Archive for April, 2007

Quote about Ikaika from a Detroit paper

April 30, 2007

Detroit GM Millen said about Ikaika:
“That’s not to say you’re disappointed with the players you took. Those are good football players. But the fact that people don’t know who Ikaika Alama-Francis is, they’ll find out.” (Detroit Free Press)

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Some notes about the draft

April 29, 2007

Interesting note about Reagan. He’s been drafted to be their “FB of the future.” Miami signed a 13-year vet (he was the FB at Detroit last year) and want Reagan to take over the starting job eventually. So, they have big plans for Reagan!

Quote from Reagan:
“I played nose guard before I went to fullback,” said Mauia. “I was big back then, about 351 [pounds]. I ended up converting to fullback and played last year at 290, 300. I recently decided to make the move to lose more weight so I could be more effective on the next level.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

By the way, Samson and Mauia will probably someday be protecting Miami’s “QB of the future” that they took in the 2nd round…the QB from BYU. Having UH linemen picked to protect a BYU QB is interesting to me, because I grew up hoping that every BYU QB would be knocked around by the defense. See: Detmer after he won the Heisman and got really “congratulated” by the UH D.

The LA Times has short mentions of each draft pick.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/football/nfl/la-spw-roundtwo29apr29,1,3035688.story?page=6&coll=la-headlines-sports-nfl

About Ikaika:

Francis is the son of former Green Bay quarterback Joe Francis, who played behind Bart Starr in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Jerry Glanville, Hawaii’s defensive coordinator, called Francis “the most talented defensive lineman I’ve ever coached.”

About Samson:

Satele holds the school record with 53 consecutive starts. That streak was the longest among all active players in the NCAA Division I-A ranks in 2006.

Nice bio of Samson in the Miami Herald.

http://64.246.64.33/merge/tsnform.aspx?c=miami2&page=nfl/draft/2007/bio.aspx?p=6525

Moved to center as a senior because of a team need at the position…One of the premier interior pass protectors at the collegiate level…2005 & 2006 First Team All-WAC performer…Held his main assignment to zero tackles in seven of the 14 games that Hawaii played in ’06…Started all 53 games that he played at UH…177 career knockdown blocks, including 65 as a senior…As steady a performer as there is in this draft…Thick build with low center of gravity makes it difficult to be pushed backward…Great balance and quickness for a big man…Plays with the type of mean streak that coaches love…An emotional leader who works exceptionally hard…One of the most underrated players in this draft…Could be a true steal.

It looks like the Dolphins shuffled their starting offensive line after they picked Samson, replacing their starting LT (with their starting RT) and possibly moving their starting RG to RT. That seems to possibly open a starting RG spot for Samson. Of particular interest to me is that the Dolphins didn’t shuffle their OL around until after they picked Samson.

Cameron woke up the weary media when in his first-day draft wrap-up he announced that incumbent starting right tackle Vernon Carey is now the left tackle. Does that mean L.J. Shelton moves from right guard to right tackle? Or possibly newcomer Mike Rosenthal?

Samson, who by the way has shoulder-length hair and laughed at the suggestion that one should never cut Samson’s hair, could step in and give Joe Toledo a tussle for a guard spot.

If we compare UH’s draft with the Pac-10, WAC and MWC results, things are very impressive right now. It looks like UH had more draft picks in the first 2 rounds than 9 of the 10 teams in the Pac-10 and ALL of the teams in the MWC and WAC.

When you consider that Colt would have definitely been drafted in the 1st 2 rounds and Rivers might have been also, UH’s total could have been even more impressive. Next year with Colt, Rivers, and maybe another player or two, UH will have another impressive top of the draft.

If ESPN is correct, Detroit sure wanted to get Ikaika. To get New Orleans’ 58th pick, Detroit gave up their 66th pick and a 5th round pick.

So, to move up 8 spots in the draft, they gave up a 5th round pick. If they hadn’t wanted Ikaika so much they would have just kept their pick and hoped he was still there at #66.

Quotes about Samson and Ikaika being drafted

April 29, 2007

About his reaction to being drafted, Ikaika said:
“I just broke down. I couldn’t save any tears. It was an amazing thing.” (HA)

About his reaction to being drafted, Samson said:
“After I talked to the Miami guy, I saw my dad and gave him a big hug. And then everything just came out. All of my tears just came out. It took me an hour to recover.” (HA)

Not being overconfident after projections had said he’d be drafted on Saturday (rounds 1-3), Samson said:
“You never know.” (HA)

About his anticipation for the draft, Samson said:
“I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up more than 24 hours. I drove around at 4 o’clock in the morning. I went to Fast Stop and got a couple of Red Bulls. I thought (the draft) started at 5. It started at 6. I had to wait another hour.” (HA)

About how Ikaika couldn’t take the tension of watching the draft, his father Joe Francis (who played for the Packers) said:
“I turned around, and he was gone. I said, ‘Where’s Ikaika?’ They told me he had to leave.” (HA)

About how he went to the driving range with former UH punter Kurt Milne during the draft, Ikaika said:
“I was going crazy, man. I had to do something. I couldn’t take it anymore.” (HA)

About how his cell phone rang soon after he got to the driving range, Ikaika said:
“It was a 313 number. I thought, ‘This could be it.’ I answered the phone, and the voice on the other end said: ‘Welcome to the Motor City.’ I started going crazy. I started screaming and yelling. And then I started giving away my golf balls. I just bought a bucket and I’m like, ‘I don’t care.’ ” (HA)

About watching the draft, Samson said:
“It was nerve-wracking. I had my hat down low. My pillow was covering my face. I tried not to look at the TV. I was sitting there for a long time. It was a long wait.” (HA)

About how there was a slight panic when ESPN’s draft coverage ended, until they realized that the coverage had moved to ESPN2, Samson said:
“All we had to do was click the channel button, and everything was better.” (HA)

About being drafted by the Dolphins, Samson said:
“I know I have a lot of work to do, but I’m so happy I was drafted. It’s so hard to explain.” (HA)

“I am speechless right now. I am so happy for Ikaika and I’m praying for our other boys (to be drafted). Anywhere would have been good, but I was pretty sure it was going to be Miami. They had the most interest and I love their coach. I’ve never been there, but I think it will be easy to get used to.” (HSB)

Ikaika, who will report to Detroit’s mini-camp on Thursday, talked about being drafted:
“It’s a dream come true. I never thought I’d be in this position. Never. I mean, what do you know? I’m in the National Football League. Me. Unbelievable.” (HA)

About how Detroit always plays on Thanksgiving, Ikaika said:
“Happy Thanksgiving.” (HA)

Samson, who will leave on Thursday for the Dolphins’ introductory dinner and stay for mini-camp, said about going to Miami:
“It’s going to be a fun ride from now on. I’m going to make my way around Miami and try to find Shaq.” (HA)

Samson’s agent Leo Goeas (former UH and NFL lineman) said about the draft:
“After Kalil got picked, I texted Larry with ‘Miami.’ Then came the call (from the Dolphins) and then his name flashed. He was the first from our company to go (in the draft). There was a lot of jubilation and cheering here. I thought it was really cool that he and Ikaika were so close together. He’s such a great kid whose potential is untapped.” (HSB)

About the draft, Goeas said:
“I think Dane should be the next of my guys to go, probably fourth, fifth round. But the draft is never a perfect science. Esera is right up there and Mel and Nate should go sixth, seventh round. I remember what it was like, the stress of waiting, watching, seeing the clips of players then all of a sudden your phone rings and there’s someone saying, ‘We just took you.’ Sixty seconds it’s on TV.” (HSB)

HSB note: “When watching yesterday, Goeas noticed something else. Both he and Satele were the 60th pick overall on their respective draft days, Goeas going to San Diego in 1990 early in the third round. But the bonus money is a world apart 17 years later. Goeas said he signed for $127,000, while Satele is expecting around $1.1 million.”

About the expected $1.4 mil he’ll get as a signing bonus, Ikaika said:
“I’m going to stash it away. I’ll take care of my family, of course. Having that amount of money … I just want it to be the start of something good.” (HSB)

Happy about how Ikaika and Samson were taken in the 2nd round, JJ said:
“I’m really excited for them and their families. I was hoping they’d go first or second round. And to have them drafted so close to each other got our program a lot of play on ESPN. Sam is going to be a great player. Ikaika is very physical and is only going to get better. I think we’ve got at least four more with a shot Sunday.” (HSB)

About how he watched the draft and is hopeful for his prospects, Nate Ilaoa said:
“I’m doing OK. I’m happy for my teammates, a little surprised about their teams, but happy for them. I’m hoping for the best. I’ll wait and see.” (HSB)

Quotes from Reagan Mauia from before the draft

April 29, 2007

I thank Tombo for finding this article from the Lodi News-Sentinel and posting about it on The Warrior Beat. By the way, if you haven’t visisted Tombo’s blog you are missing the best fan-generated UH Football site that I know of. The link is on the right and the address is uhfootball.blogspot.com.

Asked if he thought he would be drafted, Mauia said:
“Sure, I think I’ll be drafted. I’ve taken a couple of visits and been in contact with teams. I’ve visited Miami, Arizona and the Chargers. I would love to go down to Miami and play for the Dolphins. They’ve shown the most interest in me. Or San Diego. I would love to be under the tutelage of (Chargers fullback) Lorenzo Neal before he retires.” (LNS)

Asked what he planned to do during the draft, Mauia said:
“Go to the beach or work out. I don’t think I can watch. I’m not expected to be drafted, but I’m hoping for the best. I would love to get drafted. I’ve been fighting an uphill battle all my life. But I don’t think I’ll watch. I’ll work out in the morning and then go to the beach. But I’ll have my phone on.” (LNS)

Asked if switching from DL to RB was good for his potential NFL career, Mauia said:
“I believe it was the best move. Coach (June) Jones and I decided to go for it. In the league, physical defensive lineman go about 6-2 and around 300 pounds. Some are as tall as 6-6. (Mauia is 6-0 and currently weighs 270 pounds.) I want to be on the field wherever a coach feels he can use me.” (LNS)

Note: In hindsight JJ was right once again, just like with Ikaika.

Asked about his weight, Mauia said:
“The most I ever weighed was 380, right after a season. I was lifting hard, not running, eating a lot and sitting on my butt.

I came in at 350 pounds at Hawaii. When I moved to fullback I started to lose weight. I played at about 330 the last couple of games in 2005. I was moving OK but thought I could be more powerful playing at a lighter weight. In 2006, I showed up at spring ball weighing 284 pounds. I played my senior season at about 290.

During my pro day workouts (when a school’s draft prospects work out in front of NFL scouts) I weighed in at 270. They thought I could move well, so there’s no need to be any lighter.” (LNS)

Asked what was the most he’s eaten in one sitting, Mauia said:
“I don’t know. Last year my roommate dared me to eat a triple Whopper and a double Whopper from Burger King. I did it. I got sick afterwards, but I won the bet. He dared me and I don’t back down.” (LNS)

Asked if he had any nicknames, Mauia said:
“They call me Juggernaut (from the movie X-Men) around here.” (LNS)

Asked who was his favorite NFL player and why, Mauia said:
“I’d have to say Lorenzo Neal. He’s just a hard-working animal. He’s peaking in his later years. He’s in his prime right now. He’s a beast. I would love to take his spot and continue the fullback tradition, that old-school, hit-you-in-the-mouth football.” (LNS)

Asked how his young son motivates him, Mauia said:
“My son is my biggest motivation. He’s changed the way I look at life. He made realize there’s more to life than just living and dying. He made me a better man. I was just a boy before he came along. I’ve matured. I’ve learned to walk away from fights. It’s the greatest gift a man could ever ask for.” (LNS)

Asked what he would do if the NFL doesn’t work out, Mauia said:
“I’d love to finish my degree and be a juvenile counselor back in the 209 area code.

Growing up I had a lot of conflicts and a lot of people were counselors to me. I would love to give back and help other people do good.

My greatest counselor in high school was coach (John) Hunt. I gave him hell, but he was kept helping me and guiding me down right path

I owe a lot to him. His family is like family to me.” (LNS)

Asked what would be his first purchase if he made it to the NFL, Mauia said:
“I’d probably move my parents from where they are now and get them a nice place. Get them in a safer neighborhood and closer to me. My parents took care of me. Now I want to give back.” (LNS)

Quotes about the new Warrior Defense

April 29, 2007

GM said that the Warrior defense:
“will be a blitzing team. If you were to put our philosophy into words, it’s an attacking, swarming defense that gang tackles and makes big plays with emotion.” (HA)

About how he was able to implement most of his 4-3 defense this Spring, GM said:
“We have smart, coachable players, and they learned everything quickly.” (HA)

“We’ve got in more than we did the first time I was here. These guys are really smart players and have done a great job of picking up things. I’m really excited about this bunch. I threw a lot at them.” (HSB)

About how they might blitz on every play, GM said:
“We’re going to go 11 up and go after some people.” (HA)

About how he developed his aggressive philopsophy while the defensive coordinator at Miami, GM said:
“That came from Jimmy Johnson, trying to get the fastest guys on the field to make plays. Size is the big thing for our two tackles, but everything else is speed. And our tackles can run, too. The main thing is coach (June) Jones allows us to blitz, which a lot of coaches don’t.” (HA)

Praising their DEs (Noa, Purcell, Clore, Veikune, Maka), GM said:
“They’re perfect in this package. They can all run. They can pass rush. They’re all around 250, 260 pounds.” (HA)

About how the starting LBs can stay on the field when they go to the 3-3-5 Okie defense, GM said:
“It gives us an advantage when our linebackers don’t have to leave the field.” (HA)

Note: The nickleback replaces a DT in that scheme.

Praising Patek, GM said:
“He’s learned how to go to the football. He’s doing great.” (HA)

About how they picked up GM’s defense well this Spring, Patek said:
“We got everything done that was on the agenda, and even more than what Coach wanted to put in because we handled it so well. I think we’re going to start off on the right foot and build from there.” (HSB)

About how he’ll spend the next 2 weeks meeting 1-on-1 with each defensive player, GM said:
“I want to get to know all of them a little better.” (HA)

Note: I love that GM will take the time to meet with each player individually!

About how he’s at UH to stay, GM said:
“I’m going to be here as long as June is here. I’m not going anywhere.” (HA)

Asked what he’d do if another school offered him a lucrative deal, GM said:
“If something came up, I’m going to stay right here with June Jones. Fortunately (Texas Tech and the 49ers) did give me a lot of money, and now I’m not as concerned about money. Back then, I had to do that. Now I don’t have to do that. I like it here. I love June Jones. I think he’s the best coach in the country.” (HA)

Quotes from the Spring Ohana Gathering

April 29, 2007

Asked what he meant when he said he liked the person he was becoming in Hawaii when he decided to stay at UH for his senior season, Colt said:
“I think for me, I came here in kind of such crisis in my life, at a time when I was in such crisis, and just trying to grow up and become a man, and mature and everything. I came here kind of as still a kid, I was still growing up. And now I feel kind of like I’ve had a couple years where I’ve been kind of in the spotlight, and really have grown up a lot. And as I’ve been growing up, I just like the person — kind of the morals and the values that Hawaii has, that’s good about it, I kind of like those. I’m really just enjoying the person I’m becoming out here in Hawaii. Not just only as a football player, but as a person as well.” (HSB)

About how they accomplished their goals for Spring Practice, JJ said:
“We got done what we set out to do this spring, looked at a lot of guys. We wanted to make sure we gave everybody an opportunity.” (HSB)

About the line of fans waiting for his autograph, Colt said:
“It was crazy, but obviously if that’s happening you’re doing something right. I was glad to see it.” (HSB)

About having their Ohana Gathering at Aloha Stadium, JJ said:
“The kids get excited to come down to the stadium, and it’s good for the fans to see a lot of the players.” (HSB)

About waiting 90 minutes for Colt to sign a helmet that he says won’t end up on eBay, Steve Lin said:
“It was well worth the wait. Part of something special. He’s an NFL prospect and he’s brought so much attention to Hawaii. Off the field he’s awesome, he seemed like a really nice guy.” (HSB)

About how the autograph sessions started 15 minutes early and ended 20 minutes late, Scott Tanijo (who got his jersey signed with just 5 minutes left in the extended time) said:
“”I heard them talking and they said they would extend to 6:45, so I felt better.” (HSB)

About how there was a long line when they cut off the autograph session, associate AD John McNamara said:
“I think this type of event clearly demonstrated the interest in this year’s football team, so as successful as this event was we’re going to have other opportunities for the fans to come out and meet the players. It was really important for us that we do something that was a way to reach out to the community and allow them to really embrace this year’s football team.” (HSB)

Lynn Davis talked about how her 7-year-old son Justin’s first UH game at Aloha Stadium was the Purdue game:
“It got him fired up and now he wants to go to every game.” (HA)

Justin’s Dad Kevin said abuot the autographs given out at the Gathering:
“I think it’s great that (UH) is doing this. It’s nice to get out, and the kids can get up close to their favorite football players.” (HA)

Lester Kaichi of Aiea said about Colt:
“When I saw Colt at the news conference (announcing his decision to return to UH), by the look on his face I didn’t think he was coming back. I was really surprised and happy.” (HA)

Jennifer Stevens (33) talked about why she and her son Jeremy (9) didn’t mind waiting for an hour for Colt’s autograph:
“We have our reasons.” (HA)

“I think he’s hot. I’m not into football but with a guy like Colt, I think you can bring more females into the game.” (HA)

Asked why he liked Colt, Jeremy said:
“Who?” (HA)

Prompted (by his Mom) that Colt was the player he always watches, Jeremy said:
“Oh. He’s my favorite player.” (HA)

Kevin Lopez talked about how his daughter Brandi (7) is a fan of Colt:
“She likes Colt. She says he’s her boyfriend.” (HA)

Kaena Gascon (14) predicted for UH:
“Win the WAC.” (HA)

Happy they got to meet the fans, Soloman Eliminian said:
“I think it’s great. It’s fun for us to get to know the fans before the season.” (HA)

While signing autographs with his injured right hand Tyler Graunke said:
“It’s getting a little sore.” (HA)

Asked who was the more valuable off-season retention, he or Colt, Bob Nash said:
“I think it’s Colt. I’ll put the pressure on him.” (HA)

Early Quotes about Samson and Ikaika after Day 1 of the NFL draft

April 29, 2007

Asked about his shoulder-length hair, Samson said:
“I’ve been growing it out since I was a little kid.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

About run blocking, Samson said:
“The more reps I do, the more feeling I get back because I did it a lot in high school. I want to be the best player out here. … I’m going to be a rookie, but I’m not going to play like a rookie or practice like a rookie.” (SFSS)

About how his personality changes on the field, Samson said:
“I’m a humble guy off the field. Once I step on the field for practice and games, I just turn into a different guy.” (SFSS)

About competing for playing time during his rookie year, Samson said:
“I want to be the best player out there. They picked me, so I’m going to bust my buns. I’m not going to be a rookie. I mean, I’m going to be a rookie but I’m not going to play like a rookie or practice like a rookie. I’ve going to be a vet out there, like I’ve been in the league. I’m just going to bring everything I’ve got.” (SFSS)

Praising Dolphins’ OL coach Hudson Houk, Samson said:
“He’s a great coach. He worked me out at my Pro Day. I fell in love with the coach … I love to play center. But if he wants me to move to guard, I’ll move to guard.” (SFSS)

About Ikaika, Lions GM Matt Millen said:
“His best stuff is coming. He hasn’t played a lot of football, but what he has played has been impressive.” (Detroit Free Press)

Jerry Glanville called Ikaika:
“the most talented defensive lineman I’ve ever coached.” (LA Times)

Spring Training Position Analysis and Galdeira as the Nickel Back

April 28, 2007

HA Note about the breakdown of special team responsibilities:
“Jeff Reinebold will be in charge of the punt team. George Lumpkin will be in charge of the punt-return unit. Dennis McKnight will handle the place-kicking units, and team with Rich Miano on kickoff returns and kick coverage. McMackin will be in charge of the place-kick defense.”

About how they have completed the training portion of Spring Training, JJ said:
“We’ve done everything we wanted to do.” (HA)

Pleased with the progress the team has made learning his system, GM said:
“We made a lot of improvement. I’ve thrown a lot at these guys, and we still have a lot more to go. But where we are right now, I’m really pleased.” (HA)

About the candidates for the starting right wideout spot, WR coach Ron Lee said:
“C.J. did a good job this spring, and Malcolm got better. It’s between those two guys at the Z (right wideout).” (HA)

Ron Lee also praised wideout Dylan Linkner, saying that he:
“had a really good spring, too.” (HA)

About all of the receivers, Ron Lee singled out a walk on:
“Jon Medeiros could be a surprise.” (HA)

GM said that Guyton Galdeira is a good fit at nickel back:
“And we blitz our nickel a lot.” (HSB)

“I started working Guyton there and he’s been great, and two other guys. Keao (Monteilh), and (Ryan) Perry. They’re all the same kind of guys,” he added. “Smart guys who can blitz, who can do different techniques. Good athletes.” (HSB)

About how he went to Bess for recommendations for their nickel back position:
“He kinda helped make up my mind on that. I asked him, ‘Who are the best corners?’ Because I like a corner being the nickel back. So he named off the first four guys, and I said, ‘OK, I’m looking for a guy who can blitz like a wild man, cover and be technically sound, and is smart, because he’s got to play a linebacker technique, corner technique, safety technique.’ He said, ‘Oh, that’s Guyton.'” (HSB)

About his chance at significant playing time, Galdeira said:
“I’m most definitely excited about this, and I’ve been working hard, ever since the beginning. My only downfall is my height. But (McMackin) sees something in me, so I’m going to work even harder this summer, on my speed, on my jumping ability. Nickel’s a pretty big package for Coach, so hopefully I can fill that spot.” (HSB)

Quotes from the final regular day of Spring Practice (Week 4 Day 4)

April 27, 2007

Ferd had a great note in the Advertiser today:
“Of all the marks UH set last year — and there were 28 NCAA records that fell to the Warriors — this was the most remarkable. Milne’s inactivity blew away one of the oldest existing NCAA standards — and not just by a little. The previous mark was two punts per game, set by Nevada in 1949, according to an NCAA spokesman.” (HA)

Nervous about the draft, Samson Satele said:
“I’m usually a calm person. But I’m telling you, I’m so nervous I can’t even sleep at night.” (HA)

Note: At least Samson and Ikaika shouldn’t have to wait until Sunday to find out if they will be drafted…

About not reading the mock drafts or internet reports, Samson said:
“I took a peek once, and it got me kind of mad. All they do is talk, talk, talk.” (HA)

Note: All scouts do is look for negatives in their evaluations, and they do pick over everything.

About how he lifts weights at UH from 9-11 and does running drills from 3-4:30, Samson added:
“I try to do a lot of stretching. That’s what we learned when we trained in Houston.” (HA)

About how all but a few NFL teams seem to want him to play center, Samson said:
“It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll play guard, wherever.” (HA)

About how he’s watched the televised draft every year, Samson said:
“Now it’s finally my turn. I can’t believe it. It’s weird. My heart is beating faster than ever.” (HA)

About how he went grocery shopping yesterday to prepare for his draft party, Samson said:
“Regular stuff for a barbecue party. It’s going to be a nice family gathering. You know, I’ve been playing football for 15 years,” he added. “The draft is hours away instead of 15 years away. It’s amazing that I’m in this position. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about it.” (HA)

Note: I am so happy for Samson and his family!

About the draft, Nate Ilaoa said:
“I’m just trying to lay low and relax. There’s nothing I can do now. I don’t plan on watching a lot, I’m just waiting to see what happens.” (HSB)

About how the NFL is looking at him at DE, DT, OT, TE, and OLB, Alama-Francis said:
“Hey, I’ll punt if they want me to. The more you can do, the more valuable you are. I’m ready to do whatever they want me to do. I don’t have a choice, anyway.” (HSB)

Note: My personal preference for Ikaika is DE, that is where I think he can best use his skills and that is a huge need (and huge $$) for NFL teams.

Asked how much of a signing bonus he got from the NFL, Ikaika’s Dad Joe laughed and said:
“Such a thing didn’t exist. I drove to Green Bay (from Corvallis, Ore.), paying my own way, and I negotiated a $10,000 contract for that first year. I was just excited about the chance to play pro football.” (HSB)

About Ikaika, his agent Frank Bauer said:
“The thing about Ikaika is this is a big man who can run. And when you look at former basketball players, they usually don’t bring the kind of force he does. On film, he looks like he played football all his life, but he doesn’t have any bad habits.” (HSB)

About the positive feedback he’s been getting lately, Uperesa said:
“The good thing is I’m hearing from a lot of teams. Some of it is agents trying to build up competition between teams. You can’t get your hopes too high or too low. I’ve just got to take it as excitement and nothing else.” (HSB)

About Tala Esera, his agent Max Hannemann said:
“A lot of teams are calling, telling him to be ready. He’s just excited to know where he will end up. With a wife and three children a lot is riding on it for a lot of people.” (HSB)

Asked if he can live up to the legend of himself from the 1999 season, GM laughed and said:
“Now you’ve got me nervous.” (HSB)

About why he left UH (for the highest-paid college assistant coach job in the country), GM said:
“It was just financially, the situation — June even told me I had to go.” (HSB)

Asked why he left Texas Tech, GM said:
“Well, the pros pay a lot, too.” (HSB)

About how he can now settle down in UH since he’s made his money, GM said:
“Now I can do what I want and be with who I want. And I want to be with June, and my wife and I love Hawaii, so now we can do what we want to do. And that’s what I wanted to do in the first place.” (HSB)

“My year in Hawaii, I’ve told June and everybody, was the most magical year of my career. And it was the greatest coaching feeling that I’ve ever had.” (HSB)

About accepting the scholarship offer from UH on his 17th birthday, 6’3″ 195-pound CB (40 time is 4.4) Daniel “Deedle” Smith said:
“It made a good birthday present.” (HA)

About how he might graduate from high school early (he has a 3.5 GPA and already got a qualifying SAT score) and join the team in January 2008, Smith said:
“Coming in early is an option.” (HA)

Smith’s friends had told him to “do what feels right” if he got an offer from UH, and Smith said:
“Hawai’i feels right.” (HA)

About the unofficial visit with his Mom that Smith took to UH 2 weeks ago, Smith said:
“It felt like I was back home. The coaches were very nice. There was great chemistry among the players. The guys seemed like they were really close. It felt like a family.” (HA)

Note: So, UH gets a 6’3″ 195-pound CB with 4.4 speed to commit to them as a junior and he PAID HIS OWN WAY for the recruiting visit to UH. Syracuse, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Illinois, Cornell and Holy Cross are interested in Smith.

About how his family moved to Charlottee last summer, Smith said:
“I love it here. I’m going to love it in Hawai’i, too.” (HA)

About how it wasn’t a hard decision to not enter the NFL draft after last season, Rivers said:
“After being out so long and coming back and having something special with the guys, it’s something you can’t pass up another opportunity for. I gave it a thought, a brief thought. I didn’t think long about it. More people were telling me they heard I was going out. But I knew I was coming back before the (2006) season ended.” (HA)

About how yesterday was his first day of Spring Practice because JJ wanted the younger guys to get the repetitions, Rivers said:
“I’m OK with it. The younger guys need to learn.” (HA)

Note: Plus, since JJ moved Bess and Grice-Mullins to wideout so that younger players could get experience at slot, JJ needed to reduce the reps of other wideouts to give Bess and Grice-Mullins time. Instead of taking away reps from a young player who is trying to learn the wideout position, it made sense to have Rivers sit out since he didn’t need the work.

About working on his speed through sprinting, distance running, and resistance training, even running sprints with a parachute attached to his back, Rivers said:
“I want to be a leader. I hope my teammates think of me as one.” (HA)

Note: A 5th year senior who had such a huge end of the season…I think Rivers is looked up to.

Praising Kealoha Pilares, RB coach Wes Suan said:
“He’s a guy who shows a lot of intelligence. He’s turning up all his learning senses. He’s receptive and can decipher all the information and put it into the physical. It all makes sense to him.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Freshman Kealoha Pilares — known as a shifty and explosive runner as a prep star — has also made good progress as a blocker. Running backs coach Wes Suan said that improves the 5-foot-10, 187-pound Damien product’s chances for meaningful playing time in the fall. … Jason Laumoli, Khevin Peoples, David Farmer and Alonzo Chopp also got a lot of reps yesterday.”

About being the #1 RB right now, Pilares said:
“Just being in there with Colt (Brennan) and Davone (Bess) and Jason (Rivers) feels great. I watched them last year.” (HA)

About how he has only been used as a rusher now, Pilares said:
“Whenever I go in there, the defense knows I’m running the ball. I want to work on my blocking.” (HA)

“It’s coming along. I’m watching film. Every day coach (Wes Suan) is telling me certain things to help me. I won’t be a Reagan, who can knock down people. I have to get in the way of people, basically.” (HA)

About working on the inside-out blocking technique and the cut block technique for bigger defenders, Pilares said:
“I’m going to work on a lot of things this summer.” (HA)

Note: Ultimately, Pilares’ ability to block will determine his playing time.

Speedy 5’11” 202-pound Peoples talked about how he needs to work on his blocking:
“I’m working on the blocking coverages based on what the defenses show us. I pretty much have it down 100 percent — you just have to put it into action on the field. We throw the ball most of the time in the game, so we have to be able to protect Colt (quarterback Brennan).” (HSB)

About how Famer is the most reliable blocker, Suan said:
“It’s knowing what you’re doing, and not so much having to demolish a guy, but just knowing what you’re doing so you can protect the quarterback. With no doubt, Dave Farmer is doing that the best, technique and assignment-wise.” (HSB)

Famer, who is a walk-on from Santa Cruz, is pushing hard for playing time:
“This year I’m really trying to make a push to be the starter. I’m staying out here all summer. I’ve always been on top of my stuff and ready to go in, whatever the coaches need, whatever they ask me. I’m trying to be the man this year. I’m never really satisfied.” (HSB)

Praising 6′ 245-pound walk-on Chopp, Suan said:
“The other guy I’ve been pleasantly surprised with is Alonzo Chopp. He’s been here for a while, but he’s starting to really get the idea of technique and assignment. If you continually do what’s right, eventually the coaches see he’s getting the job done and he’s deserving of (repetitions).” (HSB)

About the other RB candidates like Reyo and Cox, Suan said:
“It’s tough to get everybody opportunities. They have to be very observant during practice, and small successes lead to big successes — a chance to be evaluated and see where they end up in the pecking order. It’s so hard to tell now (who might start and play in the fall). But what usually happens is someone steps up. In Coach’s (June Jones) offense, for the running back to get on the field it’s to help with the protection.” (HSB)

About how Timo Paepule and Rustin Saole now lead their haka, Paepule said:
“These are my brothers, so whatever they want. Colt came up to me, said, ‘Hey, we gotta do it, you or Rustin. Davone (Bess), too. We’re carrying on the tradition. I don’t have Maori . I respect the New Zealand people. We’re using their haka, and we don’t mean to disrespect them in any way. It’s just something we picked up from the older guys before us and it pumps us up.” (HSB)

JJ said that the Spring Ohana Festival will include some contact, excluding:
“Colt and the first group.” (HSB)

Quotes from Spring Practice Week 4 Day 3

April 26, 2007

About Graunke’s injury, Siave Seti said:
“It was one of those situations where the motions were all fast. I was playing my drills. I was trying to get through. Unfortunately, my hand was up and it hit Graunke’s hand. It was a freak thing. I really felt bad after I saw my picture in The Honolulu Advertiser the next day. Football accidents do happen. Unfortunately, this happened to one of our great players. I’m so sorry. I want to apologize to Graunke.” (HA)

“It was just one of those plays, everything was going so fast. I just happened to put my hand up, I was doing the drill, and hit Tyler on the throwing arm. I really feel bad because he’s a really good quarterback. I’m really sorry about that and I wanted to apologize to my whole team and apologize to Graunke.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “He said defensive coordinator Greg McMackin and Brennan offered some words of encouragement, though he hadn’t yet had a chance to talk to Graunke.”

About reducing his weight from 320 to 280 when he moved to RB last season, Seti said:
“I did a lot of dieting and running.” (HA)

Now up to 290 as a defensive left tackle, Seti said:
“I’m back to eating a lot of vegetables and meat.” (HA)

About putting on a wristband with “Shana” marked in black ink to honor Shana Leaupepe, Seti said:
“That was my best friend.” (HA)

About how Shana (a LB at NMSU) was killed last July, Seti said:
“He got shot down the street from my house. We used to live in the same area. He lived with my uncle. He was my best friend. He wasn’t involved with any gang. It was just a random shooting. He was a humble guy, a hard worker. I think about him every day.” (HA)

Considering Sauafea, Tuoti-Mariner, and Kia all to be #1 centers, JJ said:
“We’ll go into the fall and sort it out.” (HA)

About how he learned from Samson, Kia said:
“I worked a lot with Sam.” (HA)

About how many UH offensive linemen work at center before being moved to other positions, Kia said:
“Everything is a lot smoother when you learn the center position. You know what everybody is supposed to do.” (HA)

About Kia, JJ said:
“He’s doing OK, but he has a way to go at center.” (HA)

About the attention he’s gotten ever since his big hit on Kepo’o last week, LB Joshua Rice said:
“Everybody has been coming up and saying, ‘Good hit.’ ” But that’s in the past.” (HA)

About how he leads the crowd at UH softball games, with the football player contingent growing from 6 to 40 players cheering for the softball team, Funaki said:
“It was kind of mellow. We were like, ‘Let’s hoist this up.’ I was trying to teach the guys some of the cheers we used to do back in Kahuku.” (HA)

About being the top backup to Colt in practice now that Graunke is hurt, Funaki said:
“You always have to be ready, whether I’m two, three or four. Whenever they need me hopefully I can be ready. I feel I’m getting more comfortable, getting more used to seeing what the defense gives you and being able to react to it.” (HSB)

“Just like Coach was saying, I just have to make sure I’m ready because that could happen at any time, in practice or in a game later on in the season. I just have to make sure I’m ready, or whoever is behind (Brennan), so things can keep rolling.” (HSB)

About getting more reps in Spring Practice because Colt’s workload has been cut back and Graunke is hurt, Funaki said:
“Experience is the best teacher. They’re always teaching us stuff in the classroom, showing us video on what to do. But getting out there and making mistakes definitely helps you to learn how to not make the same mistakes. I’m learning and getting more experience. The longer I stay here, the more I see, and the more I see the more I’m able to anticipate things.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Graunke was injured during a drill late in Monday’s practice when his throwing hand hit defensive lineman Siave Seti while following through on a pass. An MRI of Graunke’s right hand showed there wasn’t a break and he’ll treat it by resting it for a few weeks.”

About how Bess (a QB in high school) played QB for some passing drills, QB coach Dan Morrison said:
“He’s been lobbying for a double pass the last two years. He’s actually a pretty good thrower.” (HSB)