UH's Moniz prepares for spotlight


POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's a long way from playing flag football to preparing for Fresno State.

It's a span Bryant Moniz has covered in just the past 12 months.

A year ago at this time, Moniz was tossing the ball around with some friends in a park league while attending Leeward Community College. This week the sophomore quarterback is slated to make his first Division I start in Hawaii's Western Athletic Conference game against Fresno State on Saturday at Aloha Stadium.

“;I haven't really thought about it much, but that is pretty fast,”; Moniz said after the Warriors' practice yesterday afternoon. “;One year ago, who would know this day would be here? I just went with the flow and put it all in the Lord's hands and whatever happens, happens.”;

Moniz moved into the starting role in the wake of Greg Alexander's season-ending knee injury, suffered in last Wednesday's loss at Louisiana Tech.

After being suddenly thrust into action in Ruston, he'll have a full week to prepare before the Warriors (2-2, 0-1 WAC) play their first home game in more than a month when the Bulldogs (1-3, 0-1) visit Halawa.

Moniz's workload picked up yesterday afternoon, taking most of the snaps during the Warriors' hourlong practice. But his work ethic had already impressed the coaches as he ascended the depth chart through spring practice and fall camp.

“;I think the upside on him is astronomical. I think he can be a great quarterback if he gets his chance, and you know what, he's getting his chance now,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said.

“;He doesn't want it this way, with Greg getting hurt — none of us do. But we've always sort of, in the back of our minds, wondered how far he could go. Now he's going to get the reps and we're going to find out. I'm not saying it's going to jump right out there this first game, because this is his first game. So we're going to be patient with him, but he's got a lot of upside.”;

Although the starting assignment does create a greater sense of urgency in preparing for this week's game, Moniz has maintained his easy-going demeanor while stepping into the spotlight.

“;I don't know too many guys that thrive on stress, so no sense in stressing, just try to stay relaxed, stay calm and have fun,”; said Moniz, who has some experience playing on a big stage when he led Leilehua to the state championship game as a sophomore.





        Fresno State (1-3, 0-1) vs. Hawaii (2-2, 0-1)

When: Saturday, 5 p.m.


Where: Aloha Stadium TV: PPV, Dig. 255 Radio: KKEA 1420-AM


“;It could be mind-boggling if you let it get to you and stress over it too much or think about it too much. You just have to trust in your program. We've got a lot of athletes around me, so that makes my job easier. I just have to get the ball in their hands and they do the rest.”;

Moniz's college career began in California's Central Valley, where he threw for 2,268 yards and 18 touchdowns at Fresno City College in 2007. He moved back home and attended LCC for two semesters, playing flag football in his free time.

He enrolled at UH for the spring semester and walked on with the Warriors, opening spring practice deep on the list of quarterbacks. But he gradually moved into contention for the backup quarterback job late into fall camp.

“;He's worked hard from where he wasn't really going to get a look and he's slowly built his way to this point and I don't think he'd take his foot off the pedal now,”; UH quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said.

“;I think Bryant's got a nice feel for the base offense. He throws the ball very well, he's very accurate, and disciplined as far as his decision making. And the pace of his progressions is very good. He's just going to get better and better with more reps.”;

Moniz's days normally begin at 5 a.m. to make the commute from Wahiawa to Manoa in time for practice. He was in Rolovich's office at 6 yesterday, studying footage of Fresno State.

Any time left after practice, classes and meetings, he devotes to his 15-month old daughter, Cali.

“;The few hours I do have, I try to make the most of it,”; he said. “;Every minute with her is precious.”;

While Moniz gets the starting nod, Shane Austin moves into the backup role with running back Inoke Funaki available as an emergency quarterback.

Brent Rausch, the No. 2 quarterback to begin the season, began physical therapy yesterday as he continues his recovery from a broken pinkie on his throwing hand. He said the prognosis for his return is about two to three weeks, though he's hoping he can start throwing as soon as next week.

Injury update

McMackin said linebackers Aaron Brown and George Daily-Lyles will redshirt this season, both due to hamstring injuries.

Brown, a junior, played in three games, but had been slowed by the injury since fall camp. Daily-Lyles, a true freshman, made the trip to Louisiana Tech, but didn't suit up.

Defensive tackles Geordon Hanohano (neck) and Vaughn Meatoga (ankle) attended yesterday's practice but didn't participate. Neither did offensive tackle Laupepa Letuli, who missed the Louisiana Tech game due to a knee injury.

Washington series extended

Hawaii and Washington will add a home-and-home extension to their series, UH athletic director Jim Donovan said yesterday. Details of the extension are expected to be officially announced today.

The current contract began with Washington's visit to Aloha Stadium in 2007. The Warriors are scheduled to visit Seattle early in the 2011 season.