Friday, March 23, 2001
Correias gambleJOE CORREIA can finally sleep at night.
to keep practicing
finally pays off
The NCAA approves a sixth
year of eligibility for the
By Paul Arnett
The University of Hawaii defensive end learned Wednesday that the NCAA granted his petition for a sixth season. The Western Athletic Conference already had approved it and Correia was 90 percent sure he would be with the team in the fall.
"But to finally get the letter from them, that makes it all better," Correia said after yesterday's practice. "I'm just thankful and grateful for everybody who was in my corner. It's a great feeling.
"I feel about 20 pounds lighter. It's a big relief. Everybody told me I had a 90 percent chance of being back. But it's not the same thing as 100 percent."
Correia was sidelined for most of last year with a foot injury. When it became apparent in the first half of the season that he wouldn't be at full speed without surgery, the coaches decided not to play him in hopes of getting a medical hardship. The gamble paid off.
"We were very happy to hear the news," UH defensive line coach Vantz Singletary said. "To have Joe back in there is huge, especially in the pass rush. He's also a leader in the huddle. He's very vocal and we need somebody like him in there to get people fired up."
Correia will play outside linebacker in the Warriors' base 4-3 package. He will be a pass rusher in the three-man front and in the nickel and dime packages. The former St. Louis School quarterback is also learning how to drop back in pass coverage.
"I'm going to try to fine-tune myself for the linebacker position," Correia said. "And knowing I'm not training for nothing is big. When I came out this spring, I wasn't sure I'd be here in the fall. Knowing I will be makes everything better."
Running backs Afatia Thompson and Avion Weaver are still waiting to hear the final word on their petitions for an extra season. Unlike Correia, they haven't worked out with the team this spring.
"Joe coming out here to work out without knowing for sure he'd be here or not says a whole lot about him," Singletary said. "He could have skipped the spring and waited to hear for sure.
"Instead, Joe really rolled the dice. He came out here, worked hard learning a new spot and now it pays off in a big way for him and this football team. It's really big for us that he'll be on the field in the fall."
Ka Leo O Hawaii