Archive for January, 2009

JJ talked about grayshirting recruits

January 31, 2009

DMN = Dallas Morning News

DMN Note: “SMU coach June Jones estimated he had a handful of grayshirts on his 2007 Hawaii team that crashed the Bowl Championship Series.”

About why they grayshirted players at UH, JJ said:
“Depending on the situation, it’s almost always in the best interest of the athlete. It happens for different reasons. At Hawaii, it was an overabundance at a certain position.” (DMN)

DMN Note: “At SMU, emerging offensive lineman Josh Emshoff has thrived after grayshirting because of a shoulder injury, bulking up from 260 pounds to 290. While Jones believes quarterback development can be aided by grayshirting, the position that probably benefits most is the offensive line. Players use the time to prepare and mature for what they’ll face in college. Think of it as a boys-to-men transformation.”

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Davone Bess reflects on his rookie season

January 31, 2009

About how special teams helped him get playing time quickly as a rookie, Bess said:
“The fastest way to get on a field for a rookie is playing special teams, you know, and trying to make an impact as soon as possible as fast as you can.” (KGMB)

KGMB Note: “That’s how Bess avoided getting cut by Miami. He became a playmaker as a return specialist. Then Greg Camarillo got injured and Bess took his starting spot at receiver. The former UH star made 54 catches on the season, which is the second most in NFL history for an undrafted rookie behind Wayne Chrebet.”

About getting so many catches as a rookie, Bess said:
“It was weird, the media would come into our locker room and they would tell me, ‘man you’re such and such, you have this many catches.’ Throughout the whole year, it didn’t really bother me. It still hasn’t hit me yet.” (KGMB)

Praising Chad Pennington, Bess said:
“Our chemistry off the field, he’s a great leader you know. We joke around and call him Coach Pennington. He has that demeanor as a coach. We’re a young receiving corp so he helped us grow and groomed us a lot and it pretty much transferred to the field.” (KGMB)

David Graves re-affirms his commit to UH

January 29, 2009

About how he’s committed to UH despite other schools contacting him, Graves said:
“I’m definitely still with Hawai‘i.” (HA)

“For sure, I’m signing with Hawai‘i. Everything is A-OK. I’m pretty excited.” (HA)

HA Note: “He said quarterback Nick Rolovich made a home visit the past Monday.”

Feature on Travis LaBoy

January 29, 2009

About how his travel plans suddenly changed when his flight to New Orleans was canceled after they signed a LB free agent, sending him on a flight to Arizona (where he left after signing a 5-year, $22 million contract), LaBoy said:
“It was kind of a last-minute decision. I didn’t know a whole lot about what they did defensively. I knew more about the offense — Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin, (Larry) Fitzgerald, Edgerrin James. I thought this might be just right. We may have something going on. When you have an offense putting up points, it makes it a lot easier to play defense.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Cardinals have more playoff victories this month than they had in the franchise’s previous 87 years, which contributed to the perception that LaBoy said prevailed throughout the league during his four seasons with the Tennessee Titans, who drafted him in the second round in 2004.”

About the lack of respect that Arizona had around the NFL, LaBoy said:
“Arizona was like a team when you go to play them, you don’t even have to practice that week. You kind of take the week off. They were a joke team. I’m being real. Arizona had no respect. It was like a clown team, it really was. It was that team that as soon as you got them on your schedule, you were looking ahead to that next week. You can’t say that now. You do that to the Cardinals now, you get your head pushed in. I heard we were the worst team in Super Bowl history. I really don’t care if people realize it, but they really have no choice but to say we are one of the best two teams in the NFL, at the very least.” (HA)

About how he will play in the Super Bowl despite being listed as questionable in the latest injury report (he has elbow, ankle, and biceps injuries), LaBoy said:
“I don’t know who decides all that, but I’ll be out there. I’m not questionable in anyone’s mind, really.” (HA)

About how he’s used as an outside LB in their 3-4 D, which suits his abilities better than how he was a DE/pass rush specialist with Tennessee, LaBoy said:
“Defensive end, you are just one-dimensional, where this is more multi-dimensional. I like this defense a lot. The longer we are playing and keep this nucleus, the better we will be. We will do some great things. We’ve been playing real well in this playoff run. I think a lot of it is just coming together as a unit and finding an identity, you might say.” (HA)

About how he’ll be in Hawaii for a long time after the Super Bowl, LaBoy said:
“We have two or three days of packing and we’re out to the Islands for a good two months if possible. We try to get back as much as we can. The last offseason got a little short with us having to move, but we look forward to getting back out there this year.” (HA)

HA Note: “Travis LaBoy is son of Cliff LaBoy, a Farrington alum who played for the University of Hawai’i in 1973-75. While at UH, Cliff was a teammate of June Jones, who became Travis’ coach … Travis LaBoy is married to former Rainbow Wahine volleyball player Nohea Tano.”

Feature story on Michael Wadsworth

January 27, 2009

LVS = Las Vegas Sun

About her son’s love for football, his Mom Patti Wadsworth said:
“He has such a passion for football. It’s just unbelievable to watch him play, knowing that is my son out there doing so well. At first, I was nervous because he was so small, but he knew the game so well and was always one of the fastest. Nobody could catch him.” (LVS)

LVS Note: “Not many players Wadsworth’s size — he was 5-foot-9, 120 pounds as a freshman — go on to play in college. But, then again, not many have the drive of Wadsworth.”

LVS Note: “Wadsworth — who thanks to natural growth and his dedication to weight training is now 6-foot-1, 190 pounds — made a name for himself as one of Nevada’s top players as a junior in 2007. He had eight kickoff or punt returns for touchdowns to help Silverado win the Southeast Division title.”

About how he learned to play when he was smaller than the other players, Wadsworth said:
“I always thought I would grow, but I wasn’t sure when it would happen. When you are smaller, you definitely have to find a way around the bigger kids. I learned how to maneuver. I just like trying to make something out of nothing.” (LVS)

LVS Note: “Following a breakout season in 2007, just when Wadsworth was receiving considerable interest from colleges, he found himself again pleading with his parents to play football. His dad’s three-year commitment as a missionary leader with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ended, and the Wadsworth family — Michael has 10 siblings — was set to move back to Provo. Michael did not want to bail on teammates in their quest for a state title and argued that relocating would hurt his chances of playing Division I football. He convinced his parents to let him stay, moved in with family friends and had a stellar year. He was named first-team All-Sunrise Region.”

About being away from his family during his senior year in high school, Michael said:
“There were definitely some late night talks before they finally let me stay.” (LVS)

LVS Note: “With the scholarship to Hawaii set, it was agreed Wadsworth would move back to Provo after the season. But he convinced his parents to let him stay the remainder of the year because he has some unfinished business. Hit with injuries, Silverado struggled last fall and did not make the playoffs. Wadsworth hopes to make up for that disappointment with the basketball team, on which he is a top defender for a squad near the top of the Southeast standings.”

About Wadsworth, Siverado football coach Andy Ostolaza said:
“Let’s put it this way, I have never coached a more complete player who did everything for the team. From the kick returning to playing multiple spots on each side of the ball, I haven’t had a kid do so many different things. And, as a student, how can you beat a 4.0 guy?” (LVS)

Feature on Aulola Tonga choosing the Warriors

January 27, 2009

About how he will get a degree from UH, Tonga said:
“Coach said I don’t have to graduate early, that there’s five years to finish, and if I graduate early, (UH) would pay for my master’s degree.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “He noted that former Kahuku quarterback Inoke Funaki is taking that path. Like Funaki, Tonga expects to go on a Mormon mission. Tonga follows a growing line of Red Raiders now suiting up in green and black. He and linebacker Kamalani Alo join transfer Gary Nagy (BYU) and recent recruits Alema Tachibana and Paipai Falemalu, plus walk-on Richard Torres.”

About all the players on defense with the Warriors, Tonga said:
“You know what? We might just have a Red Raider defense for UH.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Tonga’s decision came down to two factors: staying home near family, and the complicated web of changes on the continent.”

About staying close to home, Tonga said:
“My mom liked Coach Mack when she met him. He said he’d take care of me. It’s a chance to play soon and stay close to home, play in front of everybody.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “His explosive senior season caught recruiters off guard. UCLA had no offers left and asked him to grayshirt. Washington, with new coach Steve Sarkisian, was interested but didn’t offer. Interest from Sarkisian was stronger while he was a defensive coordinator at USC. BYU entered the picture late, Tonga said, and never offered.”

About the importance of graduating from UH, Tonga said:
“If I graduate from Hawaii, people will remember me, not like people who go out there (to the mainland) and come back.” (HSB)

About how he’ll return kicks if UH wants, Tonga said:
“If they want me to, I’ll do it for the team.” (HSB)

Feature story on Colt

January 27, 2009

RS = redskins.com

About how his first NFL season, Colt said:
“It’s nice to have the first season done, because now you have finally seen it and you know it. You’re not questioning anything anymore. It was a great experience. I finally got to see what the NFL is all about.” (RS)

About transitioning to the NFL, Colt said:
“There was so much that was new. New feelings, new assignments, new things to get used to. You’re coming from college where you were a starter and you had a lot of responsibility. For me and most of the other [rookies], you had to come into a backup role. It was okay because you had time to learn and adjust to everything. But it’s nice now to have the first season done and know what to expect next year.” (RS)

RS Note: “Last preseason, Brennan provided some thrills for the Redskins and their fans. It was an exciting time for the fresh-faced, 25-year-old rookie. Overall, Brennan completed 36-of-53 passes for 411 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His QB rating of 109.9 led the offense. In his first professional outing, the Hall of Fame Game against Indianapolis on Aug. 3, Brennan completed 9-of-10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. His best performance may have been on Aug. 16 against the New York Jets. He completed 4-of-5 passes for 79 yards, including a 33-yard game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Jason Goode. Brennan showed he had a tendency to hold on to the ball too long in the pocket. He was sacked eight times in seven quarters of action in preseason.”

RS Note: “When the Redskins selected Brennan last April, NFL draft gurus wondered if he would be able to adapt his sidearm release to a more conventional throwing motion. With head coach Jim Zorn emphasizing a strong, high release, Brennan has worked to adjust how he throws the ball. The sidearm release, so prevalent last preseason, is not as prominent now, Brennan said.”

About how he still hasn’t completely eliminated his sidearm release, Colt said:
“[Coach Zorn] told me, ‘As long as you’re accurate with the football and you can get the ball there, I want you to be comfortable.’” (RS)

About his throwing ability, Colt said:
“You saw in the preseason and in practice week-in and week-out, as far as my throwing ability, that has never been a question. It was never a question in college. It was something that people questioned whether it would work or not. I think if you watch enough film, you see that it really isn’t a problem.” (RS)

About his success in the preseason, Colt said:
“What I was really excited about was to have a couple games in preseason where I went out there and did a lot of good things. It allowed me to finally say, ‘Look, you can say what you want about me, but when you put me in there, I can get it done. I did it in preseason, I did it in college, I did it everywhere I’ve been at before that.’

When you look at some of the people who are successful in sports, it’s not always the person with the best technique who succeeds. Sometimes it’s someone who steps out of the box. I think when people saw me have success [in preseason], they were willing to accept me.

People were willing to say, ‘He’s different, but he’s good.’ I think people like different. They want to see if I pan out. They want to give me a chance. That was really the best thing I got out of preseason–people got excited about watching me play.” (RS)

S Aulola Tonga, RB Alex Green and K Kevin Bell commit to the Warriors!

January 26, 2009

About committing to the Warriors, 6’3″, 200-pound (4.6 in the 40) Tonga said:
“I told coach (Greg McMackin) I wanted to be a Warrior.” (HA)

HA Note: “Tonga also has a 38-inch vertical jump. At Kahuku, he has earned letters in basketball, volleyball, baseball, track and field and football. Next month, he will earn his Eagle Scout ranking. His project was to build a sandbox for a preschool in Kahuku.”

About turning down UCLA and BYU, Tonga said:
“I wanted to play in front of my family and friends. I think there’s a chance I can play right away.” (HA)

HA Note: “Tonga’s Kahuku teammate, All-State safety Kamalani Alo, earlier accepted a UH offer.”

About Tonga, Kahuku coach Reggie Torres said:
“Aulola is a great athlete, and a coachable kid. He’s never angry. He’s always positive. He’s doing very well in school.” (HA)

About how Tonga received an offer from UH last spring, Torres said:
“A lot of schools are picking up on him, but UH wanted him from the start. You can see the effort McMackin is making. He’s taking care of the kids. Aulola will be in good hands.” (HA)

About how Tonga is expected to compete at free safety, Torres said:
“He’s got the range and he’s got the vertical. He can grow into a linebacker, playing the flats or rushing off the edge, forcing the quarterback to throw over him, which would be difficult to do.” (HA)

HA Note: “Tonga, who took his recruiting visit this past weekend, said it was helpful to have Kahuku alumni as hosts. His guides were Inoke Funaki, Tuika Tufaga, Richard Torres and Paipai Falemalu.”

About his recruiting visit to UH, Green said:
“The city is beautiful. The people are great. They made me feel welcomed.” (HA)

About how his host was CB Lametrius Davis, his teammate at Butte as well as his middle-school classmate in Portland, Green said:
“I’ve known him a long time.” (HA)

HA Note: “Davis played for Butte in 2008, and signed with UH the past December. He enrolled at UH two weeks ago. Green said he is 6-2 and 220 pounds, and is capable of sprinting 40 yards in 4.49 seconds. He can bench press 310 pounds.”

About his 7-month-old daughter Harlym, Green said:
“I wanted to pick a name that would be unique.” (HA)

HA Note: “Green also said Hawai’i’s family-friendly atmosphere is conducive to raising children.”

About choosing UH, Green said:
“Hawai’i is a good fit.” (HA)

HA Note: “By verbally committing to the Warriors, Green is turning down scholarship offers from Washington, Texas-El Paso and Liberty.”

About choosing to walk on at UH despite offers from Miami, Boise State, Utah, and Air Force, Bell said Hawaii is:
“a great place, really great culture. All of the people are nice. The weather is nice.” (HA)

HA Note: “Bell is 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds. He said his range is 60 yards. Bell is an accomplished soccer player. At his father’s urging, he decided to try out for football three years ago.”

Travis LaBoy talked about playing for the Warriors

January 25, 2009

About playing for the Warriors, Travis LaBoy said:
“I came in at a great time. (Former head coach) June Jones was turning the program around, and we had a great group of guys. I guess the biggest accomplishment for me was beating Fresno State. Not only were the guys talented, but we all worked very well together.” (HSB)

Feature article on the new playing field at the Ching Athletic Complex

January 23, 2009

About how they show off the new Ching Field to recruits, Mac said:
“The recruits look out our windows and see that big Hawaii (logo) out there and the field, and a lot of them have mentioned that. It shows the support that we’re getting and I think it helps all the sports. It’s really a positive influence on everything.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The Warriors coaches could hardly be blamed if they closed the shades in past years, when Cooke Field’s deteriorating Astroturf was fading and eventually pulled up, leaving the black rubber padding exposed.”

About the importance of the new field surface, Wahine track and field coach Carmyn James said:
“It’s so central and it was such an eyesore. It really makes the whole athletic department look that much more professional.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The field will give the Warriors an on-campus alternative to their grass practice fields when the rains sweep through Manoa valley. There were several occasions late last season when the team practiced at nearby Saint Louis School when rain soaked the grass field.”

HSB Note: “The $5 million donation made by the Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation was not used in the field renovation project. School officials are hopeful to get a matching appropriation to complete the plans for the facility — including construction on grandstands — unveiled when the donation was announced.”

HSB Note: “With Ching Field soon to be completed, Cooke Field will remain a part of the lower campus as the upper grass practice field where the football team practices will be given that designation. It will be the fourth site on campus to bear that name.”

About how all of the construction going on with their athletic facilities will give them a work-in-progress look over the coming months, Teri Chang (assistant AD for facilities) said:
“But that’s a good thing.” (HSB)