Colt Brennan’s teammates supported him after his INT

August 28, 2009

WP = Washington Post

WP Note: “When Colt Brennan’s first series Friday night ended with a goal-line interception that the Patriots returned for a touchdown, the jokes started. Press box jokes about Chase Daniel jerseys going on sale. Internet jokes about how Colt would need to be gelded. At that point, he had three preseason interceptions, and zero preseason touchdowns, and the Cult of Colt was on the verge of being dissolved.”

About his INT that was returned for a TD during his first drive, Colt said:
“Pretty abysmal. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. It was kind of surreal for a second. I was like, ‘Not again…Are you serious?’ ” (WP)

WP Note: “And then he walked to the sidelines, and walked into the warm embrace of Interceptions Anonymous, Redskins style. Casey Rabach came up to offer a word of encouragement. So did Chris Cooley. So did Jim Zorn. And so did every quarterback on the roster, from Daniel to Todd Collins to Jason Campbell.”

About how all of their QBs supported him after his INT, Colt said:
“I mean, these are guys you’re competing with, and they’re rooting for you. I mean, that’s pretty impressive, considering it’s the NFL, [considering] it’s such a business.” (WP)

About his advice to Colt, Jason Campbell said:
“I said, ‘That happens in football, move past it.’ Get ready for the next series, get out there and strike ’em with a touchdown pass, don’t let that get you down.” (WP)

About how he told Colt to put the INT behind him and have some success the rest of the game, CB Fred Smoot said:
“That’s my guy, man, that’s my guy. I love Colt Brennan, man. You know what? There’s some guys that’s born to do what they’re doing, and they just get the perfect name, the perfect everything. He’s one of those guys to me. He just reminds me of Brett so much. I’ve been around Brett Favre so long, and I see a lot of Brett in Colt. I feel like I’ve got to look out for him and take care of him. That’s my guy.” (WP)

WP Note: “Now, none of this would have mattered much had Brennan gone back out on the field and tossed three more picks. But he didn’t. He may not have dazzled, but he held things together. His final line was at least respectable; 6-for-12 for 81 yards and a touchdown, although he was sacked four times. And he said the words of his teammates had helped accomplish that much.”

About how the support he got from his teammates helped him, Colt said:
“I can’t even remember how many guys came up to me and just said don’t worry about it. You know, I’ve done so well in practice, and it’s been frustrating to not really do all that well in the games this year. So to have that kind of support from teammates and coaches made me settle down, made me realize, hey look, let’s just focus on getting in the end zone, and luckily I was able to score one…. Everyone knows me, everyone’s seen me have success here. They know that I kind of get in a rhythm and I get confidence and I go. And the way things have fallen into place this preseason, I’ve kind of just had some bad things happen and I’ve had to deal with it….But at least everyone’s been real understanding and been real supportive and been rooting for me, and I really can’t ask for anything more.” (WP)

About how he finally threw a TD pass this preseason, Colt said:
“I just sat there and looked at the sideline, like finally, I can’t believe it’s been this hard. It was like a huge weight off my shoulders. Hopefully I can really put it together and end preseason on a good note.” (WP)

WP Note: “He was referring to Thursday’s game at Jacksonville. When I chatted with Smoot, though, the cornerback was thinking bigger picture. He described Brennan as his “little brother,” and talked about helping him in practice and seeing his improvement. I asked Smoot if he thought Brennan could play in this league.”

Asked if he thought that Colt could make it in the NFL, Smoot said:
“Think he can play? I think he’s gonna be great. I don’t say that about a lot of players. Put it like this, the Falcons traded Brett Favre years ago. I just hope we don’t make that mistake.” (WP)

UH practiced at Aloha Stadium last night

August 28, 2009

HA Note: “Midway through last night’s 2-hour practice, the Warriors’ defensive leader — middle linebacker Brashton Satele — walked onto the FieldTurf. A day earlier in Los Angeles, Satele underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. Satele arrived in town last night. But instead of heading to his Mililani home, he opted to attend the Warriors’ practice.”

About going straight to the practice from the airport, Brashton Satele said:
“I wanted to see the coaches, see my brother (defensive end Liko Satele), see the guys. I’m glad to be back home. And I’m glad to be here to watch them.” (HA)

HA Note: “It was a quick turnaround for Satele, who arrived in Los Angeles Tuesday morning. The 2-hour surgery involved two procedures to his left shoulder: mending the chip fracture in the rotator cuff and repairing the torn labrum. Satele said Israel Kamakawiwa’ole music played on the operating-room speakers before the surgery.”

About the music playing before his surgery, Brashton said:
“It made me feel like I was at home.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Warriors usually conduct morning practices on their grass practice field or at Cooke/Ching field. But McMackin wanted a night workout at the stadium to acclimate the newcomers and test the communication system. There were referees to monitor the passing drills. The Warriors did not scrimmage, and tackling was prohibited.”

About how practice went well, Mac said:
“We got to do a lot of things. And we really got into our kicking game.” (HA)

HA Note: “Alex Dunnachie, a freshman from Australia, launched several towering punts. Dunnachie warmed up by booting punts, from 25 yards away, over a 50-foot-high netting behind the North end zone goal posts.”

About punting over the 50-foot-high netting, Alex Dunnachie said:
“That’s what I used to do at practices to work on my hang time. I used to stand under a large pole or a tree, and try to kick it over. That’s a pretty good hurdle for me to practice.” (HA)

About how Aloha Stadium’s turf provided fast traction, Rodney Bradley said:
“It really did. It was good to be out here. We have to get used to it before we start playing.” (HA)

About being at Aloha Stadium for the first time, George Daily-Lyles said:
“I really wanted to scrimmage, but it didn’t happen. I’ll wait for next time.” (HA)

HA Note: “The Warriors met at the UH athletic complex, where they could hear the marching band rehearse. They traveled in three buses to the stadium. They had a meeting in the locker room before walking onto the field for the practice.”

About how he’s excited for the season to start, Greg Alexander said:
“The school had the band going, and you come out here, and you’ve got the lights. You definitely get that vibe. It felt good. I’m getting excited. I’m definitely getting ready for game time.” (HA)

About how their season will start soon, Kealoha Pilares said:
“We’re one week away. We’re getting anxious. That’s why it felt great to get out here.” (HA)

Feature article on UH’s kick and punt returners

August 28, 2009

About how the return team has to believe in each other, Taylor said:
“It takes a lot of trust. You have to have faith in all your guys that they’re going to do their job. If not, it could be nasty. But we all have faith in each other to know that we’re going to get it done.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Taylor is the leading contender to return kickoffs for Hawaii this season, and the Warriors hope his combination of speed and elusiveness can ignite the return game.”

About returning kicks, Taylor said:
“It’s something I’ve always done. You have to read your blocks, but it comes natural. … You have to have that feel for it. You have to be fearless. You have to know sometimes you’re going to get hit. But you just have to get up and get back to it.” (HSB)

About the importance of timing on kick returns, special teams coach Chris Tormey said:
“Kickoff return is a lot about timing. So everybody has to pick their man up at the right time at the right place on the field and keep proper leverage, and understand where the threats are. And Jovonte just needs to trust in his teammates and hit that thing full speed. It’s all about faith, belief without evidence. Because you have to hit that thing believing that hole’s going to be there.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The front line, a mix of safeties and linebackers, absorbs the initial push from the coverage team. The wedge then forms in front of the returner, leading him into the fray. Reserve running back Jayson Rego has been the hub of the wedge in practice, flanked by Victor Clore and Paipai Falemalu.”

About their wedge blockers, Tormey said;
“There’s a lot of detail that goes into it. (Rego’s) got to have a little center fielder in him. He has to do a good job of getting back in front of the returner and having the proper distance.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Punt returning is an area where the Warriors are seeking improvement. Hawaii ranked last in the country (119th) in that category with a total of 62 yards in 31 returns. Junior receiver Ryan Henry has gotten the most work returning punts, a role he’s eyed since he arrived on campus. Dustin Blount and Greg Salas have also gotten work fielding punts in practice.”

About returning punts, Ryan Henry said:
“It’s something I take pride in. I take it serious. It’s something I did in JUCO and high school and had fun with it.” (HSB)

Greg Salas said that he hasn’t returned punts since high school, but:
“you just have to keep practicing it and it comes back to you. It’s like riding a bike. The main thing is to secure the catch, not let it bounce and just give us better field position. That’s all I want to do.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The Warriors open the season a week from today against a Central Arkansas team that gave up a total of 25 yards on punt returns last season. Punter Jonathan Beard is back after leading the Southland Conference in net punting at 40.3 yards per punt.”

About how Central Arkansas defends the punt returns well, Tormey said:
“They’ve got a very nice scheme, they do a great job, so it’s a great challenge for us.” (HSB)

DT Chris Leatigaga was hurt during practice last night

August 28, 2009

HA Note: “Leatigaga was hurt during a one-on-one drill. His left knee buckled, and he fell to the turf in a dazed heap. Leatigaga was face down for about 10 minutes while trainers tried to offer medical assistance.”

About the injury to Leatigaga, Mac said
“It was really disappointing. We have to see how it turns out. I hope everything is OK. … It was a freak thing. Nobody went down low. He sort of jammed his knee. It wasn’t like anybody was going on his knees. I pray he’s OK.” (HA)

“Just hope and pray everything’s OK.” (HSB)

HA Note: “As a sophomore at Foothill College in 2006, Leatigaga was named as a junior college All-America defensive lineman. There are 72 community college football teams in California, and being named to the All-California team is regarded as earning All-America status.”

HA Note: “Leatigaga worked his way into the playing rotation in spring training. On the recently revised depth chart, he is listed as a No. 2 defensive left tackle.”

Pisa Tinoisamoa earned a starting LB spot with the Bears

August 27, 2009

CB =

About selecting Pisa as a starter, Bears head coach Lovie Smith said:
“We have some good linebackers here and they all have played well, but Pisa’s been steady and been that way throughout. He really played well this past week against the Giants. He brings energy, he hustles, he’s a tough guy, and he’s played at a high level in the league before, so we have an idea [how he’ll perform]. We let it play out and he deserves to be called the starter now.” (CB)

CB Note: “The most impressive of Tinoisamoa’s four tackles in last Saturday night’s win over the Giants came when the 6-1, 230-pound linebacker stuffed bruising 6-4, 264-pound running back Brandon Jacobs in the hole for no gain.”

About earning the starting spot, Pisa said:
“Being here has just been a great experience. It’s good to be named the starter, but I know that I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ve got to hold up my end of the bargain and perform.” (CB)

Quotes from training camp

August 27, 2009

About replacing John Estes as first-team center even though he has a fractured middle finger on his dominant hand, Matagisila Lefiti said:
“It’s tough, but you have to get it done.” (HA)

About the deep bruise to his left shin, Estes said:
“I got leg-whipped by somebody. It’s really tender. It’ll be OK. Luckily, it’s only a bruise.” (HA)

About helping backup centers Lefiti and Tiwanak yesterday, Estes said:
“They’re doing a good job. They’re getting reps with the No. 1s. It’s football. Anybody can go down at any moment. You have to be ready.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lefiti is a third-year sophomore from Mater Dei, a football power in Southern California. He met the NCAA requirements to play as a freshman in 2007, but fell short of UH’s standards. After June Jones, who was UH head coach at the time, pledged his support of Lefiti, he was allowed to enroll at UH under probationary status. The terms called for Lefiti to not play football in 2007 while earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average for the fall semester.”

About how he earned higher than a 3.0 GPA at UH, Lefiti said:
“I took care of that.” (HA)

Lefiti said that his academic status is now:
“fine and dandy.” (HA)

HA Note: “But during the recently completed 2 1/2-week training camp, he suffered a fracture to his middle finger. For every practice, he wraps the finger with medical tape. He has not experienced any problems with his snaps or blocks.”

About how he needed to take an extra class during the spring semester and attend both summer sessions to make up for having to withdraw from UH last fall due to a stomach virus, Jovonte Taylor said:
“It was really hard. I wanted to go back home (to Los Angeles) for the summer, to be with my family and friends. But I stayed out here for both summer sessions to make up for the classes. I rode it out. It put me back to where I needed to be.” (HA)

About being on crutches due to an injury to his right knee, Tuiatuia Tuiasosopo said:
“If I try to stand up straight without my crutches, my right knee always buckles.” (HA)

About not practicing yesterday due to a sore hip, #1 left CB Tank Hopkins said:
“I should be OK.” (HA)

About trying to limit the contact his players have while still giving them some contact in practice to prepare them for the season, Mac said:
Attempting to plow the middle ground is McMackin, who has worked with both men and “You don’t ever want to lose anybody (in preseason), but I don’t want to sugarcoat it, either.” (HA)

“How much — and how — you hit can be a touchy situation.” (HA)

About how the OL likes the practice periods that are dedicated to the run, Raphael Ieru said:
“When we get to run out, it’s our turn.” (HSB)

About working out hard this offseason to report for fall camp at 315, 10 pounds lighter than he was during Spring Practice (and 50 pounds lighter than his peak UH weight), Ieru said:
“Running was brutal, but it’s all worth it.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw gave Ieru a target of getting to 315 after spring ball, and has noted the difference in his mobility and conditioning in preseason practices.”

About Ieru’s weight loss, Shaw said:
“It’s made a tremendous difference in his stamina, and, knock on wood, he hasn’t missed a practice or a drill. His durability is outstanding now … and his movement has improved tremendously. Some of the stuff in the run game they have to be quick. They have to be able to get into their blocks quicker. It’s not so much positioning any more, it’s more driving blocks. That’s where dropping that weight has really helped him.” (HSB)

About how he took some snaps at center with Estes out with injury yesterday, Ieru said:
“I did my best. Trying to not snap it over the quarterback’s head.” (HSB)

About how under Shaw the guards have to read the D to determine who to block, Ieru said:
“You have to know who you’re reading. If you mess up on a little read, it can change up a lot. It can mess up the whole protection.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “haw brings a background based in run blocking after coaching at Minnesota for 14 seasons, and the Warriors linemen are relishing their opportunities to drive forward. Several times in practice, including last week’s scrimmage, Estes has punished defenders while leading the running back around the corner on runs.”

About how Estes appreciates being able to pull on runs, Ieru said:
“I think John has the best time, mostly every play he gets to pull. He gets to show everybody we don’t just sit back and relax and pass block, he can get downfield and get physical.” (HSB)

About how Alexanders quicker throws helps their OL protect him, Shaw said:
“(Quarterback Greg Alexander) is doing an outstanding job of reading the coverages and getting the ball to the right guy, fast. That’s helped our protection as much as anything. And we’ve been able to move our feet once we get engaged with defenders and stay on blocks better.” (HSB)

About how the start of the fall semester shows what a difference the scholarship he was awarded in the spring makes, Jon Medeiros said:
“I don’t have to worry about financial aid coming in or hoping for another loan.” (HSB)

Note: “Medeiros wasn’t sure that he would be able to take another loan this year if he hadn’t received a scholarship.

About competing for a starting spot at slot receiver, Medeiros said:
“Just because I have a scholarship it doesn’t change my mentality about the game and how hard I work out here on the practice field and my attitude. I just continue to work hard, scholarship or not. This is my last season so I’m going to give it my all.” (HSB)

Jake Ingram talked about long-snapping for the Patriots

August 27, 2009

NESN Note: “The New England Patriots have a good battle going at the long snapper position during their preseason camp. Nathan Hodel, who signed as a free agent after spending seven seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and rookie Jake Ingram, a sixth-round pick out of Hawaii, appear to be in a dead heat with a week and a half remaining until roster cuts. The winner will replace Lonie Paxton, the Patriots’ long snapper for nine seasons before signing with the Denver Broncos last winter.

It’s been a friendly competition between Hodel and Ingram, a pair of down-to-earth guys who have been willing to help one another in any way possible. That seems to be the status quo for the league’s long snappers, who are typically genuine, unassuming and chock-full of humility. While that should be expected for players who receive no individual glory, the intensity of their one-on-one battle — after all, there are only 32 long-snapping jobs in the world — might be enough to break someone with a lesser character.”

About how JJ chose him to long snap for UH and he picked it up quickly, Jake Ingram said:
“I just could kind of do it. I just picked up long snapping as I went — at practice, reading things online and tried it out. It was just kind of weird the way it all worked out.” (NESN)

NESN Note: “Sure, they’ll help out the scout team during practices, but long snappers are in camp for one thing and one thing only. The days can get long and monotonous, with Ingram and Hodel often working alone on the sideline while the rest of the team is broken off into larger groups or 11-on-11 drills.”

About how he will help with the scout team when needed but has to focus on doing his long snapping job perfectly, Ingram said:
“I’ll contribute and do as much as I can on the look squads and everything, but I’m definitely here to snap the football. I’m a specialist. I’m a little different, not really a position player. You’re here to do one thing, and you’ve got to do it well or you’re not going to stick around.” (NESN)

Feature on starting MLB Mana Lolotai

August 26, 2009

About how Lolotai took over his MLB spot after he was hurt, Brashton said:
“I told Mana: ‘It’s your job now.’ ” (HA)

About how Lolotai improved this offseason, Cal Lee said:
“He dedicated himself to getting quicker, faster, stronger.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lolotai spent four weeks in Arizona participating in trainer Chad Ikei’s intensive workout program. Lolotai was placed on a strict low-carb diet — small portions, frequent light snacks, lots of salads — and focused on footwork and speed drills.”

About the benefit Lolotai got from going through Chad Ikei’s program, Cal Lee said:
“He came back in excellent shape.” (HA)

About how he thinks Lolotai will do well, Brashton said:
“I think he’s going to have a good year.” (HA)

About how Brashton has been helping him, Lolotai said:
“Brashton has been helping me a lot.” (HA)

HA Note: “Each day, Lolotai goes to the defensive conference room, where he watches freshly edited videos of practices. Alongside Satele and Lee, Lolotai would review his play in practice.”

About the daily practice video reviews, Lolotai said:
“I’m more of a visual person. I have to see (the wide picture), then make my corrections.” (HA)

HA Note: “The videos show a panoramic view of the offensive and defensive formations.”

About what he sees in the videos, Lolotai said:
“You can see all of the routes, and what the receivers are doing, what they try to do when they line up in certain formations.” (HA)

HA Note: “He said his improved condition — he lost more than 10 pounds and reduced his body fat to 11 percent this summer — enables him to cover more turf.”

About the importance of the improvement he made this offseason, Lolotai said:
“Getting faster was a big thing. And I wanted to get my lungs ready. I want to play stronger (deeper) in games.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lolotai was born with the football gene. His grandfather, Al Lolotai, was the first National Football League player of Samoan ancestry. His father and uncles were standout local high school defensive players. As a Kamehameha senior in 2006, Lolotai signed with Oregon State. But because of family commitments, he remained in Hawai’i, attending a private college during the 2006-2007 academic year. During that time, he and his wife, Shaela, had a daughter, Zaiah. Today is Zaiah’s third birthday.”

About the sacrifices that were made during the 2006-2007 academic year, Lolotai said:
“It was tough that year, working and going to school. I wasn’t working out like I should have been. But my wife and family really stuck by me. They made a lot of sacrifices. They really motivated me. I owe them a lot.” (HA)

Starting center (and captain) John Estes will miss a few days of practice

August 26, 2009

HA Note: There was somewhat of a scare when center John Estes was carted off the field after suffering a tweaked ankle. While coaches expect Estes to be fine, the incident did trigger an emergency plan. Matagisila Lefiti, a sophomore from Mater Dei High in California, and Bronson Tiwanak, a junior from Damien Memorial School, are Estes’ immediate replacements.”

About the battle between Lefiti and Tiwanak for the backup center spot, OL coach Gordy Shaw said:
“They’re battling to be the backup center. They’re fighting to be on the plane for that Washington State-UNLV trip in two weeks.” (HA)

About Lefiti (who has more experience in the offense than Tiwanak), Shaw said:
“Sila is an outstanding, strong, agile athlete who loves to play football.” (HA)

HA Note: “Lefiti has practiced as the No. 2 right guard. Tiwanak played two seasons at Fresno City College, then attended a Hawai’i community college last fall to earn enough credits to enroll at UH-Manoa.”

About transferring to UH, Tiwanak said:
“I kind of missed my family. I wanted to be home. I wanted to play in front of my family.” (HA)

About how Estes has helped him with his footwork and hand placement on blocks, Tiwanak said:
“He’s one of the best in the nation. He has a lot of things to teach the younger guys — a lot of tips and techniques. I think it’s a good thing to learn from him.” (HA)

HSB Note: “Center John Estes is expected to miss the next couple of days of practice with a bruised lower left leg. The senior captain was hurt during a goal-line period late in yesterday’s practice. He was carted from the field with ice on his leg and had X-rays taken, which didn’t show a break.”

About Estes’ injury, Mac said:
“He’s got a contusion, but he’s fine and we’re going to hold him out for a couple of days. We’re at a point where we just have to get him ready for the game.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Sophomore Matagisila Lefiti is Estes’ backup at center, followed by junior transfer Bronson Tiwanak. UH offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said he also plans to give starting right guard Raphael Ieru a look at center, with Lefiti getting work at guard.”

Article about how Aiea alums R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane and Rocky Savaiigaea are captains for UH

August 26, 2009

About how RJ and Rocky are good examples for their players, Aiea coach Wendell Say said:
“It’s always good to have our players see players like that. It makes our players know those goals are attainable, you just need a lot of hard work and those two players were two of our hardest workers when they were here.” (HSB)

About how RJ and he were captains at Aiea also, Rocky said:
“In high school we were captains together too and we had our front-row lockers. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old days. The biggest thing is to get respect from our peers like that to vote us as captains means a lot.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “For varying reasons, Savaiigaea and Kiesel-Kauhane have both waited to take leading roles in college. Savaiigaea suffered a triceps injury during fall camp last year and was limited to one game in 2008. Kiesel-Kauhane started four games last year, but was primarily a special teams player and reserve in a linebacker corps that featured Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard.”

Remembering when he met Rocky in intermediate school (they bonded over football and weightlifting), RJ said:
“I can still remember the first day I met him. Rocky’s a big guy with a heart, always trying to make an impact on a lot of people’s lives. You can see he’s always trying to put a smile on everybody’s face. He’s the whole package, he’s vocal, he shows by example and I think he developed as a player and a person.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Savaiigaea said it was Kiesel-Kauhane, now one of the Warriors’ strongest players, who invited him to the 4H Club run by Milton Kanemoto and got him into weight training.”

About how Kanemoto got him into weight training, RJ said:
“(Kanemoto) worked with the public housing kids, he always had his home open to us and he always kept the weight room open and taught us life skills.” (HSB)

About how RJ can be outgoing, Rocky said:
“Everybody sees that R.J. puts his talk onto the field, but like anything else, there’s a time to be outgoing and he’s one of those dudes that’s hilarious off the field. When you get to know him that guy will tell jokes, play music. I can’t sing, but this guy will jam on the guitar and sing.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Kiesel-Kauhane still has a connection to the Aiea program as his younger brother, Chucky Ka’ahanui, is the starting quarterback for Na Alii.”

About how he tries to lead like former UH DT/NT Michael Lafaele, Rocky said:
“The person I feel was the best leader I’ve ever been around was (former UH lineman) Michael Lafaele. If you see the way he led and the way he carried himself, hands down that’s the best leader I’ve been around. I still talk to him and try to take everything he teaches me.” (HSB)