Warriors ready to move on to Las Vegas
HOUSTON » The Hawaii football team completed its weeklong stay here today, flying its Aloha Airlines charter to Las Vegas for tomorrow's game against UNLV.
The Warriors' final practice at Rice Stadium went 3 hours, with the defense working on solving the Rebels' multi-faceted offense and the offense brushing up on fundamentals.
Coach June Jones was asked if he plans on opening up the playbook some more this week after a few designed runs were used at Louisiana Tech last week.
"Not really. We'll start with the same stuff and we'll see what they do," said Jones, who usually scripts the first several series of plays. "They'll have some new defensive wrinkles, so we'll adjust as we go.
"We needed to get a lot done today and we did," Jones added.
Receiver Jason Rivers, defensive tackle Fale Laeli, linebackers Brad Kalilimoku and Adam Leonard and safety Keao Monteilh all sat out at least some of practice with minor aches and pains, but all are expected to play tomorrow. Punter Tim Grasso also has a tender hamstring, but has done some kicking this week.
The Warriors are using their Texas connections to try to bring in some new recruits.
Clyde Lee, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound receiver from Hightower High School in Fort Bend, has been offered by Hawaii. Lee made an oral commitment to Boston College last month, but a source said that commitment is soft.
Lee averaged 20.6 yards with 20 receptions last year, six of them going for touchdowns.
The Warriors also earlier secured a commitment from cornerback Jeremiah Alexander, a cornerback who intercepted nine passes last year as a junior at Yates High School in Houston.
UH also has an offer out to Alexander's teammate, defensive end Kenneth Frankson (6-2, 235). He's also received an offer from UTEP.
now calls Las Vegas home, but he vows to wear green at the Hawaii-UNLV game tomorrow at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Wallace, who ended his 20-year tenure as the Rainbow Warriors' basketball coach in March, officially began his new job as an executive host with the Boyd Gaming Corporation on Monday. His new duties will focus on maintaining the strong Hawaii ties with the group's Downtown Las Vegas hotels -- the California, Fremont and Main Street Station.
Wallace, who now lives just outside of Las Vegas in Summerlin, attended UNLV's game against Wisconsin last week, which the Rebels lost 20-13 on a late Badgers touchdown.
"I can tell you we'd better be ready," said Wallace, indicating his continued allegiance to UH.
Though Wallace said he'll be pulling for the Warriors tomorrow, he'll be a staunch UNLV fan come basketball season. His nephew, Kendall Wallace, is a freshman point guard with the Runnin' Rebels and Wallace and Larry Little, another former UH coach, are season-ticket holders.
Wallace, whose schedule is booked with golf outings and helping look after his grandson, said he and his wife, Joan, will be back in Hawaii in November for a series of Boyd events. His visit overlaps with the start of UH's basketball schedule as Bob Nash succeeds Wallace as head coach.
The Warriors worked on their new Hawaiian pregame chant/dance that might replace the Maori haka.
"We're still calling it the haka for now," said Kalilimoku.
Another organizer, cornerback Guyton Galdeira, said the team will decide which version the team goes with tomorrow night.
There will be a beefed-up security presence at Sam Boyd Stadium for tomorrow's game. According to a release on the UNLV Web site, there will be 57 uniformed officers from the UNLV Police Department and the Las Vegas Metro Police Department at the game, representing a nearly 50 percent increase in manpower compared to UH's last visit in 2003.
That game, won by UNLV, was marred by several fights among fans during and after the contest. The school's statement reminds fans of a zero-tolerance policy regarding fan behavior, covering "intoxication, fighting, disruptive behavior, and other unlawful conduct either outside or inside the stadium."
Visitors at practice yesterday included Alonzo Highsmith
, who played for the Oilers when Jones was Jerry Glanville
's offensive coordinator. Highsmith, who also had a career as a pro boxer, is now a scout for the Green Bay Packers. ... The Warriors were scheduled to arrive in Las Vegas at 1 p.m. today and have a 3 p.m. walk-through at Sam Boyd Stadium.
The Star-Bulletin's Jason Kaneshiro contributed to this report