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Moniz makes his move to become UH's No. 2 QB


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POSTED: Saturday, August 22, 2009

We figured the battle for No. 2 quarterback at the University of Hawaii this season was between Shane Austin and Brent Rausch.

Judging from performances at yesterday's scrimmage, though, Bryant Moniz is right in the middle of the competition for the backup spot to starter Greg Alexander. Maybe in the lead.

He was the only QB to find the end zone during the scrimmage (yes, it was against backups, but the others had chances against non-starters, too).

Do the coaches think Moniz made a big move?

“;Yes, but he's been helping himself all along,”; quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;This has been a three-horse race for a couple of weeks now.”;

Offensive coordinator Ron Lee usually reserves much comment until reviewing tape. When asked about how much Moniz's stock rose yesterday, he was succinct and emphatic.

“;A lot.”;

Lee echoed Rolovich, saying Moniz improved steadily since joining the team in January.

“;He makes plays, sliding around, kind of what you're looking for,”; Lee said. “;He's shown it through camp.”;

Head coach Greg McMackin had him on the same line with the other two, right behind Alexander, going into the day.

THE LEILEHUA grad and transfer from Fresno City College completed eight of 12 passes for 78 yards. He was intercepted once, but two of his incompletions should've been caught.

“;He's got a sore shoulder and he still makes plays,”; Lee said. “;His arm will get better. He's doing this without his best stuff.”;

He's not very big, listed at 6-feet and 185 pounds, but is clearly the most athletic of the quarterbacks. Moniz also has a feel for the game that helps him get out of trouble, turning losses into gains. He's quick—with his arm, his legs, and his mind.

“;I don't know, just reaction,”; said Moniz, to explain a spin move to avoid a sack. He can be conventional, too, hitting Kealoha Pilares for a 19-yard touchdown on a routine post pattern.

“;We don't have that route,”; Lee joked within earshot of Moniz.

IT WAS not a good day to have a bad day.

A new depth chart will be fashioned soon as the coaches zero in on the opener against Central Arkansas in 13 days.

The kicking game was poor. Offsides on kickoffs, missed extra points and blocked punts. Nice returns by Royce Pollard (who blocked the punt) and Pilares—but that means the coverage was subpar. If this situation does not improve significantly, kicking will cost UH at least one game this season.

The play of the day was by center John Estes pulling, coming around the corner and crushing an unsuspecting defensive back, helping Leon Wright-Jackson to a 9-yard run.

On defense, it wasn't even during the scrimmage; it came in the preceding 7-on-7 session, when Blaze Soares intercepted a pass and collided with fellow linebacker Jake Heun. Aaron Brown showed up big again, at linebacker and safety.

Offensive highlights were few, but Lee said scoring touchdowns was not the overall goal. Info for filling the two-deep was, and Bryant Moniz either gave the coaches a lot more to think about—or confirmed what they've already had in mind.