UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Stars help receivers catch on
As the second day of fall camp came to a close last week, Davone Bess watched and waited.
Newcomer wide receiver Joe Avery remained on the field, running imaginary routes with some tips coach June Jones had imparted.
Bess had a couple more for the freshman. The two-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference slotback studied Avery, then came up alongside him to demonstrate the footwork and running strides that helped him join the national leaders in receptions and yards the last two seasons.
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No other Warriors remained on the deserted practice field.
The 5-foot-10, 201-pound Bess has put in the time throughout fall training -- as usual, to help himself and others. Bess looked especially sharp yesterday, getting separation from defenders in seven-on-seven drills with relative ease and accelerating for huge gains after completed passes. Just one drop, but it was a great day -- even by his lofty standards.
"I felt real good about (yesterday), especially because we knew the fans were out (around 250), we kind of got excited to give the fans a taste of what the season (will) look like," said Bess, as anxious autograph seekers hovered nearby. "Just out there having a good time man, having fun."
Bess and fellow veteran receivers Ryan Grice-Mullins and Jason Rivers have also had fun teaching younger pass catchers. That hasn't escaped the notice of receivers coach Ron Lee, who pointed to Bess' excellence as the proper way to extend a message to the younger guys.
"That's leadership, guys see how he practices," Lee said. "Davone had a great practice, especially against our defense. And that's what's going to make you better. That just transpires to Saturday nights; he'll have a blast."
Bess and Grice-Mullins realize that the newcomers, such as Avery and Royce Pollard, look to them for guidance. Bess topped 1,000 receiving yards as a freshman and sophomore, and Grice-Mullins would probably have matched the feat if an injury hadn't forced him out of four games last season.
"We got a couple of young guys, not too many (freshmen) this year, but even the sophomores, just having them see us more or just helping them out as much as we can," Grice-Mullins said. "That's why now, you see (the) guys getting more reps, you see us doing more coaching. You know, because once we leave, we want to have this program not lose a step."
To Bess, it's about making up for the losses of vocal leaders Samson Satele and Tala Esera, as well as keeping on the tradition of helping the man behind you.
"The guys are real, real hungry, and they're coming out here willing to work, and that's key," Bess said. "You come out here with the right attitude, and just think, 'work, work, work' and good things will come."
Avery, a lanky 6-foot-4 freshman, appreciated the gesture from Bess that day.
"I'm just looking at them, and you know, when it comes, my chance to do something, then I'll be ready for it," Avery said. "That's what they did, you know?"