UH WARRIOR FOOTBALL
Warriors ready to hit the field
The Hawaii football team was slated to take the field today for its first official practice leading up to its season-opening game at Florida on Aug. 30. Today's practice was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., with more than 100 players participating.
The practices are free and open to the public. Coach Greg McMackin said there will be one scrimmage.
UH is coming off its most successful season, going 12-1, including its first outright Western Athletic Conference championship. The Warriors advanced to their first BCS bowl game, but were routed 41-10 by Georgia (the 2008 preseason No. 1 team in the coaches poll) in the Sugar Bowl.
Coach June Jones left a few days later to become the new head coach at SMU. Then the early departure of star slotbacks Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullins, along with the graduation of Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Colt Brennan, led to doubts that the Warriors would be able to transition smoothly under a new coach.
But the hiring of McMackin, who was the team's defensive coordinator last year, has generated optimism among some fans. That is also bolstered by the return of some defensive stars, including linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard.
Senior quarterback Tyler Graunke, a strong contender to start, will miss at least the first few days of practice due to a personal issue, McMackin announced last week. Juniors Inoke Funaki, Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch are the other candidates to replace Brennan.
The Star-Bulletin will provide full coverage of practice daily, as well as updates at the UH Sports Extra blog.