UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Bess, Grice-Mullins early risers
Warrior slots keep working
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In two seasons, Hawaii slotbacks Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins have more than 50 touchdown catches and 4,000 yards receiving between them.
Time for a break?
Bess and Grice-Mullins aren't just two of UH's best players. They are also among the hardest working Warriors.
Both California lads are spending the entire summer here, working out in anticipation of a big junior year as key players in UH's dynamic passing offense.
"I feel like I'm at a point in my life and career where I'm not satisfied," said Bess, a two-time All-WAC performer. "Me and Ryan, we know if we work hard, there will be a payoff. It's a matter of staying focused and humble."
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They say character is defined by what you do when no one is watching. So it means even more that Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins are early for practices now -- in the summer, when the coaches aren't around to note who are the early birds.
The work ethic of the Warriors' junior slotbacks doesn't cool off as the temperature rises. They were more than a half-hour ahead of the other 15 players who participated in yesterday's informal pass-and-catch session at UH.
Bess and Grice-Mullins set up cones on the practice field, stretched thoroughly, and then did a progression of about a dozen sprints ranging from 10 to 50 yards, a workout designed to improve their explosiveness as well as endurance. Then they ran pass patterns for nearly an hour.
"Work, work, work," Bess said. "Hard work pays off."
It certainly has for them so far; Bess has two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, and Grice-Mullins would also, if he didn't miss four games with an ankle injury last fall. Add in senior wideout Jason Rivers, and they are the most prolific returning receiver corps in the nation, combining for 3,168 yards on 214 catches with 36 touchdowns last year.
It's not due to just natural talent.
"If you want to succeed, be the top in your sport, you have to go beyond what the average do. We come out early, make sure we get our running in," Grice-Mullins said. "We run pretty much every day of the week. We do different things, but it's every day. A lot of times it's just me and him out here until everybody else comes. To me, every year's our biggest year."
Grice-Mullins said his goal is to continue to improve his straight-away speed.
"Like last year, I want to get up field faster, not dance as much and get up field," he said.
Bess said he got off to a slow start last season because he got too excited before some big games, like the season-opener at Alabama.
"The main thing I'm working on is understanding the game itself, the big picture, and managing myself, being prepared the right way," Bess said. "I was over-pumped. I have to learn how to relax."
If they perform as well as their first two seasons this year, Bess and Grice-Mullins could be candidates for early entry to the NFL Draft. Both players said they haven't thought about the prospect much.
Another year for Anderson?:
Running back Jazen Anderson
is working out in the hopes that the NCAA will grant him another season of eligibility.
"I started school in 2002 at Moorpark College, but I was a part-time student," he said.
Azusa Pacific transfer Nate Nasca
, a Pearl City alumnus, has joined the Warriors for informal workouts.
"I'm going to go to school this fall, but I won't be able to play yet because of transfer rules," the 2004 state 100 meters champion said. "Hopefully I can in the spring.
"I just want to get a little bigger and learn the offense," he said.
Nasca will have one season to play, possibly two if an injury appeal goes through.