Summer jobs help Warriors pay the bills
Rivers and Thomas are among the UH players toiling on and off the field
Jason Rivers and Desmond Thomas have taken up boxing this summer.
No, the Hawaii football players didn't go the route of Notre Dame's Tom Zbikowski, who made a pro debut in the sweet science.
They are making boxes, at the Weyerhauser plant in Iwilei.
Eight hours a day, five days a week.
Warriors assistant coach George Lumpkin helped Rivers, Thomas and several other UH players get summer jobs there on the assembly line.
"It's real boring. But it's a good job. We get some benefits as temporary employees. You have to work there three months to get in the union," Rivers said. "It's not easy, but I've worked other jobs, like
construction. So I'm used to it. They make you work for your money."
Rivers and Thomas, who get off work each day at 3:30 p.m., both made it to UH in time yesterday for some passing drills with quarterbacks Colt Brennan, Will Brogan and Kiran Kepoo. The Warriors, who had a turnout of around 20 for 7-on-7 drills yesterday, are getting ready for the start of fall camp Aug. 3.
"I needed something to carry me over for the summer so I could make some money, pay the rent and be able to stay out here. If I didn't have a job, I couldn't stay out here," said Thomas, who is from Vallejo, Calif. "I worked at Yummy's last year. Now I make double."
It's a big offseason for the Waikiki roommates.
Rivers, a fourth-year junior wide receiver, is coming off a year in which he didn't play at all due to academic and injury issues. He returned to school and the good graces of the coaches, and regained his scholarship for the fall.
Rivers played in 24 games as a freshman and sophomore, catching 121 passes for 1,424 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Thomas will be a third-year sophomore this fall. He was a receiver his first two seasons, but converted to safety in the spring.
"I'm very happy with my move. I feel like I'm getting a very good opportunity on the defensive side," Thomas said. "I'm excited. I did all right in the spring, but I wasn't to my full capability. Now I know the sets, and I'm working hard to get stronger and bigger. Now it's going to come down to who makes the plays when fall camp comes."
Meanwhile, offensive line coach Wes Suan said he is excited that Dennis McKnight is rejoining the UH staff as a graduate assistant, helping with the O-line and special teams.
"It's always good to have another set of eyes and another voice," Suan said. "It'll be a good match, a good mix."
Suan and McKnight coached together at UH in 1999 and 2000, June Jones' first two seasons as head coach. Suan was then the running backs coach.