Monday, August 9, 1999
prepare to hit field
Most of the players who willBy Paul Arnett
try to help turn around the struggling
football program arrived yesterday
and will have their first
Hawaii head coach June Jones welcomed about 40 of the 50 newcomers to camp last night as they prepared for their first workout tomorrow afternoon.
"There are two or three guys not academically sound and a few more who won't be here until Wednesday because of family deals, but we expect about 43, maybe 45 of the guys to be in by (last night)," Jones said yesterday.
"We're hopeful everybody will pass the NCAA clearinghouse, but that hasn't happened yet. The guys who are here had to do NCAA stuff (last night) and will do academic things (today). We'll hit the field (tomorrow) and see what we've got."
The veterans are scheduled to arrive later this week. The first two-a-days are set for Thursday at 8:45 a.m. The public is welcome to attend the Cooke Field workouts. The afternoon sessions begin at 3:45.
"We'll be doing a lot of special teams drills in the evening sessions," Jones said. "We've got to get the new guys up to speed as quickly as we can.
"I'm glad the season is finally here and we can start concentrating on playing football. That's the fun part for everybody."
Several players in the class of 1999 are expected to contribute right away. Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa is considered Hawaii's top recruit. In fact, the San Diego standout is rated the second-best Western Athletic Conference signee by The Sporting News.
The top offensive prospect is wide receiver Attrice Brooks, who Jones likened to Minnesota Vikings All-Pro Randy Moss. The 6-foot-5 San Francisco City College prospect still has an academic hurdle or two to clear, but Jones believes Brooks will make it.
"We think he's going to be OK," Jones said. "If he does, he could be a real difference-maker for us."
Jones will have to wait for Brigham Young transfer Kevin Gilbride to see if he can produce similar results down the road. He was expected to arrive today, but will have to sit a season before gaining his eligibility. He will have three years to play three.
"In addition to our scholarship guys, we have about 25 players walking on who we also believe will help turn around our program," Jones said. "It's going to be a busy time for us, especially when you consider our opener is against a talented team like USC."
The season opener is set for 6 p.m., Sept. 4 at Aloha Stadium. It will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports West. The Rainbows will be looking to snap a Division I worst losing streak of 18 games. They also have won only one national television broadcast in 20 previous appearances.