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StarBulletin.com

Homecoming for Klemm


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POSTED: Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Adrian Klemm emerged from Aloha Stadium's mauka locker room and his memories flashed back to a decade ago.

“;Coming out here I just got that little nervous feeling because it just took me back to when I was playing,”; Klemm said yesterday. “;All we're doing is coming to practice, but I haven't been in this environment in so long. It's a fun feeling.”;

There's a sense of symmetry to Klemm's return to the stadium, 10 years since helping lead Hawaii to the most dramatic turnaround in NCAA history.

Klemm's last appearance in Aloha Stadium came in the 1999 Oahu Bowl, when the Warriors capped June Jones' landmark inaugural season at Hawaii with a victory over Oregon State. He'll be back tomorrow with Jones, this time as SMU's offensive line coach as the Mustangs (7-5) face Nevada (8-4) in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

Klemm is in his first season as a full-time member of the Mustangs' coaching staff. He was a volunteer coach last year, watching SMU labor to a 1-11 season.

In his new role, Klemm could speak to the Mustangs from his own experiences as part of a Hawaii program that went from 0-12 in his junior season to 9-4 as a senior.

“;I continually told the guys at a certain point things are going to start clicking,”; Klemm said. “;And once they start clicking things are going to start rolling. Things will get easier, you'll pick up things quicker. Once guys know what they're doing they'll start moving faster and everything will start looking like it looks on film when you watch the old Hawaii films.”;

               

     

 

SHERATON HAWAII BOWL

        » Who: Nevada (8-4) vs. SMU (7-5)
       

» When: Tomorrow, 3 p.m.

       

» Where: Aloha Stadium

       

» TV: ESPN

       

» Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM

       

 

       

After closing his UH career with All-Western Athletic Conference honors, Klemm spent seven seasons in the NFL and picked up three Super Bowl rings as a member of the New England Patriots.

He returned to Hawaii a few times since then and remains close with former UH roommate Tony Tuioti, now the Warriors' director of player personnel. In 2008, he spent part of his summer taking a Samoan class at UH to complete his work toward a degree, a requirement to take a full-time coaching job.

Klemm joined a staff that includes four former UH assistants and coached a line that starts four sophomores around senior center Mitch Enright. The Mustangs' front opened the way for running back Shawnbrey McNeal to rush for 1,125 yards, becoming the first collegiate back to break the 1,000-yard mark in Jones' pass-heavy offense.

“;It's an honor that you can't really express,”; said McNeal, a transfer from Miami. “;Being the first one says a lot, that he has a lot of faith and a lot of trust in me.

“;The O-line is probably the best I've been around relationship-wise. We hang together, we joke together. It's like we're all brothers but we came from different mothers.”;

When McNeal isn't running the ball, the line will have to keep Nevada defensive ends Dontay Moch — the WAC defensive player of the year — and Kevin Basped away from freshman quarterback Kyle Padron. Basped and Moch combined for 14 of Nevada's league-high 29 sacks during the regular season.

Familiar territory

While the edge in bowl experience clearly tips in Nevada's favor, the Wolf Pack look to end a string of postseason futility.

Tomorrow's game will be Nevada's fifth straight bowl appearance. The streak started with an overtime win over Central Florida in 2005. The Wolf Pack ended the last three seasons with losses to Miami, New Mexico and Maryland.

“;They understand the sense of urgency and the great opportunity in front of them,”; Nevada head coach Chris Ault said.

Some of the fifth-year seniors were on the periphery of Nevada's Hawaii Bowl win as redshirt freshmen. For others, tomorrow's game represents a last chance.

“;I've been to few bowl games, but never came out on top,”; senior safety Jonathon Amaya said. “;That's something I really want to see, not only for me but for the team. I didn't get to experience the last trip to Hawaii. This is the last ballgame, so I know it'll be something special.”;

Reunion week continues

Several current UH coaches stopped by SMU's practice yesterday to visit with the former Warriors coaches on the Mustangs' staff.

Head coach Greg McMackin and assistants Dave Aranda, Nick Rolovich, Brian Smith and Tuioti took a break from their offseason duties to watch practice.

               

     

 

SMU MUSTANGS (7-5)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
DATESCORE
Sept. 5SMU 31, Stephen F. Austin 23
Sept. 12SMU 35, UAB 33
Sept. 19Washington State 30, SMU 27, OT
Oct. 3TCU 39, SMU 14
Oct. 10SMU 28, East Carolina 21
Oct. 17Navy 38, SMU 35, OT
Oct. 24Houston 38, SMU 15
Oct. 31SMU 27, Tulsa 13
Nov. 7SMU 31, Rice 28
Nov. 14SMU 35, UTEP 31
Nov. 21Marshall 34, SMU 31
Nov. 28SMU 26, Tulane 21

       

       

NEVADA WOLF PACK (8-4)

       

       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
DATESCORE
Sept. 5Notre Dame 35, Nevada 0
Sept. 19Colorado State 35, Nevada 20
Sept. 25Missouri 31, Nevada 21
Oct. 3Nevada 63, UNLV 28
Oct. 9Nevada 37, Louisiana Tech 14
Oct. 17Nevada 35, Utah State 32
Oct. 24Nevada 70, Idaho 45
Oct. 31Nevada 31, Hawaii 21
Nov. 8Nevada 62, San Jose State 7
Nov. 14Nevada 52, Fresno State 14
Nov. 21Nevada 63, New Mexico State 20
Nov. 27Boise State 44, Nevada 33