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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, October 30, 1999



Morning’s right time
for UH practices

IT isn't exactly Club Med, but Hawaii football practices have been a breeze this season.

Make it cool morning breezes.

Rainbow place-kicker Eric Hannum said it best when asked about the team practicing in the morning before classes and even before breakfast:

"AWESOME!"

Coach June Jones decided to hold practices in the morning this season - a rather novel idea since it's not an accustomed practice anywhere else in the football world.

When Jones first announced at the start of the season that practices would be A.M. (from 7 to 9) and not P.M. (4 to 6) for his Rainbows, the happiest guy on the planet was Paul Arnett, the Star-Bulletin's beat writer.

"Today's news today," said Arnett, a true company man. Arnett realized that anything noteworthy happening at practice that morning would make the afternoon home edition.

It seems he's not the only happy individual at the serendipitous turn of events.

Even Jones has cited morning practices as one possible factor why his Rainbows are 2-0 in road games this season. No one has to dwell on how bad they were in years past.

When asked by sportswriters what changes he made to turn road woes into road rage, Jones said practicing in the morning could be one of the reasons.

"We went to morning practices and the games we're playing (at SMU and Tulsa) were the same as our normal practice times."

JONES admits that he didn't think of it as a road-game advantage when he decided to hold practices in the morning.

It turned out to be a nice by-product, according to Jones.

And the Rainbows - to a man - are finding their mornings merrier.

"We can get a lot of things done and the day isn't broken up," Hannum said.

"The weather's cooler and there's less wind."

Wouldn't you know it. Just like a kicker.

"The mornings are better. You get practice out of the way and can go to classes," added tackle Kaulana Noa, one of seven fifth-year seniors on the team.

"When you go to classes and then practice, you're not as mentally fresh."

"You get up and are full of energy in the mornings," said quarterback Dan Robinson. "It makes you crisper, and gets you up for classes, too."

Robinson, who's taking 12 credits but has completed all his pre-med requirements, says he was mentally more tired for practices when they were held after all day of classes.

He, too, noted that it had a big role in victories at SMU and Tulsa, which were played in the morning, Hawaii time, just like the practices.

ADRIAN Klemm, Noa's counterpart at left tackle and another fifth-year senior who remembers what it was like drilling in the hot afternoon sun, says he's definitely more alert and awake for the morning practices.

"The only thing, it forces you to go to bed earlier," he said.

You know, early to bed, early to rise.

That's the one downside about the morning sessions, according to defensive tackle Tony Tuioti.

"We have to get up at 5:30 in the morning," he said, "and some guys don't like to get up that early."

One of the "some guys" is Tough Tony. "I like to sleep in."

Still, Tuioti concedes, there's nothing like the morning practices.

"Once it's over, everyone's happy. They don't have to worry about it the rest of the day."



Bill Kwon has been writing about
sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.



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