About how camp is about to begin, Mack said:
“It’s all business now.” (HA)
About their available QBs, Mack said:
“They’ve been working out all summer. Inoke has played for three years. We’ll have them ready for the (Florida) game.” (HA)
About having Dana LeDuc (St. Louis Rams’ strength and conditioning coach) teach seminars on training techniques, Mack said:
“Dana is the best in the game. He helped us a lot and he gave us some really good ideas.” (HA)
About doing football-specific running drills instead of the 220s (10 sprints of 220 yards within a set time limit) at the end of the first practice, Mack said:
“We’re all going to condition as a team.” (HA)
About how they will spend the early part of training camp preparing to cope with the heat in Gaineville on August 30 (one Web site forecasts 97% humidity), Mack said:
“Because of the experience I’ve had in Miami, I know the humidity will be a factor we have to deal with. We’re going to work in that direction. We’re going to start over-hydrating our guys on the first day of camp. We’ll teach them how to battle the humidity.” (HA)
HA Note: “McMackin said all of the offensive and defensive concepts will be implemented in the next two weeks. Starting Aug. 18, the Warriors will work specifically on plays that will be used against Florida.”
HA Note: “Funaki excelled in spring training, and is regarded as a threat on rollouts. He assumed a leadership role during unsupervised workouts, mentoring Alexander and Rausch. The three are adjusting to taking snaps under center, a technique UH will use about 50 percent of the time this season. It was in the shotgun most of the previous nine years. Alexander and Rausch also came from shotgun offenses. Taking direct snaps keeps defensive ends from “jetting” — no-pause pass rushes without regard for the run — and gives the quarterback a better view of the defensive formations. The key is to read while retreating. The three spent the summer working on their footwork.”
HA Note: “Wright-Jackson’s yards-per-carry average of 6.6 was fourth-best among Division I-A running backs last season. He spent the summer improving his strength (he gained eight pounds and now weighs 218), and reviewing the old highlight tapes. He wants to run with “explosion,” as he did as an All-America high school back. He worked on running “lower,” a form that should help him break more attempted ankle tackles. It has been well documented that Libre’s emergence as a speed back coincided with LASIK surgery for his deteriorating vision. Libre’s grandparents founded Aloha Laser Vision. Libre led Division I-A running backs with a 8.3 yards-per-rush average; he also averaged 1.3 broken tackles per carry.”
About how he deferred to Samson in 2006 and Colt in 2007 but will lead the offense now, John Estes said:
“I know I can ease into that role. If I see something wrong, I’m not going to keep it to myself.” (HA)
About a play he remembers Pisa making, Cal Lee said:
“I saw him rush the quarterback, almost getting him before he threw the ball. Guess who made the play downfield? I’m not talking about a little screen. Pisa ran down and made the tackle. That was amazing.” (HA)
Cal Lee said that Veikune and Fonoti have type of “motor that doesn’t stop running”:
“They keep going and going. It’s not a matter of ‘one, two, oops, I’m blocked.’ These two have a great motor that never stops until the play is over.” (HA)
HA Note: “Veikune was listed as a reserve last season, but he actually tallied the most plays of all of the defensive ends. He was named to the All-WAC first team.”
About Fonoti, Cal Lee compared him to Al and Falaniko Noga:
“He’s a Noga-type guy. He’ll make big plays because he’s athletic.” (HA)
About Sol, Cal Lee said:
“He’s another coach out there.” (HA)
About Blaze, considered to be their hardest hitter, Cal Lee said:
“He hits like a bull.” (HA)
HA Note: “For a change of scenery, Kelly worked out at San Francisco State’s soccer stadium. There are six staircases on each sideline stands. He raced up and down each one, then sprinted to the other side, and sprinted and down those stairs. He started by doing five cycles each day. By the end of the month, he was up to seven cycles. He also participated in weight sessions designed to improve his lower-body strength. The 6-foot-3 Kelly now weighs 225. (He was 180 at the end of the 2005 training camp.) At the Snap-Hold-Kick competition in Fontana, Calif., Kelly won the long-drive award with a 59-yard field goal and was second in the kicking contest, making 9 of 10 field-goal attempts.”
About how they are excited that the season is about to start, Ron Lee said:
“I know all the coaches are excited to get on the field and get started. I looked at our calendar and we’ve leaving on the 26th of this month. It’s just like, oh my gosh, we’ve got to start going. It’s going to be so fast.” (HSB)
About how he’s looking to fill their open spots in camp, Ron Lee said:
“I felt pretty good after spring. I’m anxious to see where we’re at when we start on Monday. We have a lot of spots open and that’s what I’m anxious to start looking at.” (HSB)
Asked if he has any secrets about how he appears fit and relaxed and continue to be personable and friendly despite a hectic schedule, Mack said:
“These past six months have been fast and fun. I’ve really enjoyed meeting the people, speaking at things, getting to know everybody. I’ve enjoyed meeting with the coaches, spring ball, everything we’ve done. We’ve done a lot of things in the past six months. I’m really proud of my staff and our players. I’ve been meeting a lot of people of Hawaii.” (HSB)
Asked if he had any time to take a breather and get away from everything, Mack said:
“Not really. It’s been good to get the family here. Shannon, my daughter, is coming in August because the animals are still in quarantine. The horse is here, another animal is finishing up quarantine. They have three dogs and one cat. We have one cat. And they have a horse. We found a really nice place for them, so everything’s really set that way. We haven’t really been able to get away or anything, but that will happen later on. There’s too much to do to get away now.” (HSB)
Asked if he’s ever been more excited heading into a season, Mack said:
“You know, I’m excited about it. But, to me, I’m doing the same thing I’ve done for a lot of my career. There are just more kids involved. We’ve got a good system, I’ve got a great athletic director. It’s been a pretty good transition. I’ve wanted to be a head coach at the Division I level. It’s a blessing because not only do I get to live in the best place, but I’ve got good coaches, I’ve got a lot of respect for the players. We’ve got great fans and the administration’s been very supportive. Summer school for the players. Getting video equipment that’s up to date. The money is there for the (practice) field.” (HSB)
Asked about his philosophy regarding contract heading into camp, Mack said:
“I’ve always believed in practicing pro style. I believe you have to practice full-speed. You’ll remember in spring we were in full pads often. You need to practice full-speed because you practice how you play. I still want to protect them. We lost Karl Noa last year with a shoulder injury when we went out with just helmets. It’s important we save their legs, too. As far as practice goes, everything’s going to be full-speed, no tackle.
I feel we’re a good tackling team. We’ll always work on tackling, fundamentals, offensive blocking. It’s all not-to-the-ground. When you go to the ground that’s when you have guys falling on each other and hurting each other, knees. Even our one-on-ones. We’ll go full-speed in pads or shells, but we don’t go to the ground. That’s the key. In the games you go to the ground. I believe in a lot of reps. We’re going to get a lot of reps. Everything we do is a system, so we need to get a lot of reps. The more reps we get the better we’re going to be.
We’re an attacking package, offensively we’re attacking. We’re going to be a big-play offense. And on defense we’re looking to make plays. Make big plays offensively and defensively. It’s what you’ve heard me say before defensively. The big things are tackles for loss, interceptions, sacks. I’m not as concerned about yardage. It depends how much somebody has the ball. Scoring and keeping the (opponents’) score down. But I’m not a big yards guy.” (HSB)
Asked what he learned from spring practice and the summer that he can apply now, Mack said:
“Obviously our veterans are back on defense. We lost some good players, but we really have all of our starters back on defense even though we lost some good players. Offensively we lost some quality players. I think the strength of our offense is the offensive line. I think John Estes is one of the top centers in the country. He makes us so much better because he sees things and calls things. Guard is more of a natural position for Keith AhSoon. (Keoni) Steinhoff was excellent last year. He’s a solid, good player. We want to get more players in the game, as we did on defense last year. We want to get eight or more offensive linemen who play in a ballgame.
We want to always play our best players, not just because a guy’s a nice kid.
We want to play more receivers in a game because their legs will go if they’re running full-speed the whole game.
If a guy can help us win the game, we’re going to get him in the game at a certain point, and in the fourth quarter we’re a lot better.” (HSB)
Asked about the WRs, Mack said:
“Our slots, I really feel good about. They’ve been there three years, and adding (Kealoha) Pilares to them. Aaron Bain made catches all over the place against us (in practice). These guys aren’t bad. They know the offense and can make plays.
(Ryan) Henry will be special, and (Dustin) Blount and (Jovonte) Taylor can flat out run.” (HSB)
Asked if there is a different feeling with the team after last year, Mack said:
“Every team has its own personality. That’s why after (last Thursday) I’m not wearing this (2007 WAC championship) ring. That was last year’s team. This year’s team, our saying is be humble and be hungry. That’s what this year’s team has to do. What people don’t realize, they don’t think much of us, there’s a coaching change, we lost a lot of players, is that we’ve still got a large portion of our team is defending champions. I think there’s a great confidence. The other thing is it’s a large senior class. A lot of leaders.
Three goals. Graduate 100 percent. Win the WAC every year. Go to a bowl game. That’s what (the players) say. They’re going to win the WAC.” (HSB)
Asked if he can talk about how he approaches the season strategically, Mack said:
“I look at us as a team really getting better the first three games and then we have a bye. It’s really important that we get better, make decisions and then go into the WAC.
I look at us really getting better every week.
We’ve already in the spring worked on Weber State and Oregon State.
It doesn’t matter who we’re playing. When we get our base packages in, then we’ll start working on Florida. We worked on them a little bit in the spring, we’re practicing to get our packages in on all three phases of our game. Then we start game-planning after that.” (HSB)
Asked if he’s much more confident with taking snaps under center with John Estes back, as they had problems when he was hurt in the spring, Mack said:
“We played six quarterbacks under center, and John wasn’t there. That’s regular football. The offense really moved the ball and played well the last two weeks of spring. I have complete confidence in our coaches and personnel. We’re going to be an attacking offense and a big-play offense.” (HSB)
Asked to talk about the key position battles, Mack said:
“I think our special teams are really solid. We’ve got the best snapper in the country, we’ve got one of the best kickers, Dan Kelly, a punter that’s very good and a bunch of returners.
The offensive line, we have three starters back. The other two positions are wide open. Three guys going for left tackle. Two for guard.
Quarterback’s wide open. Running back, really everything’s open. When guys show they can play the game, competition is what makes you better. Even at middle linebacker. We’ve got to find a way to get Brashton Satele on the field. Outside backer. Just like we did with Brad (Kalilimoku) last year and I did with those guys in San Francisco. Rest Solly (Elimimian), play him outside and rest Adam (Leonard).
It’s more finding the two best at each position and then playing the best player.” (HSB)
Asked how he saw their secondary, especially with how they are very deep at safety, Mack said:
“I think we’re really sitting good. We’ve got Keao (Monteilh) and Desmond (Thomas), E-Rob (Erik Robinson), and the guy, Silva. Mana Silva. I was really impressed. Kenny Estes. He had a good spring and he’s a smart kid. And Vili. He’s in the mix.
Dane Porlas, too.
Since I’ve been here, it’s the most talented group of corners we’ve had. (Ryan) Mouton and Jameel (Dowling), a 6-3 corner who can run. He’s quick, smart. J.P. (JoPierre Davis) and Calvin Roberts. I feel like we have depth at corner for the first time.” (HSB)
Asked if the players will be living in the dorms or in the dance studios like recent years for fall camp, Mack said:
“I was thinking of the dorm, but the players bond by staying together. We’re going to stay in the dance studio. At first way back, it was a financial thing. This puts them all on the same level.” (HSB)
Asked if LWJ is ready to live up to his potential, Mack said:
“I think he’s an outstanding player. Every time I’m making adjustments (in practice) he’s getting a big gain. I think he’ll be one of the top backs in the WAC. He, and (Daniel) Libre’s a changeup, then we got a couple of power backs.
I’d like to have one or two guys be the guys. I don’t want to be predictable, and I don’t want to play a bunch of guys to play a bunch of guys.” (HSB)
Asked to describe his in-game demeanor, Mack said:
“You have to stay calm. I’ve found if you’re a crazy guy on the sideline you don’t know what’s going on. If you lose it arguing with the refs you don’t call the game as well.
Of course, it’s different when I’m talking to the team (before the game or at halftime).
That’s my responsibility. Get the team ready. The whole team ready.” (HSB)