Captain Cook back in isles
James Cook, a UCF senior co-captain, lived in Hawaii
Another captain named James Cook landed in Hawaii yesterday. This one doesn't have much in common with the 18th-century British explorer.
James Cook -- the UCF linebacker and senior co-captain of the Golden Knights -- has been here before, as a resident. He lived in Ewa Beach and attended Ilima Intermediate School three years during the 1990s.
Cook and his teammates are in town for the Hawaii Bowl against Nevada (8-3) at Aloha Stadium on Saturday. The Golden Knights (8-4) endured an 11-hour charter flight from Orlando and went straight from the airport to the University of Hawaii for a brief workout yesterday.
Cook, son of a career Navy officer who was stationed at Barbers Point, said he enjoyed his time living in Hawaii.
"It was fun. Every Wednesday was a half day, and I loved that. I loved going surfing, going to the beach," he said. "Food? Oh, yeah. Spam musubi. I'll show (his teammates) the good things Hawaii has to offer."
He played a lot of organized football while here.
"My dad found a team called the Aiea Rainbows for me to play on, and later on, I played for the Ewa Beach Cardinals," Cook said.
His brother, Gerald Cook, was a starting left tackle for Campbell High School and went on to Washington State.
James Cook started every game at weakside linebacker for UCF this season and is the Golden Knights' fourth-leading tackler with 47 stops. Coach George O'Leary values his leadership.
"James Cook makes a lot of checks for us, and I know he's especially happy about graduating," O'Leary said. "And he's getting to end his senior year with a bowl game, the first for UCF."
Home away from home: O'Leary and Nevada coach Chris Ault agreed to use the same practice venues all week rather than switch back and forth, so UCF is at UH every day and Nevada at Aloha Stadium.
Nevada gets to work out at the site of the game, but UCF saves travel time each day.
"It's a great facility for us," O'Leary said. "We can leave our equipment in the same place and that really helps. If you've got the same surroundings things go a lot smoother."
Wolf Pack here: The Nevada traveling party of 185, including 87 players, arrived around 6 p.m. yesterday.
The Wolf Pack's first practice was slated for this morning.
Can't get away from them: While the UCF football team went through its paces at the UH grass practice field, the basketball team from rival South Florida practiced just a few yards away, preparing for this week's Rainbow Classic.
The UCF-USF rivalry is so intense that the schools refuse to play each other in basketball.
Plenty of good seats: UCF spokesman Jason Baum estimated 600 Golden Knights supporters will be in the stands for Saturday's 3:30 p.m. kickoff.
Around 100 tickets have been sold to fans in Nevada, Wolf Pack spokesman Jamie Klund said.