Warriors raring to go
» Coach June Jones says his team must be ready for anything
» This is the 12th story in a series on UH's opponents
Someone stepped on the franchise's foot. A starting outside linebacker isn't going to make it this week. The onside-kick-recovery team fumbled away four in a row.
The Star-Bulletin will preview Hawaii's opponents every day until the start of the season.
San Jose State
New Mexico State
Doesn't sound like a very good practice. Why was June Jones smiling?
Well, Colt Brennan's foot hurt for a little while and he called it a day, but it wasn't injured. Blaze Soares has plenty of capable backups; next man up, Brad Kalilimoku. And if the onside recovery isn't going well, that means the onside-kick team is doing a good job.
"I hope it works that way," Jones said, chuckling after yesterday's 2-hour session, the last real practice before the start of the season.
Being on the right end of a 60-point spread can do wonders for your perspective.
"It's always like that this time of year," said Jones, citing that famous old football truism of the kicker being ahead of the hands guys at this point.
But when No. 23 UH opens against Northern Colorado tomorrow, the Bears will be the ones who will need the tricks. How much of a weapon, though, can an onside kick be for a team not expected to kick off much?
Jones said the Warriors must prepare for everything and anything from UNC, a Division I-AA team that was 1-10 last year and has nothing to lose. No one expects much from the Bears.
The Warriors have a walk-through this afternoon, and then they head to the team hotel. Tomorrow the most highly touted team in program history plays its first game -- 6:05 p.m at Aloha Stadium.
"I feel like we had a good camp and everyone came together," Jones said. "We can only do the next step by playing games and making it through the tough times together."
Huskies’ freshman quarterback faces tough schedule
Tyrone Willingham isn't trying to confuse anyone. He's just re-establishing the proper priorities.
|2006 Results (5-7)
|San Jose State
|at Washington St.
||at Arizona State
||at Oregon State
So when the Washington coach calls Jake Locker a sophomore, it's not a misdirection play aimed at getting opponents to think his new starting quarterback might have some game experience. Locker is what most college football people refer to as a redshirt or second-year freshman -- which, in most cases, means he has zero playing time beyond high school.
Suffice to say, he's a rookie when it comes to center stage on Saturdays in autumn.
By December when the Huskies take on Hawaii at Aloha Stadium, Locker will either have blossomed into a star or disintegrated due to the pressure of a schedule some call the most arduous in the land.
Who else plays national-runner-up Ohio State and preseason No. 1 USC and takes a trip to the islands when UH may have its best team ever? The answer is no one. Plus, the Trojans matchup is just the highlight of a nine-game league campaign, and the Pac-10 now gets some of the respect it has probably deserved for a long time. Only the SEC is perceived as clearly a notch above.
Maybe Willingham deserves some slack for the slate, but expectations are high in Seattle, and his seat is getting warmer. Washington is 7-16 after Willingham's first two years, and excuses aren't allowed when the majority of the players are ones you recruited.
If the Huskies don't make their first bowl game since 2002, all the right-placed priorities, character and dignity in the world might not save Willingham.
Locker (6-foot-3, 210) certainly has the pedigree to bail out his coach. He led Ferndale to the 2005 Washington 3A state championship, with a Brennanesque 27-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio.
Three of the five starting offensive linemen and a gaggle of experienced receivers are back, but there's not much experience at running back to help Locker along.
The defensive line features two Hawaii lads, senior tackle Wilson Afoa (6-3, 290) and end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim (6-4, 245). Te'o-Nesheim started all 12 games as a second-year freshman in 2006. Afoa heads into his final season having played in 32 games.
Cornerback Roy Lewis (5-11, 187) is back for his third year as a starter and Dan Howell (6-1, 225) is the only returning starter at linebacker.