Sunday, August 22, 2004


Warriors’ Miranda
catches a break

The UH kicker is battling for
a starting job after an injury
sidelined senior starter
Justin Ayat

The sooner Nolan Miranda made a field goal, the sooner the Hawaii football team could jump into the swimming pool, ending yesterday morning's two-hour practice.

But Miranda missed the first two attempts, from 45 and 43 yards.

How many chances would he get?

"Until he made it," coach June Jones said.

Miranda, a third-year sophomore walk-on from Castle, converted on his third try, from 35 yards, and the Warriors were in the water within a half hour.

"They needed a break," Jones said.

Miranda may have gotten his through a groin pull that has sidelined senior Justin Ayat.

Miranda ended last season as the starting field-goal and extra-point kicker when he took over after Ayat couldn't kick his way out of a terrible mid- and late-season slump.

But early in fall camp Jones said Ayat -- the second-leading scorer in UH history -- had regained the starting spot.

Then Ayat got hurt last week.

"The job's open," Jones said yesterday. "Obviously, Justin's out with an injury, so it's Nolan's right now."

Another kicker, so to speak, gets thrown into the equation tomorrow. Invited walk-on C.J. Santiago, a true freshman from Saint Louis School, joins workouts along with several other newcomers and veterans who were not among the 105 in camp.

Also, sophomore reserve punter Tim Wright is in the mix to handle kickoffs.

The more competition, the better, said Miranda, who made 21 of 22 PATs and 3 of 5 field goals in his four games last year.

"I'm not really worried. I just try to get myself better," he said. "I feel like I've gotten more consistent. Today is the most I missed in one day (in practice), just two field goals."

On Broadway: Fourth-year junior Lamar Broadway appears to have found a home at safety after shifting from cornerback last year. And nothing he has done in fall camp has made the coaches question their decision to make him a starter.

"He's worked very hard and gotten better and better," Jones said. "He's an ex-quarterback."

There is significance to Broadway's former position, other than Jones' fetish for all things having to do with signal-callers.

"I was a quarterback in high school, so safety is natural for me, it's like the quarterback of the defense," Broadway said. "The move from cornerback has really paid off, for sure. It slowed the game down for me. At corner I had a lot to learn because I'd never played there before."

Broadway is one of the team's fiercest hitters despite what appears at first glance to be a wispy 5-11, 175-pound physique. It's all bone and hard muscle, strength coach Mel deLaura said.

"He was one of our every-day guys (in the weight room) this summer," deLaura said.

Defensive backs coach Rich Miano has given Broadway charter membership in the very exclusive "Punishers' Club."

"There's only two members so far. (cornerback) Ray Bass is in, too," Broadway said. "It just so happens we come from the same high school (Centennial, in Corona, Calif.). I guess it's what they teach there, everyone be aggressive.

"We want to let receivers know it's not safe to roam around in our areas."

Like the rest of the Warriors, Broadway is looking forward to this afternoon's scrimmage.

"It will be good to see how everyone gels together. Coach Jones has us practice NFL-style. Now everyone gets to let it hang loose," he said. "While I'm in I've got to make it count. Be in the right place and do the right thing. Just like in a game."

Short yardage: Junior cornerback Turmarian Moreland returned to practice yesterday after missing a day with a groin pull. ... Former UH center Brian Smith is a team manager.



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