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QB Moniz ready for year 2


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POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

During his first spring with the Hawaii football team, all Bryant Moniz wanted was to be noticed.

He certainly won't be lacking for attention in his second.

Moniz joined the Warriors last year as a walk-on aiming to make the roster,  seemingly miles away from seeing significant playing time.

Injuries to the quarterbacks above him on the depth chart elevated Moniz to the starter by October. He enters spring practice today as the incumbent at one of the program's most visible positions.

“;Last year I was all over the field just trying to catch somebody's eye, whether it was on scout or playing safety. I was just trying to do something,”; Moniz said. “;This year it's more concentrated on my role as a quarterback and a leader.”;

The Warriors open spring practice this morning with the first of 15 workouts spread over the next month.

Moniz enters the spring seasoned by an unexpected eight starts as a sophomore. He threw for 2,396 yards and 14 touchdowns while completing 57.1 percent of his throws.

While he is the most experienced quarterback of the six on the spring roster, he knows he'll have to battle to keep the job.

UH offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich plans to grade the quarterbacks with each practice in a competition he calls “;king of the mountain.”;

“;Each quarterback will be judged each day and we'll rank them,”; Rolovich said.

Once the Warriors start facing a defense in practice, Rolovich plans to have the offense run in two huddles. The top two quarterbacks will lead one group, the rest will be in the other huddle.

“;They can swap, they could fall, they can move. Their grades will be posted and you have to be able to keep your spot,”; Rolovich said.

Along with Moniz, the Warriors also return junior Shane Austin, who led the Warriors to an overtime win at San Jose State last season. Brent Rausch is back after a hand injury sidetracked his season. Freshmen David Graves, Corey Neilsen and Cayman Shutter join the competition following redshirt years.

“;Every day I have to fight for it,”; Moniz said. “;I don't think anybody's job is ever secured. Just have to mess up one time or somebody else is starting to do better than you. It's all about getting the best person on the field.”;

Moniz's ascent last year serves as a reminder to all to be prepared.

The Leilehua graduate had walked on following a year at Fresno City College and was still adjusting to the idea of being a UH football player when his first spring practice rolled around.

“;There was some 'wow' factor,”; Rolovich recalled. “;He was a teammate last year, but he was more of a fan at this point last year. He knew what he wanted to be a part of, but there was still some disbelief he was here and it went very quickly for him.”;

Moniz began the fall fourth on the depth chart, moved to third by the start of the season and became the backup when Rausch was hurt. He took over as the starter when Greg Alexander suffered a season-ending knee injury at Louisiana Tech.

Since the end of a 6-7 season, Moniz has worked to pack on more muscle to improve his durability and arm strength.

As Moniz hopes the offseason conditioning program adds some zip to his throws, Rolovich wants to see the offense operate at a quicker tempo. Along with Moniz, the Warriors return their top two pass catchers in Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares and six other letterwinners in the receiver corps.

“;It's not starting from scratch, you're building on a solid foundation of experience and knowledge,”; Rolovich said. “;We can get more detail oriented, we can spend time on route running, there's not going to be a lot of swimming in their mind.

“;Sometimes (last season) we seemed unsure, which decelerates you, and this offense doesn't work without aggressiveness.”;