Steinberg dealing quietly
People in Leigh Steinberg's stratosphere book flights on a day's notice routinely. He hadn't decided by yesterday afternoon whether he would be on the Hawaii sideline tomorrow when the Warriors play Fresno State.
But even if June Jones' agent is at Aloha Stadium, it doesn't mean his new contract is near completion.
A deal for the Warriors' ninth-year coach won't be done until January or February, Steinberg said in a phone interview yesterday.
"There's really no hurry," he said.
Steinberg said he does not want to interfere with the "magical nature" of UH's season. The Warriors are 8-0 and ranked 16th in the BCS standings. He may come to watch -- if not tomorrow, then Nov. 23 for the Boise State game -- but not to talk business with Jones and negotiate with athletic director Herman Frazier.
"It makes a lot more sense for June's focus to stay on the field," Steinberg said. "This is shaping up to be the most amazing season in the history of Hawaii football. So, frankly, June's focus is entirely in trying to play it out. Herman hasn't pressed the issue. We certainly know each other well enough where we can deal with it when the time comes."
Also, it doesn't make sense to make a pact now, before Jones' market value can be accurately gauged. If UH goes 12-0 and gets into a multi-million-dollar BCS bowl game, Jones will have a better bargaining position.
Jones' current five-year, $4-million deal (of which half comes from private sources) ends in July. Potential bonuses include $50,000 for getting into a BCS bowl game, $20,000 for other bowl games and $20,000 for winning a Western Athletic Conference championship.
Last summer Frazier secured a base-salary range increase to $935,544 from the Board of Regents.
Jones declined comment about his contract after a practice this week.
Frazier said he received a draft for a new deal in the summer but had little comment when asked about the subject Wednesday.
"I'm not saying anything, which means I'm probably working on it," he said.
Jones' first UH contract, negotiated by then-athletic director Hugh Yoshida in 1999, paid a base salary of $210,000 per year.
Senior defensive end Karl Noa was selected to the 2007 ESPN The Magazine Football Academic All-District VIII second team, as voted on by the College of Sports Information Directors of America.
The Kamehameha graduate from Waianae has compiled a 3.22 grade-point average while majoring in family resources. The senior has started all eight games in 2007 and is fifth on the team with 34 tackles with 8 1/2 for loss and 4 1/2 quarterback sacks.
No doubting Thomas
Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin is comfortable with junior Desmond Thomas filling the void left by injured starting free safety Keao Monteilh. He has reason to, since Thomas has played a lot as the first backup.
"He's had a great week of practice, really risen to the occasion," McMackin said. "I'm confident in him because he's already played eight ballgames."
Thomas was edged out by Monteilh in one of the closest fall camp battles for a starting spot.
The converted receiver is fourth on the team with 35 tackles.
UH's home game against Washington on Dec. 1 will start at 6:30 p.m., a half-hour later than usual, to accommodate ESPN. ... The Bulldogs arrived yesterday. As usual, they are staying at the Turtle Bay Resort on the North Shore. ... If you don't think Jones is serious about walk-on Daniel Libre in the running back rotation, consider this: Jones yelled at Libre to "get out of there," when Libre tried to take his reps on kickoff coverage Wednesday. ... As of last night, 5,000 tickets were still available for tomorrow night's game. ... The Na Koa booster club meeting Monday has been cancelled.