UH's Alexander tinkers


POSTED: Wednesday, April 08, 2009

For Greg Alexander to improve the accuracy of his arm, the Hawaii quarterback will concentrate on the position of his feet.

Spring practice offers Alexander a chance to hone his mechanics heading into his senior season with the Warriors and keeping mind of what's happening on the ground is a key to airing it out effectively.

“;Your feet are really the most important part of the position,”; Alexander said.

Alexander ended last season as the Warriors' starting quarterback and entered the spring atop the depth chart after completing close to 63 percent of his passes while throwing for 14 touchdowns against just five interceptions in 245 attempts.

But a tendency to drop his arm angle became evident as the season progressed, resulting in several deflected passes. Correcting his motion may not be as much a matter of breaking habits as returning to old ones.

“;I never before threw it from down here, ever,”; Alexander said, making a sidearm motion. “;My feet were out of position, so I'd have to make up for it by trying to sling it sometimes. I always threw over the top. I'm just going back to basic fundamentals.”;

To that end, Alexander spent the offseason performing drills to exaggerate an over-the-top throwing motion and better “;control the nose”; of the ball while also conditioning himself to keep his footwork sound.

In one such drill, he'd put his feet together, lift up and throw the ball on a downhill angle like “;coming off a pitcher's mound.”;

He said staying on top of the ball and greater familiarity with the progressions has helped with his accuracy this spring, especially on the shorter and intermediate routes.

“;You're more accurate, you get more on the football (and) it's coming out quicker. Everything's just a lot smoother,”; Alexander said.

A sidearm delivery can also negate the benefits of height and a notable example last season came in the fourth quarter of the regular-season finale against Cincinnati. After the Warriors took a 24-10 lead, a low throw was batted into the air and intercepted. Brandon Underwood returned it for a game-turning touchdown in the Bearcats' 29-24 win.

“;It's all balance, the whole body working,”; UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said.

“;The throwing motion starts with your feet, it goes through your core then gets to your shoulder and your arm. I didn't learn until late in my arena (football) career how important balance is. You want your feet to direct the ball. We talk about your left foot should guide the ball where it should go.”;

Rolovich said jumping rope and other drills will help his conditioning in keeping his footwork sharp and experience in the system will also help quicken his release.

“;He's got to build himself into the offense a little more and he'll just continue to grow throughout the summer and in the season and get better,”; Rolovich said. “;The anticipation will help your feet which will get you on balance.”;


Mills in Canada Hall of Fame

Former Hawaii offensive lineman Jim Mills is a member of this year's class of inductees to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

Mills played for UH from 1979 to '82 and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts. He signed with the British Columbia Lions in 1986 and was named the league's most outstanding lineman in 1990 and '91.

He will be inducted along with Tony Anselmo, Alondra Johnson, Rudy Phillips and Glen Weir during induction weekend, Sept. 24-26, in Winnipeg, Manitoba.