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StarBulletin.com

More props for Paredes


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 15, 2009

LAS VEGAS » The Hawaii coaches now have photographic proof to illustrate the importance of those turnover drills the defense runs through each week.

Right there in black and white in Sunday's Seattle Times is a photo of Corey Paredes wrapping up Washington State's Jared Karstetter while jarring the ball loose.

It's a pose the defensive coaches emphasize regularly during the Warriors' turnover period, with a station dedicated to making just that type of play.

“;Coach (Rich) Miano and Coach Mike (Smith), they're always doing that 'arm over-punch through' technique. They drill it into you,”; said Paredes.

“;You do it so much and you think, 'When are we really going to have the chance to really do it?' It's funny how it just comes in a game, you get the opportunity and it comes as second nature.”;

Paredes' hit resulted in the first of Hawaii's seven takeaways in the Warriors' 38-20 win in Seattle last Saturday and factored into a Western Athletic Conference defensive player of the week honor for the sophomore from Kaneohe.

Hawaii claimed two awards yesterday, with quarterback Greg Alexander named offensive player of the week for the second time in his career.

Just as Alexander's 453-yard, three-touchdown performance elevated him in the national charts (he's second in passing yards, third in total offense and fifth in passing efficiency), Paredes also enters Saturday's nonconference game at UNLV with a lofty ranking.

Paredes is part of a three-way tie for first in the FBS with three forced fumbles in two games. The first resulted in a game-clinching turnover in the final minute of a season-opening win over Central Arkansas. He knocked the ball loose two more times last weekend in Seattle, providing a pivotal turn when Karstetter's first-quarter fumble went into the end zone and out of bounds, denying Washington State a score and giving UH possession.

“;The guys have more confidence where they're not just going for the tackle, but going to punch the ball out too,”; Miano said. “;It was just a clinic.”;

Paredes finished with eight tackles, including his second sack of the season, in his first career start at “;buck”; linebacker.

It's been quite an ascent for the Castle graduate since the start of fall camp. Over the last month or so, Paredes' efforts have been rewarded with a scholarship, a starting job and yesterday's conference award.

“;I'm very thankful to the coaches that they put their trust in me to play,”; said Paredes, who toiled as a walk-on his first two years and was primarily a special teams player last season. “;All I have to do is work as hard as I can, and play as hard as I can.”;

Although he didn't have a scholarship coming out of high school, Paredes didn't waver in his choice of schools and found himself sharing the field with two other Castle products against Washington State, with linebacker Blaze Soares and defensive end Victor Clore also in the lineup.

“;My heart was always at UH. Other schools were talking to me, but I'm really a family guy and I love my community, so I just really wanted to play in front of everybody,”; Paredes said.

 

Spreading the wealth

Just as he deftly distributed the ball on Saturday, Alexander was quick to share the credit for his WAC award yesterday.

“;It feels good, but at the same time it's not like I went out there and did anything special. I just got the ball to the receivers and they got all the yards with their YAC (yards after catch),”; Alexander said.

Alexander completed eight passes to Kealoha Pilares for 69 yards and seven each to Greg Salas (195) and Rodney Bradley (150).

He also credited the offensive line for providing the time to set a career high with 453 passing yards.

“;There was really no pressure. We were getting the ball out quick. The one sack was probably my fault, holding onto the ball too long,”; Alexander said. “;They just really did a great job.”;

Even after rolling up 626 yards, Alexander sees room for improvement, most notably in the turnover department after the Warriors lost four fumbles last weekend.

“;You never can play a perfect game and there's still things to work on,”; he said.

 

Warming up

The Warriors' schedule was packed with their regular Monday conditioning, film sessions and study halls yesterday. They'll have their first practice of the week this morning.

“;It felt good to get loose and work out all the nicks,”; Paredes said after the workout. “;I kind of like the dry heat because you don't sweat as much. There was a pretty good breeze, so it felt good.”;