Quotes from the local papers (8/9)

About awarding schoarships to Mana Silva, Royce Pollard, and Ryan Perry, with only Silva #1 on the depth chart but each with strong performances in the classroom, Mack said:
“We take academics very seriously. They earned the scholarships because they take academics seriously.” (HA)

HA Note: “Perry is not listed on the depth chart. He is not even a starter on special teams. But Perry, a senior, has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.7, and he has never missed a team meeting.”

HA Note: “Pollard, a second-year freshman, is listed No. 2 on the depth chart at right wideout, behind Malcolm Lane. With Lane recovering from nagging ailments, Pollard has received extensive work in training camp. Pollard has a 3.39 cumulative grade-point average.”

HA Note: “Silva, who is projected to start at strong safety, has impressed coaches with his range, football IQ and aggressiveness. Silva, who is a pre-med major, also caught their attention with his 3.04 cumulative GPA.”

Praising their walk-on program, Mack said:
“We’re proud of our walk-on program. We think it’s the best in the country. The best example is Rich Miano.” (HA)

HA Note: “Miano, who is the associate head coach, joined UH initially as a walk-on. He played 11 seasons in the NFL. He now coordinates UH’s walk-on program.”

About how reputations are made in the 1-on-1 drills between the OL and DL, Mack said:
“That’s a big-pride drill. That’s the fundamentals of the game right there.” (HA)

HA Note: “With teammates ringing the turf-war area, the participants cannot escape scrutiny. Yesterday’s first one-on-one drills of the five-day-old training camp had bragging — and ragging — rights at stake.”

About the 1-on-1 drill between OL and DL, OL Raphael Ieru said:
“Everybody wants to see it. It’s an awesome drill.” (HA)

HA Note: “Defensive tackle Josh Leonard set the tone by speed-rushing past center Matagisila Lefiti to touch the tackling dummy, which served as the finish line. Right tackle Keoni Steinhoff and defensive left end David Veikune dueled for four seconds. The most animated matchup was between left tackle Laupepa Letuli and defensive right end Elliott Purcell. They refused to disengage, and then when they did, both came out swinging.”

About how he liked the little scraps in practice, Mack said:
“We’ve got a bunch of tough mothers. That’s who you want to go to battle with. We had a couple of little skirmishes. I like that. Right now I’d rather pull them apart than have to push them the other way. We’ve got some emotional players and some passionate players, and I like that. That’s why I like coaching here.” (HA)

About the 1-on-1 drill, Letuli said:
“You have to do your best. If you want that starting spot, you have to do what it takes to get it. You can’t say it. You have to show it by action.” (HA)

About establishing himself in this camp after being hampered by injury in the spring, Estes said:
“During spring, I got my ass kicked. I didn’t squat. I couldn’t run. I don’t even know why I did spring ball. … In spring ball, honestly, when I was getting beat, my confidence was shot. This whole offseason it made me train harder to get my hamstring better. It’s so important. I didn’t realize how important it was until I was getting beat on one-on-ones so badly. Now that I have my leg back, I’m feeling really good, and I got my confidence back.” (HA)

HA Note: “Estes blocked well against two of the toughest interior pass-rushers — defensive tackles Keala “Walrus” Watson and Tuika Tufaga.”

Looking for their OL to be more aggressive, Mack said:
“I’m going to let my personality drift over to the offense. We have to be a bunch of tough mothers. I’ll try to stay away from the quarterbacks. They have their own personality.” (HA)

About blocking for FGs with Blaze and Mouton rushing on his side, Nauahi said:
“We’ve got Blaze coming through my gap, (and) I’m like, ‘Oh.’ And we’ve got Ryan Mouton coming off the side, so it’s like, ‘hoo.’ It’s a challenge. Blaze is tough. Blaze’s middle name is ‘Impact.’ ” (HA)

Happy that Mack spoke in favor of the JV programs, Dave Shoji said:
“I’m glad Greg actually went down and spoke to them. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we (agree) with what he said.” (HA)

“He wasn’t thinking about himself … which is the kind of guy he is.” (HA)

About his fiancee Stephanie Gautier and their 5-month-old Sylen Gautier Kamakakuokalani Kiesel-Kauhane, R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said:
“I’m blessed. Now that we have a kid together, I have to take care of my family. Everything falls into place now that football is here and family is here. I just love it, I love it.” (HA)

About his “tweaked” hamstring that was injured in Thursday’s practice, Adam Leonard said:
“It’s fine, I didn’t pull it, so I’m just going to take a couple of days off and be ready to go hopefully. It’s pretty sore, but I have good strength in it and it’s just a matter of getting it stretched and loosening it up.” (HA)

About feeling comfortable taking Adam’s place in practice with the first team, R.J. said:
“Unfortunately, Adam got hurt. It doesn’t mean that I’ll be there. I’ll just take my time and make sure I’m ready so if it does happen in the game I’ll make sure I’ll be there.” (HA)

Adam said that R.J. has been:
“doing a good job every day out here and I’m excited for him. I know he’s a good player and no matter what happens during the season, if anyone gets injured, we have great linebackers who can step in and play great for us.” (HA)

Praising R.J., Blaze said:
“I consider R.J. a starter… He’s just as good as all of us. He’s probably the strongest linebacker we have.” (HA)

About how R.J.’s work ethic motivates the team, Blaze said:
“He’s a really mellow guy. He has a great work ethic. He inspires others.” (HA)

About how he and R.J. are cousins, with their grandparents being siblings, Blaze said:
“We don’t see it as a competition between me and him. We’re family and we try to push each other. If I go down I know my cousin has my back and he’s going to step right in there and do great.” (HA)

Approving of the two additions that R.J. has added to their family, Blaze said:
“It’s always good to have a new member of the family. Steph is a great girl. And R.J.’s baby is cute, he’s a big boy.” (HA)

About proposing to Gautier (who he’s been with for 6 years) under mistletoe at Honolulu Hale’s Christmas tree exhibit, R.J. said:
“I didn’t tell her, but I told her to take a picture under the mistletoe, and while she was looking up (at it), I proposed to her, and we kissed under the mistletoe. I had to do the whole nine yards. I made sure I did it right. It was a blessed moment.” (HA)

Looking forward to contributing at Florida, R.J. said:
“The Swamp, there’s nothing like it, you’re challenging the conditions. I have to work my game up so we won’t miss a beat. In spring you’re getting to know the new plays and then in fall you just have to be ready. It’s a whole different level.” (HSB)

About having R.J. ready to step in for him, Adam said:
“It just shows how deep we are. I have full confidence in him, Tyson (Kafentzis) and Brashton (Satele) to step in at any point in the season and there will be no fall off.” (HA)

HSB Note: “Also getting first-team reps were guard Raphael Ieru in place of Lafu Tuioti-Mariner (calf) and defensive end Elliott Purcell for John Fonoti (hamstring). First-team cornerbacks Ryan Mouton and Jameel Dowling also had classes in the morning. Before Mouton made it out for the latter portion of practice, Calvin Roberts and JoPierre Davis were the first corners in the rotation.”

About how their players understand that classes come before practice, Mack said:
“That’s one of our big deals, we want to graduate our students. We’re working hard to make sure they understand that they don’t have to feel guilty about going to class. We’ll make it up on the football side of it.” (HSB)

About his improved performance now that he’s healthy, Estes said:
“It’s a lot better now that I’ve fixed my hamstring. I can actually hunker down a little bit. Last spring I’d just get bullrushed every time because I didn’t have legs. When you’re (in the team period), you’re going to try your hardest. But when it’s one-on-one, you know everyone’s watching. People on the hill, coaches, everyone on the line, they’re all watching you.” (HSB)

About how Estes is critical to their offense, Mack said:
“I would say he’s the focal point of our offense, he’s who we all circle around. He’s a great player, he’s a quiet leader and he’s very well respected. When he’s in there, we’re a whole different offense. He sets the tone.” (HSB)

About how Kia and Letuli have a tight race for the starting LT spot, Brian Smith said:
“it’s going to keep getting tighter. Those two are going to get a lot of reps. I’m planning on playing all three of those (tackles). We’re planning on going to Florida with eight to 10 linemen ready to play. (Letuli’s) had a real good start of camp. We’ll keep pushing him and getting him reps and keep him learning. He should be a big-time contributor for us.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Smith also pointed to junior Ray Hisatake as one who enjoyed a solid day. Hisatake began camp in the tackle race, but Smith said he’s adapted well in moving to guard this week.”

HSB Note: “Last year, Leonard arrived on campus planning to play defensive end and weighed in at 265. He was moved inside to tackle, where he posted 21/2 sacks and recovered three fumbles. This summer, he concentrated on putting on weight – checking in at 305 – to hold up better against double teams. He said training at Velocity Sports Performance in Sacramento, Calif., helped him maintain quickness while carrying more weight.”

About gaining weight, Josh Leonard said:
“I just ate a lot of meals, a lot of protein shakes. Ate Burger King every day. I was recruited for D-end, never played inside before. So when they shoved me inside it was a new thing because I used to one-on-ones instead of being double teamed. Now I’ve got a year under my belt to get used to that.” (HSB)

Pleased with the effort their DL and OL gave, Mack said:
“(The offensive lineman have) really improved their technique and fundamentals. I give Brian Smith a lot of credit, he’s getting those guys going. That’s a competitive drill. We had to pull some guys off of each other, which is just what I want. I don’t want to have to push them together, I’d rather pull them apart.” (HSB)

About how he and Lewis Walker (both true freshmen CBs) have been comparing notes as they try to learn the defense, Steven Christian said:
“He was pretty much the first freshman I met when I got here. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be growing up with that position for the next few years. We sit next to each other in meetings, everything, and during practice when we see 7-on-7 and everything, we talk, try to figure out what the coverage is and try to correlate what we’re supposed to do in certain situations.” (HSB)

About their freshmen CBs, Rich Miano said:
“I think one thing these guys have is they’re all bright, young kids, including Kawika Ornellas (5-9, 170, Mililani HS). They’ve gotta pick up what we do a lot faster than most people. Just physically, they gotta continue to get better and their time will come.” (HSB)

About how the vets have been very helpful at answering their questions, Walker said:
“Every day (for advice), no matter what, they open up (for) questions, no matter what I have to say. They always help me out, if they see something wrong they try to fix it. It’s just kind of like another coach out there.” (HSB)

Hinting that the true freshmen CBs Walker and Christian might be redshirted, Miano said:
“They’re very good players, but these young kids are very smart, they’re coachable, they’re talented, and they’re gonna be the future. But the future may not be right now.” (HSB)

About how their special teams are ahead of last year at this point, Dan Kelly said:
“I feel the whole special teams unit is light-years ahead of where we were last year. Last year was kind of a learning process getting used to (holder/punter Tim Grasso), getting used to Jake (Ingram). This year it seems like we’re exactly where we left off and we’re in midseason form.” (HSB)

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