Archive for November, 2008

Bess did great in his first start!

November 30, 2008

MH = Miami Herald
PBP = Palm Beach Post
SFSS = South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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About not getting drafted, Bess said:
“It was pretty depressing not getting drafted, but I put that whole experience behind me.” (SFSS)

SFSS Note: “Sunday, he put some Rams behind him, leading the Dolphins with six catches and showing the same stamina, sharp route-running and run-after-catch quickness that made him a staple of the free-flowing Hawaii offense. He gained 19 yards on a cross on third-and-9 to set up the first touchdown. He caught a 21-yard floater down the right sideline to set up the first field goal. And he got the Dolphins across midfield for the first time in the second half with a 37-yard reception.”

After getting a team-high 6 catches for a team-high 84 yards (more than any other Dolphin had receiving or rushing, plus he had their only punt return and gained 17 yards on it), Bess said:
“They did just what we saw (on film) all week and it was just a matter of going out and executing.” (PBP)

About missing his chance at a 17-yard TD at the end of the half, Bess said:
“I jumped a little too early. You get a little overanxious. My eyes lit up, I wanted it and it was there. I just got a little too excited.” (PBP)

“I mistimed my jump.” (SFSS)

About his 37-yard reception, Bess said:
“They lined up exactly how we thought they would. So Chad [Pennington] knew exactly where I was going to be.” (SFSS)

About starting in place of the injured Camarillo, Bess said:
”It felt like a normal game. I didn’t see a big difference. Similar routes. I think I was just really in a few more plays. I just needed to continue to grow, and I had more opportunities to do that.” (MH)

About how they wanted to use this game to evaluate Bess as a starting WR, Miami head coach Tony Sparano said:
”We wanted to get Davone involved. It was a chance to evaluate him and see exactly where he is in this full-time role.” (MH)

About how he used his increased practice reps to help him to prepare for this game, Bess said:
”I take a lot of reps in practice, so I took that over to the game knowing I had to be physically ready.” (MH)

MH Note: “Sparano thought he handled man-to-man coverage very well, adding impressive runs after the catches. Bess, an undrafted rookie free agent, said he never really felt winded.”

Quotes from the UH-Washington State game

November 30, 2008

HA = Honolulu Advertiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii official site
ST = Seattle Times
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HSB Note: “Losing by 14 was something new for the Cougars (2-11). Their 10 other losses were by 25 points or more.”

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—————– Quotes from the UH coaches —————-

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About facing Washington State’s offense, UH head coach Greg McMackin (Mac) said:
“I really didn’t know how tonight would play out. They ran a different offense almost every week. Two weeks ago, against Arizona State, they spread it out and passed the whole game. Last week, they tightened up and ran it against Washington. I thought we would see something in between. And that’s exactly what they did.” (UH)

About earning a spot in the Hawaii Bowl and having a winning season, Mac said:
“I honestly feel a responsibility to our players, coaches and family, as well as for the state of Hawai`i, our fans and the university to have a winning season. I know we had some tough times and our ups and downs this year, but there was no way that we weren’t going to make it to a bowl game this season. We played a tough schedule, with probably four or five teams that will be playing in bowl games. And we had some adversity. But we stayed together. I think the leadership on this team has held us together, and I couldn’t be any prouder of our team. I feel humble, happy and fortunate to have a winning season. Winning is hard. Having a winning season is a really tough thing to accomplish. I have so many people to thank for getting us here. But our season isn’t over yet. So I’ll save the thank you’s until after the season’s done.” (UH)

“I’m proud of our players and coaches. We had our ups and downs, but when adversity hit, we came through. … It’s been a thrill. These players really deserve it. My coaches have worked hard, and they’ve done it the right way. I’m so proud of them.” (HA)

“They could’ve dispersed at any time.” (HSB)

“I feel a responsibility to the fans and the university and there’s no way we weren’t going to go to a bowl game. We had some adversity, but we stayed together.” (HSB)

“Above all I want to thank my players — they’re special and they worked their tails off. It’s an honor to play for Hawaii and we can’t wait to represent Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.” (HSB)

About facing Cincinnati next week, Mac said:
“It’s going to be a great game next week. Cincinnati won the Big East, and they are probably going to play in the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. This gives us a chance to show what we are capable of doing against this type of team. I think we’re playing at our peak right now and it’s the best time to face this kind of opponent.” (UH)

About dancing in the locker room after the game to celebrate their qualifying for the Hawaii Bowl, Mac said:
“I think I hurt my knee.” (HA)

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About how Washington State tried to make it hard for them to read their defenses, Ron Lee said:
“Washington State did a nice job of disguising their coverages and making changes at halftime. This was a tough team because they showed a lot of different coverages, and that made it tough for us to read.” (HA)

About the 44-yard TD pass to Washington when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, Ron Lee said:
“That was a heck of a throw and Mike did a super job of getting to it. The execution was perfect. It was a crucial situation because they were only seven down and they had the momentum turned around. That was the turning point of the game.” (HA)

About Alexander’s scrambles (including runs of 22 and 11 yards in this game), Ron Lee said:
“Saved us. He made plays. He scrambled around and made the throws. He did all of that ad libbing. He does a lot on his own. He’s big and he can see. He’s got a strong arm. He played a heck of a game.” (HA)

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About Alexander’s improvement this season, Rolo said:
“He did everything in his power to get ready to bring this team out of turmoil and bring it to a bowl game.” (HA)

About how Alexander knows when he should scramble, Rolo said:
“He’s got a good knack for knowing where to go, knowing when to take off.” (HA)

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————- Quotes from the UH players ——————

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About Washington State, QB Greg Alexander said:
“We knew Washington State would play well coming off their big win over Washington last week. They have a great defense and we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Overall, we got the win, and that’s all that matters. It’s always good to jump out fast, and that helped. But if you continue to let teams stick around long enough, they start to think they can win.” (UH)

About earning the Hawaii Bowl bid, Alexander said:
“It feels good, especially with the way we started. We had to face two really tough teams at the beginning of the season, and we went through some adversity. We knew that a lot of the fans jumped ship early on, but we stayed together as a team. I have to credit the seniors. They really provided great leadership and I’m happy that we got that extra game for them.” (UH)

“It feels great, really great. Especially with the way we started.” (HA)

“The season’s a marathon, not a sprint. It was tough early, but everybody stuck together and now we’ve made a bowl game. We can take a little breath till Cincinnati. They’re a BCS team so we can’t relax too much.” (HA)

“We had a lot of adversity through the year and had a lot of people jump off-board and write us off. We have a great group of leaders. Our seniors got us together and said we’ve just got to stick together and good things will happen.” (HSB)

About dodging pass rushers to buy time in the pocket and to scramble to gain yardage, Alexander said:
“I try to get out of sacks, do whatever you can. Sometimes it doesn’t work out where you have some negative yards. I just try to focus on not having any negative plays.” (HA)

About his 44-yard TD pass to Washington, Alexander said:
“Mike just set it up real good, and hit the post. He was wide open.” (HA)

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About facing Washington State, Greg Salas said:
“We knew it would be tough. Even though they only had two wins coming in, we knew they had Pac 10 athletes and that they would want to come in here and show that they could be a WAC team. We wanted to get a fast start, but we kind of let it fizzle away later in the game. It’s a good win and we are going to a bowl. That’s all that matters.” (UH)

“We knew they were going to be tough, they still have their Pac-10 athletes and we knew we had to get out fast.” (HSB)

Praising Alexander, Salas said:
“He’s the reason our offense is in check right now.” (HA)

About running over the Washington State CB at the 1-yard-line to get into the end zone to finish his 19-yard TD reception, Salas said:
“I caught it, and I knew I had a little bit of running room. I tried to get good speed and find my way into the end zone. It worked.” (HA)

About how they wanted to get an early lead to prevent Washington State from getting any momentum, Salas said:
“We wanted to come out fast, because we knew they were riding high off the Washington win (last week). We knew they’re not gonna lay over for us. We definitely wanted to come out fast and make a statement. We did that, (the offensive movement) kind of fizzled away (late) but we got the win.” (HSB)

About Washington’s 44-yard TD reception, Salas said:
“That play was run to perfection and it worked out great.” (HSB)

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About their performance in the game, Michael Washington said:
“In conditions like this, you have to focus because you’re fighting the wind and the rain. We also knew from watching tape that they were going to be good despite their record. We knew they had a strong front four and we were going to get pressure, so we had to make sure that we set ourselves up as quick as possible to help Greg out.” (HA)

About his 44-yard TD reception when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, Washington said:
“When I got that pre-snap read, my eyes lit up. I came out as a decoy, posted on the safety and when I looked back, Greg put the ball up. If he’s going to put it up in there, I’m going to go and get it.” (HA)

“Pre-snap read I’m thinking touchdown, but I didn’t want to get too excited and alert the defense. I just ran my route, read the defense and me and Greg were on the same page.” (HSB)

“It’s called the divide play. It’s a pre-snap read. I had the safety on my outside. When that happens, I run a post (route). Hopefully, me and Greg (Alexander) are on the same page.” (HA)

“We knew we needed a big play. We call that play, ‘Somethin’ Big.’ I saw the defense with the pre-snap read — I was thinking touchdown from the way the defense was playing me. So I just ran my route and executed, (beat the) second safety, by the time I looked around Greg threw that thing out there and I just had to make a play.” (HSB)

About the pink Gatorade he had on his uniform after the game, Washington said:
“I hope this stuff comes out.” (HSB)

About getting soaked by Gatorade when tackled on the sideline after a 26-yard catch, Washington said:
“Oh yeah, it was refreshing. I got it in my face, my gloves, down on my legs, my body, my feet. I’m just humble and blessed that I didn’t get hurt, ’cause it was kind of crazy.” (HSB)

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About their game plan, Aaron Bain said:
“They were bringing the pressure, so we just tried to get open as much as we could. Our game plan is always to hit them in the mouth right off the bat and utilize as many people as we can.” (HA)

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About the difference between last season and this season, John Estes said:
“Last year, we had experienced guys everywhere. This year, we had to work harder to make the bowl game. We cut it close to the end, but we won the game we were supposed to win.” (HA)

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About making the Hawaii Bowl, Lafu Tuioti-Mariner said:
“This is good, especially with the season we’ve had. It’s been kind of bumpy. But we stuck together, and we played as a team.” (HA)

About recovering the errant pitch by the Washington State returner who was running after they blocked a FG, Lafu said:
“I just did what I had to do, get the ball back.” (HSB)

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About their D, Adam Leonard said:
“We have been fundamentally sound overall as a defense. Our defensive line has been doing great and that makes things easier for us linebackers to go out and make plays. We took it upon ourselves to not have our defensive backs make get too many tackles and to get stops before it gets to them.” (UH)

“Our D-line is doing a great job of just causing havoc. When they do that, it makes playing linebacker a lot easier.” (HSB)

About how they had to win to make the Hawaii Bowl, Adam said:
“We knew (Washington State) wanted to come in and take one from us. This was the must-win. We definitely didn’t want to be in a situation where we had all the cards dealt for Cincinnati. To be bowl-eligible now, it relieves some of the pressure and we can just have fun.” (HSB)

Happy to have the Hawaii Bowl extend his Warrior career, Adam said:
“I’m cherishing every moment down here and to know that I’ve got another month’s work down here is definitely exciting for me.” (HSB)

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About how they were determined to win this game, Sol said:
“We were playing with emotion tonight.” (HA)

About how it feels to make it to the Hawaii Bowl, Sol said:
“It feels great. One of our goals was to go to the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. It keeps us going. It keeps us hungry.” (HA)

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About their early season struggles, David Veikune said:
“What were we, 1-3? It was scary starting out that way. But leaders stepped up and helped turn around the team.” (HSB)

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About how they were focused on making the Hawaii Bowl, Keala Watson said:
“Before the game, we’re usually all loud in (the locker room). This time, we were all quiet. We knew what we had to do. We didn’t think about anything else but each person doing his job.” (HA)

About their celebration after the game, Watson said:
“this is the dessert after Thanksgiving.” (HA)

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About Mac dancing in the locker room after the game to celebrate their qualifying for the Hawaii Bowl, Jameel Dowling said:
“Great technique.” (HA)

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About Mac’s dancing, John Fonoti said:
“Coach can dance — for an old man.” (HA)

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About Mac’s dancing, Calvin Roberts said:
“Man, I’d give him an ‘8.’ It could use some improvement, but it was pretty good.” (HA)

About how they limited Washington State WR Brandon Gibson to just 1 catch for 18 yards, Roberts said:
“He’s a good receiver. He has good moves off the line. We took turns going against him. The defensive line really put pressure on the quarterback. That helped us a lot.” (HA)

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About his fumble recovery when Washington State’s QB fumbled the snap, Josh Leonard said:
“All of a sudden I saw a ball right between my legs, so I sat back and just grabbed it.” (HSB)

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——————– Quotes from the Washington State coaches —————–

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About the game, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff said:
“We gave up some big plays at times, particularly in the second half. In the first half we couldn’t control the quarterback. I thought defensively we did some pretty good things. It’s unfortunate we gave up some big plays and we just don’t have enough fire power on our offense right now.” (UH)

About Alexander’s scrambles in the first half, Wulff said:
“In the first half we (just) couldn’t control the quarterback.” (HA)

“We gave up some big plays at times, especially in the first half. We couldn’t control the quarterback when he scrambled and that’s how they get [touchdowns on] their two drives.” (ST)

“We couldn’t control their quarterback. He scrambled out of trouble. We did some good things defensively. It’s unfortunate we gave up some big plays and didn’t have enough firepower on offense to counteract that.” (HSB)

About their difficult year (his first season at Washington State), Wulff said:
“It’s been a long year – a year of everything imaginable from injuries to inexperience. That part has been tough. Regardless of the wins and losses, all the other things that have been accomplished and have gone well, those things are the things that people don’t see. A lot of good things like players’ attitudes, they’ve been working hard, and they’ve been pretty steady in their work ethic. I really think
the team over the last five games played really good football. We didn’t win them all but we played better football as a football team.” (UH)

“It’s been a long year, a year of everything imaginable, from injuries to inexperience, to finding ways to lose games. That part has been tough.” (HSB)

About how they played better in the second half of their season, Wulff said:
“From injures to inexperience to finding ways to lose games, that part has been tough. I really thought the team for the last five games has played better football. We didn’t win them all, but we played better football as a football team.” (ST)

About traveling to Hawaii after the Apple Cup, Wulff said:
“It’s pretty challenging to do that but many times our kids can come out flat after a game like that. Emotionally, I thought our kids came out and played hard. I was happy with their performance. We weren’t flat. So I though Hawaii did a nice job. They made some critical plays that they had to make on offense and that was very key to the ball game. So that was really the difference in the ball game.
I think we played better as a football team. The kids kind of clued in and got our message as the season went along. So there were a lot of things we accomplished and we need to build off that.” (UH)

About their struggling offense, Wulff said:
“We just don’t have enough firepower on offense right now to be able to counteract a good defensive effort.” (ST)

About their turnover on a return of a blocked FG, Wulff said jokingly:
“We teach that, you know. No. That was a microcosm of our whole deal this year.” (HSB)

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About the 44-yard TD pass to Washington when the score was 17-10 midway through the 3rd quarter, co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball said:
“We played a cover-2 on that and our Mike ‘backer and our safety didn’t get deep enough.” (HSB)

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—————— Quotes from the Washington State players ———————

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About UH’s quick 14-0 lead, NT Tony Turpin said:
“Hawai’i started off fast in the first quarter, and we couldn’t recover from it. It was hard. We had costly turnovers, and we didn’t take advantage of opportunities.” (HA)

About their 7 sacks in the game (they only had 13 sacks in their previous 12 games), DE Kevin Kooyman (who had a sack in the game) said:
“We kept the pressure on and kept him out of the pocket and those seven sacks are a great accomplishment.” (HSB)

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About how they made too many mistakes, LB Cory Evans said:
“We felt like we left some plays out there on the field and you can’t do that on the road.” (ST)

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About the loss, DE Andy Mattingly said:
“It’s horrible that we didn’t win the last game for our seniors.” (HSB)

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About how Vili sought him out for a hug after the game, senior left tackle Vaughn Lesuma (born in Fiji and raised in Laie) said:
“We grew up watching these guys and it was great to be on this field for the first time. It wasn’t the result that we wanted but I’m excited to be here. These guys got it, so hats off to them. I wish them good luck in the future.” (HA)

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—————— Quotes from others ——————-

Not worried about how pretty UH’s win was, Hawaii Bowl executive director David Matlin said:
“A win is a win.” (HA)

Pregame quotes for the UH vs. Washington State game

November 29, 2008

About how their team has improved significantly since the Florida opener, Mac said:
“I watched (a video of) the Florida game (Wednesday), and we’re so much different now. We’ve come so far.” (HA)

About Alexander’s improvement, Rolo said:
“Greg is so much better now. He knows the offense. He’s calm. He really gets it.” (HA)

About how their offense was expected to struggle to start this season, Mac said:
“We needed to get to a point where everybody understood. We needed the game reps.” (HA)

Mac said about the offense now:
“as you can see, we’re peaking.” (HA)

About how they are using the run-and-shoot now instead of the modified offense when Inoke was starting, Mac said:
“We’re running the true run-and-shoot, and that’s why we’re getting better. We’re doing the same reps. Now you can see the timing of it.” (HA)

About how the improvement in their offense, Ron Lee said:
“What we tried to do to get by Florida is a lot different than what we tried to do against New Mexico State. But it’s the same offense. It’s all part of the same package. It’s stuff that we know. Everybody says we changed our offense. We didn’t. You just don’t put in an offense in a week. We’re running the same stuff. But it looks a little better than it did six weeks ago. It takes time.” (HA)

About how they need to beat Washington State to qualify for the Hawaii Bowl, Mac said:
“It’s going to be a tough game this week, but (the players) know what they have to do. They know what’s on the line. They’re together in their attitude. It’ll be a good ball game.” (HA)

About how their depth helps them deal with injured players, Mac said:
“We lost Mouton and E-Rob (safety Erik Robinson) last game, and the guys came in and did a great job. It’s a tough game. Everybody has injuries. If somebody can’t play, somebody else has to step up.” (HA)

About how Alexander has learned the offense the quickest of any QBs,
“If you look at the timeline, going by the number of snaps in a game, I would argue that Greg Alexander has been the most comfortable in the shortest amount of time in the run-and-shoot offense.” (HA)

About how it took him a year longer to get comfortable in the offense when he played, Rolo said:
“I was probably where he is now after a year.” (HA)

About how Alexander fully understands their read offense, Rolo said:
“When he first came in. I told him one day he’ll be able to look this way [Rolo pointed to the right] and know what’s happening on the back side. I think he’s getting to the point. It’s because of the reps. It triggered in his mind: What would it be like if I were able to do that?” (HA)

About how he’s understanding the full offense now, Alexander said:
“I’m definitely grasping it a lot better.” (HA)

HA Note: “Alexander has not thrown an interception in 118 consecutive passes. His quarterback efficiency rating of 149.3 would rank 15th nationally if he played in 75 percent of the Warriors’ games. He has played in six of 11 games. Alexander is actually the most accurate on deep passes (traveling at least 20 yards from the line of scrimmage). He hit 80 percent of his deep passes in last week’s 49-17 victory over Idaho.”

About how Alexander is a great leader, Rolo said:
“There’s less teaching now, and more: ‘How are we going to attack this defense?’ He’s becoming more vocal. He doesn’t say a lot, but when he talks, people listen to him. He’s a great leader. People see how hard he works.” (HA)

About how their offense emphasizes more than just catching the ball, Ron Lee said:
“We are looking for the YAC.” (HA)

About how their offense emphasizes more than just catching the ball, WR coach Craig Stutzmann said:
“We make it a point of emphasis to ‘stay on your feet and get more yards after the catch.’ It’s more of an effort thing.” (HA)

About how Alexander’s accurately placed passes have made it possible for the WRs to get more YAC, Stutzmann said:
“He’s putting the ball under the chin. It’s giving them a better chance to run with the ball.” (HA)

About how he’s averaging 55 plays per game this season as compared to 25 plays last season (when he was All-WAC), David Veikune said:
“Last year, we’d rotate every three or four plays. You’d get in shape, but not as much.” (HA)

About how he spent the offseason improving his stamina, Veikune said:
“The first series, I’m always huffing and puffing. When you get your second wind, you’re good. I haven’t been tired in too many games.” (HA)

About how John Fonoti used to rely on raw talent to get ahead of the blockers, DL coach Dave Aranda said:
“You need to stay true to the system. There may not be eight or nine roads to the wizard. It’s the yellow brick road you need to follow. That’s how it is with John. We’re trying to keep him on the straight and narrow.” (HA)

About how they aren’t going to take Washington State for granted, especially with a Hawaii Bowl spot on the line, Sol said:
“We’re not going to look at any team’s record or anything like that. We’re going to look at every team as a threat. They’re trying to take something away from us.” (HSB)

About how their spirits are up after beating rival Washington last week, Wazzo coach Paul Wulff said:
“Hopefully there’s a level of confidence that should build off of that.” (HSB)

About how Alexander’s understanding of the offense shows in his success with deep passes, Mac said:
“He understands the offense now. You can see now he’s starting to hit deep things. Before it was shorter things, now he’s going on top.” (HSB)

About how they haven’t had much of a pass rush this year (11 sacks in 12 games) and will be challenged by UH’s offense, Wulff said:
“We’re going to be truly tested. They’re very committed to (the passing game) and we have to be good at trying to keep things in front of us and not allow a lot of big plays.” (HSB)

About how Lane isn’t upset when teams kick off away from him, Ikaika Malloe said:
“Malcolm understands that. If we get the field position for him on offense, it’s a shorter field. So he wins either way.” (HSB)

About how he doesn’t have to remind his players that they need to win to make the Hawaii Bowl, Mac said:
“They’re smart. They knew last week, they know this week, what’s on the line for them. I don’t have to talk about that a whole lot.” (HSB)

About how their seniors want to win their last two games, Wulff said:
“Our seniors wanted to finish the last two games off with wins. That was a big goal of theirs, to send our young players into next year and build off of it. I think that’s a huge thing. And coming off a big game and winning your rivalry, you surely don’t want to turn around and hand over a game and lose it.” (HSB)

Other quotes from the local papers

November 28, 2008

About how he grew up a Washington State fan, Tyson Kafentzis (who grew up in Richland, Washington, about a 2-hour drive from Pullman) said:
“Definitely I was a Cougar fan for sure. I’m east side all the way.” (HSB)

Looking forward to playing Washington State, Kafentzis said:
“I’m real familiar with the area and I just can’t wait to play those guys.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Kafentzis plays behind Seattle product Adam Leonard, who is friends with Brandon Gibson, Washington State’s leading receiver. UH cornerback Jameel Dowling (Tacoma) was recruited by the Cougars coming out of junior college and has a cousin, receiver Michael Willis, on the WSU roster. Running back Leon Wright-Jackson (Pasco) and scout team offensive lineman Daniel Johnson (Issaquah) are also from the state.”

About how Washington State beat Washington last week, Adam Leonard said:
“It’s definitely a big-time rivalry game. I know it was a great game this past week and they’ll be ready to play.” (HSB)

About how he went to Washington State games and knows how big the game vs. rival Washington is, Kafentzis said:
“I used to go to the Apple Cup games when they were in Pullman, it was huge. We used to go to Pullman every year for track events and I just love the campus, how it’s off in the middle of nowhere. It’s just a great place to play football.” (HSB)

About how he went to UH to join his brother Landon, Kafentzis said:
“Whenever I went to my grandma Kafentzis’ house they’ve got this whole wall that’s just all trophies, plaques, helmets, game balls. It definitely inspired all of us young kids growing up. The reason I came here was my brother was transferring form Arizona. I said I’d get a couple of years with my brother and had a blast.” (HSB)

About their practice yesterday, Jameel Dowling said:
“It was a fun practice. We went hard and understand what we have to do.” (HSB)

About how they arrived in Honolulu noon yesterday and will give the team some free time today, but they would try to keep their players in their normal game-week schedule, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff said:
“We’ll designate it to them right up front and the rest is all business.” (HSB)

Injury update for the Warriors

November 28, 2008

Mouton has a high-ankle sprain.

About how he’ll test his sprained right foot during the walk-through practice this afternoon (x-rays did not show a fracture), Kealoha Pilares said:
“I want to see if it holds up.” (HA)

About how he doesn’t expect Pilares or Mouton to play in the Washington State game, Mac said:
“We have to move on. We don’t have any choice.” (HA)

“(Running back) Daniel Libre will step up for Kealoha and Aaron Bain at slot has been playing great. It’s a tough game and guys get injured, and the next guy just has to step up. … We don’t want to hurt (Pilares and Mouton) more. ” (HSB)

Note: “Bain will replace Pilares as punt returner and Bain will be right slotback (Pilares has started there recently). Mac said that Bain has fully recovered from rib soreness.

About his 2 TDs in the Idaho game despite suffering an injury to his mid-section, Daniel Libre said:
“I wasn’t even sure if they were going to put me in or not. I kept asking them to put me in, and they eventually gave in. I’m going to play through it.” (HA)

About how he still experiences discomfort and is “conscious” of the injury when he plays, Libre said:
“I can’t let it hold me back. I paid for it the next morning. Man, I was hurting. I didn’t want to show it, but yeah, I paid for it. I’m not going to lie.” (HA)

About how he hasn’t played much lately due to a foot injury, LWJ said:
“To be honest, it was the kind of cleat I had on. It was too light for me. The soles weren’t thick enough. When I planted hard, I did something to my foot. I don’t know what exactly.” (HA)

About how Desmond Thomas replaced Mouton at free safety in the Idaho game, Mac said;
“Desmond was our player of the game.” (HA)

“Desmond Thomas has to step up and he did last week, he was our defensive player of the game.” (HSB)

About how Thomas played well before suffering a hip flexor last season, which bothered him through the early part of this season, Mac said:
“He brought his game back.” (HA)

About how Richard Torres will replace Mouton as nickleback, Rich Miano said:
“Richard has similar qualities to Mouton, but he’s not as fast. He has the technique and the smarts. He has the intangibles. But he’s learning on the job, so to speak. And nobody blitzes as well as Mouton.” (HA)

About how he missed his third straight practice due to his tight hamstring (Keao Monteilh will start at strong safety if he misses the Washington State game), Eric Robinson said:
“I’ll be fine. I needed a little rest.” (HA)

Feature on Colt adjusting to life as an NFL rookie

November 27, 2008

About how he spends his time on the sidelines watching, absorbing, and waiting for his chance, Colt said:
“Basically, I just watch and try to fill the role of what I’m supposed to do … be supportive of the guys, just kind of watch and learn. Sometimes it gets a little mundane because you just want to play and you know you can’t, but that’s just part of it and you really can’t complain because they take care of you at this level. It’s something that I really enjoy and I’m fine with where I’m at right now.” (HA)

Accepting his role as a reserve, Colt said:
“It’s tough because to be the starter you have to be responsible and accountable for so much information. And (as the No. 3) you don’t get any reps, you don’t get any chance to really practice anything, but they still hold you accountable and that’s the challenge.” (HA)

HA Note: “While he may not get the reps he wants or needs, he works on what he can. After practice, he runs wind sprints with Campbell and Collins. Every piece of instruction to improve his footwork is most likely advice he will use in the future.”

About how he learns all he can from QBs Jason Campbell and Todd Collins, Colt said:
“I just know that in the end what they want to see is a guy go in there and succeed, and I just put it on that — what’s my best way of succeeding if I have to go in there. That’s how I basically get ready. I focus on what I’ll really need to know, focus on if I have to go in there what I’ll need to do, and just keep it at that.” (HA)

About how there is a big adjustment between college and the NFL, Jason Campbell said:
“It’s a different adjustment because in college you’re used to playing a lot … you’re so used to being a star and now when you get to the NFL it’s all different because you feel like a little boy to everybody.” (HA)

About how teammates are very different in age in the NFL, unlike in college, Campbell said:
“You’re playing with a bunch of grown men and guys around you have families. It’s not like in college when you go home and you go to your friend’s apartment and you play games. Now, it’s the guys going home to their families and you’re sitting at home bored. You are trying to find something to do.” (HA)

About how he was frustrated when he didn’t play right away as a rookie this year after being a star at USC, TE Fred Davis said:
“Sometimes it can be a little bit hard. You want to get out there and play right away. But you just have to take your time and wait your turn. Other than that, it’s fun. You finally have a job. It’s your job now so you have to take it a little more seriously than college because it’s a business atmosphere. But other than that it’s fun. It’s still football.” (HA)

HA Note: “In the preseason, Brennan played in all five games, completing 36 of 53 passes for 411 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. His quarterback rating was 109.9.”

About his play in the preseason, Colt said:
“I think I definitely had to come in and fight a learning curve and fight a hip injury that I was coming back from. It was really difficult but I expected it to be difficult and I was real tough just about how I handled everything. I think as I kept having little stints of success it was something to build on, and once I got my confidence going I’ve been progressing really well.” (HA)

About how Colt’s competitiveness will serve him well in the NFL, Campbell said:
“He is definitely a hard competitor and has the desire to win. If he continues to do those things in practice each and every day and just understand the National Football League is all about patience, and when your opportunity comes, whether it’s with the Redskins or whether it is with someone else, always just make sure that you’re ready.” (HA)

Feature story on Keala Watson

November 27, 2008

About how he was banned from using the swings in the playground in his elementary school (he was 10 pounds at birth and was 5’10” and 200 pounds in the fourth grade), Keala Watson said:
“I broke a swing when I was in elementary school. It’s a tragedy.” (HA)

About how he was assigned to a special section as a student at Kaumualii Elementary on Kauai, Watson said:
“Everybody had a little orange chair. I had a big brown teacher’s chair at my desk. I guess there were perks. It was nice to have a big chair.” (HA)

About being 6′ tall in the 6th grade and 6’2″ and shaving as a freshman at Kauai High, Watson said:
“I was a man-child. When I was a freshman, everybody thought I was a senior.” (HA)

HA Note: “He transferred to Nanakuli High, where Leona — his classmate and future wife — also thought he was a senior. She realized he was younger when they were in the same world geography and Hawaiian classes the next year.”

About how he grew out his sideburns and grew a goatee as a senior at Nanakuli, Watson said:
“I had more facial hair than my teachers.” (HA)

About how when he was a freshman at UH, many people thought he was a senior, Watson said:
“My freshman year, on senior night, everybody’s parents were giving me leis. They thought I was a senior. It’s happened every year since I’ve been here. I always get a lei on senior night from random people.” (HA)

About how he assumed Watson was a senior last year, Josh Leonard said:
“The first time I saw him was my first day of training camp (last year). I thought he was, like, 25. I didn’t find out he wasn’t a senior until our first game (of 2007).” (HA)

About his Warrior career coming to an end, Watson said:
“I’ve had a lot of fun.” (HA)

About how he got more playing time in the Idaho game (and got 2 sacks!) because they played a team that ran the ball more, instead of the pass-oriented teams of their previous games, Watson said:
“It was frustration. I didn’t smell that much playing time in the previous three weeks going against passing teams. Now we’re finally back into that running mentality.” (HA)

Watson said that off the field he’s a youth leader in his church and is polite and respectful, but on the field:
“there’s a certain way to conduct yourself, especially for a defensive lineman. You really need that kick-butt mentality to be successful.” (HA)

About why he enjoys playing DT, Watson said:
“That’s where real men are born — in the trenches. I like playing football. It’s a way to channel the energy.” (HA)

About Keala’s personal foul penalty in the Idaho game, his wife Leona Watson said:
“We were surprised. My father-in-law was more surprised.” (HA)

Apologizing for his personal foul, Watson said:
“I shouldn’t have done that.” (HA)

Asked for the name of his son that is due in February, Watson said:
“I think it’s going to be a game-day decision.” (HA)

Quote about Salas’ impressive catch in practice

November 27, 2008

About the oohs and applause he got from their D after his leaping one-handed reception of a pass from Alexander, Greg Salas said:
“It was cool.” (HA)

Feature story on David Farmer

November 27, 2008

About Farmer’s excellent blocking ability, Daniel Libre said:
“We all go to him for tips on blocking and how to be explosive.” (HSB)

About how he doesn’t get a chance to run the ball often (12 rushes and 1 reception this season), Farmer said:
“I’m going to give the same effort running as I do blocking. It just may not be as flashy as Kealoha (Pilares).” (HSB)

About how he’s even enjoying the early morning practices now, Farmer said:
“I’m just trying to savor it while it lasts. I’m surprisingly enjoying practice right now. The first year I think I hated every practice — now I love every practice. It’s just interesting how time changes things.” (HSB)

Not worried if he’s considered the starter or not, Farmer said:
“It’s just whoever (the coaches want) in on the first play depending on what’s called. If it’s a run play, more than likely it’s not me. I’m OK with that. Whoever gets the start, gets the start.” (HSB)

About how Farmer surprises people when he runs the ball, Mac said:
“I like him running the ball. I know in the past he’s just been a blocker, but I think he can run the football. He’s got some quicks and he has good vision. He’s a tough, hard-nosed football player.” (HSB)

About how Farmer understands how to protect the QB, Ron Lee said:
“He’s like a coach as far as knowing the protection. That’s really his strong point. He’s not a burner, but he has such a good understanding of the blocking he’s able to do a lot of good things with the ball.” (HSB)

About how he enjoys the physical nature of blocking, Farmer said:
“I don’t know why, I haven’t been able to figure it out. I’m comfortable doing it. If you aren’t hurting, then what are you doing on the field? It’s all about sacrificing your body.” (HSB)

About how Farmer is different off the field, Libre said:
“He’s way different on the field. He’s like an animal on the field and then off the field he’s really calm. He’s cool all the way up until he sets foot on the field, then it comes out.” (HSB)

About how he is different on the field, Farmer said:
“I can be more of a jerk on the field. It’s not really that you flip a switch, you sort of get thrown into an environment and adrenaline and all that stuff starts taking over. I certainly am much more irritable, I’ll say that.” (HSB)

About how he’s on schedule to graduate at the end of this school year, Farmer said about the scholarship he was awarded last season:
“I don’t want to take it for granted. I make sure I go to my classes and everything and finish up.” (HSB)

Feature Story on Colt

November 26, 2008

Washington starting QB Jason Campbell said that Colt is:
“a fun guy to be around. He’s always telling me about everything that went on in Hawai’i, and he’s always bringing fruit or someone is always sending him different kinds of fruit and we get the chance to taste a lot of it. I told him thanks for bringing Hawai’i to the East Coast. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it over there one day on my own and get a chance to see some of the things that he’s accomplished and seen in Hawai’i.” (HA)

HA Note: “Brennan may have left Hawai’i, but the hanai son of the Islands has yet to completely adapt to his new surroundings. In 40-degree weather during a practice last week Brennan was the only quarterback with a hooded sweatshirt under his practice jersey and the only one using hand warmers. While Brennan practiced in baggy sweat pants, one player was wearing shorts.”

About how he misses Hawaii, Colt said:
“I just miss the lifestyle; I miss Hawai’i. I think about it all the time, I really do. Sometimes if I’m kind of bored or something like that, I can easily think about Hawai’i and get myself in a good mood. I just can’t wait to go back there. Right now, I just think about the long run … if I work hard out here — I love it out here and I think it’s a great place and I think it would be great to have a career here — but in the end go back to Hawai’i hopefully and settle down out there.” (HA)

Praising Colt, rookie Fred Davis said:
“He’s so lame. No, I’m playing. Colt is a cool guy. I like him because he brings a lot of energy. He has a lot of energy and he’s really excited to get out there and play, and he’s a good player too, so just being around him, he’s fun to be around.” (HA)

About how Hawaii fans keep sending things to him that he shares with his teammates, Colt said:
“You can meet them anywhere in the world and they’ll always keep their customs. I’ve done a great job of bringing all the fun stuff from Hawai’i to the locker room, and guys have really warmed up to it.” (HA)

About the area where they practice, which is close to where he lives, Colt said:
“As you can see there’s a lot of land and trees. We’re not really in the mix of things, so it’s pretty slow out here, which is pretty nice to some degree. But when you’re younger you find yourself bored a lot. It’s good, though, because I’ve been able to focus on football a lot and make sure I’ve been really doing well in football.” (HA)

Colt said that during the summer he:
“played a lot of golf. They have a lot of things out here where the golf courses take care of you. I’m just basically getting acclimated to the NFL lifestyle.” (HA)

About the change from college to the NFL, Colt said:
“You’re having to deal with basically changing and getting used to a lot of unfamiliar feelings and emotions and stuff like that. You’re not used to having this much time on your hands. You’re not used to being financially responsible now and having the right to do things and go out there. You have the chance to go out and get stuff and buy stuff. You really just try and figure out how to put it all in perspective … for the past five years I’ve been grinding it out, going to school and just trying to do so much stuff. Now it’s like … this simple stuff: Show up for practice and always be ready. And it’s kind of like you have to get used to that.” (HA)

About how his first purchase after he made the 53-man roster was a used Range Rover, Colt said it had:
“low mileage. That was a great feeling.” (HA)

HA Note: “He called his newfound wealth — he’s earning $391,800 this year, according to USA Today — and reduced responsibility a “Catch-22.””

About dealing with his responsibilities, Colt said:
“I have to deal with a lot of things that I’m not really used to feeling. I have a lot of time on my hands, my responsibility is cut back a lot and only having so much to do. At the same time I’m being held accountable for a lot of things. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of responsibility so it’s kind of scary at the same time. You’re just trying to get used to all this new stuff that you’re going through, so that’s the biggest change.” (HA)