Warriors saving haka for home
Although the Hawaii football team may do the war dance at away games after victories
The haka is on hold for now.
The Hawaii football team has been practicing the Maori war dance every day after practice leading up to Saturday's season-opening game at Alabama.
But senior center Sam Satele, who was named team captain yesterday, said the Warriors won't perform the haka before the game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, for practical reasons.
"Right now, we're not going to do it in Alabama. It's going to be very hot for us to do it," Satele said. "The haka is only for home games. If we do it there everybody's going to start yelling. And 93 thousand? Over our 60 guys that's going to be there? They're going to be louder."
Not all haka are related to war, but Maori warriors did use the movements, chants and gestures to psyche up and try to intimidate enemies before battles.
The Warriors performed a team haka before their 2002 Hawaii Bowl game against Tulane at Aloha Stadium. Tulane won 36-28.
UH coach June Jones said it's up to the players if they want to do the dance or not.
Senior safety Leonard Peters, also elected as a captain by his teammates, said it's Jones' decision.
"It's up to Coach Jones. Whatever he wants us to do. We prepared it, it's up to him," Peters said. "I think it would be more appropriate for home games
only because people over here understand it. Over there they might take it as a dis (disrespectful gesture) and not a cultural thing."
Senior left tackle Tala Esera, who leads the haka practices, agreed it might be better for just home games.
Satele is anticipating a postgame haka at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
"Right now, if we win, we'll do it on their field," he said. "And we will win."
Satele is in his fourth year as a starter on UH's offensive line. He was first-team All-Western Athletic Conference last season and considered leaving school early for the NFL Draft.
"If they want me to be a leader, I'll be a leader," he said of being elected captain. "The way I like to lead is by showing by my actions on the field instead of talking about it."
Peters was in on a team-high 120 tackles in 2004 before a knee injury in the first game of 2005 knocked him out for the year. The NCAA granted him an additional season of eligibility.
He was also elected defensive captain going into last season. Apparently his constituents ignored him when voting this time.
"I told the guys not to vote for me, because I had the honor last year," Peters said. "There are a lot of seniors on defense who can do the captain's job. It should be spread around game-to-game."
Senior defensive end Ikaika Alama-Francis was also voted in as a tri-captain. Alama-Francis, who played with the UH basketball team as a freshman, was an All-Western Athletic Conference second-team selection last season when he recorded 29 tackles and five sacks.
"It's an honor," Alama-Francis said. "Every year I just try to work harder. Regardless of who the captain is, we have to come together as a defense and a team. We've got a lot of good leaders on this team."
Jones makes practice debut:
Highly-regarded JUCO transfer cornerback Keenan Jones finally got to practice yesterday, and it looks like he'll need more.
Jones caught defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville's attention, for the wrong reason.
"40! You gotta get to the ball," Glanville yelled at Jones when he let a receiver run him off a play to the other side of the field. "If you don't get there you gotta go home."
Jones said he won't make the trip to Alabama and will work hard to get up to speed.
"It's a learning experience right now. I have to get on my horse and make sure I'm on my game plan," he said.
"Even if I don't travel, I can stay here and cheer my team on and get ready for the UNLV game."
Junior Ryan Keomaka, a cornerback and contributor on special teams, has earned a seat on today's flight. Keomaka didn't participate in fall camp and rejoined the Warriors when classes started last week. Junior Patrick Olchovy has made the list of receivers making the trip.
Strong safety Brad Kalilimoku returned after a week off due to his ailing hamstring and moved well. He is making the trip as a backup to Jake Patek and a special-teams player. ... Starting cornerback A.J. Martinez, who has a nagging groin injury, made it through the entire practice yesterday.