Thursday, December 31, 2009

Feature on UH commit Christian "Bubba" Luna

VN = Valley News

VN Note: "In just a few months, Christian "Bubba" Luna and his family and others in a two-county region have cemented deep ties with a youth-oriented gym that places an equal importance on athletics and academics. It has also provided lessons on respect, maturity and community service."

Praising the gym for helping him achieve his goals, Bubba Luna said:
"This program has been very important to me. I've matured a lot. I've learned respect for my family and teachers and how to be a role model." (VN)

VN Note: "Luna went on to lead his team to a 6-5 record as a senior, throwing for 524 yards running for 522 yards. He also boosted his grade point average from 2.67 to about 3.5 as the football season hit high gear."

About getting a scholarship offer from UH, Luna said:
"I always dreamed of getting a scholarship and it came through. All the hard work paid off." (VN)

VN Note: "Receiving a scholarship was a godsend, said the teen's parents. His mother, Lourdes, works as a mortgage loan processor. Her husband, Ray, works as a sales representative for Behr paints. Bubba, who got his nickname as a child, is the second oldest of the couple's five children. Ray is known in the family as "big Bubba." '

About the importance of her son Bubba getting a scholarship from UH, Lourdes Luna said:
"When that (scholarship) call came through, it felt like a big relief, I'm in the lending business, and things aren't too hot right now." (VN)

VN Note: "She and her husband credit Prodigy Athletes – which opened in a Temecula commercial center last fall – with much of their son's success on and off the field. The 7,500-square-foot gym – which moved from Orange County and has trained more than 15,000 athletes over the years in its classes, camps and clinics – is located in a Temecula commercial area that flanks Madison Avenue."

About how the new gym was a big help to her son, Lourdes Luna said:
"It's really changed my son, all my sons. They all go here. They learn how to be responsible for themselves as a student first and then as an athlete." (VN)

About how Prodigy Athletes also helped his son Bubba with his leadership and mentoring skills, Ray Luna said:
"It's something that's improved him in all aspects." (VN)

VN Note: "Other parents have provided similar observations of the gym that has lined a wall with computer terminals for athletes to chip away at their homework and also join forces with other students and parents in tackling group projects."

Praising the training program at Prodigy Athletes, Billy Jo Hobert (former NFL QB) said:
"This is one of the best training programs I have seen on the whole West Coast. The emphasis on citizenship, academics, leadership as well as physical skills development makes this program a real winner." (VN)

VN Note: "The Luna family got a first-hand look at Prodigy's commitment to community service following the earthquake and tsunami flooding that devastated much of Samoa shortly after the gym opened. The 8.0-magnitude quake was one of the largest recorded worldwide last year, and it triggered four tsunami waves that traveled as far inland as one mile. Whole villages were destroyed, and more than 100 people were killed and hundreds more were reported missing after the disaster.

Bubba and brothers Cameron and Carson Luna lost a cousin, a mother of eight children, in the cataclysm. Prodigy Coach Marcus Leli also lost a cousin. As a result, the gym helped coordinate the shipment of Inland Empire donations to the stricken region. Gym families collected cash, clothing, cooking utensils, diapers, toiletries and other items for the emergency effort."

About the devastation in Samoa, Lourdes Luna (who traces her cultural roots to Samoa) said:
"It hit close to home." (VN)

VN Note: "For some visitors, the gym might fall short of their equipment expectations. Unlike many gyms that seem to be filled from one wall to another with workout machines, Prodigy relies less on weights and more on agility and speed drills."

About how Prodigy Athletes will take over Temecula, parent Tony Goodwin said:
"Within a year, every kid in town is going to be with this gym. It's going to pop." (VN)

VN Note: "His son, Anthony "Chief" Goodwin, has been Bubba Luna's teammate and running partner since the pair played Mighty Mites football. The elder Goodwin said his son also hopes to snare a college football scholarship. The gym partners with, a college scholarship and recruiting assistance service. Troy Lau, founder of Prodigy Athletes and its key coach, said colleges today are seeking more than mere speed and power."

About preparing their athletes for college scholarships, Troy Lau said:
"It's not always the most talented kids who get the scholarships. The (college) recruiters say: 'How are his skills? How are his hips? How are his grades? Tell me about his parents. They want good kids who are coachable and are going to do the job in the classroom." (VN)

VN Note: "He described Luna as "an innocent kid" who is determined to work harder than anyone else on the field or in the gym."

About how he stresses academics to the high school athletes at his gym that hope for college scholarships, Lau said:
"I tell these kids that they (colleges) don't hand these scholarships to everyone. If you want to be different, you have to act different. Solid academics is what it takes. Football is the easy part. Kids don't realize that." (VN)

About how he hopes for a shot at pro football, with becoming a firefighter his backup plan, Luna said:
"I'm young. I know that. They've made me believe I can do what I need to do. It (pro sports) is the dream of every athlete." (VN)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Adrian Klemm almost joined UH last season

HA Note: "Former Hawai'i offensive lineman Adrian Klemm completed his first season as the Mustangs offensive line coach and said he'd like to make a career of it."

About how he was thinking of getting a coaching job at UH but JJ convinced him to be a volunteer coach at SMU last season, Adrian Klemm said:
"I was thinking about trying to get on at UH but June told me, 'Come on down here and help us.' I wanted to test it out so I volunteered a little last year." (HA)

About becoming SMU's OL coach this season, Klemm said:
"I love it. My dad's been a career coach and this is what I want to do." (HA)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Feature article on Adrian Klemm--UH OL who won 3 Super Bowl rings at New England and now coaches SMU's OL

About how their practice at Aloha Stadium brought back memories of his playing for UH, Adrian Klemm said:
"Coming out here I just got that little nervous feeling because it just took me back to when I was playing. All we're doing is coming to practice, but I haven't been in this environment in so long. It's a fun feeling." (HSB)

HSB Note: "There's a sense of symmetry to Klemm's return to the stadium, 10 years since helping lead Hawaii to the most dramatic turnaround in NCAA history. Klemm's last appearance in Aloha Stadium came in the 1999 Oahu Bowl, when the Warriors capped June Jones' landmark inaugural season at Hawaii with a victory over Oregon State. He'll be back tomorrow with Jones, this time as SMU's offensive line coach as the Mustangs (7-5) face Nevada (8-4) in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl."

About how he talked with the team this season about his experience during the turnaround UH made in JJ's first year, Klemm said:
"I continually told the guys at a certain point things are going to start clicking. And once they start clicking things are going to start rolling. Things will get easier, you'll pick up things quicker. Once guys know what they're doing they'll start moving faster and everything will start looking like it looks on film when you watch the old Hawaii films." (HSB)

HSB Note: "After closing his UH career with All-Western Athletic Conference honors, Klemm spent seven seasons in the NFL and picked up three Super Bowl rings as a member of the New England Patriots. He returned to Hawaii a few times since then and remains close with former UH roommate Tony Tuioti, now the Warriors' director of player personnel. In 2008, he spent part of his summer taking a Samoan class at UH to complete his work toward a degree, a requirement to take a full-time coaching job."

About being the first college RB to rush for more than 1,000 yards in JJ's offense, Shawnbrey McNeal (1,125 yards this season) said:
"It's an honor that you can't really express. Being the first one says a lot, that he has a lot of faith and a lot of trust in me. The O-line is probably the best I've been around relationship-wise. We hang together, we joke together. It's like we're all brothers but we came from different mothers." (HSB)

About how his team realizes that they have lost 3 straight Bowl games, Nevada head coach Chris Ault said:
"They understand the sense of urgency and the great opportunity in front of them." (HSB)

About how he's lost all 3 bowl games that he's been to, senior safety Jonathon Amaya said:
"I've been to few bowl games, but never came out on top. That's something I really want to see, not only for me but for the team. I didn't get to experience the last trip to Hawaii. This is the last ballgame, so I know it'll be something special." (HSB)

Marcus Umu commits to the Warriors

About his commitment to UH, safety Marcus Umu (from Saint Louis School) said:
"UH is the best place for me." (HA)

"It's going to be good to stay home and play in front of my family." (HA)

HA Note: "Umu said he is 6 feet 1 and 192 pounds. He was told he will compete at both safety positions at UH. Umu said he received interest from Washington, Baylor and Portland State."

HA Note: "Umu was named to The Advertiser's 2008 All-State second team."

About his cousin Kamalu Umu transferred from Charleston Southern to UH this past summer, Marcus Umu said:
"He made an impact on my decision. He was my example growing up." (HA)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Blaze Soares will sign with an agent today instead of trying to get a 6th year of eligibility

About how Blaze Soares will be signing a contract with MAG today, agent Wynn Silberman (who will be Blaze's agent) said:
"Blaze is joining the MAG 'ohana'." (HA)

HA Note: "Soares had a slim chance to successfully appeal the NCAA for an exemption that would allow him to play for the Warriors in 2010. But after consulting with friends and family members, Soares opted to apply for the 2010 National Football League draft."

About going for the NFL instead of appealing for another year of eligibility, Blaze said:
"I'm ready to start the next chapter in my life. I hope I have a chance to play at the next level. It's always been my dream to play in the NFL. I hope all of the blessings are on my side." (HA)

Happy to add Blaze as a client, Silberman said:
"We're excited about the opportunity to work with Blaze. To be honest, usually it's the agent trying to put the player on the map. This time, it's the other way around." (HA)

HA Note: "Silberman said there has been "considerable interest" from several NFL personnel directors and scouts. Silberman said he has been told Soares has "NFL traits" — size, good speed, "downhill" ability. Soares is capable of bench pressing 455 pounds. As a Castle High senior in 2004, he ran 40 yards in 4.5 seconds. There is a possibility that Soares will be invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. He said he received a letter of inquiry from the NFL Silberman said the focus will be on Soares performing well at UH's Pro Day in Carson, Calif., in late March. Scouts from every NFL team attend the one-day event that tests speed, strength, jumping and position skills."

HA Note: "Soares said he is one class shy of earning a bachelor's degree. He said he is enrolled in an online class for the spring semester."

Blaze said that he chose Silberman instead of the dozen or so other agents that approached him because:
"he's a good guy, with a good reputation. I know he's going to work hard for me." (HA)

HA Note: "Silberman also represents long-snapper Jake Ingram, a former Warrior now with the New England Patriots. Silberman said his younger brother also is named Blaze. Blaze Silberman is a senior at Cal Poly. Wynn Silberman said he will only represent one linebacker this year."

About not representing any other LBs, Silberman said:
"I chose Blaze (Soares) over my brother." (HA)

Nevada travels the worst of all teams that have played in the Hawaii Bowl

HA Note: "With only about "100-ish" Wolf Pack followers projected to buy tickets from the school, according to its spokesman, Nevada can use all the backing it can get. But the matter of fan support for the Wolf Pack in its bowl games is no joke in the bowl community. For all that its football team has accomplished on the field in the past five seasons, including a share of a WAC title and two second-place finishes, the school is viewed as one whose followers "travel" poorly by the bowl community."

About Nevada's poor fan support for bowl games, officials with bowl ties said:
"It is an issue in the (bowl) business." (HA)

HA Note: "So much so that speculation is that the New Mexico Bowl accepted Fresno State back again this year after a 2008 appearance — a rarity in the bowl business — rather than take Nevada with its track record."

HA Note: "But people who have been involved with the game say Nevada's turnout here in 2005, which was pegged at fewer than 100, remains the smallest of any team that has appeared in the game's seven previous seasons. Moreover, of that 2005 turnout, almost half were said to have been accounted for by family and friends of Kamehameha Schools graduate Caleb Spencer. Even East Carolina, Alabama-Birmingham and Tulane, schools that have covered much more distance, have been said to have brought more fans. Boise State is credited with having traveled about 2,000 for its 2007 appearance."

HA Note: "Out-of-town fans are important not only for the hotels and visitor industry that help sponsor the event but for the game itself which must achieve a minimum average 25,000 turnstile attendance over a rolling three-year period or risk losing its NCAA certification. The Hawai'i Bowl drew more than 40,000 for last year's Hawai'i-Notre Dame matchup but numbers could become important in future years. Nevada, as the WAC representative, is contracted to sell or be responsible for approximately 5,600 tickets. Most of the tickets Nevada is unable to sell will have to be purchased by the school or WAC. Many are already said to have been donated to the military community, schools and charities. SMU, as the Conference USA representative, is responsible for approximately 10,000 and is also donating to military, schools and charitable organizations."

More about Manley's decision to go to NMSU instead of UH

About committing to New Mexico State on Saturday, Andrew Manley said:
"I was talking to (Aggies) defensive line coach Jesse Williams and he said I could come in and compete for the starting quarterback job. I said I was ready to commit, and he put (Walker) on the phone." (HA)

HA Note: "Manley said it was the only scholarship offer he received for next season. He said Hawai'i offered him a chance to attend classes part time in the fall (paying his own way and not playing football) with the possibility of receiving a full scholarship in January 2011 — a process called "grayshirting" — but he opted to take New Mexico State's immediate scholarship offer instead."

About taking NMSU's scholarship offer over UH's grayshirt offer, Manley said:
"UH wanted me to grayshirt, but there's no guarantee with that and I could end up with nothing. New Mexico State had been talking to me the past couple weeks, since the (Hawai'i/Polynesia vs. Mainland) all-star game, and I liked what they offered. I thought it would be the best for me." (HA)

"They told me I might be a grayshirt. New Mexico State said I could come in right away and compete." (HSB)

HA Note: "Manley burst on to the local football scene two years ago, when he was called up from the JV during the O'ahu Interscholastic Association playoffs and led Leilehua to five straight victories, including the school's first state championship. In that title game, the Mules trailed powerhouse Saint Louis, 16-6, in the third quarter but Manley calmly guided them to a fourth-quarter comeback capped by his 15-yard game-winning touchdown strike to Edieson Dumlao with 30 seconds remaining. Leilehua won, 20-16, and a local legend was born. After a prolific junior season in which he again led the Mules to the state championship game, Manley was named Advertiser State Co-Offensive Player of the Year. This past season, with many of his key skill players and linemen having graduated, Manley helped Leilehua win the OIA Red Conference Western Division and reach the league title game and state semifinals."

About Manley's lack of offers, college recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said:
"I can't believe he's not being recruited more. If he were in Chicago, where I'm based, there would be at least 10, 15 schools wanting him." (HSB)

About his difficult recruiting process, Manley said:
"You just gotta move on. That's what happens." (HSB)

HSB Note: "The Aggies began communicating with Manley during the week of the Aloha Prep Bowl, an all-star exhibition game featuring Hawaii's top players and a squad of mainland standouts."

About NMSU assistant coaches Todd Littlejohn and Jesse Williams, Manley said:
"They sold the school great to me." (HSB)

About how he's used to both shotgun and under-center sets, Manley (who is visiting NMSU on 1/8) said:
"They like the shotgun. I'll find out more when I visit. I have no regrets. Everything works out the way it's supposed to be." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Manley caught the attention of football fans late in the 2007 season, when he was called up from the junior varsity at Leilehua to replace two injured quarterbacks. He led the Mules, who were 3-3 in regular-season play, to six consecutive wins and a state championship. Leilehua lost in the state final a year ago and reached the semifinals this fall."

Monday, December 21, 2009

QB Andrew Manley committed to New Mexico State

About committing to NMSU, 6'3", 220-pound Andrew Manley said:
"Right now it's the only offer I have, but I am excited about it." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Hawaii had been among the schools that offered him a scholarship. But the offer became a grayshirt offer when UH got a commitment from Kevin Spain of Paradise Valley High in Arizona."

About how he received an early offer from UH, Manley said:
"But they got a commitment from another quarterback and they asked me to grayshirt. The way the numbers are now, I could end up without a scholarship." (HSB)

"I'm not disappointed. I understand how college football recruiting works. They do what they have to do. I feel very fortunate to have a scholarship to play college football at New Mexico State." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Colorado and Marshall were also among schools expressing interest, but Colorado has two quarterback commitments and Marshall had a coaching change."

About how his recruiting from Marshall ended with their coaching change, Manley said:
"After the coach left I never heard back from them." (HSB)

About the benefit of playing for a WAC school, Manley said:
"I get to come home every other year to play at Aloha Stadium in front of friends and family. That is a great bonus." (HSB)

Dave Reardon wrote: "I think UH missed the boat on Manley and should've given him a full ride, no questions asked. At 6-feet-3 and 220 pounds, he is plenty big and has a big arm. His footwork is extremely underrated. This may come back to haunt the Warriors, especially with NMSU being in the same conference." (HSB)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Feature on JJ in the Honolulu Advertiser

HA Note: "June Jones' cell phone number begins with "808." He owns two condos in Kahala and another in Kona. During football season, between the end of the morning practice and the daily staff meeting, Southern Methodist University's second-year coach will watch the KGMB-produced news show "Sunrise" on his office computer. Jones, whose wardrobe does not require socks, implores his staff to observe Aloha Friday each week."

About his feelings for Hawaii, JJ said:
"Once it's in your blood, it's always in your blood." (HA)

Excited to being back in Hawaii, JJ said:
"It's exciting to come back. I'm excited that I'm going to see a lot of friends and people who mean a lot to me. That's the thing I miss the most — my friends." (HA)

JJ added that he also misses:
"the North Shore." (HA)

"I miss the North Shore." (HA)

HA Note: "The day after every UH home game, Jones would ride his Harley-Davidson, painted in the Warriors' dark green, around the island."

HA Note: "Jones donated the motorcycle to Na Koa, the UH football booster club, as an auction item. He said he might sell his O'ahu condos."

About how he might sell his O'ahu condos, JJ said:
"I'm going to keep the one in Kona." (HA)

HA Note: "He first visited the Big Island in 1975, when UH played a spring game in Hilo. Jones was a quarterback. He returned in the 1980s, soon after the Mauna Lani Golf Course opened."

About his love for the Big Island, JJ said:
"I was just blown away. The peacefulness of the Big Island. Man, it was just something else." (HA)

About finding a paradise about 15 miles from Kona, JJ said:
"Hokuli'a is the most spiritual place to me. It's more laid-back than anywhere I've been. When (football) is all over, that's where I'm going to make my home. I'm going to live in Hawai'i." (HA)

HA Note: "After the Warriors' 2006 season, there was an opportunity to return to the National Football League, where he had been a head coach with the Atlanta Falcons and San Diego Chargers. At the same time, the Warriors' star quarterback, Colt Brennan, was contemplating whether to apply for the 2007 NFL draft or return to UH for his senior season. The NFL deadline was Jan. 17. At one point, Brennan posed the what-if question to Jones."

About how he told Colt not to worry about his leaving for the NFL if Colt decided to stay at UH, JJ said:
"Colt was worried I would leave after he made his decision to come back (to UH). I said, 'Look, you make your decision. I'll give you my word, if you haven't read about me leaving before the 17th, and you decide to come back, I won't leave. I'll coach your senior season.' " (HA)

HA Note: "In an emotional news conference Jan. 17, 2007, Brennan announced he would return to UH for his senior season. Soon after, agent Leigh Steinberg called UH athletic director Herman Frazier to set up a meeting to discuss a contract extension for Jones, who was entering the final season of a five-year contract."

About telling HF that he'd work on a contract extension for JJ before the 2007 season but they didn't want to negotiate the extension during the season, Leigh Steinberg said:
"I told Herman before the '07 season, I would entertain speaking with him about extending my contrac. Nothing had been done. I said, 'If you don't extend it by the time we go to training camp (in August), then I don't want to deal with it during camp, and I don't want to see (negotiations) in the paper while we're trying to win football games.' " (HA)

About the contract extension negotiations, JJ told HF:
"If we can get something done, something I can live with before we go to training camp in August I would consider it." (HA)

About how UH *never* initiated contract talks before the start of Fall camp, JJ said:
"I wasn't hurt by it; I was disappointed. If he had come to me in May or June, I probably would have extended my contract, and we would have worked out something that would have been workable for the school and workable for me." (HA)

HA Note: "After that, Jones realized that "2007 would be my last season" at UH."

HA Note: "The problems with UH's athletic facilities had circulated nationally. In 2006, the players had complained there was no soap in the locker-room showers. Cooke Field was condemned after the turf had been stripped away. But because the Warriors were successful — 11-3 in 2006, 12-1 in 2007 — with limited resources, few changes were planned."

About how they could not sustain success without big changes at UH, JJ said:
"To sustain success (under the conditions) would be hard to do. We needed to have things. We needed change. I don't think those things were going to happen if I stayed. When I got here in '99, I felt if we won, things would change. The bottom line is everybody is hurting. Everybody needs money." (HA)

HA Note: "After the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl, SMU made a formal offer: $2 million a year for five years. Jones' contract — which was increased from $320,000 annually in the first four UH seasons — paid about $800,000 a year. It was then that UH initiated contract talks. The first offer, from Frazier, was $1.1 million annually. After that, UH President David McClain and Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw took over as point negotiators, increasing the offer to $1.3 million annually, then $1.5 million a year, then $1.7 million. But Jones said he felt UH's offers were more than the school could afford. The stakes were considerably higher than they were before the 2007 season, when he would have been happy to sign an extension for much less."

About how he didn't want to feel bad about taking UH's contract offer, JJ said:
"I worked all my life to make a good living. I didn't want to feel bad that I was going to make a lot of money in my next contract. The people of Hawai'i have a lot of needs at the school. For me to be making close to $2 million, it didn't seem fair, and I didn't want to feel bad about that. With all of the needs we had (at UH), all of the things that had to be done, in my own mind, I didn't want to be unhappy about being successful." (HA)

About how he had second thoughts the night before they were going to announce his deal with SMU, JJ told Steinberg:
"I can't pull the trigger. Leigh's eyes got huge. We had been in negotiations for three days, and we had finally gotten it done, and I told him, 'I can't do this.' " (HA)

That night JJ then had telephone conversations with:
"some friends who were very close to me. When I woke up the next morning. I felt this is what God wanted me to do, what I needed to do with my life." (HA)

About JJ took the SMU job, UH President McClain said in a news release:
"I also want to apologize to our fans and all of Hawai'i for matters getting to this stage in the first place. Exceptional performance deserves exceptional recognition, and your university was slow to step up." (HA)

HA Note: "The next day, UH and Frazier parted ways. Since then, Cooke Field, now known as Ching Athletic Complex, has a new artificial turf. The new football coaches' offices will be completed in a few months. And the football recruiting budget has more than doubled."

About the positive changes made at UH since he left, JJ said:
"Those things wouldn't have happened if we stayed." (HA)

JJ said that SMU is 2 years away from:
"being where we were in Hawai'i, with enough bullets and ammo to play the game at the level to be a championship team." (HA)

HA Note: "His son, June Jones IV, is an offensive lineman on a high school team that won a Texas state football title. He bought a home in a Dallas suburb."

Praising Dallas, JJ said:
"Dallas is a great city, one of the best on the continent. The people here are so hospitable. The Texas people have a lot of aloha spirit. They don't call it aloha. They call it Texas hospitality. It's very similar to Hawai'i. The people here are outgoing, very giving, very helpful." (HA)

HA Note: "One of Jones' regrets is he is too emotional to offer face-to-face farewells. He sent e-mails to close friends to announce he was leaving Hawai'i. His parting news conference was on the Big Island."

About how it is hard for him to say goodbye face-to-face, JJ said:
"It's hard. I get attached to people, friends. I tell people, 'It's not about the game; it's about the people you work with, the people you coach.' That's what it's all about. Because I'm that way, I've become very attached, especially with people in Hawai'i, and, I guess, sensitive emotionally. I think I'm way too emotional for a guy. I am that way. I've always been that way." (HA)

DE John Cooper Pelluer commits to the Warriors

About why he chose the Warriors, DE John Cooper Pelluer (from Skyline High in Issaquah, Washington) said:
"I definitely love the atmosphere of Hawai'i. There's nothing better than waking up every day in Hawai'i. The coaching staff is just awesome. I love everybody there. I'm really excited to be a Warrior." (HA)

HA Note: "Pelluer's great-grandfather, grandfather, father and uncle are Washington State alumni. His father, Scott, was a linebacker who played five seasons with the New Orleans Saints. His uncle, Steve, was a quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos."

Pelluer said that Washington State is:
"where my dad and mom met." (HA)

About choosing UH over Washington and Washington State after visiting UH last weekend, Pelluer said:
"I wanted to go where I felt I was really wanted. I got that vibe, that feel, from Hawai'i." (HA)

HA Note: "Pelluer was an outside linebacker in 2008, when Skyline ran a 3-4 scheme. This past season, a new defensive coordinator implemented the 4-3 alignment. Pelluer was asked to move to defensive end."

Pelluer said that that with him at rush DE and a converted safety at weakside LB:
"we became one of the fastest teams (in the division). We were flying around on defense." (HA)

HA Note: "Pelluer, who is 6 feet 3 1/2 and 225 pounds, made 10 sacks in 13 games. In all, he had 77 tackles, including 46 solo stops."

About being moved from LB to DE, Pelluer said:
"I had fun at defensive end. You sort of go." (HA)

HA Note: "He also played tight end at Skyline. Six of his nine catches were touchdowns. Pelluer said he has been told he will compete at defensive end or outside linebacker at UH. He will enroll in UH's second Summer Session, starting in July. At the University of Washington camp in 2008, Pelluer ran 40 yards in 4.7 seconds. He completed the shuttle in 4.57 seconds. His vertical jump is 26 inches, and his maximum bench press is a little under 300 pounds."

About how he snowboards during his spare time and enjoyed surfing during his UH visit, Pelluer said:
"I tried surfing on my official visit, and I just loved it. I can see myself learning how to surf." (HA)

About how Jake Heun hosted him during his recruiting visit, Pelluer said:
"He's a wild guy." (HA)

Friday, December 18, 2009

OT recruit Daniel Fleischman is down to UH and Wyoming

SC =

SC Note: "It only took two visits, but Issaquah, Wash. offensive tackle Daniel Fleischman is ready to decide. He picked up an official offer from Hawaii after his visit to Manoa this past weekend, making it his seventh offer. But when it comes down to it, Fleischman is looking to make a Christmastime decision, so it's really down to the two schools he's already officially visited."

About how he is deciding between UH and Wyoming, 6'7", 280-pound Fleischman said:
"I got an offer from Hawaii. It's pretty much between them and Wyoming now. I think I'll make my decision in a week." (SC)

About how he was impressed with his visit to Hawaii last weekend, Fleischman said:
"I loved the people there. The coaching staff is great and it's just a great environment for football." (SC)

About how the Warrior coaches wanted a commitment from him but hewasn't prepared to make a decision during his visit, Fleischman said:
"But I do want to make a commitment before Christmas." (SC)

About the similarity between UH and Wyoming, Fleischman said:
"I really like spread offenses." (SC)

About how Wyoming currently has a 75-25 advantage over UH, Fleischman said:
"It's Wyoming. But I'm not 100 percent decided on anyone yet." (SC)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CB Dee Maggitt commits to the Warriors! Moniz and Ingram get scholarships

About how commitment to the Warriors, Dee Maggitt said:
"I just loved the coaches and all of the players and Hawai'i in general." (HA)

HA Note: "Maggitt, who is 5 feet 10 and 175 pounds, competed in last week's Aloha Prep Bowl all-star game at Aloha Stadium. After that, he went on his official UH recruiting visit."

About Maggitt's commitment to the Warriors, Lakes head coach Dave Miller said:
"He's excited about being a Warrior." (HA)

HA Note: "Maggitt said he also had received offers from Washington and Washington State. One scouting service rated Maggitt as the top high school cornerback in Washington state."

Praising Maggitt, Miller said:
"I've been at Lakes for 25 years, and he's the best shut-down corner we've ever had, and we've had some good ones." (HA)

About how Maggitt did not allow All-State WR Taz Stevenson to catch a pass in the Aloha Prep Bowl, Miller said:
"He did a great job on him. He's a guy you can put on the best receiver and he'll lock the guy down." (HA)

Miller said that Maggitt's assets are:
"great feet, great hips, great competitor. He's got great anticipation on the ball and the breaks. He's got good jumping ability. He plays bigger than he is. He's got the mentality you want in a corner, where every play is total competition. He doesn't ever get down. He plays hard every play. He's got great toughness. He'll come up and pop you." (HA)

HA Note: "In addition to cornerback, Maggitt was used as a slotback, punt returner and kickoff returner. He is the starting point guard on Lakes' basketball team. He also is a member of the 4x100 relay team. He earned a 1,540 score on the SAT."

About Maggitt's excellent work ethic, Miller said:
"He works hard and he tries to get better every day. The sky's the limit. He's got great potential. We're excited about his future." (HA)

About how Lakes went 12-1 in each of their past two seasons, Miller said:
"He comes from a winning progra, and he knows how to get the job done. He's also a team player who always puts the team before himself. They're getting a great guy, a guy you can add to your mix and build a team with, no doubt." (HA)

HA Note: "Quarterback Bryant Moniz, who started eight games as the injury replacement for Greg Alexander, and long-snapper Luke Ingram have been told they will be awarded UH football scholarships. The compliance officers tried to sack the offer, claiming Moniz, who joined the Warriors in January, did not have enough time of service at UH to qualify for a scholarship. Moniz, a 2007 Leilehua High graduate, played a season at Fresno City College before returning to Hawai'i, where he spent two semesters attending a community college. The coaches argued that former UH quarterback Colt Brennan played a season of JC football and attended UH for one semester before receiving a scholarship from the Warriors."

About not giving up his pizza delivering job even after getting his scholarship, Bryant Moniz said:
"I'm still going to work." (HA)

HA Note: "Ingram, a second-year freshman from Mililani, had three off-target snaps in 95 attempts this past season. All of the snaps were caught."

Praising the job that Luke Ingram did as their long snapper, Mack said:
"He did a great job for us." (HA)

HA Note: "It was remarkable considering that Ingram had lost about 15 pounds during the summer because of flu-like symptoms. He also suffered a high-ankle sprain during a surfing incident, a painful condition that lasted through the first third of the season."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Feature story on Jeff Ulbrich being a "Pro's Pro"

About something that Bill Walsh said to him after a practice after he had been with the 49ers for a few years (Walsh drafted Ulbrich in the 3rd round in 2000), Jeff Ulbrich said:
"He came up to me on the sideline and let me know he was proud of the way I'd become a pro. I grew up around here and understood his legacy, so that's one of the highest compliments I've ever gotten in football." (HA)

About how his 10-year NFL career went well beyond his initial goal of lasting 3 seasons in the NFL, Ulbrich said:
"I didn't foresee people wanting me longer than that, to tell you the truth." (HA)

HA Note: "He is the longest tenured 49er, having been drafted a day ahead of long snapper Brian Jennings. The 49ers put up plaques on a wall at their facility to honor such 10-year vets, and Ulbrich earned his with a hardworking, teammate-assisting style."

About playing for 4 coaches with the 49ers and four personnel regimes, Ulbrich said:
"I didn't play to assemble a bunch of memories about my glory. I played because I loved to go on the field and play, and I loved the relationships I made around the league. I could give a (expletive) if I remember hitting Steven Jackson on the goal line." (HA)

HA Note: "He is not scared about losing such memories from a series of concussions in his career, the latest of which reduced his sleep to two hours a night. Brain trauma has become the NFL's hot-button topic this season, bringing with it a more thorough evaluation process. But Ulbrich evaluated his career enough in recent seasons to know a future in coaching was calling."

About having to retire after his latest concussion, Ulbrich said:
"I've recovered from every injury, so hopefully this is next in line." (HA)

HA Note: "That conga line: shoulder in 2000, ankle in 2001, knee in 2002, ankle and thigh in 2003, biceps in 2005, hamstring in 2006."

About lasting 10 years in the NFL, Ulbrich said:
"There's a certain pride I have regarding 10 years. Every year I thought I was going to get cut. Ask my wife. I had to play well every training camp, every preseason. I'm fortunate there were enough people around who appreciated the way I played." (HA)

About a 2004 game against the NY Jets where he was hospitalized a couple nights earlier with a stomach virus and chest pains, drinking 5 cups of coffee before kickoff to combat fatigue, where a goal-line tackle was not his highlight but instead a hit on center Kevin Mawai that was:
"awesome. It was in the middle of the field, nothing in particular on the play. Those were the kind of plays I loved." (HA)

HA Note: "—Rivalry games with the St. Louis Rams, whether it was making a goal-line tackle of Jackson or shutting down Marshall Faulk on pass patterns.

—Inheriting Ken Norton Jr.'s spot as the "plugger" linebacker and serving as a fixture in the starting lineup from 2001-04. His guts served him well as a special-teams ace in recent seasons.

—Tipping a pass that Julian Peterson intercepted in the January 2003 49ers' playoff victory over the New York Giants, Ulbrich's only postseason win.

—Ripping the Pro Bowl voting process in 2004 — and rightfully so — when fellow 49ers linebacker Derek Smith got snubbed. (Said Ulbrich: "You've got to be kidding me. It's whoever is on 'SportsCenter,' whoever the media wants to pump up. It's absolutely ridiculous.")

—Walking off the University of the Pacific practice field at 2001 training camp in full uniform and pushing a baby stroller (the first of three children he's had with his wife of now 10 years, Cristina).

—Framing a picture of him standing over Cowboys star Emmitt Smith after a tackle. "I asked him to sign it a couple years later when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, and he wouldn't do it," Ulbrich said.

—Twice winning the team's Matt Hazeltine Award for being the most courageous and inspirational defensive player."

About how he appreciated teammates such as Bryant Young, Ulbrich said:
"One of my favorite memories, and it's kind of bittersweet, was carrying B.Y. off the day he retired. That was pretty amazing." (HA)

HSB article about the Warriors looking towards next season

About what they need to do to prepare for next season, Mack said:
"We have to get everybody together, have a good offseason program and a good spring." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Having USC atop next season's schedule figures to help spur the Warriors' offseason workouts, along with the bitterness of missing the postseason for the first time since 2005."

About how they will have more experienced players next season, Mack said:
"It's going to be a challenging schedule, but we have more to work with as far as experienced players." (HSB)

About how the Warriors came back from a 2-6 deficit to win 4 in a row, JD said:
"Most teams would pack it in and give up. They had to win all five games and for four out of five weeks, they pulled it off." (HSB)

About the 6 QBs they will have competing for a starting job next season, Mack said:
"Competition is good for everybody. Mo did a great job and earned being penciled in, but we're going to open up the competition." (HSB)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feature story on Davone Bess being the best Miami Dolphin receiver

PBP = Palm Beach Post

About how Davone Bess is much better than any of the other Miami Dophin receivers, CBS analyst Steve Tasker said:
"He's better than the rest of those guys, that's all there is to it. Ted Ginn Jr. is a kick returner. (Brian) Hartline and (Greg) Camarillo are complementary guys. They don't have any quality receivers except Bess." (PBP)

About the improved play by Bess, Greg Camarillo said:
"He's playing with much more confidence. His patience and his knowledge of the offense have grown. He knows what he's doing, he knows the ins and outs, he knows the details, and that's what's allowing him to play at such a high level." (PBP)

PBP Note: "Bess has been a revelation almost since he signed with Miami as an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii in May 2008. His 54 catches last season was just two behind Ginn, the former first-round pick, for the team lead. Offensive coordinator Dan Henning said playing in coach June Jones' pass-happy system at Hawaii prepared the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Bess for the NFL."

About how JJ's offense prepared Bess for the NFL, Henning said:
"I guarantee you that he's caught more balls than any 23-year-old on the planet. If you go to June's practices, with the run and shoot, that's all they do." (PBP)

About how he struggled during their first 7 games, fumbling a team-high 4 times (losing 2), muffing a punt and dropping a bunch of passes, Bess said:
"It was very out of character." (PBP)

Asked if his struggles affected him mentally, Bess said:
"Not at all." (PBP)

PBP Note: "Around the first game at New England on Nov. 8, Bess' role began to change. After averaging 7.5 yards on 30 catches up to that game, he's averaged 11.7 on 29 catches since."

About the increased yards per catch that he's been getting, Bess said:
"I'm just taking what the defense gives me. Sometimes they're coming up on me, which makes me adjust my route deeper." (PBP)

PBP Note: "Quarterback Chad Henne noticed in that first Patriots game that Bill Belichick was getting animated on the sideline about Bess, who had six catches for 56 yards."

About how New England head coach Bill Belichick was upset with how they were defending Bess, Miami QB Chad Henne said:
"Belichick was yelling, 'Why aren't we pressing Davone?' He's a tough guy to press because he can beat you lateral, and he can beat you vertical, too." (PBP)

PBP Note: "Bess also just might be the best bargain in the NFL. The two-year, $687,000 deal he signed upon arrival pays him $385,000 this year, and the Dolphins have exclusive rights to his services next year, meaning he'll receive only a marginal raise."

Not worried about signing an extension with Miami, Bess' agent Kenny Zuckerman said:
"There's no sense of urgency on our behalf or their behalf. Something may come up down the road, but we know he's doing well and they know they can't lose him." (PBP)

PBP Note: "Bess' play of late has raised comparisons with that of ex-Dolphin Wes Welker. While Welker leads the league with 95 receptions, he also plays in an offense that relies much more on the pass than that in Miami. And Bess has been even better than Welker in at least one area: He leads the league in third-down receptions with 29. Welker is tied for seventh with 18."

Comparing Bess to Wes Welker, Tasker said:
"Welker has a little better lateral quickness and he's been in an offense that's been centered around the pass for three or four years. There's no question Bess has the ability to be that good, but Welker has a true No. 1 receiver playing outside of him in Randy Moss. Bess won't reach his potential until he has that as well." (PBP)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Feature article on Leonard Peters

TN = The National

TN Note: "His rise has been steep. It is just five months since he was first encouraged to pick up a rugby ball, yet he will already be playing his second international competition with the USA sevens side when they kick off the second leg of the IRB series in South Africa today. Any opponents planning to pick him up on his style choices, such as the black nail-polish on his thumbs, would be better advised to think again. He may be a rugby novice, but his skills on defence are already "beyond exceptional", according to his coach Al Caravelli, which is a relic of his days playing as a safety in the NFL. It was the destructive side of rugby which first attracted him to the game."

About decided to go into rugby, Leonard Peters said:
"I was done with the NFL and coach Al gave me a call to see if I wanted to give rugby a try. He said that there was a lot of running and a lot of hitting so I said, 'OK, sign me up'. It looked fun to me so I wanted to see if I could pick it up. For our team there is not a lot of money in it, but for some of the others there is. I didn't do it for money, I wanted to do it to learn a new sport." (TN)

TN Note: "For Peters, the last match in the group, against Samoa, carries the most significance. Peters was born in Fagaalu in American Samoa to Samoan parents, who moved to Hawaii when he was nine. He has not forgotten his roots, as evidenced by the fact his body is decorated by pe'a, or traditional Polynesian tattoos. The masterpiece has taken 179 hours so far, and is still far from the finished product."

About his tattoos, Peters said:
"Each symbol represents a generation of my family. I am not finished, there is still a long way to go." (TN)

Explaining why he puts black nail varnish on his thumbs, Peters said:
"One of the children had cancer. At eight-years-old he was going to pass away. We were trying to sign autographs for them but they were very, very shy. I saw the mother's nail polish on the stand, so I asked him if he would prefer to paint my nails. From then on, he started to talk to us and he painted my nails. Now I always paint them to remind myself how lucky I am.

When you are eight-years-old and you are going to pass away from cancer, it shows that us people who run around playing football are extremely fortunate, even if we do get some nicks and dings. If I'm sore or I don't want to practice or I'm having a bad day because I don't have enough money for gas, if I wave to someone, or whatever I do throughout the day, and I see it I remind myself how lucky I am." (TN)

Feature on Davone Bess being one of the NFL's top slot receivers

SFSS = South Florida Sun-Sentinel

SFSS Note: "Work hard. Get better every day. Stay humble. Be patient. Be thankful. Those are the five mantras that hang prominently on a sheet of notebook paper that sits on the left wall of Davone Bess' locker. These daily instructions have been there since he made the Miami Dolphins roster as an undrafted rookie last season, and he constantly goes over them. They serve as a constant reminder of where he's come from, and what's enabled this former Hawaii standout to find his niche as an NFL slot receiver. They also provide Bess guidance for the road he's on. To understand his desired destination just look at the center of his locker. That's where a Pro Bowl placard hangs."

About the five mantras that hang in his locker, Davone Bess said:
"Every time I look at them they keep me grounded and focused. Lets me know where I've been, and where I need to be." (SFSS)

SFSS Note: "Considering Bess is rising up the ranks of NFL slots receivers, it appears he's well on his way. Despite only starting one game this season, Bess leads the Dolphins in receptions (59) and receiving yards (548). And even though he produced his first 100-yard receiving game in last Sunday's win over New England, he's sat at the top of those statistical rankings most of the season. With four games to play, Bess' 548 yards is only 6 yards shy of what he accomplished last season, when he became the NFL's most productive undrafted rookie receiver since Jets standout Wayne Chrebet. More telling of his impact is the fact nearly half of Bess' receptions (29) and yards (259) have come in third-down situations, which serves as proof this second-year receiver has become the player the Dolphins offense leans on in the game's most critical down."

About how Bess is leading the AFC in 3rd down conversions on a team that doesn't pass much, offensive coordinator Dan Henning said:
"The guy leads the [AFC] in third-down conversions, and that's hard to do, especially on a team that doesn't pass [much]. If he would maintain that for the next 10 years he'll be a very viable, and valuable commodity." (SFSS)

SFSS Note: "Bess, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason, trails only Giants receiver Steve Smith in production on third down."

About how the NFL has been using slot receivers a lot more lately, Miami safety Yeremiah Bell said:
"It's always a short athletic guy who is quick. That's what teams are banking on now. Quarterbacks are going to look for those slot receivers because they can get in and out of breaks quickly." (SFSS)

SFSS Note: "Del Rio said the most important thing those slot receivers do is move the chains."

About the importance of a slot receiver, Del Rio said:
"You definitely can find a role for a guy who can do some things in the slot, create some matchup problems." (SFSS)

SFSS Note: "Bess said most of the routes he runs are based on the coverage that he sees after the snap. Henning said Bess he has a good feel for understanding when opposing defenses are in zone or man coverage, which often dictates the route. And that sense is getting better. Bess admits he's starting to get better at making the right read adjustments, picking the appropriate route, and it's depth, and quarterback Chad Henne is beginning to get on the same page. Bess credits that newfound success to mantra No. 4: Be patient. Just like the routes, Bess is optimistic continued success will come as long as he keeps to his core principles.",0,7780180.story

Zac Quines commits to the Warriors!

About how he always wanted to play for UH, Zac Quines said:
"Ever since I was little, this is something I always wanted to do. I always watched their games. Being a fan of UH, my dad was always telling me I would go there and 'one day we'll tailgate at your games.' Ever since then, I've been keeping that in mind. Finally, the day has come, and I'm going to be a Warrior." (HA)

HA Note: "Quines said he is 6 feet 3, 210 pounds, and once ran 40 yards in 4.68 seconds.

Praising Quines' understanding of football, Mililani coach Darnell Arceneaux said:
"He understands his keys, and he understands the game. The great thing about him is he brings it every day. Once he turns it on, it's on. He has a great future. He'll fit right into college ball." (HA)

Quines said that Blaze Soares and Leonard Peters were his role models because they helped:
"increase my intensity level." (HA)

About how he loved football from the first day he got to play it, Quines said:
"The first day, putting on the pads, it was a sport I always wanted to do. Physical contact was my thing." (HA)

HA Note: "While he considers himself to be "a typical local boy — kicking back, going to the beach," Quines is constantly working out. At home, he does push-ups. He often will visit a neighborhood fire department station, which has a bar for pull-ups."

Praising Quines, Arceneaux said:
"He works extra hard. He has good character. He has good morals." (HA)

UH Football Attendance was down slightly this year

HSB Note: "According to preliminary reports, UH made about $4,272,000 in season and individual football ticket sales this season, down from $4,650,508 last year when the Warriors went 7-6 in the regular season. With a home schedule featuring Fresno State, Boise State, Navy and Wisconsin, the department had projected making $5 million this season. But a six-game losing streak at midseason contributed to a dip in sales for games against Utah State and New Mexico State before rebounding at the end of the season."

About the drop in ticket sales this season, JD said:
"It's two-fold. It's a sign of the economy and then our win-loss record." (HSB)

HSB Note: "In all, UH distributed 257,074 tickets for its seven home games, an average of 36,725. The tickets issued number fell 25,289 from the 2008 total. The Warriors' push at the end of the season coincided with ticket sales edging over the 40,000 mark for the Navy and Wisconsin games, which generated about $464,000 combined or roughly 10 percent of the season's earnings. UH is also anticipating receiving between $100,000 and $165,000 from its share of the Western Athletic Conference's bowl revenue.

Boise State's inclusion in the BCS comes with a payout of $4.5 million to the WAC, with $3 million going the Broncos. The remaining money is used to cover any expenses arising from the three bowl games connected with the WAC — the Hawaii, Humanitarian and New Mexico bowls — before being distributed to the rest of the member schools."

About how BSU's BCS money helps UH's budget, JD said:
"Everything helps at this point." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Donovan said UH women's volleyball is projected to finish about $50,000 above projections with men's and women's basketball, men's volleyball and baseball remaining as revenue generating sports. The UH athletic department ended the last fiscal year with a $2.6
million shortfall, raising the cumulative deficit to around $8 million."

JD scheduled UC-Davis the week after UNLV in 2011 to avoid 3 straight road games

About scheduling UC-Davis and other D-IAA teams the week after their back-to-back nonconference road games so that they can insure that they never have 3 straight road games like this season, JD said:
"We're trying to do what we can to make sure we don't have three consecutive road trips." (HSB)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

ESPN Feature on Davone Bess "The Best WR You Don't Know"

ESPN Note: "There are several reasons casual observers probably haven't heard about Bess. He played college ball 2,400 miles from the mainland. His gaudy receiving stats were dismissed as the product of a gimmicky system. Nobody drafted him. He made it to the NFL with a run-oriented team. He doesn't make the sort of plays that get spliced into highlight reels. Still, Bess has emerged as one of the NFL's most trustworthy targets, a high-percentage receiver the Dolphins seek when it matters most."

About how Bess is not known by the general public yet, but he's going to earn his recognition, Colt Brennan said:
"Unless you're really watching football, you probably wouldn't know about Davone. When I think about Davone, I think he's the next big receiver you're going to hear about. You haven't heard about him yet, but he's working his way up to somebody who's going to be a big name in your mind for years to come." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "On an afternoon the Dolphins turned quarterback Chad Henne loose, Bess caught 10 passes for 117 yards -- both personal bests -- and his first touchdown of the year. All the more impressive was the Patriots at times were double-covering Bess, a tactic Dolphins coach Tony Sparano noticed toward the end of their first game against the Patriots in Week 9."

About how New England was double-teaming Bess towards the end of their game on Sunday, Miami head coach Tony Sparano said:
"I think that there was clear emphasis on the Patriots' part to try to take Davone away." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "That's right. Bess has gone from undrafted to a double-cover danger."

About how he's worked hard to get to this point in his career, Bess said:
"In my eyes, the sky's always the limit. It was devastating not getting drafted, but a year later now I'm actually not surprised how much success has come my way because I've worked hard my whole career to make it to this point. This is only the beginning of it. I still have a long way to go. I still have to learn and get better and better each week." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "Bess leads the Dolphins with 59 receptions for 548 yards. He has almost twice as many catches as the next-busiest teammate, Greg Camarillo, and more than twice as many as Ted Ginn, the ninth overall pick in the 2007 draft."

About how Bess is hard for defenses to cover, Miami QB Chad Henne said:
"He can separate from any defender, and it's tough to cover him. Last time we played the Patriots, [Bill] Belichick was on the sideline, yelling 'Why aren't we pressing Davone?' He's a tough guy to press because he can beat you lateral, and he can beat you vertical, too." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "Bess and Patriots slot receiver extraordinaire Wes Welker went into Sunday with the NFL's shortest pass lengths. The ball traveled an average of only 5.2 yards to reach Welker and 5.5 yards to reach Bess. Those long handoffs emphasize their abilities to get yards after the catch."

About the similarity between Bess and Wes Welker, Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson said:
"Bess has great short-area quickness, much like Welker, but not a home-run guy or a bomb threat. Bess has impressive body control and very solid hands. He catches the ball away from his body and is quick to turn upfield after securing the football.He kills linebacker coverage that he sometimes gets in the slot, but he also is put together pretty well and can outmuscle a lot of smaller nickel cornerbacks off the line of scrimmage. In the slot, he is a real handful when given a two-way go and has a very good feel for coverages and how to present himself open to his quarterback." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "He ranks second in the NFL in third-down receptions. Bess has 29 catches on third down (two behind New York Giants receiver Steve Smith), with 23 of them moving the chains (one behind Smith for the league lead)."

About how Bess doesn't get the recognition that he deserves, Colt said:
"He's never gotten the credit he's deserved, but he's gone out there and done it. He's a true football player and should be an inspiration to a lot of people out there." (ESPN)

About the heart-to-heart talk Bess and he had when they first met in the summer of 2005, Colt said:
"There was a connection of me and him going through a lot and wanting to prove a lot, to defy the odds. We said 'Why not shoot for the stars? Why not shoot for something great?'" (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "Brennan arrived in Hawaii with considerable baggage. He left Colorado under a black cloud. He had been convicted of first-degree criminal trespass and second-degree burglary for entering a female student's room uninvited. He served seven days in jail, was put on four years' probation and kicked off the team. Bess was a reclamation project, too. He had signed with Oregon State, but two weeks before leaving his hometown of Oakland for Corvallis, he was sentenced to 15 months in a juvenile facility as an accessory for receiving stolen goods."

About the incidents that Colt and he had before they entered UH, Bess told ESPN in 2006:
"Our situations were totally two different scenarios, but we both had the finger pointed to us without the proper evidence. We both were pretty much taking life for granted. We couldn't be stopped. Everything was going so good for us. And then all of a sudden, bam! That's a reality check. Now you have no choice but to mature and man up, take it and learn from it, grow from it and tell others your situation." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "Brennan and Bess lit up the sky in Honolulu. Brennan became a Heisman Trophy candidate in June Jones' prolific run-and-shoot system that threw first and asked questions later. Brennan broke 18 NCAA, 17 Western Athletic Conference and 41 school records. Bess was instrumental. In his three years at Hawaii, heamassed 293 receptions for 3,610 yards and 41 touchdowns."

About how Bess never lobbied for the ball and instead just did his job well, Colt said:
"I've heard stories of receivers grabbing quarterbacks and saying 'Hey, I'm going to be open this play.' When I look back, I never remember Davone in three years telling me to throw him the ball this time. He just ran his route and did his job." (ESPN)

About how the Sugar Bowl hurt Bess and his stock with the NFL, Colt said:
"We all got grouped together and ever since we lost that Georgia game we all got, in some weird way, flagged. 'Maybe they're not as good as they are on paper.' Because of that it totally killed us as far as getting an opportunity. Lucky for Davone, he had been through so much already, going through the bottom up was easy." (ESPN)

ESPN Note: "As a rookie, Bess caught 54 passes -- two behind Ginn for the team lead -- for 554 yards and a touchdown. A year later, he already has more receptions and almost as many yards with four games to play."

UH scheduled games against Oregon State in 2011 and 2014

UH Note: "The OSU games are scheduled for Dec. 3, 2011 at Aloha Stadium and Sept. 13, 2014 at Reser Stadium while the UC Davis game is slated for Sept. 24, 2011 at Aloha Stadium. With the addition of both OSU and UC Davis, the 2011 schedule is complete."

Happy to add Oregon State to their schedule, JD said:
"We are pleased to continue our series with Oregon State and to be able to add another quality Pac-10 opponent to our future schedules. We have many ties to the Pacific Northwest, especially with Oregon State, and this is an opportunity to strengthen our non-conference schedule in 2011 with another Pac-10 opponent. One of my goals when I was hired was to complete our football schedule several years out and with the help of Associate AD Carl Clapp, we've been able to accomplish that." (UH)

UH Note: "Hawai'i and UC Davis will play for the first time on the football field. In addition to OSU, in 2014, the Warriors have games scheduled against UNLV and at Colorado. Since last year, UH has announced new games with Army and Brigham Young (2012 & 2013), and extended series with USC, Oregon State, Washington, and UNLV."

About the games scheduled between UH and Oregon State, Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said:
"This is a great series for both programs. There are many connections between both states and schools. It's a good experience for our players and I think it makes sense for both programs to play each other on a regular basis." (Corvallis Gazette-Times)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Greg Salas, John Estes, Blaze Soares and Aaron Kia made the All-WAC team

About being named to the All-WAC first team, Greg Salas said:
"It's already next season. This season is over with now, officially. We just have to start looking forward to next season and start training hard." (HSB)

HSB Note: "Estes retained a spot on the All-WAC first team for the third straight year and was joined by Salas and Soares. Kia was named to the second team. Estes started every game from the 2006 opener at Alabama to last Saturday's season finale against Wisconsin to set an NCAA record for games played. He was named the Warriors' most valuable player on Sunday and is among six finalists for the Rimington Award, given to the nation's top center."

About being named All-WAC for the third straight year, John Estes said:
"It's good to get recognition from the rest of the WAC. It's good to see the other guys on the team get on the All-WAC team." (HA)

About playing in every game of his Warrior career, Estes said:
"I hurt a lot of times through that, but I really just didn't allow myself to sit out. That's what I'm most proud of ... contributing for 54 straight games." (HSB)

About how he'll graduate with his Communications degree this month and will spend the coming months training for the NFL, Estes (the 5th player to earn first-team All-WAC honors 3 times--Gary Allen, Davone Bess, Jason Elam and Al Noga) said:
"That's what I'm excited about; now it's just football." (HSB)

Praising Blaze, Mack said:
"Of all the linebackers I've ever coached, he's as good a hitter as I've ever been around. He's a football player." (HSB)

About starting all 13 games this season after having an injury-plagued career, Blaze Soares said:
"I stayed healthy this past season. I've been blessed, and I've been fortunate. I give all grace to the Lord." (HA)

Praising Cal Lee and Mike Smith for coaching him, Blaze said:
"Coach Cal taught me how to become a linebacker. Coach Mike took it to another level. I was blessed to have those two coaches in my life. I see them as guardian angels." (HA)

Wishing they could play in the Hawaii Bowl, Blaze said:
"I wish I had one more snap with my brothers. IIt's sad, but it's life. In life, things don't always go as planned. You have to keep pushing forward. We didn't get the big finish. I'm sorry for that." (HA)

About preparing for the NFL and not appealing for another year of eligibility, Blaze said:
"As of right now my chapter at UH is done and it's time to close the books and start a new chapter in my life. Hopefully the NFL is what it is. My dream was always to be an NFL player, and the door is cracked right now. I just have to get my foot in the door and try to get there. All I need is the opportunity." (HSB)

About making first team All-WAC, Greg Salas said:
"I set little individual goals for myself before the season, just something to shoot for, and this was one of them. As far as the team goes, that's the most important thing, but it didn't turn out too well this year, so we have to try harder." (HSB)

About not breaking the single-season reception and yardage records after being hurt in the Wisconsin game, Greg Salas said:
"It would have been nice to get some of those things, but that's not what my focus is. It's winning games. I wasn't able to be out there helping my team win a game. That's what I'm most disappointed about." (HA)

Happy that Aaron Kia was selected to be All-WAC, Mack said:
"I was glad to see Aaron Kia get recognized. It's tough playing left tackle, and I thought he did a great job of it." (HSB)

About being named second team All-WAC, Aaron Kia said:
"It feels good to make a team, period. I really didn't think I'd make it, but I'm happy I got it. It's bittersweet happiness because of how the season ended." (HA)

Feature interview with Davone Bess

MH = Miami Herald

MH Note: "Bess caught 10 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown. He leads the team with 59 catches for 548 yards and is the team's only wide receiver to already surpass his receptions total from a year ago. All this despite the fact Bess has not started any games this season."

About the rare opportunity they have to play many of the teams in front of them in the playoff race, Davone Bess said:
"We all find that kind of weird, but at the same time, it's 'any given Sunday.' We can't really get too caught into that, and try to make sure we go out and, pretty much, win. That's our main objective right now. Obviously, they're in the hunt too, so they're going to be just as eager to win, just like us, so it's going to be a real tough stretch." (MH)

About scoreboard watching leading up to the playoffs, Bess said:
"That comes with it, but you really don't want to get too caught into that because that starts taking you off of what you have to do and our main priority is what we want to get done. We want to win, and we have to grind out during the week and show up on Sundays." (MH)

About how the Patriots made adjustments so that they could defend him during yesterday's game, Bess said:
"A few times, they actually did the same thing yesterday. I think the coaches did a great job of making good calls just for that. We had routes put in specifically just in case they wanted to double me inside, or double whoever it was. If they doubled me, obviously, someone else was open. Chad [Henne] did a great job going through his read and getting it done." (MH)

Asked if the New England game was the most he has had to deal with double coverage, Bess said:
"It's kind of been up and down throughout the season. A lot of times they double team me, really on third down. Obviously, they see that I convert on third down a lot, or that Henne comes my way. For the most part, the coaches do a great job of putting us in those type of situations. I think we do a good job at rising up to the occasion and making a play." (MH)

About going from undrafted last year to being double covered, Bess said:
"I'm a true believer in 'hard work pays off.' I'm trying to go out and be the best I can be. In my eyes, the sky's always the limit. Like you said, it was devastating not getting drafted, but a year later now, I'm actually not surprised how much success has come my way because I've worked hard my whole career to make it to this point. This is only the beginning of it. I still have a long way to go. I still have to learn and get better and better each week." (MN)

About the work he put in regarding his route depth, Bess said:
"That's something that I've definitely been having to work on since I've been in the NFL. When I was in college, our coaches out there always stressed sense of urgency on your route, and always being aware, versus actually getting your depth. That's one of the things I've been drilling myself, the coaches have been drilling me to do, and it's been getting better and better each week. I just have to continue to stay focused and understand I can do this." (MH)

Asked how he prepares for the depth of a route before the play and if he will literally count out the yardage, Bess said:
"Sometimes, especially depending on if it's third down or not. If it's third down, I want to always look to where the yard marker is, whether it's deeper than my normal depth, obviously I have to go deeper in my route to get the first down. For the most part, yeah, you go out and you see what yard line you are on, you look at what route you have, and then you go from there. It all happens real fast. It's not really a thinking matter, it's just the progressions you go through, and then you go out and do it." (MH)

Asked what the game was like yesterday with more emphasis on their passing game, Bess said:
"It was exciting. It was something that the whole receiving corps was looking forward to, and the coaches definitely had the trust and the confidence in us to get the job done. The offensive line did a great job at blocking and giving Henne time to sit back and pretty much pick apart the defense. Our coach told us that this week, if we're going to win this game, we, the receiving corps, is going to have to step up and make plays." (MH)

Asked when in the game he felt that he was on the same page with Chad Henne, Bess said;
"Since the first quarter. He connected with me in some key first downs and that pretty much set the tempo of the day. Like I said, everybody did their part in executing. I would not have gotten open if Greg [Camarillo] or Brian [Hartline] did not get their depth on their routes. All of us work together and that is why it is a team game." (MH)

Asked how much pride he takes in being a successful possession receiver, being towards the top of the NFL on converting third downs (Bess is currently #2 in the NFL), Bess said:
"I take pride in that tremendously. Any time my number is called, I am willing to rise to the occasion. I am out there every day competing and ready. That all goes back to [the whole offense]. The line giving Chad [Henne] time and giving me time to get ready in my route. If he is getting pressure and rushing out of the pocket, there is no way I am going to be able to separate or any other receiver separate and get open to get the first down too." (MH)

Asked if he watches a player like Wes Welker when he is on the sidelines, Bess said:
"Every time I am on the sidelines I am watching Welker. Even when we were in Carolina, I was watching Steve Smith. I am watching everybody. I want to take my game to the next level, see what I can learn from these players and put it to my game and see where it go." (MH)

Asked about We Welker still having more receiving yards than he did yesterday, Bess said:
"I saw that. That is OK, he worked hard for it. Good player." (MH)

Asked what it takes to earn a QB's trust, Bess said:
"It starts in practice. There is no way you can go into a game not knowing who you can rely on in certain situations in the game. It all started back last year. I thought it was a little weird, but when we were at the combine, [Chad] Henne was actually throwing me passes during the drills. We talked about that the other day. It all goes back to working hard during practice, continuing to do it week in and week out and building that trust and chemistry." (MH)

Asked if the combine was the first time he and Chad Henne had met, Bess said:
"We met a little bit before that. When I was training in Arizona, he had a quarterback challenge in Arizona. My quarterback [at University of Hawaii] Colt Brennan was up there and they were good friends. We linked up that way." (MH)

Asked what WR coach Karl Dorrell has meant to him, Bess said:
"Everything. He is a great great mentor. He has been one of the main guys stressing me to get my depth on my routes and it has been helping. He adds another dimension to my game, especially from a mental standpoint. Whether it is knowing your splits, trusting a certain technique on a route, just everything." (MH)

Asked if he anticipated the amount of film work and preparation that went on to play an NFL game, Bess said:
"Definitely, because when I was in college I played for Coach June Jones and he was an NFL coach. This system was kind of the same; the way we meet, the way we practice, it was on an NFL level so I was real familiar with everything when I got here." (MH)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Leonard Peters scored the winning points in overtime for USA 7s first win of the rugby season!

RM = Rugby Magazine

About their first win for the USA 7s team this season, USA coach Al Caravelli said:
"We had a couple of scoring opportunities but couldn't score earlier. And after that they had about 65 percent of the possession. But the guys defended very well and I was proud of them for that." (RM)

RM Note: "In OT, the Eagles kicked off and did superbly well to retain possession. After that, they worked it through another phase before, finally, sending it wide for Leonard Peters to score in the corner."

RM Note: "Peters got his try and Caravelli said it was just return for all his hard work. Hard work, of course, is what it's all about. The Eagles have not started particularly well, but it's all relative. They had no warmup tournaments, as opposed to almost all the other teams on the circuit, and with so many players new to international sevens, Dubai had to serve as a proving ground and classroom."

About how they struggled without having any warmup tournaments like their competition, Caravelli said:
"I don't think it was a disadvantage that we didn't go to a preseason tournament, but I do think it would have been an advantage to us if we had gone. So now we're still finding our way." (RM)

RM Note: "Caravelli reminds us that in 2007 the USA went 0-5 in Dubai and then made the Cup Quarterfinals a week later. Last season they went from winning the Shield (the lowest of the four trophies) to the Cup Quarters."

About the steady improvement the USA team has been making, Caravelli said:
"We are focusing on achieving our goals within the game. Such as making 100 percent of our 1-on-1 tackles, always working hard on defense, and competing all game. Against Portugal we certainly did that." (RM)

About how they cut down on their turnovers, Caravelli said:
"We always want to stay on our feet as much as possible, but we were getting in trouble getting tackled and the other team getting hands on the ball immediately. So we need to focus on staying closer together in support groups. As we spend more time together we can work on this stuff." (RM)

About how the USA team has improved, Caravelli said:
"I remember two years ago in Dubai we gave up 51 turnovers in five games [as opposed to 38 this time around], but we improved greatly after that experience. We're ahead of where we were then. I am pleased with this squad and I want to keep it together." (RM)

Quotes about the Warriors in the Hawaii papers (Estes was Warriors' MVP)

HA Note: "The Hawai'i football team's ironman — center John Estes — yesterday was named winner of the Alec Waterhouse award as the Warriors' most valuable player for 2009. Estes started all 54 games of a UH career that ended with Saturday's 51-10 loss to Wisconsin. In a study by UH's sports information department, Estes' streak is the longest in NCAA Division I-A history."

Praising the defense he faced in every practice when accepting the MVP award at their awards banquet, John Estes said:
"They were a pain ... but I (benefitted from) every second of it." (HA)

About how they were motivated to beat Wisconsin to make the Hawaii Bowl, Greg Salas said:
"We were fired up to come out and play, get to a bowl game, and it just didn't come out the way we wanted it." (HSB)

HSB Note: "The Warriors closed the season with the annual team banquet at the Sheraton Waikiki. They have another meeting this morning to formally wrap up "a season full of challenges," as head coach Greg McMackin described his second year in charge."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bill Belichick praised how Davone Bess performed against New England today

About Davone Bess, who had 10 receptions for 117 yards and a TD, New England head coach Bill Belichick said:
"He ran good routes, and Henne hit him. He did a good job. He gets open and catches the ball. He did a good job.'' (Boston Globe)

Quotes from the Hawaii vs. Wisconsin game 12/5/09

HA = Honolulu Adverstiser
HSB = Honolulu Star-Bulletin
UH = University of Hawaii Athletics website
MN = Maui News
LT = (Madison) Lacrosse Tribune

------------------ Quotes from the Hawaii coaches ---------------------

About the loss, Mack said:
"I give Wisconsin credit. They physically out played us, they beat us in third downs, they beat us in every phase of the game: offense, defense, special teams; although Alex punted really well today. They were very physical, running power roll, what we call "the express" where they get a lot of mass at a certain point and we couldn't handle it." (UH)

About how they struggled on offense, Mack said:
"Offensively we struggled, which is not our normal game. So again you have to give Wisconsin credit. They are a well coached and athletic team." (UH)

About how Wisconsin won the battle on third downs (Wisconsin was 8/13 and UH was 3/11 on third downs), Mack said:
"We were completely beaten in third downs. We couldn't make third downs, they could. We played the run better in the second half, except for those last two." (UH, HSB)

Giving credit to Wisconsin, Mack said:
"You have to give Wisconsin credit, they out-physicaled us, beat us in every phase of the game. We were just out of sync and I'm really surprised. We had excellent practices, the guys were really jacked up and I just think we got beat by a better team." (HSB)

"They were running power O and what we call 'the express,' where they get a lot of mass at a certain point and we couldn't handle it." (HSB)

Surprised by their penalties, Mack said:
"We score a touchdown, we get a penalty, we get sent back. We have two offsides on kickoffs; we were just out of sync. I'm surprised, we had excellent practices, and the guys were jacked up. I just think we got beat by a better team." (UH, MN))

About how Wisconsin was too physical for their defense to stop, Mack said:
"They just out-physicaled us. They get a lot of mass at a certain point, and we just couldn't handle it." (MN)

------------------ Quotes from the Hawaii players ------------------------

About their struggles on offense, QB Bryant Moniz said:
"We couldn't get into a rhythm. Our defense was on the field all night. We could never get anything started, and I was having a hard time hitting my routes." (UH, LT, MN)

Feeling badly that their seniors will not get to go to a bowl game, Moniz said:
"I feel sorry for the seniors and not being able to get them to a bowl game. I know they really wanted it. You just always hope for the
best." (UH, MN)

"Sorry to the seniors that we weren't able to get that win for them. I feel really bad. You always want to send your seniors out on a good note and I'm just bummed for them." (HSB)

"We just never got anything going, we never got in a rhythm and I probably had the worst night of the season. Letting down all these seniors, how hard they worked, wasn't able to get them that bowl game, I just feel bad about it. It was one of those nights and it's too bad it had to be this night." (HSB)

About how they could not execute on offense, Moniz said:
"We planned and schemed they're defense all week, we just couldn't execute." (UH)

About how their offense struggled, Greg Salas asid:
"We game-planned a little bit differently for them, but they showed us looks we've got throughout the whole entire season. It wasn't anything new, but they did a good job." (HSB)

Note: Salas had 3 catches for 31 yards--he needed 6 catches to break Bess' single-season receptions record and 155 yards to break Lelie's single-season receiving yardage record.

About how he will always keep in touch with his teammates, Leon Wright-Jackson said:
"(The other seniors and teammates) are always family. That's my family now. I'm always going to keep in touch with them. We just got so close through this process, from sophomore year, when I got here. It's unbelievable, they took me in. They're always going to be my brothers, I'm never going to forget them." (HSB)

About how they thought they could come back after halftime, Wright-Jackson said:
"We felt like we did (have a chance to come back at half). We just had to pick it up. But it was tough, they're a good team." (HSB)

About taking the final two snaps of the game at QB, Inoke Funaki said:
"It was great, despite it didn't turn out exactly how we wanted it to. Blaze, John (Estes), a lot of the senior leaders, they were trying to keep us up in the half, trying to get us motivated (when we trailed 27-3). Try to finish strong. Sometimes it goes in your favor, sometimes not. It's all a part of the journey, I guess." (HSB)

About his final chance to play QB, Inoke laughed and said:
"It was fun." (HSB)

About the end of his Warrior career, John Estes said:
"Just being in the locker room it was a lot of emotion, because for the seniors we're not going to be in that setting ever again, which is sad. I'm going to miss the boys, everything, Aloha Stadium." (HSB)

About the final game of his Warrior career, Blaze Soares (game-high 11 tackles in this game) said:
"It's sad, the dream ends here. I got very emotional (in the locker room) and I never do. Being a Warrior comes to an end here and it hit me." (HSB)

Giving credit to RB John Clay and Wisconsin's OL, R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said:
"Watching film he did it through the whole year and you have to give credit to that line, their line was awesome." (HSB)

Reflecting on his Warrior career, R.J. said:
"I think I gave this program 110 percent and did what I could. I tried to set a good example for the boys and I think I did that." (HSB)

----------------- Quotes from the Wisconsin coaches -----------------

About how their players focused in the game, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said:
"I thought our guys just really focused in on details, tasks; our defense coming on and doing what they did against a very, very good offense and to cut their yardage total in half. Offensively we just keep grinding out and perform, not turn the ball over. It was very rewarding." (UH)

Praising UH, Bielema said:
"We just held them off the boards. They still did some things offensively. I knew this was going to be a very difficult environment. Coach (McMackin) has done a great job. They obviously responded so well to come back and win those last four games." (UH, MN)

About the late TD by Dustin Sherer, Bielema said:
"I didn't mean any disrespect to Hawai'i. That's a fifth-year senior. We put him in to give him a chance. I didn't want to kick off again. I didn't want to kick a field goal. I didn't think he was going to get in. I thought they'd have the ball at around the 5-yard line." (UH)

About how they like to run the ball and keep the ball away from their opponent's offense when on the road, Bielema said:
"That's kind of what we do. When we go into this type of situation, on the road, hostile environment, we knew we needed to (run). I'm a big-time possession guy. One thing that I learned from Coach (Barry) Alvarez is the longer you have the football, they don't. The better chance you have to score if they don't (have the ball)." (HA)

About their success throwing the ball in the game, Bielema said:
"Hawaii started throwing five defensive linemen out there and you have to be able to throw the ball down the field." (HSB)

About how it is likely that they will play in the Outback Bowl or Champs Sports Bowl, Bielema said:
"Wherever we are going, whoever we are playing, I know this: We will prepare, we will work and we'll put ourselves in a position to have success." (MN)

Crediting their OL coach Bob Bostad for adjusting to the loss of their starting center, Bielema said:
"Bob Bostad did a great job. When I called him and told them that Peter wasn't going to be there, he knew right away what he wanted to do to move forward, and it obviously worked out very well." (LT)

---------------- Quotes from the Wisconsin players ---------------------

About how they expected a tough game from UH, QB Scott Tolzien (16-20 passing for 253 yards) said:
"Hawaii is a good team down the stretch. We thought it would be tough for four quarters." (HSB)

About their success throwing on 2nd-and-short, Tolzien said:
"It's awesome. I know we could easily run the ball in those situations, but my coaches have confidence in me." (HSB)

About dealing with the distractions in Hawaii, Tolzien said:
"Your routine's not going to be the exact same every week. Obviously we were in Hawaii and there's a lot of outside distractions, but I thought guys did a good job of handling their business and coming in focused." (LT)

About jumping over one of his OL that had fallen to the ground during his 3rd TD run (from 15 yards out), John Clay said:
"It was either run around him, fall down or jump over him." (HSB)

About how their plan was to run the ball in this game, Clay said:
"We came here with one goal, and that was running the ball, and we did that. Everybody stepped up big, from the offensive line to the tight ends to the receivers. They worked for me so I wanted to work for them." (MN)

About how he kept Wisconsin's streak going of RB success at Aloha Stadium, Clay said:
"It feels real good to keep the tradition of the backs who have been running here. It's good and that's what I wanted to do." (HA)

Reflecting on his sophomore season, Clay said:
"I feel good about it. There's more stuff I could've done. It could've been better, but for now, I'm having a good season. My team is working for me so I'm just trying to work hard." (HA)

About how he was hoping to return to the game even when it was 37-3, Clay said:
"I want to be out there fighting with my teammates." (HSB)

About how it was best that he didn't enter the game again and their other RBs got to play, Clay said:
"I was in a nice little groove, but there was no point in me going back in. We let my teammates get in there and shine." (HSB)

HSB Note: "The Badgers did it without starting center Peter Konz, who was hospitalized with inflammation of a lung before the game. Left guard John Mofitt, last year's starting center, moved over to his old position for the night and UW didn't miss a beat. The first nine possessions for Wisconsin went this way: touchdown, punt, touchdown, touchdown, missed field goal, touchdown, punt, touchdown, field goal. By then, UW led 37-3 early in the fourth quarter. Even then, Clay was working on a bruised arm on the sideline, hoping to return to the game."

About how they dealt with the distractions during their Hawaii trip, starting guard (who moved to starting center in this game) John Moffitt said:
"I think we dealt with it. I think we took the right mentality being out here. We approached it with the right mentality, and everybody zeroed in on what we needed to do." (LT)

About answering the critics of their pass defense, DE J.J. Watt (2 sacks in the game) said:
"It's nice to quiet everybody a little bit. We weren't perfect tonight, but we did enough to win the football game. It was nice to see our defense come out here and bounce back after the Northwestern loss." (LT)

Praising UH's OL, DE O'Brien Schofield (2 sacks in the game) said:
"They were real good up front. We knew they had good protection. We just played them mostly straight up." (HSB)

--------------- Other notes about the game ---------------------

LT Note: "There were a couple of bad omens for the University of Wisconsin football team's offense before the Badgers even arrived at Aloha Stadium for Saturday night's regular-season finale against Hawaii.

The first came Thursday afternoon, when the bus carrying the offensive players broke down on the highway as the team was en route to Pearl Harbor.

The next came Friday, when starting center Peter Konz was diagnosed with an inflammation in his lungs that forced him to watch the game on television at the team's hotel on Waikiki Beach."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pregame quotes for the Hawaii - Wisconsin game 12/5/09

About UH fell to 2-6, Mack made their goal into a 5-game playoff, saying:
"Lose one and we're done." (HA)

Mack said that after 4 straight wins:
"we're right where we want to be." (HA)

Blaze Soares said that a win tonight means:
"we can keep playing football." (HA)

About how his players have dealt with the must-win pressure each week, Mack said:
"The guys have worked hard to put themselves in this position. It was 'win or you're out.' Every week there was pressure." (HA)

About how they simplified their assignments on defense, R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane said:
"Now, we just react." (HA)

About how his team is used to dealing with the loss of players due to injury, Mack said:
"We don't even let it bother us anymore. We just move on." (HA)

About their critics and their bandwagon, Aaron Kia said:
"We're not here to win people over, we're here to win games. It's about sticking together as a team. We don't need everybody's criticism or hate to dictate our season. ... If people want to jump off (the bandwagon), they can jump off. If people want to jump on board, that's fine, too. We welcome them." (HA)

Loving their situation where they need to beat Wisconsin to be able to face JJ, Blaze said:
"You have to love the situation we're in. We win one game, we play our old coach (SMU's June Jones in the Hawai'i Bowl). The way our season started and the way we're trying to finish it, it's a very pleasing feeling. We have to take care of business. We want to go out there, scramble some eggs." (HA)

About the huge OL Wisconsin has, averaging 6' 5.5" and 317 pounds, Rich Miano said:
"They're like the New York football Giants. They have height and weight requirements. If you play the offensive line, it seems you have to be 6-4." (HA)

About how two of his brothers graduated from Wisconsin (Rick earned a PhD in nuclear engineering, Steve earned a MS in industrial engineering), Miano said:
"I'm sure my brothers will have mixed emotions, but they'll definitely root for us. It's family over alumni." (HA)

About his won Nick Toon's success, former NFL WR Al Toon said:
"He understands the fundamentals of the position, and he believes the basics are important. So he is working very hard, putting in extra time, and it has translated into tangible and measurable success." (HA)

About how he hasn't asked Bryant Moniz for any special favors despite being close to two UH single-season records, Greg Salas said:
"Nah, he's not like that." (HA)

About how wins are much more important than records, Salas said:
"The most important thing is the team and winning. I haven't done anything. I don't have any records." (HA)

About how he prepared for his switch from wideout last season to slotback this season by studying how slots ran routes and how bigger wideouts used their size to position for catches, Salas said:
"I tried to combine the two, and it worked out well," (HA)

About how his yards-after-catch average is 9.83 and yards-after-hit average is 4.64, Salas said that as a wideout:
"last year, you're hemmed up on the sideline. You can't really go anywhere. Now you can catch the ball in the middle of the field. You can go either way. That's helped me with running after the catch." (HA)

About how Scott Enos was able to get his kicks over the blue pads help up in practice this week, showing that he's fixing his problem with low kicks, special teams coordinator Chris Tormey said:
"He's doing better. He's been pretty consistent inside the 40." (HA)

About how Ryan Henry has been calling for a lot of fair catches on punt returns lately, Tormey said:
"He saves us a lot of yards by not letting the ball bounce. He gets to a lot of balls." (HA)

About how he ignored his critics during their 6-game losing streak, Mack said:
"Our coaches and players stayed together and continued to work hard and believe in each other. I don't listen to negative people who want to put limits on this team. I believe in positives." (HA)

HA Note: "Following a tough loss to Idaho, Donovan admitted that he was "frustrated" with the state of the program but said he would wait until the end of the season to evaluate McMackin's performance. Donovan yesterday reiterated that he would reserve judgment until "all the evidence is in" but added that he was happy with the team's ability to salvage the season."

Proud of Mack and their players for turning around their season, JD said:
"I'm certainly very, very proud of Coach Mack and the players for what they've accomplished in the last four games. The fact that they have a meaningful game to play (tonight) is an indication of how hard they've worked to get better. I'm very hopeful." (HA)

About how he never thought about how he never thought about getting fired, Mack said:
"I never thought about it (getting fired). I committed to UH and UH committed to me. I feel complete support." (HA)

About all of the angry people that were calling for Mack to be fired this season, QB coach Nick Rolovich said:
"He handled it well. He made sure that our focus was always on the next game. He never addressed the negativity that was out there." (HA)

About how they stuck together and ignored their doubters, Rocky Savaiigaea said:
"There were still a lot of loyal fans, but there were also a lot who doubted us. All we had was each other. Every week, Coach Mack would tell us that it was the people in the room — the players and coaches — that was going to win the games for us and it didn't matter what negativity was going on around us." (HA)

About how he noticed how the public's opinion changed about them, Rocky said;
"It really hurt. People were cheering us on when we were 2-0 and saying how they were loyal fans. But then we started losing a few and there was hardly anybody in the stands, everyone was calling for people to get fired, and people were saying that they had no faith in our team." (HA)

Crediting coach Mack for keeping them together, Rocky said:
"The people who say 'fire him,' or put up these Web sites, they're not the ones waking up at 4:15 every morning and working hard to make us better." (HA)

About the negative comments she heard, Keani Santos (girlfriend of Elliot Purcell) said:
"It's so shame when people do that because the coaches are the ones who stay up day and night trying to do the right thing. There are a lot of great fans who want the team to win, but nobody wants to win more than the players and coaches." (HA)

Excited about the chance that the team could make the Hawaii Bowl, Santos said:
"I'm nervous. But whatever happens, it was a great season. They had a lot of downfalls and they overcame a lot just to get here. I hope they win because they deserve it." (HA)

Praising UH for coming back from their 6-game losing streak, Leonard said:
"I commend the team for not giving up. When you're in an uphill battle, you can can it or you can fight back. That's what they're doing." (HA)

About walking to the North End Zone to thank their supporters after the Navy win, Mack said:
"I really felt that we had the 12th Warrior out there that night. I just wanted to thank them for helping us win." (HA)

About the significance of the Navy win for Mack, Rocky said:
"You could see that all of the weight was lifted off his shoulders. He was under so much stress, but the way we played and the way we finished the game, you could see how happy he was. Everybody is happy and alive. It's just fun right now." (HA)

About how they give their best effort every week, Mack said:
"We have loyal and true fans who have stayed with us and who know that we've given our best every week, whether we're beating Navy or losing to Boise State. We have a game to play (tonight) and we're going to bring that same effort and hard work." (HA)

Crediting their seniors for keeping their team together during their losing streak, Mack said:
"Right there they showed a lot of leadership, and that's probably what brought us back and kept us together. We could have just folded and ended up a 2-10 team, but we stuck together and kept fighting and now we're on a roll." (HSB)

About how his players have worked hard for this chance to make the Hawaii Bowl, Mack said:
"They've worked themselves into a place where they have an opportunity to play for everything. They've worked hard to get there and everything's on the line." (HSB)

About how his Warrior career has gone by quickly, Aaron Kia said:
"Too fast. You hear it every year from the seniors and you think 'I've got a whole other year coming up.' Next thing you know you're being asked questions about your five years." (HSB)

About how all of their work for this season comes down to this one game, R.J. said:
"All this hard work, now it comes down to this last game. It does add to the emotion." (HSB)

About having another must-win game, Moniz said:
"We've played with our backs against the wall, we've played with pressure for these past four weeks, so I think we're used to the atmosphere." (HSB)

About wanting to make the Hawaii Bowl for their seniors, Salas said:
"We want to get them to a bowl game and show how grateful we are for their leadership this year and keeping us together." (HSB)