Linebackers lead the selections for team captains
ATLANTA » Hawaii's emphasis on defense this season was reflected in the voting for team captains.
Three defensive starters and the hub of the offensive line were selected by their teamates, UH head coach Greg McMackin announced today.
Linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard and defensive tackle Keala Watson head the defense. Junior center John Estes will represent the offense.
"The team selected them and there were a lot of guys who got votes, so we have a lot of leaders, but those were very good choices and the team really respects them," McMackin said.
Although the Georgia Tech coaches are absorbed in preparing for their season opener tonight, assistant coach Buzz Preston
took a few minutes to reconnect with his alma mater.
Preston, a former Hawaii player and coach, stopped by the Yellow Jackets' practice field yesterday.
"It's always good to be around Hawaii football again," said Preston, Georgia Tech's wide receivers coach.
The Georgia Tech head coach is Paul Johnson, who was offensive coordinator at UH under Bob Wagner.
The Yellow Jackets begin the season a home tonight against Jacksonville State.
Preston played for the then-Rainbows in 1978 and '79 and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UH.
After leaving Manoa in 1982, he returned as a part of Wagner's staff from 1987 to 1993.
Georgia Tech is his sixth stop since then. He was reunited with Johnson, offensive line coach Mike Sewak and slotbacks/special teams coach Jeff Monken. Sewak was a UH assistant for eight years. Monken was a GA in Manoa in 1989 and '90.
Preston was the running backs coach at New Mexico last season.
"We've known each other for 20 years and if it wasn't for him calling I wouldn't have left New Mexico," said Preston, who coached alongside current UH assistants George Lumpkin and Ron Lee while at UH.
Another familiar face attending yesterday's practice was former Rainbow Wahine volleyball player Jennifer Carey, who is an assistant coach with the Georgia Tech women.
The Warriors' stop in Atlanta gave sophomore defensive back Spencer Smith
a chance to visit with family and hang out at nearby Kell High School.
"It's good to be home and see the city," said Smith, a Marietta, Ga., resident. "I mostly wanted to see my coaches and these teachers who helped me out a lot in high school."
This is Smith's second trip to Atlanta with the Warriors. He was a true freshman when UH practiced here before its game at Alabama.
"Last time was special because it was my first trip, but this year's more special because I've always dreamt of playing against Florida," Smith said.
Smith's parents, Ginna and Mel Smith, attended yesterday's practice.
On the road again
The Warriors head down to Florida today after practice. They'll stay in Ocala, Fla., just outside of Gainesville, and will get their first look at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium tomorrow.