CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii assistant coach Steve Englehart works with the Warriors who make up the scout team.
No Warrior left behind
UH football players who don't make the travel team work just as hard back home
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Being five time zones away from the coaching staff doesn't exempt the members of the Hawaii football team who remained in town during the Warriors' two-game road trip from early wake-up calls.
Hawaii (2-0) at UNLV (1-1)
» Saturday, 3:30 p.m. Hawaii time
» Las Vegas
» TV: Live on pay per view, Oceanic Ch. 255. Replayed on KFVE (Ch. 5) at 9:30 p.m.
» Radio: Live, 1420-AM
Nor are they immune to the stress of game day.
"We were biting our fingernails, for sure," said freshman quarterback Shane Austin, who was among a bunch of players sweating out the final moments of Hawaii's overtime win at Louisiana Tech last Saturday at a packed Eastside Grill.
And when cornerback Gerard Lewis knocked down a pass on LaTech's potential game-winning 2-point conversion attempt, they shared in the elation.
"We went crazy," Austin said. "I was on the phone with my dad. I was like, 'He drops back, he throws it ...' and he didn't hear anything after that. All he heard was screaming."
With the Warriors' travel roster capped at 65 players for last Saturday's game at La-Tech, the 40 or so still on campus during the 11-day trip keep in shape with mandatory 7:30 a.m., conditioning and weight lifting sessions under the unrelenting watch of UH strength coach Tommy Heffernan and his staff. Some will also show up in the afternoon to run through plays to keep sharp between practices.
"A good thing about it is you get to bond with some of the other guys you don't bond with during regular practice," quarterback Jake Santos said of the training sessions. "It's just fun. We wish we were there, though. I definitely do."
Meanwhile, the Warriors' travel squad is holed up in Texas preparing to face the Rebels in the back end of the trip. The 24th-ranked Warriors are scheduled to practice in Houston this morning and travel to Las Vegas tomorrow in advance of Saturday's game.
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There are some things Tommy Heffernan just won't have.
Showing up at the weight room a little bit bleary-eyed is one ... even at 7:30 in the morning.
"Tommy makes people do push-ups if they yawn," said Hawaii quarterback Jake Santos, drawing from his own experience. "I got called out the first day for yawning right when I walked in the weight room."
And don't even think about leaning on a piece of equipment or -- heaven forbid -- having a seat while the UH strength and conditioning coach is conducting a workout.
"If I'm in there, it's constant movement," Heffernan said. "There's no standing around, there's no sitting down at all once you enter this gym."
With the Warrior football team's travel roster capped at 65 for Saturday's game at UNLV, the back end of a rare two-game road trip, it's Heffernan's duty to make sure the 40 or so players who remained on campus put the 11-day gap between practices to productive use.
In place of the morning practices, there's mandatory workouts from 7:30 to 9. Instead of coaches running drills, they've got Heffernan and his staff pushing them through a non-stop session of weight lifting in the Waterhouse Training Facility or running sprints out on the practice field.
"I think this week has been harder than just normal practices," said freshman quarterback Shane Austin.
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Graduate assistant Steve Englehart is among the staff who lead workouts for the Warriors who stay home during road trips.
Granted, those players showing up for his training sessions this week would rather be in Houston with the traveling squad preparing for Saturday's game. But Heffernan said the attitudes of the players he's worked with this week remain positive.
"They want to be on the trip, but they also see this as an opportunity to get better and make some gains while the team is away," he said. "Some of them might be a little discouraged, but they also see it as a chance to get better."
While the mornings belong to Heffernan and graduate assistants Steve Englehart and Dujuan Hathaway, the players show up on their own after classes to run through plays while they await the team's return. That's when most will resume their roles on the scout team or trying to work their way up the depth chart in hopes of perhaps making the travel list for the next trip.
"A lot of us that are left behind, we play an important role on the team just making the team better," said junior running back Camron Carmona, a transfer from Fullerton Community College. "If we're doing a good job we could actually earn a position and that's what some of us came here to do. It's a lot of guys who just want to work hard and not only want to make the team better, but themselves."
Santos, a junior transfer, is redshirting this season and the first trip he'll be eligible for will be next season's opener at Florida as he and Austin bide their time behind Colt Brennan, Tyler Graunke and Inoke Funaki.
"Everybody who's redshirting, everybody who's a walk-on, they have to look at it as our practices are our season," he said. "It's hard to be motivated when you know you're on the scout team, but if you're trying to make the other guys better the coaches will notice."