Smith knows how to face up to Dawgs
It won't bother Spencer Smith to see thousands upon thousands of Georgia fans when he walks into the Louisiana Superdome on Jan. 1 for the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
The Hawaii freshman backup safety has been outnumbered by Dawgs before.
At Kell High School in Marietta, Ga., Smith was a Florida State fan.
"That's where I was born, and that's where I was planning on going to school, for academics," Smith said.
But Seminoles fans were rare in Marietta.
"When it's spirit day at the school, all you see is Georgia. Georgia fans everywhere. It's a big thing back home," Smith said. "They're going to come with numbers, like they always do. We're going to have to play our best to come out with a victory."
Former UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville found Smith in 2005 and got him to accept a Warriors scholarship instead of possibly walking on at FSU. Last year Glanville nicknamed him R and B (room and board), because as a true freshman Smith made the road trips, but never played -- thus retaining his redshirt status.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Smith has definitely earned his keep this season as a special teams standout. He's made seven tackles in nine games, mostly on kickoff coverage. He teamed with Dane Porlas as the second-team safeties yesterday in UH's first Sugar Bowl practice.
"He'll have a chance to start for us (next year)," coach June Jones said. "He's gotten better and better on special teams. For a redshirt freshman, he's played very well. He could run and hit and I knew he was a smart kid. He likes it here and he's done well. Things are looking pretty good for him."
Smith said many of his friends from Kell go to Georgia. The Athens campus is about a 2-to-3 hour drive from Marietta.
"It's a long way. My friends who go there don't come home too often. But a lot of them are making the trip to the game and they're excited. They're excited about us, too. When you grow up in Georgia as a Georgia fan, all you think of is red and black.
"Everybody wants tickets, so it's kind of hard, yeah," said Smith, who has around 40 friends and relatives who want to make the trip. "A lot of my friends go to UGA, so they're talkin' trash already. It's going to be a great experience for everyone."
Smith said this will be his first trip to New Orleans.
Back from Tahiti
There was a new camera operator among the media covering the Warriors closed practice yesterday, going about his business quietly. Most of the reporters there didn't know he had toiled at the practice field many times before. It was former UH receiver Johann Bouit
(1991-93), now a producer for Pacific Network, an Internet video venture headed by noted filmmaker Edgy Lee
"I came back from Tahiti about a month ago, where I was a producer for many years," he said. "I'll be doing the (Pacific Network) sports channel."
The network calls itself "The Native Hawaiian Portal To The World." Bouit said he will be focusing on the experience of Hawaiian players at the Sugar Bowl.
Since graduation from UH (where he played on the 1992 Holiday Bowl team), Bouit also starred in the movie "The Ride," where he was cast as Duke Kahanamoku's best friend.
"That was just luck," said Bouit -- referring to his UH football and acting careers. He said he was in the right place at the right time in both cases.
Bouit said he will be attending the Sugar Bowl with former teammates Michael Carter and Kelly McGill.
UH announced yesterday its four-game series with Colorado starting in 2010 has been finalized.
The first game is set for Sept. 18 at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colo. CU makes a return trip to Honolulu on Sept. 3, 2011.
The other games are Sept. 20, 2014, in Boulder, and Sept. 5, 2015, at Aloha Stadium.