Sports Notebook

Friday, July 30, 2004


Poumele ahead of Ilaoa

RENO, Nev. >> Unless something changes between now and the start of training camp in less than two weeks, Se'e Poumele will be No. 1 on the Hawaii depth chart at a slotback spot, ahead of Nate Ilaoa.

"Nate was going to be the guy, but he's coming off a knee," UH coach June Jones said during his talk at the Western Athletic Conference media days. "If we were to tee it up right now, Se'e would be the starter. He's made big plays in every game he's played."

Poumele, a 5-foot-9, 179-pound senior, caught 29 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns last year. He rushed nine times for 19 yards and a score, sometimes running the ball from the quarterback position.

Ilaoa, a 5-11, 211-pound sophomore, missed the rest of the 2003 season after an injury in the first game. He started eight of the 12 games he played in during 2002, catching 46 passes for 532 yards and three TDs. He rushed six times for 56 yards and one touchdown.

Five for five?: All coaches asked responded positively to pending legislation that would give college football players five years of eligibility. It would in effect eliminate the practice of redshirting, or holding a freshman out action his first year to save the year of eligibility in the current system of five years to play four.

"The biggest thing is it would be a cost-saver," Rice coach Ken Hatfield said. "Let's say eight true freshmen play. Four years later we're still paying their way through school, and they can't even come out and be on the scout team. It would take away exceptions and exemptions and be fair across the board. It makes sense to me."

Several coaches said the five-year eligibility rule would be especially important if the NCAA permanently adds a 12th-game to the schedule (making Hawaii and other schools that play a game at Hawaii eligible for a 13-game schedule).

Say that again?: Any reporter half dozing during the five-hour, 10-coach press conference marathon yesterday was jolted awake by Jones.

"There is a darkhorse and I'm gonna shock you guys when I say this: San Jose State," Jones said, when asked to name a surprise contender. "Look at the 15 offensive linemen. They have six guys over 6-6, over 320 pounds. They've got two or three really good running backs, and they've hired a guy I really respect on defense, (former Tulsa head coach) Keith Burns."

BCS cuts some of the BS: Boise State coach Dan Hawkins, as well as the rest of the coaches, likes the modifications to the Bowl Championship Series system that allows easier access to top teams from mid-major conferences like the WAC to one of the top bowl games.

"It seemed a little bit un-American, kind of a closed system. Now it's great for everybody to have an opportunity to get in there and slug it out and not be treated like an outsider. When we have years like we had the last two years we'd like to line up against somebody and see what you're about. Having access is an awesome thing. The great thing about the NCAA Tournament (basketball) is seeing some of these other teams make a run."

Never on a Friday: WAC commissioner Karl Benson said Hawaii could be forced by ESPN to play a home game on a Friday as early as next season, something UH athletic director Herman Frazier does not want to do because of potential revenue loss and inconvenience for fans. Frazier said he plans to discuss the topic with Benson.

UH games on Friday nights also adversely affects attendance at high school games, Hawaii High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya said.

"In essence, Friday college football games are a lose-lose proposition for the Warriors and our high schools," he said.

But, "if we have to, let's make the best of it" was the general reaction to the announcement that there will be more Friday games and some on Tuesday and Wednesday because of the WAC's new six-year contract with ESPN.

Hatfield vowed to never play on Friday, though.

"I would decline. We've been in support of high school football from the beginning with this," he said. "In certain states it's something we feel adamant about."

Louisiana Tech coach Jack Bicknell opens his season on Monday, Sep. 6, hosting Nevada on ESPN.

"It's obviously not the best day to play. But everyone in the country will be watching. Nothing else is going on Monday. Just about every football fan in the country will be watching and that overrides any inconvenience you will have. We'll certainly be more than open to do it."

Quippin': Fresno State returns 19 starters, prompting Fresno State coach Pat Hill to say, "Probably our biggest loss is our secretary."

When asked about the mysterious flying screwdriver at the Fresno State game in 2001, Jones said, "We're going to get Home Depot to sponsor the game there this year."

Nevada coach Chris Ault said his team needs to develop "Nevada-tude."

Western Athletic Conference

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