UH’s home workouts wind down
After today's final workout at its home field for the 2007 season, Hawaii's next football practice is Thursday -- at the same place where Drew Brees and Reggie Bush prepare for their games.
In 9 Days... Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2)
» When: Jan. 1, 3:30 p.m.
» Where: New Orleans
» TV: KHON Ch. 3
Warriors coach June Jones said he hasn't seen the New Orleans Saints' practice facility. But the former NFL coach had several reasons to use it as UH prepares for its Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl encounter with Georgia.
"I know they've got an indoor facility, a weight room, basically everything we need," Jones said.
Also, Jones might prefer that Saints coaches and officials get a look at some of his pro prospects, rather than having prying eyes elsewhere getting a gander at the UH schemes.
The Warriors will practice twice in the afternoon and twice in the morning before a New Year's Eve walk-through at the game site, the Louisiana Superdome.
Jones said he did not choose the practice schedule, but also did not say he is displeased with it.
The Saints' facility is in Metairie, about 8 1/2 miles from the team hotel. It is about a 20-minute drive.
The Bulldogs will practice each day in the Superdome.
UH’s Gibson knows his way around
The appearance of Le'Marcus Gibson at practice yesterday should give Hawaii football fans some hope that it's not all downhill after the Jan. 1 Sugar Bowl.
While Colt Brennan and several other stars move on after the school's first BCS bowl game, Gibson is among many young players providing hope for the future.
The true freshman safety spent most of the season rehabbing from knee surgery required after a torn ACL. He played in the season opener against Northern Colorado, but is a lock to receive an additional year of eligibility via medical hardship.
Strength and conditioning coach Mel deLaura said Gibson has used his time away from practice well.
"If everyone rehabs like that guy rehabs, we would have no problem with anyone getting better," deLaura said. "He just does everything. If that's what hunger is, he's hungry."
Gibson said his goal is to be ready for a spring practice battle royale for starting safety spots that will include incumbents Desmond Thomas and Keao Monteilh and backups Dane Porlas and Erik Robinson. All will be seniors next year and all have proved their worth at various times this season. Also, Oregon transfer Jameel Dowling could be a factor.
"It's going to be very competitive," said the 6-foot, 187-pound Gibson, who has been working out two and three times a day.
He's not ready for the practice field yet, but Gibson will fill a valuable role in New Orleans, where the Warriors arrive the day after Christmas. Growing up in Starkville, Miss., and living in Gulfport, Miss., recently, Gibson has plenty of experience dealing with the craziness that is The Big Easy. He said Gulfport is "just across the tracks" from New Orleans.
"Stay off the (side) streets, know what your surroundings are," Gibson said. "And if it's a female, make sure it's a female."
Nicks and bruises
Two defensive starters have missed some practice time recently with minor ailments.
Defensive tackle Fale Laeli "tweaked a knee," coach June Jones said. But an MRI came back clean, and Laeli said he is good to go.
McMackin added that he is pacing the return of strong safety Jake Patek, who is back from a high ankle sprain suffered in the Washington game on Dec. 1. Spencer Smith and Porlas shared the reps yesterday.
"We're just letting Jake get his legs back," McMackin said.
Backup defensive end Victor Clore's right arm, injured in a weightlifting mishap, was not in a sling yesterday. But he said he does not think he can play in the Sugar Bowl.
"I'm just hoping they might let me suit up," he said.
Linebacker Brad Kalilimoku tested his hamstring yesterday and said it felt OK afterward.
"I'm easing my back since we have some time," he said.
Katy (Texas) High School, the alma mater of defensive back Ryan Mouton, beat Pflugerville, 28-7, last night in San Antonio for a Texas 5-A (largest division) state championship. (There are two 5-A divisions in Texas, equal in stature.)
This is even more significant for UH because quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw three touchdown passes for the Tigers. Mitchell orally committed last week to accept a scholarship from the Warriors.
Katy is ranked No. 4 in the nation by USA Today.
"It's got a pretty good tradition," Mouton said. "We've won (five) state titles. Won district 14 years in a row. We pretty much go deep in the playoffs.
"There are six (playoff) games including the state championship every year. If we don't go at least third or fourth round that's a bad year for us."