Archive for April, 2008

Sugar Bowl reps are happy with UH fans

April 30, 2008

About how the Sugar Bowl rep was happy with the way the UH fans traveled to New Orleans, Karl Benson said:
“I think he was joking, but, seriously, they were very happy with the Hawai’i turnout. Both the Sugar Bowl and Fox were very happy with what Hawai’i brought to the game.” (HA)

HA Note: “A Sugar Bowl representative told members of the Bowl Championship Series yesterday that he isn’t sure all the Hawai’i fans have left New Orleans yet. ” ‘There may still be some (Warriors’ fans) on Bourbon Street,’ they said,” recounted Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson, who is attending the annual meetings that wind up in Hollywood, Fla. today.”

About the Sugar Bowl, Paul J. Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl CEO, said:
“we were absolutely delighted with the turnout.” (HA)

HA Note: “Hoolahan said it has been difficult to tab the number of Hawai’i fans — both those from the Islands and Mainland — who attended the game but said estimates of 15,000 to 20,000 “are about right.” There had been fears entering the game that Hawai’i would have scant representation, so much that UH took 4,000 tickets less than the full 17,500 initial allotment.”

HA Note: “The New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau has said the two biggest post-Katrina passenger days at Louis Armstrong New Orleans Airport were the day following the Sugar Bowl (18,000) and the Tuesday after the BCS Championship game (19,000).”

About how UH’s appearance in the Sugar Bowl was extremely positive, Benson said:
“I think the reaction from both Fox and the Sugar Bowl is that leading up to the kickoff was a home run. And the outcome of the game certainly didn’t do anything to diminish that impact Hawai’i had on the Sugar Bowl.” (HA)

Despite the 17% drop in ratings from the previous New Year’s game (BSU vs. Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl), Dan Bell, Fox VP for communications, said:
“We are pleased with the rating because the Sugar Bowl helped us dominate all other television competition that night.” (HA)

HA Note; “Fox said the Sugar Bowl and its pre-game show combined for a 12 percent win over second-place NBC in the “key” adults age 18-to-49 demographic.”

Sugar Bowl spokesman Duane Lewis said that the Sugar Bowl rating was:
“a very solid rating. Given the fact that the game was lopsided, it was still a good number.” (HA)

About how UH and BSU were featured by Fox, Benson said:
“Hawai’i and Boise State had prominent parts in Fox’s media presentation (yesterday).” (HA)

HA Noet: “The WAC has been touting its consecutive appearances in the BCS as the only non-BCS signatory to manage the feat with “Back to Back” T-shirts featuring UH and Boise State logos mailed out to national media.”

Touting Fresno State this year, Benson said:
“we had Boise in the Fiesta Bowl, Hawai’i in the Sugar Bowl, so why not Fresno State in the Orange Bowl this season?” (HA)

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Colt received the Jack Bonham Award

April 30, 2008

About how Colt is a good fit with Washington and Zorn, Mack said:
“Jim Zorn was a left-handed guy who wasn’t supposed to play for Seattle and he and Colt are a lot alike. Nobody thinks Colt can make it but I know he’s their third quarterback and they’re taking three and he will be able to coach him. … It’s a perfect fit. It’s a lot like Tom Brady. Lots of times you just have to get in the right situation. People are disappointed because he went so low (in the draft), but I’m excited for him because he’s in a situation where he’s going to be successful.” (HA)

HA Note: “McMackin, who worked with Washington head coach Jim Zorn at Seattle, has no fear about the future of his former quarterback. Brennan graduated in December — an accomplishment McMackin emphasized was “a big deal to him” — after “lighting the fire” to lift the Warriors to a perfect regular season and into the Allstate Sugar Bowl.”

About Colt graduating from UH, Mack said:
“Graduating was very important to him.” (HSB)

HA Note: “The award began in 1974 to honor the late assistant athletic director. It is given annually to the top female and male senior student-athlete who “best exemplifies the ideals for which Jack Bonham stood in the areas of athletic excellence, academic achievement, public service, leadership and character.” The announcement came at the Scholar-Athlete Dinner, which honored 162 student-athletes who earned a grade point average of at least 3.0 this school year. That was 27 more than last year and included Tara Hittle twice — in volleyball and basketball, earning top team scholar-athlete for basketball.”

HSB Note: “Brennan, who set or tied 31 NCAA records, returned to UH for his senior year and led the Warriors to a 12-0 regular season record and unprecedented appearance in a BCS bowl game. He also graduated with a 3.12 grade point average last December — despite increasing time-consuming celebrity, statewide and nationally.”

Random Warrior Quotes

April 29, 2008

About having to cut 31 Warriors, Mack said:
“It’s a tough thing. You’re dealing with people’s dreams.” (HA)

HA Note: “The dream will end or, at best, be postponed for 31 University of Hawai’i football players. Head coach Greg McMackin said he needs to reduce the roster to make room for recruits and “preferred” non-scholarship players who will join the Warriors this summer.” (HA)

About how players who are cut and not added to the roster will have a chance to try out for the Warriors next year if they do not transfer, Mack said:
“They need to find out what they need to work on to make the team.” (HA)

Mack said that being cut does not have:
“to be a forever thing.” (HA)

HA Note: “Daniel Libre was once one of the players cut after spring practice. Libre worked his way back, and now he is listed as the co-No. 1 running back.”

About having so much depth that they have to cut some good players, Mack said:
“We’ve reached a point where it’s very competitive. We have a lot of talent. Unfortunately, we can’t keep everybody. It’s not P.E. football.” (HA)

About how Inoke and Tyler are “competely slashed” (tied) as #1 QB, Mack said:
“They are sliced. Nobody is ahead.” (HA)

HA Note: “Junior college quarterbacks Brent Rausch and Greg Alexander join the team in August. Both will have a fair chance to compete for the starting job. McMackin said a No. 1 quarterback should be apparent after two weeks of training camp. McMackin said he does not plan to rotate quarterbacks during games.”

About his invitation to compete in the Jets’ rookie mini-camp, Karl Noa said:
“Oh, man, I’m looking forward to the opportunity. I’m glad I have a chance to do something.” (HA)

HA Note: “Noa started every UH game at right defensive end last season. He was an outside linebacker in 2006, when the Warriors were in a 3-4 defensive alignment. Noa, who is 6 feet 4 and 250 pounds, competed at the April 1 Pro Day in Carson, Calif. He ran 40 yards in 4.79 seconds, bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times, and had a vertical jump of 36 inches and broad jump of 10 feet, 1 inch.”

About how he wasn’t expecting to be drafted, Noa said:
“To be honest, I didn’t think I would get drafted. I was hoping to get a call (after the draft). I was trying to stay positive. (Yesterday) morning I was fortunate to get a call. I’m happy and grateful to have an opportunity.” (HA)

About Bess, his agent Kenny Zuckerman said:
“He’s a slot receiver with hands of glue.” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

SFSS Note: “After not taking any receivers with their nine draft picks, Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland agreed to terms with 5-9 receiver Davone Bess of Hawaii, a Wes Welker clone who had 108 catches for 1,266 yards with 12 touchdowns this season.”

Colt was drafted, other Warriors sign free agent deals

April 28, 2008

About being drafted by Washington, Colt said:
“It really is a great situation. I really like the coach they have, and they’re bringing in the West Coast system. I definitely have experience with that offense. I’m really excited about that.” (HA)

“I was hoping to be a high draft pick just because of the success I had. But as I went through the draft process, I went through a lot of adversity. I really started thinking I may not even get drafted, so to get the phone call to hear the Washington Redskins, you have no idea of the feeling.” (HSB)

After not being drafted in the first 5 rounds, Colt said:
“I was sitting there pretty bummed. Then all of a sudden I got a strange area code (on caller ID) and picked it up. Sure enough, it was, ‘Hold on, Colt, would you move to the Washington D.C. area?’ I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘Hold on, we’re going to punch you through to coach (Jim) Zorn and the (general manager).’ It was an awesome feeling, a really good feeling.” (HA)

HA Note: “Brennan and more than 20 family members and friends had gathered at a rented beach house on Balboa Island yesterday. They raised a Hawaiian flag.”

About how they celebrated after he was picked, Colt said:
“When (the selection was) announced, my whole family went nuts.” (HA)

About his drop in the draft due to the questions critics had about him, Colt said:
“The way it kept being described to me, the closer you get to the draft, the more conservative everybody gets. Unfortunately, I came with a lot of question marks because of the (offensive) system I played in and the conference I played in, to obviously my situation at Colorado (when a dormitory incident led to a seven-day jail sentence), to obviously my hip injury. With all of those question marks, when you compare it to a guy like (USC’s John David) Booty or (Michigan’s Chad) Henne who don’t have any of those question marks, it’s just one of those things.” (HA)

About having Jim Zorn as his new coach, who played QB in the NFL, Colt said:
“It’s obviously cool. June Jones being my coach in college, I think that’s a big reason we had a lot of success.” (HSB)

About how he has to let his hip heal instead of trying to push through the injury, Colt said:
“One thing the doctors stressed is don’t push too fast, give it time to heal. I’m feeling great. In a couple of weeks I’ll be 100 percent. But I’m excited. Everyone’s telling me (Washington is) a great place, and I’ve heard the fans are great.” (HSB)

About Washington, Colt said:
“They’re bringing me in to develop me and that’s fine with me. I’m going to compete to move up the depth chart. I know that Jason Campbell’s a great quarterback. I’m going to be ready for whatever the team needs me to do. I’m ready to work.” (HSB)

About how the situation is Washington is ideal for Colt, Washington VP Vinny Cerrato said:
“I think he’s coming into a perfect situation for him. There’s no pressure. We’ve got a quarterback (Jason Campbell). We’ve got an outstanding backup quarterback in Todd Collins. And he’s got time to learn. He’s got time to develop. We said in the draft we were going to look for a guy we can develop, and I think this is a guy that Jim (Zorn) will enjoy developing, and we wanted to develop.” (HA)

“We’ve got an outstanding person to coach him and teach him. Jim Zorn will be just what the doctor ordered for him. There’s no pressure — he’s got time to learn and develop. He’s done a ton of things. He’s had a lot of success. You can’t discount all the victories and all the touchdowns.” (HSB)

HA Note: “Zorn knows something of Brennan’s situation. He came from an off-the-marquee school (Cal Poly Pomona) as an undrafted free agent with less than eye-popping “measurables” (6 feet 2 and 200 pounds) 30 years ago and carved out a remarkable 12-year playing career in the NFL that has led to a marquee head coaching job. Less than three months into his Washington tenure, Zorn has sized up and taken a flier on Brennan who is, for the time being, “his” quarterback to mold. Somebody the Redskins have the luxury of developing while not having to rush into action.”

About the importance of accuracy by a QB in his offense, Zorn said:
“The thing that I look for, one of the strong suits of a QB, is can he hit what he’s throwing at? Colt has done that. He’s been a 70 percent passer. Whatever level and whatever type of defense you’re going against, to throw 70-plus percent, there’s some accuracy there. And he’s got the ability to move around. His lateral movement, his ability to get himself in a position to throw the ball after a play breaks down, is tremendous, I think. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come in here and do that.” (HSB)

Proud of his son, Terry Brennan said:
“We’re very happy for Colt.” (HA)

About the opportunity he has in Miami, Bess said:
“It’s a good situation for me. The punt return and slotback spots are open.” (HSB)

HA Note: “In the fifth round, the Dolphins called Bess, saying they would offer him a free-agent deal if he went undrafted. Minutes after the draft ended, Bess’ agent was finalizing a pact.”

Not regretting his choice to skip his senior season, Bess said:
“I’m good. No regrets at all. One year wouldn’t have made a difference.” (HA)

Bess said that getting a shot to compete in an NFL camp:
“that’s the main thing. I’ve jumped over 100 hurdles my whole life. What’s one more? This is the profession I chose to go into. It’s a business. I have to put the hard work in.” (HA)

HA Note: “Bess said he will have a chance to compete at inside receiver and punt returner.”

About his disappointment at not being drafted, RGM said:
“Definitely. Everyone wants to get drafted, and that’s what I expected. But I’m not sulking. The way I look at it, even if you get drafted, you still have to make the team.” (HSB)

RGM said that he had:
“no regrets. I made the right decision. You never know with the draft. It’s all over, and now I’m ready to go on the field and do what I do.” (HA)

Not minding having to go the free-agent route, RGM said:
“When we all came to Hawai’i, nobody knew us. We had to prove ourselves, and make a name for ourselves. We don’t stop now. We can’t shy away from competing. We know nothing is handed to you — from high school to college to this. It’s just another thing.” (HA)

About not getting drafted, Rivers said:
“Everything in my life has been hard. I’ve had to work for it. This is no different. It’s kind of silly to think it would be given to me, handed on a silver platter. Even if I were drafted, I’d still have to work for it. This is kind of humbling, and it puts things into perspective.” (HA)

Rivers said that the Titans are:
“the best fit for me.” (HA)

About how he wasn’t expecting to be drafted, Hercules said:
“I wasn’t expecting anything. What happens, happens.” (HA)

Hercules said that he is:
“excited to play at the next level.” (HA)

About Matt Leinart, Colt’s former high school teammate and now Hercules’ new teammate in Arizona, Hercules said:
“Hopefully, I get the chance to play with another Mater Dei guy.” (HA)

HA Note about Bess, RGM, Rivers, and Hercules: “The four leave Thursday for their respective mini camps. Each will receive a signing bonus of up to $10,000.”

HA Note: “Meanwhile, right guard Larry Sauafea said he has received inquiries from three teams. He said he expects to receive an offer today. Hawthorne has been in talks with Minnesota and Philadelphia. An offer should come today. Defensive tackle Michael Lafaele and defensive end Amani Purcell still were awaiting word on free-agent offers.”

Quotes from the Warrior Bowl

April 27, 2008

About how he was relaxed before the Warrior Bowl, Mack said:
“This is the most fun I’ve had in coaching. I got to watch both Ron Lee and Cal Lee. I was relaxed all day. I took a little swim in the morning. I took a hot tub. I wore my slippers (during the game). It was great.” (HA)

“Too bad it isn’t like this all the time.” (HA)

HA Note: “The tough decisions will come soon enough for the Warriors’ first-year head coach and he can thank Inoke Funaki for the biggest one, selecting a No. 1 quarterback. Funaki’s two-touchdown passing performance in the Black Team’s 24-20 victory assures there will be a big call coming in deciding the starting QB spot for the Aug. 30 season opener at Florida. Funaki completed 12 of 18 passes for 145 yards, galloped 45 yards on two runs and took the Black Team to scores in all three series he worked in the first half to slap an exclamation point on an eye-opening spring. Over the course of the month-long spring session the junior-to-be from Kahuku closed what had been a significant gap with fifth-year senior Tyler Graunke, the heir apparent to Colt Brennan. So much so that they will likely open fall practice even, awaiting the arrival of two junior college transfers.”

About how Inoke caught up to Tyler this offseason, Ron Lee said:
“He definitely did (close the gap). He moved around, showed some athleticism and made some plays.” (HA)

About how the battle between Tyler and Inoke is close, Rolo said:
“They are tight … pretty tight.” (HA)

HA Note; “That it will be close is testament to the way Funaki took advantage of the opportunities presented this spring. Odd man out last year when Brennan and Graunke got most of the work in the fall, Funaki grew with the expanded workload.”

About Inoke’s increased reps helped him improve, Rolo said:
“He got over 300 (repetitions) in the spring and I think that really helped.” (HA)

HA Note: “Graunke was 10 of 14 for 108 yards and one touchdown but had the the game’s lone turnover, an interception.”

Praising both Inoke and Tyler, Ron Lee said:
“I thought they both did well.” (HA)

About Tyler and Inoke, Mack said:
“Tyler came back (from the interception) to drive us down the field. I’m really happy both of the quarters have come around and Jake (Santos) also showed some things.” (HA)

About how Inoke is pressing for the starting QB job, Tyler said:
“I feel like, over the spring, I haven’t shown my best. I got to pick up my game and keep improving. I’ve got to get in the weight room and then get out on the field and have a better chemistry with the guys,” he added. “A lot of guys are stepping up.” (HA)

About how their winning team in the Warrior Bowl will get steak dinners, Inoke said:
“Yes, steak was on our menu. It was nice to come up with a win.” (HA)

HA Note; “The first UH spring game in 10 years matched the Lee brothers — offensive coordinator Ron Lee, who was head coach of the Black, and defensive coordinator Cal Lee, who led the Green.”

Asked about the Lee brothers, Inoke joked:
“My favorite Lee? Bruce Lee. Nah. I love ’em both. They’re cool guys.” (HA)

About how they avoided injury in the game, Ron Lee said:
“We got out of it with nobody getting hurt. To me, that was the plus.” (HA)

About how he secretly preferred the green team, Dan Kelly said:
“I like their uniforms better. They had the throwback look I was looking for.” (HA)

HA Note: “Everything else was fair game, which explained the game’s final scoring play. With the ball at the Black 13, on the right hashmark, Green offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich called for T-Corner. The wideouts aligned on the line of scrimmage, and left tackle Aaron Kia stepped back a yard, making him an eligible receiver. The 280-pound Kia, running at the speed of huff and puff, ran an out pattern. He then hauled in Bryce Kalauokaaea’s pass for a touchdown, closing the Green to 24-20 with 5:25 to play. Kia then turned to the more than 9,000 fans on the near sideline — only sportscaster Artie Wilson and team security officer Manny Rezentes sat on the far-sideline stands — and struck an American Gladiator pose. Soon after, Kia became the center of a Green mosh pit.”

About how he had never caught a pass or scored a TD before, Kia said:
“Never in my life. Did (the celebration) look good? It was no dance. It was a pose.” (HA)

About how he made the play up on Friday night, Rolo (who played in the Arena league) said:
“You see that in arena sometimes. We needed it. It was perfect timing. We told (Kia), when we got off the bus, we were going to use it. He was fired up. It was fun for him. It was a memory he’ll always have.” (HA)

About the trick play for their final TD, Kalauokaaea said:
“Just a little something up the coaches’ sleeve for the Green. Coach Rolo came up with it. We never practiced it. It was a game call. It was good because (Kia) is such a big target.” (HA)

About the 27-yard TD pass he caught for the first score in the game, Lane said:
“I went through my reads. I ran a choice route. I either had the out or the post. (The cornerback) gave me the post, so I hit it.” (HA)

HA Note: “After the Green closed to 10-7 on Michael Washington’s 8-yard pass from Tyler Graunke, the Black upped the cushion to 17-7 on Daniel Lofton’s 6-yard touchdown catch. Lofton, the son of Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton, last played at California in 2006. He transferred to UH last summer. While his transcripts were reviewed, he was withheld from practicing most of last season, during which he had to redshirt in accordance with NCAA transfer rules.”

About how he hadn’t played in game-like conditions for a long time, Daniel Lofton said:
“It was weird to play under the lights. I hadn’t done it in a long time.” (HA)

About his TD on a shovel pass, where he bounced off two tacklers, Heun said:
“I learned from all of those linebacker days. Give credit to the o-line. They blocked away.” (HA)

About the big hit he put on Nasca after Nasca’s first catch, Desmond Thomas said:
“It was a cover-3 (defense), and I tried to disguise it a little bit.” (HA)

About Thomas’ hit, Nasca said:
“I didn’t feel him coming at all. I just held on to it.” (HA)

About the big hit he took from Dowling after his season catch, Nasca said:
“I knew I was going to get hit, so I figured I might as well catch it. I hope (the catches) help me. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks how it goes.” (HA)

About eating steak instead of hot dogs (the meal the losers got), Mack said with a smile:
“I’m going on the winning team. I get to pick.” (HA)

About the difference between the two meals, Heun said:
“There was a little bit of a wager out there. In the end, we’re all one team.” (HA)

Praising Dowling, Mack said:
“He’s a great player and I’m excited to have him. He’s had a great spring and he’s going to be a big-time factor for us.” (HA)

HA Note: “At 6-foot-3 and 205 spring-loaded pounds, Dowling has the sort of length and athleticism UH has rarely seen at the cornerback position. Playing for the Green Team, Dowling finished with a game-high 3.5 tackles, including two solo tackles and a tackle assist in the first quarter. McMackin pulled his starting defensive units and some of his offensive line starters after the first six plays to give other players time to be evaluated. Dowling added another solo tackle in the final period, bringing down wide receiver Nathaniel Nasca after a 17-yard reception.”

About how Dowling has earned a starting spot (big news!), Mack said:
“He’s earned a starting spot. He plays low. He does what he’s been taught. I think he’s a player, and I’m really proud of him.” (HA)

Not happy with his performance in the Warrior Bowl, Dowling said:
“I think I could have done better. I think I did good with my technique but I know I can be a lot better. We also had some miscommunication out there.” (HA)

“We’ll do better in the off-season.” (HA)

HA Note: “Dowling was particularly irked at the defensive lapse that resulted in a 13-yard touchdown hookup between Bryce Kalauokaaea and Aaron Kia.”

Praising Dowling, Rich Miano said:
“I looked over on the other side and it looked like he was making some plays. It’s good to get him in a game situation because he sat out all of last year. He’s looked great in practice.” (HA)

About how he would have appreciated if they had stopped the clock in the last 2 minutes instead of having the clock run all of the time, Cal Lee said:
“It was fine. The only problem was in the last two minutes. That to me would have been perfect, if it was running time up until the last two minutes. It would have been exciting to have the opportunity to move the ball and use the clock in those situations. That’s good practice, not just for the offense but the defense as well.” (HA)

Glad that his first Spring Game was over, Sol said:
“It feels like the world is spinning and the lights are blurry and your heart is just beating like crazy. It’s really exciting but it’s also really nerve-wracking.” (HA)

About his INT of a Tyler pass, Kenny Estes said with a laugh:
“I don’t know what to say. I think I read the ball, but I was in the right place at the right time, too. All I know is I got a lot of work to do in the offseason.” (HSB)

Happy that Dizon was drafted so high, Estes said:
“My brother called me. I was pretty stoked he made it in the second round. Yeah, I did (think he would go that fast). Ever since high school I envisioned him going quick.” (HSB)

Not happy with his punting in the Warrior Bowl, Dan Kelly said:
“My punting, on a scale of 1 to 10, was probably a 4.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Grasso, who lurked nearby after observing the game, butted in with a “2!” ”

About his missed extra point after the final TD of the game, Kelly said:
“We’re going to go ‘no comment’ on that one. Tonight was just kind of fun, get the kicking involved, because it will be a big part of the team this year.” (HSB)

Kelly said that his performance made Grasso look:
“more amazing than he already is.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Right wideout Malcolm Lane boosted the Black squad early with a 27-yard touchdown from Inoke Funaki on the game’s opening drive. But he couldn’t connect with Funaki again on a deep ball while he was wide open, dropping the pass at about the 10-yard line as the Aloha Stadium crowd groaned. Funaki made up the slack with an eventual 6-yard TD to Daniel Lofton on the same drive.”

Declining to talk about his performance in the game, Lane said:
“I don’t want to talk about just myself. I’m more happy about the team. There were a lot of questions coming in about our team, how we were going to be. I think we really stepped up to the plate and we showed what we have. And we showed that we’re ready to go down to Florida, and we’re ready to play, ready to compete.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “After being newly inserted in the game, freshman receiver Troy Lauduski hauled in a 55-yard bomb on the run from Kalauokaaea in the final quarter. It was easily the Carlsbad, Calif., native’s most impressive play of spring practice, and allowed the Green team to make the score more respectable late.”

About how he took advantage of his opportunity in the Warrior Bowl, Troy Lauduski said:
“Every ball that’s thrown to you, you gotta catch. Hopefully (after that) they give me a good look. I still got a lot of eligibility, so maybe end up redshirting this year. A lot of time here.” (HSB)

Happy with how things went this Spring, Mack said:
“We’ve had a whirlwind few months, but it’s been great. The base has been built, Everybody has been so supportive. It was a great turnout tonight that these guys appreciate. They’ve worked hard this spring to improve. I’m the appreciative one because this has been a blessing to me.” (HSB)

About the difference in the meals between winning and losing teams, Inoke said:
“We get to eat steak, they get hot dogs.” (HSB)

About how the rules of the game made it easier for his offense, Ron Lee said:
“The defenses made it kind of easy on us. They didn’t blitz and were playing base.” (HSB)

About the effect of the crowd on the players, Mack said:
“It’s amazing how that affects players. When we come home from Florida (after the Aug. 30 season opener), it’s important we have 50,000 people here. The players play for the fans.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “In the here and now of it, junior quarterback Inoke Funaki upped his stock in the competition to be the starter for UH. The historical part is that he did it by beating a defense coached by the same man who led the opposition nearly eight years ago during Funaki’s brightest athletic moment. In 2000, Funaki quarterbacked Kahuku past Saint Louis 26-20 in a landmark game that ended the Crusaders’ stranglehold on Hawaii high school football’s championship hardware. The opposing coach? Current UH defensive coordinator Cal Lee, who coached the Green team last night.”

About how he’s never forgotten Inoke’s play in the state championship game, Cal Lee said:
“I always remember him in that game. How can I not remember? He killed me.” (HSB)

About that State title, Inoke said:
“Good memories for me.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “After senior season at Kahuku, two years on a religious mission and three more years on the UH bench, Funaki is on the cusp of creating memories at Aloha Stadium again. The 10,000 on hand last night may have gotten a preview. Granted, Cal Lee’s defense would’ve been harder to beat last night with linebackers Adam Leonard and Blaze Soares in the game and blitzing and sacking allowed. But Funaki displayed the skills that made June Jones recruit him all those years ago — and then some.”

Praising Inoke, Cal Lee said:
“He’s a threat, but you can’t touch him, so you don’t have anybody on him. But he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat (running the ball). Man, he looked good taking off. He still runs as good as I’ve seen him and now he’s more polished (as a passer).” (HSB)

Praising Inoke when asked if Inoke had pulled ahead of Tyler, Ron Lee said:
“I like what Funaki has done. He had a good spring. But there’s a lot of time. We’re not there yet.” (HSB)

About how he made some mistakes on reads in the game, Inoke said:
“There’s some good positive things I know I did. Unfortunately, the ones that stick in my head are the errors that I made. Hopefully I can just work to try to improve it.” (HSB)

About how his main concern was to avoid injuries in the game, Cal Lee said:
“My goal was making sure everyone comes out healthy and they did. Hawaii won, that’s the main thing. When you put it all together, the guys that can play together, you’ve got a pretty good group I’d face anybody with.” (HSB)

Spring Quotes from the local papers

April 26, 2008

About he came up with the idea to have the Lee brothers face off in the Warrior Bowl, Mack said:
“It seemed like a natural to me. They’re both coordinators. They’re both well known in the state. I thought it would build more interest, and get more people excited.” (HA)

About how he cannot remember the last time he had a fight with his brother, Ron Lee said:
“If we had any disagreements, it was probably about football. But nothing big.” (HA)

About his friendship with his brother, Cal Lee said:
“We’re close. We’re best-friend-kind-of stuff. I want the best for him. He wants the best for me.” (HA)

HA Note: “Both attended the same college, and they coached together at Kaiser High School and then Saint Louis School. They built Saint Louis into the most dominant football program in Hawai’i history. During the 1990s, they also worked together at the Outrigger Hotel’s Main Showroom.”

About how he’s worked with his brother for so long, Cal Lee said:
“I probably see him more than I see my wife.” (HA)

Their father Thomas Lee said about Cal and Ron:
“I don’t want to show any favoritism. I love them both. They’re both good boys. No black sheep in the family.” (HA)

About how he and his wife spent most of their time cheering on their 3 sons (Tommy Lee Jr. recently retired as Montana Western’s head coach), Thomas Lee said:
“I never had a social life. All of my life was with my boys. Take one there. Pick one up. Back and forth. My life was running around. But I’m not sorry. I love it. We give the TV a rest. We go to football.” (HA)

HA Note: “Thomas Lee has attended UH football games for several decades. He remembered paying 80 cents for an end-zone seat at Honolulu Stadium.”

Thomas said that he and his group of friends are:
“regulars at Aloha Stadium. We go early and stay late. We avoid the traffic. I enjoy that. I have a good life. I’m so blessed. I thank the Lord every day to be blessed with three good boys.” (HA)

Asked how long the Black team’s QB will be in the shotgun, Ron Lee aid:
“It depends on how long (Green pass-rusher) John Fonoti plays. Our plan is to run away from John.” (HA)

Praising Brashton Satele’s performance this Spring, Ron Lee said:
“He’s going to be outstanding. “Looking at our (video) cutups, what he’s doing against (the offense), wow, he might be having the best spring of them all.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lee said that Kiesel-Kauhane, who benches a team-high 455 pounds, and C.J. Allen-Jones, who moved from outside linebacker, are quick off-the-perimeter rushers.”

Praising the progress Tyler has made, Rolo said:
“Tyler has bought in the last few days. He’s made a lot of improvements. He ended the spring with his two best practices.” (HA)

About how he’s learned a lot this Spring Practice, Tyler said:
“It’s been a good spring. There’s been a lot of learning, and a lot of changes, obviously. We want to end it good, end it right. It doesn’t matter who wins — even though the Green is going to win — we’re going to have fun out there.” (HA)

About Dowling, George Lumpkin said:
“He’s going to be a corner. He’s a big corner, but he has the ability to stay low. I don’t think we’ve had a guy that tall who can do what he can do. He has great feet.” (HA)

About Lolotai, Lumpkin said:
“He’s our only middle [LB]. He’s all we need.” (HA)

About how he doesn’t have a backup on his team, Lolotai said:
“I actually don’t have any backup, so I’ll be digging deep. It should be good, but it will be tough. There’s a lot of guys without backups.” (HSB)

HA Note: “Kelly will finally get to show off his full menu of skills. He doubles as the punter. He has been receiving tips from Tim Grasso, last year’s punter, who is visiting this week. Grasso has earned enough credits to spend the spring semester in his native Utah, where he is a junior-varsity baseball coach. Grasso reports to training camp in August.”

About how Inoke and Tyler are close in their battle for the #1 spot, Rolo said:
“They’re very close. Both could probably use a little of each other. Tyler’s the gunslinger, a little reckless sometimes. Inoke’s conservative on his reads.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Walk-on cornerback MacArthur Cheek probably needs a monster game to avoid being cut, but the effervescent sophomore from New Haven, Conn., has the right attitude.”

Looking forward to his chance to play in the Warrior Bowl, MacArthur Cheek said:
“I came out here last year, wanted to do something different, a new experience. This game is an opportunity to shine and show I can play. I’ve had the chance to learn some technique this spring. High school football was just run around and play.” (HSB)

Asked what he will do if he gets cut, Cheek said:
“Just dust yourself off and try again. I’ll have 10 months to work hard and give it a go again.” (HSB)

Colt update from before the draft

April 26, 2008

About how he will be playing golf today during the draft, Colt said:
“I’ll get up and play golf.” (HA)

Not bothered by the uncertainty over his draft prospects, Colt said:
“We’re preparing for the worst. Even if I don’t get picked, and same with my receivers, we’re still going to be in NFL uniforms this summer, with the opportunity to live out what we’ve been dreaming about our whole lives.” (HSB)

About how he’s used to being an underdog, Colt said:
“There’s always parity in life. Guys get drafted early, they get a lot of money and all that, but sometimes they lose their intensity and their motivation and passion. For me, I’ve always been that underdog and in a funny way that’s comforting for me. Because I know I’ll always have something to prove and always have that passion.” (HSB)

HA Note: “His family has rented a beach house on Balboa Island. He said his weekend plans include fishing and, most likely, a barbecue. Chicken, steak. fresh corn. “My dad loves corn,” Brennan said. After amassing the best statistical season by a quarterback in NCAA history in 2006 — a formula that factors yards, touchdown passes, interceptions and accuracy — it was projected that Brennan, if he applied for the 2007 draft, might be a top-10 selection. More than a year later — and after finishing third in the 2007 Heisman voting — Brennan’s stock has fallen dramatically. Where he will be selected has drawn diverse opinions.”

Colt said that the Sugar Bowl loss was:
“devastating, in a sense. I remember people telling me, ‘the most important thing right now is to win this game. This will be the first big step.’ We didn’t win the game.” (HA)

“Our goal was 12-0. And I think, looking back on it, we forgot about our last game.” (HSB)

“Peyton Manning’s last college game, he got destroyed by Nebraska in the Orange Bowl, with career lows in all his stats. But he still was the No. 1 pick in the draft.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The difference is Manning was on national TV many previous times, playing for Tennessee.”

HA Note: “A week before the Senior Bowl, Brennan suffered flu-like symptoms. He lost several pounds, and weighed in at 185 pounds. At nearly 6 feet 3, Brennan, the scouts had hoped, would have weighed at least 200. He also suffered a small tear in the labrum near his right hip, an injury that eventually would require surgery. And, for many, that is where the story ended. Two months later, some self-styled draft experts still reported that Brennan weighed 185.”

About how his critics came out after the Senior Bowl weigh-in, Colt said:
“People wanted to get on the bandwagon that ‘Colt isn’t that good.’ ” (HA)

Colt said that the criticism:
“could easily be dispelled and looked in a truthful perception.” (HA)

HA Note: “For instance, Brennan played well enough in the Senior Bowl practices to be voted, by his teammates, as a game captain. He was named a starter. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he was the only quarterback credited with a perfect score — 21 of 21 — in the passing drills. Three of his completions were for more than 40 yards. In his three-year UH career, in fact, Brennan completed better than 50 percent of his deep passes (that traveled more than 20 yards in the air from the line of scrimmage). Because he took at least a three-step drop out of the shotgun, his deep passes traveled at least 27 yards. The UH goal is to complete a third of those passes. Brennan weighed 207 at the combine and 218 at the April 1 Pro Day workout. Brennan underwent successful labrum surgery March 6. Before the procedure, he had difficulty sitting for long periods. After the surgery, those symptoms were gone.”

About the criticism that he cannot play in bad weather, Colt said:
“They look at me as a kid from Southern California who played in Hawaii. But in many ways I have the best resume of any quarterback. I’ve been all over the country, played in snow in Boston (at prep school) and Colorado, been in all kinds of offenses against all kinds of competition. The bottom line always turned out at the end that we won a lot of games and I ended the season one of the top quarterbacks.” (HSB)

Colt said that his post-rehab plan is:
“to work my butt off. … I’ll be an absolute animal. If they want a big ol’ quarterback who can bring it, that’s what they’ll get.” (HA)

About his future plans, Colt said:
“All I can do, is go on the field and have success.” (HA)

HA Note: “Not since Larry Arnold in 1969 has a UH player been drafted to specifically play quarterback in the NFL. That his selection came in the 12th round by the Los Angeles Rams hints at how long ago that was.”

HA Note: “A program that has been at or near the top in passing statistics for nearly a decade shouldn’t require that kind of validation. But it does. UH needs a living, breathing symbol of its passing game in the NFL. It needs one people can see front and center on Sundays. Somebody, who, when they do those Monday Night Football lineups, can say, “quarterback … the University of Hawai’i.” Somebody, for example, that can catch the eye of prospective recruits. A “name” that confers the stamp of recognition and authentication.”

Hoping that he and his WRs will prove themselves in the NFL, Colt said:
“Time will tell. Five years from now, hopefully Jason, Ryan, Davone and I will all be doing our thing in the NFL and everything that we did at Hawaii will be confirmed. That’s a big motivation for us.” (HSB)

Spring Practice Quotes from the local papers

April 25, 2008

Hoping to get the crowd involved with the ha’a, Mack said:
“We’re working to get the band and cheerleaders involved,. We want to get a chant for the fans to do. We want to get as many people involved.” (HA)

HA Note: “In 2006 the Warriors began performing the haka, a Maori chant, at the end of pre-game warm-ups. Last year, defensive tackle Keala Watson, linebacker Brad Kalilimoku and nickelback Guyton Galdeira created their version of the ha’a, which is chanted in Hawaiian. McMackin, who was hired as June Jones’ successor in January, decided the ha’a was a practice he wanted to continue.”

About continuing the ha’a, Mack said:
“There’s no reason to change something that’s known all over the country. It’s a cultural thing. It shows passion. It shows togetherness. And it gets (the players) jacked up for the game. It’s the culture of our state.” (HA)

HA Note: “At the end of yesterday’s final practice before the intrasquad Warrior Bowl tomorrow, the Black and Green teams dueled in a chant-off. The Black team, led by Watson, performed the ha’a, concluding with several players leaping toward the Green team. The Green team then tried to perform the haka, but they were repeatedly heckled. Members of the Black team yelled that the Green players did not know the words to the haka. “He’s Filipino!” they yelled at defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea, who served as the Green team’s conductor. Savaiigaea is of Samoan, Filipino, Chinese, Spanish and German ancestry.”

About the Green team, Black team safety Keao Monteilh said:
“They were making up their own words. The guy leading the haka wasn’t even Maori. He’s Samoan/Filipino. That doesn’t make Maori, not even if you blend it a little. I’m not going to say No. 92’s name.” (HA)

Laughing, Mouton added:
“That’s Rocky. I’ll say his name.” (HA)

About the heckling from the Black team, Rocky said:
“They tried to mess us up. We’ve got something for them on Saturday.” (HA)

About how they will do the ha’a before the Florida game, Mack said:
“Absolutely. No doubt.” (HA)

About how he turned down his nomination to be one of the leaders of the ha’a, Monteilh said:
“My voice cracks when I try to call the defense.” (HA)

About how 3 players from the Mainland (Salas, Pollard, LWJ) has asked to be considered to be one of the leaders of the ha’a, Keala Watson said:
“We have a lot of guys who are excited about trying to lead it. One of the main objectives of doing the ha’a is to spread the language. I can say everybody who does the ha’a can speak the Hawaiian language. We want to spread the culture and to honor those who have passed away, and bring back the aloha spirit.” (HA)

HA Note: “Quarterback coach Nick Rolovich created a competition in which the quarterbacks had to throw a football into a trash can from various distances and under various conditions. The Black team (Inoke Funaki, Shane Austin and Kiran Kepo’o) outpointed the Green (Tyler Graunke, Jake Santos and Bryce Kalauokaaea), 19-13.”

About the competition to throw a football into a trash can, Inoke said:
“It was a good workout.” (HA)

About how the drill reminded him of how he worked has as a little kid, Inoke said:
“My father tried to instill in us the importance of hard work. He took us to the farm to dig holes and plant taro and yams. Being a kid, it wasn’t the most fun thing to do on a Saturday. I’d rather be at the beach with my friends. Being a kid, I’d slip away. I would look for rocks or make mud balls, and entertain myself by throwing at coconut trees or any target I could find. I liked throwing at objects.” (HA)

About how he never killed the pigs on the farm, Inoke said:
“We had pigs (on the farm). I’ve been told a couple of times to (kill a pig), but I couldn’t do it. I held the back legs, maybe. If I grew up in (Tonga), I definitely would do it. My cousins were like, ‘Noke, do it.’ I’m like, ‘No, not yet.’ That takes a little more courage for me to do. I can’t kill a pig yet. But I’m there to help the others.” (HA)

About how game-type conditions like the Warrior Bowl will show them something about their players, Mack said:
“Receivers, for example, can catch it when they know they’re not going to get hit, but you want to see who can catch it in a game like this where they know they are gonna get blasted.” (HA)

About how Royce Pollard has a shot at the starting job, Ron Lee said:
“I think Royce is competing for a starting spot. Guys like Royce had a great spring. You tell him something once, he gets it done, makes the corrections. Expect him to come back (in the fall) and compete. Last year, he hardly got any reps. He’s really stepped up.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The Warrior freshman wideout was born in Hawaii but raised in various places on the mainland because of his parents’ military background. Now, he relishes the opportunity he’s been granted as a walk-on to make an impact in the overhauled Warrior receiver corps. Pollard was on the scout team last fall and entered spring camp a long shot to compete for playing time against the more experienced Malcolm Lane and Dylan Linkner at “Z” (right-side) receiver.”

HSB Note: “Small surprise Pollard ended up on Lee’s side of the field; it was Lee, then the receivers coach, who extended an invitation to fall camp Pollard’s way last year after noticing him “wandering around campus.” ”

About what Ron Lee said when he approached him, Pollard said:
“He told me, ‘You got some really big hands.’ (HSB)

HSB Note: “Moving to the islands was an easy choice to make because of a burning desire to learn more about his Hawaiian heritage. He’d visited briefly in the past, but never stayed long enough to get comfortable. Now, he’s making up for lost time. Since enrolling in the fall, Pollard has taken a course in (Hawaiian history). Pollard’s mother, Verli-Ann, raised her part-Hawaiian son with local customs in mind. He called myriad places home until Pollard went to live with his dad after finishing the seventh grade. He remained with his African-American father, Anthony, throughout high school, losing touch with that side of the family to a certain extent. That is, until rediscovering his mother’s ways with a host of Polynesian Warrior teammates in Manoa.”

Enjoying learning about his Hawaiian roots, Pollard said:
“I see how they act, I enjoy it. I see a lot of the Hawaiian attributes I portrayed, even though I wasn’t here. Up until seventh grade, I was really living like that, the Hawaiian passion.” (HSB)

About how Pollard meshed quickly with the rest of the Warriors, Inoke said:
“His first summer, he’d be out here with his playbook already, running his routes. They say attitude determines altitude. The coaches like the guys who know their plays. I think for him, he’s going up from here.” (HSB)

About his large extended family in Hawaii, Pollard said:
“Some people probably still don’t know I’m their nephew or cousin.” (HSB)

About the Black team’s gameplan for the Warrior Bowl, Monteilh said:
“Don’t say anything but we got a little plan going on. If you see a guy in black on the Green team, something’s going on. He’s a spy for us.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “That would be Inoke Funaki. He’s the starting quarterback for the Black in tomorrow’s Hawaii spring game at Aloha Stadium. But he’s also the holder for both teams. Black coach Ron Lee confirmed Funaki is under orders to botch a potentially decisive Green kick. Call it Operation Tony Romo.”

About possibly messing up for the Green team during a kick, Inoke said:
“My hands might get really slippery and the ball might slip out of my hands. Possibly.” (HSB)

About how Cal Lee said that if he messed up the hold that Dan Kelly would need to pick up the ball and run, Inoke said:
“That’s OK, I’ll tackle Kelly. He’s pretty fast. But I think I can chase him down. I’ll do it for my Black team.” (HSB)

Saying that his said will win in a blow out, Monteilh said:
“Just going by our little mock practice, we scored about seven times here just fooling around, so we’ll get about 70.” (HSB)

Trash talking a little, Cal Lee said:
“The spread? Seventeen.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “There was plenty of light-hearted bravado at yesterday’s dress rehearsal for Warrior Bowl I: Brother vs. Brother. And the fun and games won’t be limited to the kiddie rides at Aloha Stadium’s south concourse tomorrow. But there will be some serious stuff, too, since many players will be competing for depth chart position — or their roster survival.

With the condusion of spring practice, coach Greg McMackin and his staff will evaluate players on the bubble and cut around two dozen to make room for incoming recruits. Some will be brought back once school starts, but McMackin said it is like “cutting their hearts.” ”

About how they agreed to move their game with Navy from 9/5 to 11/21, JD said:
“We received a request from their athletic director and we made an accommodation for them. It’s in our best interest.” (HSB)

About filling the last opening in their schedule, JD said:
“We’re in discussions about the open dates. The good thing is the first and last games of the season are the easiest to book. But we are getting to the 11th hour to fill the 2009 schedule.” (HSB)

About how his comfort level is at an 8 out of 10 for their new offense, Tyler said:
“I’m getting more comfortable every single day. There’s no cheap payoff for hard work. There were a lot of new guys to form chemistry with, but we bought into a new system and we’re rolling with it.” (HSB)

Looking forward to the Warrior Bowl, Tyler said:
“I’m getting ready for a game right now where we’re gonna be throwing live bullets. Florida’s spring game was on ESPN. we’re not at that level, but we’re getting there.” (HSB)

About how Heun is trying to learn the ha’a and haka, Keala Watson said:
“Jake (Heun) said the only dance he knows is the river dance, but he’s picking it up.” (HSB)

Quotes about the new uniforms

April 24, 2008

About the new uniforms, David Veikune said:
“It looks good. When you feel like you look good, it helps you out a little.” (HA)

HA Note: “The uniforms were custom-tailored as part of the eight-year, $4.1 million apparel and marketing deal between UH and Maryland-based Under Armour. The deal goes into effect July 1, although polo shirts will be available for sale at Saturday’s Warrior Bowl at Aloha Stadium. The jersey tops are black (home) and white (road) with green short sleeves made with a tapa design and dark-green trim. The pants are black to match the black jerseys and green to go with the white tops. UH head coach Greg McMackin said the pants and jerseys can be mixed and matched.”

About how Under Armour will make changes if they want them, Mack said:
“If we want changes, like putting tapa (bands) on the (pants) leg, they’re willing to do it. They’re going out of their way to help us.” (HA)

About his insistence on having “our style of green” (dark forest shade, green #34 and #35) in the uniforms, Mack said:
“There are a lot of different greens. It will be nice to focus on the school’s green.” (HA)

About how the feel of the uniform is a benefit to them, Mack said:
“Under Armour makes a very comfortable uniform.” (HA)

HA Note: “Under Armour, which was founded in 1996, originally created a line of merchandise that was to be used under shirts. The unique material served as both a wind-breaker and sweat absorbing, providing warmth on cold evenings or cooling a sweaty player. Under Armour decided to expand, and now provides uniforms for a handful of college teams. Kevin Haley, senior vice president/sports marketing for Under Armour, said UH’s uniforms are expensive because of the blend of materials, and the cut-and-sew process of adding the tapa design.”

Haley said that UH’s pants will have the:
“cool-smooth feel like the original Under Armour undershirt.” (HA)

Asked about “the secret sauce”, the fabrics used for the players, Haley said:
“It’s not the secret ingredients, but how you put it together, and what the finishes are.” (HA)

HA Note: “He said there are several types of liquid finishes, but what matters most is the number of times the fabric is treated.”

About the liquid finish of the uniform, Haley said:
“You can dip a fabric one time or five times. At five times, it is much more comfortable against your skin. It depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re trying to achieve water repellency, it’s very different than a cool hand or a wicking that will pull the sweat away from your skin and help it evaporate faster.” (HA)

HA Note: “McMackin said he also is pleased with Under Armour’s shoes, which are lighter than the Nike cleats the Warriors used last season. Haley said Under Armour has the technology to custom-fit shoes.”

About fitting shoes to hard-to-fit player’s feet, Haley said:
“Some people have foot problems. We’ll take a computer scan of their foot, and build the shoe to that specification.” (HA)

About how their new uniforms will give them a competitive advantage, Mack said:
“It’s going to help us win games. It keeps you cool when it’s warm and warm when it’s cool.” (HSB)

Praising the new uniforms, Mike Washington said:
“It’s like they kept the tradition of the Hawaiian print but they jazzed it up. It’s tight.” (HSB)

About how the light Under Armour shoes are good for the speed guys like him, Washington said:
“For skill position guys, receivers, DBs, definitely good.” (HSB)

About how they targeted UH, Haley said:
“There’s a select few programs we have a relationship with. With Hawaii, I think it’s a perfect fit. It’s a program with a rich heritage, but also with a lot of youth and passion and appeal to the next generation. We didn’t find out Hawaii was available until late January. It was not our plan. We didn’t think it was available. It was not in our plans or our budget, but it was a once in a lifetime. We reached out from a number of different angles. We’re very excited about the opportunity and the partnership.” (HSB)

About the Under Amour deal, Associate AD John McNamara said:
“Hawaii and Under Armour were on parallel tracks, moving forward.” (HSB)

Spring Practice Quotes from the local papers

April 24, 2008

About how his hands have to be close together at the start of a block, Ray Hisatake said:
“You’ve got to keep it tight. You look at Aaron (Kia) and Steiny (Keoni Steinhoff) and they keep their hands really tight in the cradle on their chest. Before, when I’d come out, I’d be out here.” (HA)

HA Note: “It was Hisatake’s tightening grasp of such technical essentials that made the battle for the starting left tackle spot one of the most intriguing of spring training. With Laupepa Letuli out with a hamstring injury and Raphael Ieru sidelined with a bum ankle, Hisatake made the push for No. 1 a two-man race between himself and fourth-year junior Kia. Both saw significant time with the starting units before Kia emerged as the top option at the position. Still, the palms-close competition proved beneficial to both players.”

About Kia beating him out for #1 LT in the Spring, Hisatake said:
“I’m fine with it. Aaron is a great utility guy. He’s played all positions, so being behind him is actually a good thing because I get to learn. It’s a battle and I work hard every day to try and keep up with him.” (HA)

Expecting the competition in the Fall to be tough, Hisatake said:
“Everything is open so I’m still going to battle Kia and no matter where Pepa steps in, I’ll battle him, too.” (HA)

HA Note: “Despite not playing football in high school — he was a three-time league champion in the shot put — Hisatake proved an intriguing collegiate prospect coming out of the College of San Mateo in California, where he earned second team all-conference honors After biding his time as a redshirt last season, Hisatake quickly made his imposing 6-foot-3, 315-pound presence felt on the UH practice field. Hisatake, who has shown the greatest improvement on his front-side sets, says he’ll spend the summer refining the position and use of his head and hands coming off the line.”

Comparing football to track and field, Hisatake said:
“Football is a bit easier than track and field. In track, there’s a individual mentality. It’s completely on you. In football, you’re always surrounded by your teammates and you can count on them to have your back.” (HA)

HA Note: “Hisatake competed in the Terry Albritton Invitation track and field competition in February, placing first in shot put and second in discus.”

Praising Hisatake, Kia said:
“Ray is a good player and he has a lot of talent. He’s learned a lot since he’s been here and it wasn’t easy (to earn the starting spot). It’s still not over.” (HA)

HA Note: “Kia had expected to compete with Steinhoff for the right tackle position, but says he’s happy to remain on the left side, where he has more experience. He says his ability to play both sides is a “win-lose” situation.”

About the disadvantage of being able to play multiple positions, Kia said:
“There’s a downside because if you’re able to play both sides, you’re more likely to play both sides instead of staying in one spot. I just want to play hard and not lose this spot. I want to start this year.” (HA)

HA Note: “Kia said refining his technique is a perpetual process. Kia said he learned much of what he knows from watching former Warrior tackle Tala Esera and listening carefully to assistant coaches Brian Smith and Alex Gerke.”

About how he’s still refining his technique, Kia said:
“I don’t have it down pat. It’s going to take a lot of reps. You can never get too many reps. I’m in no ways sound, but nobody is ever sound. Nobody is ever perfect. I just have to keep working hard at it.” (HA)

About how one bad play can ruin an OL’s practice or game, Kia said:
“All it takes is one sack and everybody looks at it as a horrible practice or a horrible game, and I look at it the same way, too. I give up one sack and it blows my mind. If I’m the one who gave up the sack, my heart drops and I get pissed off at myself. But when that happens, you have to focus, relax, and concentrate on the next play.” (HA)

HA Note: “Kia said the highlight of his spring practice experience was the shuffle play he and his offensive teammates executed to perfection during Saturday’s scrimmage. Reacting to the blitz, quarterback Inoke Funake shovel passed the ball forward to Leon Wright-Jackson, who followed his blockers upfield for a big gain.”

About that big gain on a shovel pass, Kia said:
“Hell yeah. I didn’t get the perfect block on the linebacker, but I got a block and it helped bust it for a good amount of yards. On offense, everybody has to work as one to make something happen. When you do your job and everybody else does their job, it’s like ‘Yeah, we accomplished something.’ ” (HA)

About how JJ told him to stay for his senior year if Mack got the UH job, Adam Leonard said:
“Coach Jones had advised me to leave if coach Mac didn’t get the job.” (HA)

About Adam Leonard deciding to return for his senior year, Cal Lee said:
“I had some sleepless nights (before the decision). But when I heard he was coming back, oh, boy, I’ll tell you I slept like a baby.” (HA)

About how he can have a great senior year and enhance his draft status, Adam said:
“I know that as good as last year was, this could be so much better. This could be the best year of my career yet.” (HA)

About how they have been getting much more coaching attention now that Brian Kajiyama is assigned to work with the special teams specialists, Dan Kelly said:
“Coach Mouse (Davis), he’d be with us, but he never really devoted the entire time to us like Brian. We never had an actual piece of paper charting what we’ve done. It helps us improve. He gives us the daily workout and we go by it. Jake’s velocity and accuracy is improving. And my accuracy is better, too. Today I only missed three (of 32 field goals) from 45 yards. On the first day I missed nine.” (HSB)

About how Brian K is a knowledgeable special teams coach, Ingram said:
“He knows what a good get-off time is, what a good snap time is. He’s legit. His recording of the times and locations of the snaps really reassures me that they’re there. Sometimes when the punter gets the ball, they don’t even remember. So with Brian watching I can just look at the paper after and know what I need to work on.” (HSB)

About how both Jake Ingram and Dan Kelly have NFL potential and he likes working with them, Brian K said:
“Jake has been doing great. His snaps have been averaging .66 seconds for punts and the NFL average is .67, so he’s right there. Kickers are a unique breed, so it’s interesting to listen to Kelly talk throughout his workout. He’s having a great spring. I still have lots to learn, but it’s been neat, and Dan’s been teaching me as he’s been kicking about what is good form or not.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “They practice apart from the rest of the team on the soccer field adjacent to the football field, amid scattered footballs. The three enjoy each other’s company.”

About Brian K, Dan Kelly said:
“He always has wisecracks, so you have to watch yourself. He listens more than he talks and he’ll call you on it if you say something stupid. He can’t let it go. He’ll give you a look.” (HSB)

Inspired by what Brian K does just to get to practice by 7am, Ingram said:
“He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning to be with us. He’s unbelievable. Anybody who has anything to complain about, like they’re too tired or whatever, turn around and look at him.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Kajiyama said he has read about Doug Blevins, a man with cerebral palsy who coached kickers for the Miami Dolphins for six years. UH coach Greg McMackin said he’s very pleased with Kajiyama’s work, which also includes running the team’s computer center.”

Praising Brian K, Mack said:
“He’s a gold mine in my estimation. He’s an inspiration to everybody and he’s been there every morning and late at night. He’s dedicated and really making the transition to being a coach.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Kajiyama began appearing at UH football practices as an undergraduate student several years ago. In 2006, UH assistant coach Jeff Reinebold suggested to defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville and head coach June Jones that they put Kajiyama’s extensive computer abilities and passion for the game to use. Kajiyama became a volunteer assistant, preparing tape of opposing teams for Warrior players and coaches as a scouting tool. He earned a game ball for helping UH start a nine-game winning streak. Jones promoted him to graduate assistant last spring, and Kajiyama was nominated for the Football Writers Association of America’s annual Courage Award.”

About how Brian K is helping to improve their team, Mack said:
“This is him helping me prepare these players and doing a great job at it.” (HSB)

About the 6’5″ Joe Avery, Ron Lee said:
“Size is not the problem. He has got to work on his hands a little more.” (HSB)

About how he’s trying to improve himself, Avery said:
“Every day I try to find things that I was at flaw at last practice or during the fall. I’m just trying to find ways to (make things perfect).” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Avery is a perfectionist, which is why he’s not satisfied with his spring performance. His biggest struggle has been an inconsistency catching the ball, something that hampers a lot of freshman receivers.”

About Avery’s dropped balls, Ron Lee said:
“Everybody goes through this process where they’re learning the routes and have too much on their mind, and (when) the ball comes they drop it. For a redshirt freshman, he has come a long way. What he does in the summer is going to be critical to where he ends up on the depth chart.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Teammate Greg Salas was in the same situation a year ago, and is now one of the guys at the head of the receiving pack. It’s one reason Avery looks up to Salas.”

About Salas, Avery said:
“He has great hands and that’s an aspect about him that I’m going to eventually have to get, too. His athleticism and route-running is almost perfect. I set my standards based off of him because he’s obviously a good athlete.” (HSB)

About how today’s practice will prepare them for the Warrior Bowl, with the Green and Black teams facing each other, Mack said:
“We’ll do our individual, 7 on 7, and then we’ll split it up and have a mock game and we’ll close it with the ha’a.” (HSB)

About how he’ll have surgery on his injured shoulder and will not practice anymore this Spring, Korey Reynolds said:
“I’m just trying to be careful. Trying to get ready for fall now.” (HSB)

About returning to practice after missing several practices due to a tight hamstring, Mike Washington said:
“It’s doing better, but I can’t sprint on it yet. I tried to plant on it and the pain shot up. I’d say it’s about 90 percent.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “A reception for all former UH football players is scheduled for today from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Lettermen’s Club building on lower campus. Refreshments will be served.”