Archive for March, 2008

Quotes from the local papers

March 27, 2008

HA Note: “Representatives of football coach June Jones are claiming he had a verbal agreement to be let out of his contract with the University of Hawai’i without a financial penalty, people involved in the process say. That is why the former Warriors coach has yet to pay the school $400,008 the contract says UH is owed in the event of termination before the June 30, 2008 expiration date, according to people familiar with the negotiations.”

HA Note: “Under the terms of the five-year agreement Jones signed with UH in 2003, he owes the school $400,008 — the amount the school paid him for one season — “if he terminates this agreement prior to June 30, 2008,” according to the contract. Though Jones received $800,016 per year from UH, the school said half of it was paid by donations. A clause in the agreement would have allowed him to exit in the fourth or fifth years for an NFL head coaching job under the same terms.

The contract said he was prohibited from accepting employment “under any circumstances as a men’s football coach at any institution of higher education which is a member of the NCAA, or for any men’s football team participating in any professional league or conference in the United States … ” prior “to the expiration date of the term of this agreement … without first obtaining a written release or a negotiated settlement.” The contract states that “in the event the university releases coach of his obligations under this agreement, coach shall be responsible for paying to the university liquidated damages … ” ”

HSB Note: “Three safeties expected to contend for playing time this fall will miss Hawaii spring football practice while recovering from injuries. Senior Erik Robinson (shoulder), junior Viliami Nauahi (arm) and freshman Le’Marcus Gibson (knee) all need time to heal, but should be ready for fall practice, Warriors defensive backs coach Rich Miano said yesterday.

Two-year starting safety Jake Patek’s eligibility has expired, but the Warriors return seniors Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas, who both started last year. Top backup Dane Porlas, also a senior, and the potential of sophomores Spencer Smith and Kenny Estes makes safety one of UH’s deepest positions, despite the spring injuries.”

HSB Note: “Senior Ryan Mouton will likely start at one corner after making big contributions as a nickelback and emergency safety last year. Miano said he is also excited about Oregon transfer Jameel Dowling, a senior who can play corner or safety. The plan for now is corner.”

About Dowling, Miano said:
“He’s rangy and long, but he’s also very tough. He has the skills to play anywhere in the secondary.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Dowling is listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. He played in 11 games at Oregon in 2006 as a first-year JC transfer. Senior Calvin Roberts is also in the mix, Miano said.”

HSB Note: “Brothers Cameron Allen-Jones and C.J. Allen-Jones will both give defensive end a shot this spring, coming from different directions. Cameron was an offensive lineman and H-back. C.J. was an outside linebacker who started four games in 2006. At 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, Cameron has the bulk for strong side end, while C.J. is listed at 6-2 and 200, making him more suited for pass rush.”

About how they will take their time before figuring out where Les Soliai will play, Mack said:
“He sort of wants to play defense, but since he’s just starting out we want to look at him on both sides and let him get a feel for the game. We’re going to move some guys back and forth.” (HSB)

Hoping that UH doesn’t get hurt by the APR, Clapp said:
“I can say I believe we are making good progress.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “UH lost five football and one baseball scholarship in 2006 and one football scholarship last year.”

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JD says the budget deficit is worse that he thought

March 26, 2008

HA Note: “University of Hawai’i athletic director Jim Donovan began his first day on the job yesterday with the sobering realization that the financial situation “is a little worse than I thought it would be.”

JD spent his weekend looking at balance sheets and said he was dismayed to discover:
“with just three months left (in the current fiscal year), it doesn’t look like we’re on an even keel. There’s an (overall operating) deficit, which everybody knew about, but I’m still working to figure out exactly what it is. It is somewhere between $4 million and $6 million.” (HA)

HA Note: “Donovan said the current fiscal year, which closes June 30, would add to the deficit if not for the expected Sugar Bowl receipts that will have to be used to balance the books for the year. UH had hoped to use much of the Sugar Bowl proceeds to help make a dent in the $4.2 million net operating deficit auditors said the department carried into the current fiscal year.”

About the Sugar Bowl money, JD said:
“We’re also looking at the on-going budget for this (fiscal) year. The Sugar Bowl funds will be a nice shot in the arm (but) the reality is it looks like there is an operating deficit if we didn’t have those funds.” (HA)

HA Note: “UH is expected to receive at least $4 million from its share of the Bowl Championship Series appearance money and may realize $2 million to $2.5 million after expenses. UH is responsible for its travel, hotel, meals and other bowl expenses.”

JD said that hte amount of deficit he inherits will be determined:
“after I meet with the Manoa chancellor, the chief financial people and some of our own (athletic department) people. I’ll be able to put an exact figure on it. Until then, I’d rather not name a (precise) figure.” (HA)

Asked if he eventually could put the budget back on solid footing, JD said:
“We have to. That’s the way I look at it. It is gonna take some time for those issues. It (the deficit) didn’t get here overnight and it is not going to be fixed overnight, either.” (HA)

UH will have a spring football game

March 26, 2008

HSB Note: “For the first time this millennium, Hawaii will have a spring football game. The Warriors will be drafted into two teams to play each other at the Ohana Football Festival closing spring practice April 26, coach Greg McMackin told the Star-Bulletin yesterday.”

About having a spring football game, Mack said:
“We’re still formulating, but we’ll have a game where we keep score.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “While a spring game isn’t unusual for most college football teams, UH didn’t have them under former coach June Jones, who left for SMU in January after nine seasons with the Warriors. Jones worried about teammates injuring each other. McMackin said there will be safety precautions: There will be no special-teams plays and the top players won’t be put in harm’s way of full contact for more than a few plays, if any. Same for quarterbacks, McMackin said.”

About how the Spring game will be for the younger players, Mack said:
“The guys we already know about, we don’t need to have them out there. We have a lot of younger guys we need to evaluate.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The teams in the spring game will be coached by Ron and Cal Lee, the UH offensive and defensive coordinators, McMackin said. Cal Lee said he can’t remember a previous time the brothers coached against each other. They were on the same high school staffs for decades at Kaiser and Saint Louis.”

About having the Lee brothers coaching against each other in the game, Mack said:
“We’re going to have to have them wager a pizza or something. The draft should be a lot of fun.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Spring practice begins Monday. Twelve of the 15 sessions are at the UH grass practice field on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at 7. Scrimmages are scheduled at UH for two Saturdays, April 12 and 19. All practices, as well as the spring game/Ohana Football Festival (which includes autograph and photo opportunities as well as activities for children) are open to the public with free admission. Parking is free for the Aloha Stadium event.”

Brian Kajiyama feature article

March 25, 2008

About being a graduate assistant with the Warriors, Brian said:
“I’ve always loved football and always thought I’d be just a fan. Now I’m a grad assistant for the football team. I’ve never thought it would be possible.” (HA)

HA Note: “He became a paid graduate assistant in August after volunteering hundreds of hours for the team. Kajiyama also serves on the state’s Disability and Communication Access Board, and he is the former co-executive director of Pathways, an electronic forum for the National Institute on Multicultural Competence. Two weeks ago, he flew to Los Angeles to accept the Jacqueline Brand Leadership in Assistive Technology Award.”

About how Brian inspires others, Rep. Gene Ward said:
“Brian is an inspiration to all those who watch UH football and saw him living his dream. He couldn’t physically play, but he could be a part of what he loved. He’s an inspiration to the community and a lesson to go for what’s your passion.” (HA)

About why he is motivated to volunteer and get out in the community, Brian said:
“The way I see my part in all this is I’m helping to promote awareness for persons with disabilities and hopefully change the perception of cannot into one of can-do. I feel everyone has a responsibility to give back to their community.” (HA)

Quotes from Jim Donovan’s first day as AD

March 25, 2008

About how they would have a budget deficit if the Sugar Bowl money is not counted, JD said:
“It appears, right now, that on June 30 of ’08, the athletic department would be in a budget deficit for this fiscal year that would finish June 30 of ’08. It’s pretty clear that there would be a budget deficit.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “UH is looking at around $2.5 million from the Sugar Bowl after expenses. But chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and university president David McClain haven’t decided how much of that will go to athletics.”

About how the Sugar Bowl money would erase their deficit, JD said:
“If you apply that money to the athletic department, it appears that net money would move us from a deficit to a surplus.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “But that would be a surplus for just the year. The department has a cumulative deficit of somewhere between $4.5 million and $4.9 million.”

About how he walked around Cooke Field during his first day as AD, JD told the Honolulu Quarterback Club (in his first public appearance as AD):
“I did an hour walking around the track, taking a look at our asphalt football field.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The goal is to have Cooke Field ready for use by the start of the 2008 football season. For spring practice, which begins Monday, the Warriors will continue to use the grass practice field. In reality, Donovan has been on the job since even before the Board of Regents approved his appointment March 13. Much of this past weekend was spent determining that the department will probably finish in the red for the 2007-08 fiscal year.”

HA Note: “To gather his thoughts and prepare for the day ahead, Donovan spent more than an hour circling the rainbow-hued track, each step of which seemed to drive home either memories of his 20 years spent at the school or furnish additional fodder for the ambitious to-do list he was gathering. Pointing to patches of weeds growing through the center of what he terms “the asphalt football field” on the Cooke Field infield, Donovan shook his head and admitted facilities occupy a place near the top of that rapidly lengthening list. He took note of branches on the roof of the athletic department, a missing sheet on the roof of Les Murakami Stadium. He bemoaned how the facilities had gotten that way and pondered potential solutions. But there would be no doubting whose job it is to find one. “The buck stops here,” Donovan said, double-jabbing an index finger into his desk to make the point.”

About how they will be in a deficit at the end of this fiscal year, JD said:
“There are about three months left, so it’s just a projection. It could still change. But the number I was told, I don’t see how it would change to be a surplus in a three-month time period.” (HSB)

About how he’s been going over the budget numbers, JD said:
“I spent about 10 hours on Saturday and another 7 hours (Sunday) going through a whole bunch of documents, including extensive budget information and I have my interpretations now. But if there’s anything I’ve learned about numbers, it’s that people can interpret them different ways, so I want to sit down with three key stakeholders and see if they agree with my interpretations before I start throwing numbers around.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “There’s good news though: If the athletic department gets to keep the money for playing in the Sugar Bowl (around $2.5 million), it will be in the black for the year. As for the cumulative deficit, the number is still not clear. Different interpretations have it between $4.5 million and $4.9 million. One obvious way to chip away at the deficit is to increase revenue via ticket sales. Attendance in most UH sports has been on a steady decline. Donovan wants to win back the fans, and get new young ones.”

About how he wants to attract the fans to go to their games, JD said:
“We’re going through a transition period. A whole generation went out and found something else to do. For people in their 20s and 30s now, it wasn’t part of their culture.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Premium seating surcharges for the revenue sports aren’t going away, Donovan said. But he added that pricing structures will be revisited to make more seats affordable for more people.”

About how they need to study the pricing policies for their tickets, JD said:
“What I think we need to do is see if we can financially do some price modeling, to see what the attendance was when the prices were lower as opposed to now. Where are we? Have we outpriced ourselves with some of our seats?” (HSB)

HSB Note: “UH has had some tickets as low as $10 for football games at Aloha Stadium in recent years.”

About how low prices aren’t useful if the public doesn’t know about it, JD said:
“It’s one thing to have the pricing, but if no one knows it, it’s not necessarily effective. Especially when the perception is that prices are too high in general and they don’t know the lower prices exist.” (HSB)

About how he’ll meet with UH student government leaders, JD said:
“We’ve given them things in the past, but we never sat down with them and asked them what they want.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “On facilities, Donovan said a bill that would give UH control of Aloha Stadium was “gutted” last week, and now building a stadium on university land in Kapolei is being explored.”

About how the Aloha Stadium site is the best location for a stadium, JD said:
“I cannot see a location on Oahu better than where Aloha Stadium is now. Three major roads meet there. The parking situation, I think we all use that as a crutch.” (HSB)

JD talked about how the UH baseball stadium was one of the best in the country when it was built in 1984, but:
“I don’t think it’s in the top 20 now. We haven’t had the repair and maintenance funds.” (HSB)

Interview with Ikaika

March 24, 2008

Asked what it felt like to get a break after such a long year, Ikaika said:
“Last year was a very long year. It was so hectic. Right after the (college) season, you have to get ready for the combine. Then I had that (pectoral) injury, so it was even more of a burden – it was even longer, but I knew what I had to do to get here. It was a good year – I learned a lot – but it was a much-needed break. That two months was much needed to just to get away from it all – get mentally right and physically right. Now I’m ready to get back to work.” (DetroitLions.com)

Asked if he did anything in particular, Ikaika said:
“I went whale and dolphin watching (laughing), went fishing and, of course, I worked out because it never ends. I knew I had to stay in shape because it was a big year coming up. It was a good year to recover health-wise and mentally and I’m just glad to be back here working out again.” (DL)

Asked if he’s feeling good physically, Ikaika said:
“Yeah, I feel fantastic. I feel really good. I know I can be in better shape and it’s only going to get better from here.” (DL)

Asked what it was like to walk into the Lions’ facility and know he wasn’t a rookie anymore, Ikaika said:
“Oh man. Well, they keep on giving me grief about it that it’s three more games but I officially think I’m not a rookie. My rookie year was a lot of bumps and curves in that road but you have to run right through it. You just have to go. This year I have a better understanding of what to expect so it’s a lot easier.” (DL)

Asked what was his biggest on-field struggle last year, Ikaika said:
“I think learning the system and getting the feel of the NFL – the NFL mindset, basically. You don’t have school anymore and it’s just an all-football, all-day thing; preparing week-in and week-out and a longer season. I think the longer season does take a toll, but you get used to it. You just kind of go with the flow and everything, and it all just comes together.” (DL)

Asked if he’s looking forward to the offseason program as a more calm preparation process for training camp, Ikaika said:
“Definitely. When I was in Hawaii, I couldn’t wait to get back – get back to training and everything – so I was really excited about the upcoming season. It’s a big year for us and a lot of big things are going to happen here. I’m really excited; the coaches are excited, the players are excited and I’m excited.” (DL)

Asked if he’s talked with Coach Marinelli or Coach Cullen about anything specific he will be working on this offseason, Ikaika said:
“Well, they evaluated the year and there are a lot of things I need to work on but I feel if I keep working on those things day-in and day-out, it’s going to come together. Over time, I don’t know what’s going to happen but all I can do is work and get better at those things so I can have a better year this year.” (DL)

Asked what he thought about all of the defensive changes that were made in the offseason, Ikaika said:
“I understand (the changes) because it is the NFL and there are going to be changes every year. There’s nothing you can do but just look forward to the year that’s coming up. We’ve got a bunch of great guys coming in – they’re really good guys, good players – and you’ve got to respect that. All I can do is suit up and go to battle with what we’ve got. So I’m going to go in full steam.” (DL)

Asked if there is anything in particular he feels he needs to improve, whether it’s off the field or on the field, Ikaika said:
“Yes. I think physically I can be stronger and mentally it’s just preparation. Last year I kind of had to feel my way through everything because it was a learning year for me. Being in the system for a second year I feel so much more comfortable and I can work on my technique a lot more. Through Coach Marinelli and Coach Cullen – I feel they’re the best in the NFL – it only can go up.” (DL)

Asked about his lightheared off-the-field personality and he he feels he fits with what the NFL is, Ikaika said:
“You know, going into last year I didn’t know what to expect – but it’s football. It’s football and everybody’s good. It’s how much work you put into the offseason and during the season that is going to determine how good you do. The coaches always preach that: you’ve got to stay on top of things, you’ve got to be smart and you really do. You have to stay on top of things because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know about sudden changes that happen and your number’s going to be called. So you’ve just got to be ready. Like last year: I got a lot of playing time toward the end of the year and I think that helped me out game-experience-wise to get a feel of what to expect this year.” (DL)

Asked if he looked back at his hamstring injury last year as the thing that kept him from really taking off as a rookie, as Coach Marinelli was excited with his progress and the way he looked in practice and was ready to play him, Ikaika said:
“I feel everything happens for a reason and at that moment I didn’t know (what the reason was). (What was) going through my mind – I was so down because I was having really good practices and I felt really good about my body and where I was at and the injury happened. There was nothing I could do but try to stay focused. I knew there would be another opportunity to play if I kept working hard. It was an unfortunate thing but it just wasn’t my time and something was telling me that it wasn’t my time.” (DL)

Asked what he thought about playing both outside and inside this year, Ikaika said:
“I feel comfortable at all the positions because I played a little bit of both last year. Overall, I think that helped me out knowing our entire D-line scheme and not knowing just one specific area. It gives me a better idea of what I can do and what I can work with. I feel the more you can do, the better you are and the more valuable you are. So, heck, do you want me to play linebacker, free safety, what do you want? It was a good experience and I can feel confident going into a game that I can play inside or outside.” (DL)

Asked who he was most excited to see when he came back, Ikaika said:
“Well, it was just the whole atmosphere – everybody. Just seeing all the guys back – all the faces from last year. I haven’t seen them in two months so it was good. Just to be back with all these guys; talking with them, seeing how their vacation was, looking forward to the upcoming year – it’s really exciting.” (DL)

Asked if he felt the excitement in the building, Ikaika said:
“Oh yeah. Definitely. Everybody’s all amped up and ready for this year to start, but I know we’ve got a long way to go and it’s only going to get better.” (DL)

Impressive numbers from the UH strength tests last week

March 23, 2008

HA Note: “Defensive end David Veikune and linebacker R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane each bench pressed a maximum 455 pounds. While matching last year’s total, Veikune’s lift was impressive because he had lost 30 pounds and now weighs 250. He wanted to be faster to play in the 4-3 alignment UH implemented last year.”

Unhappy with his 455 pound bench press, David Veikune said:
“I was disappointed (in the bench total). I didn’t feel 100 percent that day.” (HA)

HA Note: “Veikune, who once benched 495 pounds, seeks to break the 500-pound barrier. He will attempt a lift of 465 pounds this week. This year, 13 Warriors bench pressed at least 400 pounds. Mel deLaura, who coordinates the offseason workouts, believes another 12 should be able to reach that bench mark. For instance, linebacker Brashton Satele, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, and center Matagisila “Sila” Lefiti did not bench press this year. Both have benched 400-plus pounds in the past.

Weakside linebacker Adam Leonard, who played all of last season despite a broken right thumb, benched 405 pounds. The injury had prevented him from lifting most of last season. Kiesel-Kauhane, who is 5 feet 11 and 225 pounds, also bench pressed 225 pounds 40 times.”

About his weight training, Kiesel-Kauhane (who lifts 6 days per week) said:
“I kind of do heavy reps and heavy weights to get my endurance up. I kind of focused on getting my body into better shape. As you do that, you get stronger at the same time.” (HA)

HA Note: “He missed the team record of 42 reps of 225 pounds, set by Chris Brown, now a student assistant who assists the lifters. Brown also had the power clean record for a linebacker. He watched his record of 304 pounds go down with Blaze Soares’ 318-pound clean.”

About how Blaze broke his power clean record for a LB, Chris Brown said:
“He definitely let me know he broke my record. I’m glad it was by a local boy from the East Side. He’s from Kane’ohe. I’m from Kahalu’u. Records are made to be broken. I told them, ‘Go get it.’ ” (HA)

HA Note: “The power clean is a discipline in which the lifter brings the weight from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids. The gold standard is considered to be 300 pounds. Twelve Warriors power cleaned more than 300 pounds, with center Clarence “Lafu” Tuioti-Mariner, left tackle Ray Hisatake and running back Daniel Libre matching Soares’ top lift.”

Impressed with Daniel Libre’s lifting, Brown said:
“For his size (5 feet 8, 185 pounds) and strength, Daniel Libre is the most impressive guy in the weight room. He lifts what a lineman should be lifting. He’s a warrior in the weight room.” (HA)

HA Note: “Leonard had a power clean of 308 pounds. He started at 296 pounds, then moved up. The power clean is considered to be one of the best measurements of strength for a football player. It combines power, lower- and upper-body strength, and leverage.”

About how Lafu Tuioti-Mariner did 610 pounds in the squat, 110 pounds more than the second place lifters, Brown said:
“That was really impressive to see the six plates go up.” (HA)

HA Note: “Former UH player Houston Ala has the team record with a 625-pound squat lift.”

UH is fighting the Daniel Smith lawsuit

March 23, 2008

HSB Note: “Legal precedent could be on the side of the University of Hawaii in a suit filed by a high school football player’s family, attorneys for the university told the Star-Bulletin. The suit alleges UH illegally revoked a scholarship offer to defensive back Daniel Smith of Boise, Idaho. In 2006, a Kentucky jury ruled against Louisville walk-on offensive lineman Ryan Holifield. Holifield had claimed that then-Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino promised him a scholarship if he paid for his first semester of school. Ryan Akamine, UH’s lead lawyer on the Smith case, said the Louisville verdict could have bearing on this one.”

About how the Louisville verdict could be a precedent that helps UH in the lawsuit, Ryan Akamine said:
“This case is similar to the Petrino case in the claim that a scholarship was promised, and Petrino claimed that a scholarship was not promised.” (HSB)

Note: Akamine noted that the Louisville trial was held before a jury and the UH trial will be in front of a judge.

HSB NotE: “Greg McMackin replaced Warriors coach June Jones when Jones left to coach SMU in January 2008. UH and former assistant coach Jeff Reinebold (also now at SMU) are named defendants in the suit filed in circuit court last month.

HSB Note: “The university’s response requests that the complaint be dismissed, and that the school be awarded attorney fees and costs.”

HSB Note: “Akamine said Reinebold is a “central figure” in the case. Smith said Reinebold told him to not entertain any offers from other schools after he made his oral commitment to UH in the summer of 2007. Smith said he agreed, thinking that UH would honor its commitment.”

About the lawsuit, Smith said:
“I kept my end of the deal. I want the university to keep its end of the deal.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Oral commitments, however, have never been considered binding in college sports recruiting. Players often “de-commit” when a better offer comes along, and schools do the same if they “overbook,” or find a better player. In a phone interview yesterday, Portland State coach Jerry Glanville confirmed that he had offered Smith a scholarship in 2007, which Smith said he turned down after he accepted an offer to UH from Reinebold. Smith said he tried to find a scholarship somewhere else after he learned UH didn’t have one for him, but was unsuccessful. Glanville said it is common knowledge that oral commitments are not binding in recruiting.”

About how oral commits are not binding in recruiting, Glanville said:
“I had a kid commit to me, and then he commits to Washington State four days before signing day, so now I don’t have a defensive end. Am I suing him? No. It works both ways.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “McMackin has declined comment, other than to say that Reinebold was not on the UH staff while McMackin was putting together his first recruiting class in late January and early February. UH general counsel Darolyn Lendio said the defense will try to “narrow” the case, but it could last “anywhere from a minimum of a year and a half to three years.” Akamine and Lendio said the next step is deposition, where both sides attain more information.”

About what they want from the deposition process, Akamine said:
“We’re going to request that they clarify what they claim. We do know that all they’re alleging will not stand up to the facts. We believe we have a good case and the allegations will not be all correct.” (HSB)

About the Smith lawsuit, Lendio said:
“They’re not specific in the complaint. They’re very general about the allegations, unclear.” (HSB)

About how “it will be a while” before a trial date is set, Akamine said:
“In about two months we’ll have a lot more information.” (HSB)

Rick Taylor will miss spring practice due to injury

March 22, 2008

About how he got his injury, Rick Taylor said:
“I tore my pectoral muscle and tendon off the bone while bench-pressing. My arm’s going to be in a sling for six weeks.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Slotback Rick Taylor will have to settle for mental repetitions when Hawaii spring football practice starts March 31. Taylor injured himself lifting weights March 10 and underwent surgery two days later. The sophomore is out for all of the month-long camp.”

About how Rick was going to get a chance to get reps in the spring, Ron Lee said:
“We were looking forward to Rick getting out there. He understands the offense. He’s kind of struggled with injuries so far in his career. He’s had hamstring and groin, and shoulder problems, too. We’re going to get him involved in practice, keep him busy.” (HSB)

About how he’s looking forward to the 15 practice sessions even though he can’t suit up, Rick said:
“I’m down, but I’m hopeful. I want to help out the younger guys in learning the offense.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The competition is open, Lee said. But veterans Greg Salas, Mike Washington, Aaron Bain and Malcolm Lane will get the first look at replacing Jason Rivers, Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullins and C.J. Hawthorne.”

Quotes from the local papers on 3/20/08

March 20, 2008

HSB Note: “Throw 100 football players three basketballs. Tell them there are no rules. Something had to give yesterday at Klum Gym. Near the end of the Hawaii football team’s final Super Games event a scuffle broke out between players trying to gain control of the ball. In an earlier game, running back David Farmer left to get treatment for a bloody head.”

About how Farmer is fine, Mack said:
“It looked worse than it was. It gives them all something to talk about. That’s how it is because they’re competitive.” (HSB)

About how the game was physical than some of their practices, Keala Watson said:
“Basketball’s dangerous. I feel safer playing football. But it was all fun. It might look violent to a bystander, but it’s all fun. No rules just puts that extra twist on the game.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “In the end, the Gladiators, drafted and captained by Watson, won the championship game. It gave them the overall championship, too, when combined with firsts in earlier weeks in tug of war and water polo and several second and third places. The Super Games were designed to give the players a break from the drudgery of offseason conditioning. McMackin had 10 seniors draft teams. In addition to the weekly sports competitions, they were judged for accountability in the classroom and in team activities such as meetings.”

About how the players have been more accountable due to the Super Game competition, DL coach Dave Aranda said:
“The last two weeks there’s been great improvement in accountability. No one wanted to let their teammates down.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “You could tell that Les Soloai — a former Brigham Young-Hawaii hoopster — felt right at home as he helped the Gladiators win the championship of UH’s offseason intra-team Super Games competition. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Australian took a no-look, cross-court pass from 6-4, 290-pound point guard/defensive tackle Chris Leatigaga in full stride while cutting to the basket and converted the layup. The Gladiators rode the momentum to the win.”

About his layup, Les Soloai said:
“That wasn’t planned, just running around and I found myself open.” (HSB)

HSB Note:”Neither was playing college football. Soloai has never played the American version of the game. He’s a former rugby player.”

About adjusting to football, Soloai said:
“The plays and the techniques are very different. I’m just getting used to everything.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Soloai has been working out with the defensive linemen, with extra tutoring from senior Keala Watson. But there’s talk about Soloai switching to offensive tackle.”

About how he doesn’t want to lose Soloai from the DL group, Keala Watson said:
“The first day he came they tried to take him for the O-line, but I told Coach (Dave) Aranda his feet are too good to play O-line. He has all the tools necessary to play D-line. He’s light years ahead of where he was. When he came in he had no idea what football was. He didn’t know O-line from D-line, he just jumped in.” (HSB)

About Soloai, Aranda said:
“He’s very impressive in the weight room in terms of his work ethic. He puts his nose to the grindstone and does everything you ask. Les has skyrocketed from a guy nobody knew to someone everybody’s excited about.” (HSB)

About the great potential he sees in Soloai, Mack said:
“He’s an excellent athlete, but he never played football before. He’s like Ikaika, he could be that kind of guy.” (HSB)