets with a place where I could start for two years," Leonard said. "The culture is something you don't see too much in Hollister, and the support of the fans was a big thing.
A year ago, Siaki Cravens left Utah, which will join the Pac-10 in the near future. Now he is an outside linebacker for the Warriors.
“No regrets at all,” Cravens said. “Nothing against Utah, but it wasn’t a good fit for me. I moved on. I’m 10 times happier here than in Utah, and I’ve only been here a week Definitely no regrets. I love it here. This was one of the best decisions I made.”
The Metz Photography blog has some photos of Greg Salas that should be appearing in HawaiiAthletics.com promotional material sometime soon.
For their new mandatory $50-per-semester fee, students will receive admission to home UH athletic events by showing their ID card. The athletic department said it will make 5,000 seats available at Aloha Stadium, 515 at the Sheriff Center and 225 at Les Murakami Stadium.
Athletic director Jim Donovan said those will not be "hard" numbers and his department will consider increasing them if student interest dictates, based upon availability.
For a football game that figures to sell out, Donovan said it would be difficult for the department to allocate additional seats for students. But if a sellout isn't projected, and 6,000 or more students show up, "we'd probably wave them in and hope they enjoy themselves."
MISSISSAUGA -- The Toronto Argonauts football club would like to congratulate WR/KR Chad Owens on being named a unanimous selection as CFL Special Teams Player of the Week for CFL Week 2. This is Owens’ first CFL Special Teams Player of the Week award.
Playing in just his second game as an Argonaut, Owens accumulated a career-high 302 all-purpose yards against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. He had four kickoff returns for 103 yards, five punt returns for 52 yards, 2 receptions for 30 yards and one missed field goal return which he ran back 117 yards for a touchdown. The missed field goal return was the first of his football career.
Entering week 3, Owens leads the league in punt return yards (168, 16.8 AVG), and is currently second overall in combined yards with 469. In his first game of the season on Canada Day, Owens blazed 90 yards for his first punt return touchdown. He currently leads the Argos with 428 total yards and two touchdowns.
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound Owens is as quick as a waterbug, and for the first time since Dominique Dorsey was healthy two years ago, the Argos have a returner who is a threat every time he fields the football.
When Argos head coach Jim Barker worked for Calgary, he tried to pry Owens from Montreal, but finally was able to do so when he sent a fourth-rounder in 2011 to the Alouettes. While he was at the University of Hawaii, Owens set an NCAA record for a season with five punt-return TDs in 2004.
“Two returns in two weeks (for touchdowns)?” offensive guard Taylor Robertson said.
“He’s a hell of a player. No one knows what is going to happen when he gets the ball. He needs a crease about three-inches wide, and he can break it any time.”
“He just has a knack for it and he has a tremendous amount of confidence,” Barker said. “He’s the ultimate warrior.”
But Owens just sees himself as a guy having fun.
“I feel like I’m in college again,” said Owens, a sixth-round draft pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars after a record-tying career at the University of Hawaii that included eight return TDs. “The reason I say that is because I’m just out here having fun, playing the game I love with no pressure. When I’m like that, I’m at my best.”
Last week, he returned a punt 90 yards for a TD against Calgary. Last Friday, he returned a missed field goal for 117 yards against Winnipeg helping lead the Argonauts to a surprising victory over the Blue Bombers. In his first two games with Toronto, Owens has accumulated over 300 yards in punt and kickoff returns. Now, the door also has opened for him to play as a wide receiver, due to his having caught three catches during the games.
Quines, who is 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, said he will attend Arizona Western, a junior college in Yuma, Ariz. Lolohea will attend UH-West Oahu for a year with the intent of transferring to UH-Manoa next June.
Quines said he did not meet the academic requirements to play for the Warriors this season.
He said he decided to enroll at Arizona Western, where he will receive a football scholarship.
Because he is a non-qualifier, Quines needs to earn an associate's degree to transfer to an NCAA Bowl Championship Subdivision school.
Quines said it is his wish to play for the Warriors in 2012.
"I want to take care of business and come back home," Quines said. "I want to play for Hawaii."
Ferd Lewis writes that the Board of Regents will vote Thursday on whether UH can impose a $50-a-semester fee on students to help support the UH Athletics Department.
Hinshaw said the proposed $50 fee, if approved, will begin in January with the spring 2011 semester and will go to help underwrite "scholarships, travel and subsistence, materials and supplies, and other expenses directly beneficial to student-athletes, but not on compensation and benefits for the staff."
The root of this situation is a warped set of values. It's caused here largely by UH athletics being the biggest sports show, by far, on the world's most isolated land mass. The students are rightfully more concerned about school than their school's teams, but too many people -- some in power -- can't or don't want to understand that, and UH is taking advantage of it.
This is like me telling my 15-year-old niece, "Hey, I know you'd rather see 'Eclipse,' but we're going to 'Predators.' Oh, and give me $30. I'll drive and buy you some popcorn you might or might not want."
This year’s Hawaii team will be the textbook definition of fun-bad. The offense will put up a bazillion yards, the defense will give up yards and points by the bucketload, and Warrior games will once again be late night appointment television for college football fans looking to close out their Saturdays (and start off their extremely early Sunday mornings) with a bang.
There are major concerns on the line, especially the offensive front, and pass protection and pass rush will both be ongoing issues. However, there are enough good pieces in place to be Hawaii again with a loaded receiving corps, one of the WAC’s most experienced secondaries, and more athleticism and speed across the board than the program has had in a long time.
There's also separate previews focusing on the UH offense and defense.
Matagisila Lefiti, who was projected to be the No. 1 center, said he might miss the first three games while recovering from surgery on his left foot. He said he suffered the injury when a teammate “rolled” onto his foot during the spring game. He underwent surgery in mid-May, and was told the rehabilitation period was about four months. “I should be ready mid-September,” Lefiti said.
"Our job is football," said offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli, a gifted musician who turned down an opportunity to work as a luau entertainer this summer. "I could have played (music), but I thought it was more important to focus on training."
"I would rather work out than make money," Smith said. "We want to win the WAC. That's our goal, not making extra money."
But walk-on players, like cornerback Kawika Ornellas, need to work to pay for tuition and school expenses. Ornellas has a part-time job at a retail clothing store in Pearlridge.
"It's relaxing, chilling in an air-conditioned room," Ornellas said. "I fold clothes, work the register, talk to people. I try to sell things."
"We really like Brashton," New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said of former University of Hawaii linebacker Brashton Satele.
Pettine said the Jets coaches are impressed with Satele, who was signed to a free-agent contract after playing well in a tryout in May.
"He's certainly a guy who has all of the tools to do it," Pettine said. "What impresses us is he's a three-down linebacker. A lot of linebackers can only play first and second downs. They don't have the coverage ability on third down. It's pretty obvious, from what he showed us, he can cover most tight ends, and he can cover most guys."
Former Warrior and current 49er Travis LaBoy, who's been working out at UH, offered pass-rushing tips to some current Warriors.
LaBoy is here on a vacation that ends today. He has been working out daily at UH in preparation for the start of the 49ers' training camp in three weeks. After observing the players-only practice, he decided to offer some advice.
"He's been through a lot," Umu said. "Having him talk to us means a lot."
LaBoy emphasized remaining focused, even while performing basic drills.
"If you're not aware in practice, you're not going to be aware in the game," LaBoy said. "If you're not aware in the game, you might get your head knocked off. It's always good to know what's going on."
David Veikune is moving up the Cleveland Browns' depth chart.
Veikune has lost 20 pounds since last season and weighs about 235. By playing with the starters, the coaches thought he'd either begin to look like a guy who can grow -- or appear overmatched. No one is saying Veikune will start, but he definitely has moved up the depth chart to the point where he should see action.
And via LizKauai, "flabbylovehandle" pokes fun at the Cult of Colt Brennan:
Sounds of (not so little) feet running around the turf on Lower Campus road. Music to my ears. In unsupervised workouts, the players held an 11 on 11 scrimmage as reported by Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser.
"As the older players, we have to take charge," said defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga, a fourth-year junior who helps coordinate the Warriors' players-only workouts.