Warriors’ Kelly getting plenty of leg time
Even during IRS season, when he has to worry about just one return, spring football is far from taxing for Hawaii kicker Dan Kelly. He's an all-conference performer who -- by nature of his experience, skill and position -- doesn't have to knock around his teammates to keep his job.
But the spring game a week from Saturday at Aloha Stadium? Kelly will probably see more time on the field than any other Warrior.
Since he's the only kicker on the team right now, the fourth-year starter will handle field goals and extra points for both teams. (No kickoffs are planned). And since starting punter Tim Grasso is not at UH this semester, Kelly will do that job, too, coach Greg McMackin said yesterday.
"He'll be playing for both teams," McMackin said. "It'll be fun and he'll like it. He likes action."
Kelly said he's up for it.
"I'm just excited I get something to do," he said. "This is my third spring, and I've yet to do anything."
The Warriors haven't done any team field goal work this spring. While the offense and defense players practice on the upper grass field, Kelly hones his technique on the adjacent soccer field. Graduate assistant Brian Kajiyama provides him with a workout plan for each practice.
Kelly will be one of the nation's top returning kickers. He hit clutch field goals at Louisiana Tech to force overtime and at Nevada to win during UH's unbeaten regular season in 2007. He also broke Jason Elam's school record for consecutive extra points in a season, stringing together 50.
While Kelly will kick for both teams in the spring game out of necessity, the rest of the Warriors were drafted last week by offensive coordinator Ron Lee and defensive coordinator Cal Lee. The brothers will coach against each other.
"We did it position by position," said McMackin, who will reveal the selections next week before they practice as teams Thursday to prepare for the game. "They're already having discussions about making trades."
UH's first actual spring game since 1998 will be the highlight of the Ohana Festival at Aloha Stadium April 26. The event is free, including parking, and is from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
In addition to free activities for children, there will be opportunities to get autographs and take pictures with UH players and coaches.
"If we can get 20 or 30,000 people there, that'd be awesome," McMackin said. "Support's been unbelievable so far, and this is a great opportunity for people to come see what we've been working on. It's a day for families."
Spring practice was to resume this morning at 7 a.m. at UH. There was no practice yesterday.
Getting his kicks
Dan Kelly's career totals: