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Rausch plays himself back into UH's QB picture


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POSTED: Sunday, April 19, 2009

Remember Brent Rausch?

Perhaps you rode that emotional roller coaster with him last August. For a few days in the preseason, the skinny sophomore from the California desert had the full attention of our island sports world as the No. 1 quarterback for the University of Hawaii football team.

His reign wasn't long.

The same week he was dubbed the chosen one to lead the Warriors into The Swamp against Florida, Rausch's laser-like accuracy abandoned him at an Aloha Stadium scrimmage. A sore arm was blamed, and we rarely saw him again. Greg Alexander, Inoke Funaki and Tyler Graunke all started games, but not Rausch.

HE WAS A forgotten man going into spring ball. Alexander entered camp No. 1, and No. 3 Shane Austin emerged. Rausch was No. 2 on paper, but in many minds Austin passed him.

That was until yesterday's scrimmage.

Yes, Austin heaved the day's spectacular pass, which ended in Jovonte Taylor's over-the-shoulder catch.

Rausch, however, was Steady Freddy, completing seven passes in a row.

That Brennan-like run came after Rausch had thrown an interception to end his first series, making the streak of success all the more impressive to the UH coaches. The wide-eyed JC-transfer sophomore was prone to more mistakes after making one. The rising junior with the playbook on speed dial shakes them off.

"His attitude is great," head coach Greg McMackin said. "He didn't have a particularly good scrimmage on Maui last week, but he came back and had a great week. We've still got to look at the tape, but I think he had a good one today."

The numbers look pretty sweet: 10-for-13 for 90 yards. After the pick, 8-for-9.

"Brent's got an arm not a whole lot of guys have," quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. "He's worked on his discipline and his consistency. He's got a gun, but we want him to anticipate more."

Most agree that despite his potential, Rausch was far from ready to step in for a Heisman Trophy finalist last year.

"That probably didn't help him at that point," Rolovich said. "He put some stuff on himself. He had to learn to let it go, and he has."

RAUSCH'S TAKE ON last year?

"Over with."

Not that he regrets having been king for a day.

"It was definitely a learning experience. I was humbled, going from last on the depth chart to the top and back down."

Rausch is steadier. His shoulders don't hunch after a bad play anymore. Teammates and coaches notice that kind of thing, especially when it's a quarterback.

"It's amazing what a year of experience will do in this offense," said Rolo, who knows first-hand.

In 2001, the question was "Remember Nick Rolovich?"

That forgotten man threw 20 touchdown passes in his last three games.

Greg Alexander's still the alpha QB. But Rausch and Austin could make it very interesting.