Medeiros catches on at slot


POSTED: Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jon Medeiros had a prime spot to pick up the finer points of playing slotback in the Hawaii run-and-shoot.

When Medeiros joined the program in 2007, he noted the intrinsic connection between the quarterback and receivers vital to the smooth operation of the offense while practicing behind the Warriors' prolific crew of pass catchers.

“;A lot of times you have to be quarterback-friendly, which was something Davone (Bess) was really good at,”; Medeiros said. “;Knowing where he's going to be, knowing where the open areas are, Colt (Brennan) could just throw the ball in one area before he even makes his break and Davone's there. That's something in this system that really needs to be established.”;

Two years later, Medeiros is establishing himself as a reliable target for the Warriors' current quarterbacks and did his part to support Shane Austin in setting career highs with 10 catches for 149 yards in last week's overtime win at San Jose State.

“;I don't know what it was, but we had something going,”; Medeiros said.

Four of Medeiros' catches came with the Warriors facing long-yardage situations. He made a 21-yard reception after penalties forced UH into a first-and-20 in the first half. He converted another first down on a third-and-19 late in regulation.

“;Jon was so clutch in that game,”; said fellow slot receiver Greg Salas. “;I kept coming up to him like, 'That's a big catch, we need that.' He kept coming through for us and it was great to see.

“;Third-and-20 and Jon's coming up with another big catch in double coverage.”;

While Austin played most of the last five-plus quarters for the Warriors (5-6), Bryant Moniz appears set to move back into the lead role. Moniz, the starter for the six games prior to last week's visit to San Jose, said he'll practice today after observing most of the last two days.

; After being limited to warm-ups by sore ribs last week, refining the chemistry between the quarterbacks and receiver corps is among the top priorities heading into Saturday's game against Navy (8-3) at Aloha Stadium with a bowl berth still within view.

“;We're starting to get that consistency and we're starting to build that confidence back up and everybody's just believing that we can do it,”; Medeiros said. “;We've overcome so much adversity and we just have to keep going and rise to the occasion.”;

Medeiros, a high school teammate of former Navy quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada, has solidified a place in the starting group over the last five games and enters this week's game as the Warriors' third-leading receiver with 40 catches for 534 yards. He's among the Warrior seniors who can sense the clock ticking away with the regular season down to two games.

“;I'm just trying to play my hardest, have fun out here on the practice field while I can,”; he said, “;because I know once it's gone, I'm going to miss it.”;

Salas works through injury

After sitting out most of last week with a sprained foot, Salas caught eight passes against San Jose State and has seen full duty in practice so far this week.

“;It's kind of in the back of your mind a little bit, but I played through it and felt good during the game,”; he said. “;I feel better and better as time goes on.”;

Bryant back in the mix

Cornerback Jeramy Bryant was back working with the first unit yesterday after being involved in two pivotal plays late in last week's win. The junior had missed three games and came off the bench last week while Kawika Ornellas started.

“;It was a big confidence booster for me personally, just knowing I could still do the things I used to do,”; Bryant said.

Bryant recovered a fumble on San Jose State's last possession of regulation and broke up a fourth-down pass in overtime to end the game.

“;That was a great call by the coaches and God put me in position,”; Bryant said.

“;Confidence starts building up and you start wanting them to throw at you because you know you can make those plays.”;

Short yardage

With Navy coming to town, Saturday's game has been designated as “;Military Night.”; Members of the military (active, reserves and retired) can purchase adult tickets (maximum of eight) at half price with a valid military ID. The deal is also available to UH Alumni Association members (with membership card).