CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Offensive line coach Dennis McKnight went over the formation during the first day of practice yesterday.
Warriors put on the training wheels to start their Top 25 ride
AND so Hawaii entered training camp as a Top 25 team for the first time yesterday, which sounds pretty glamorous. But then you get there and you're reminded that Top 25 or not, this is training camp. And there's nothing glamorous about training camp.
And so hard-hitting returning safety Jacob Patek may look unfazed by the infamous 220s conditioning test. But breathing, heaving hard, he said, "I'm probably not sweating because I didn't drink enough water." (Ooh, danger sign there, better hydrate, stat.)
And Heisman candidate Colt Brennan's glamorous new hairstyle? "It hurts when I put my helmet on," he said.
And offensive line coach Dennis McKnight has apparently decided to coach without a shirt on, this season. (He has a tattoo that says "Conan." I'm thinking of getting one myself.)
No, this is training camp. It's dirty and sweaty and profane and painful and draining and fatiguing and exhausting. Even on the first day, when all of this is still exciting.
Even with beautiful weather, and cooling tropical tradewind breezes.
Even in the Top 25.
"We're not going to lie and say it doesn't feel good," receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins said.
No, of course not, it feels great to be in the Top 25.
"But as you know and everybody knows we're still 0-0 right now," he said.
They are 0-0, but no longer undefeated. That's what happens, on the first day of camp.
Yes, I'm talking about the 220s. They got some of the guys yesterday. They always do. Even on the first day, when everyone is excited to get started, there is failure and exhaustion and pain.
"Mainly the guys that dropped out was the freshmen, the guys that didn't really know what it was about," Patek said.
Or, as Brennan put it, the guys who sit at home eating hamburgers.
"But other than that, guys were doing pretty good," Patek said. "I think Coach Mel (deLaura) was saying we did better last year. A lot of guys had gone home for the summer ... and you know how it is, you train by yourself you're not getting the same kind of training as you would if you were training with everybody else. It's not like everybody's pushing you, you have to push yourself. That's kind of hard to do."
Exactly. It's hard to be ready, because the offseason, no matter how hard you work, no matter how dedicated you are, no matter how much you think you push, does not hold the same intensity, the same urgency. You think you're doing the most you can do, but ... then the first day hits you like a punch in the face.
Anyone else see a parallel between being unable to match the real thing's intensity during summer training and a team trying to reach its full potential while playing opponents who don't push it to be great?
But there were good signs on that score yesterday, too. Guys strong on the first day. Guys in shape. Guys who had discovered the secret to getting themselves to answer the call to that level of intensity when the moment presents itself.
And so there it was, yesterday. That's what it's about. Training camp is never glamorous, not even now. But it is exciting. It's always exciting, or at least it is on the very first day.
"It's like cracking a shell," Grice-Mullins said. "Now finally it's here, it's like, hey, now it's time to go to work, time to cook, time to eat."