[ UH FOOTBALL ]
catching on quickly
Usually the first day in shoulder pads means lots of balls bouncing off receivers.
But instead, Hawaii's platoon of pass-catchers pulled in several nice grabs yesterday morning on Day Four of fall camp.
There were many nominations for catch of the day: An over-the-shoulder clutch by Jeremiah Cockheran on a fly pattern and Ross Dickerson's jaunt through the secondary on a short route were two of the better ones.
But the twisting, leaping grab between two defenders on a deep ball by Jason Rivers gets the honor based on pure athleticism.
The highly touted 6-foot-2, 187-pound true freshman from Saint Louis School has looked good, but receivers coach Ron Lee said Rivers still has some learning to do.
"Athletically, there's no question. But like all the new guys, he's feeling his way around out there. He's no different than anybody else. But he's getting better every practice. His technique is really, really rough. But he's working hard. We've got some time."
Junior inside receiver Chad Owens is showing the way, Lee said.
"Chad Owens is really sharp at this point in time," he said. "Everybody's coming along, but Chad picked up right where he was before he got hurt last year. His cuts are sudden. He makes mistakes like everyone else, but at this point he's coming along nicely."
Action Jackson: Was that really Kevin Jackson -- perhaps the calmest and most spiritual person on the team -- in the middle of a post-play fracas toward the end of yesterday's practice?
Yes it was, and the normally mild-mannered defensive end was hotter than the midday sun over some by-now-forgotten cheap shot from an unidentified offensive lineman. You couldn't really call it a fight. All 22 offensive and defensive players on the field got involved, but half of them seemed to be giggling and looking for someone to tickle, not tackle.
Jackson downplayed the team's second "fight" in two days.
"It's all just friendly competition, it wasn't an incident. We're all good friends, a real close-knit family. It's just getting each other ready," he said. "Because the guys that we play against on Saturday, they're going to try to do this the same way, so we (go hard to) make each other better."
Pickin' and grinnin': Lono Manners and Hyrum Peters both came up with nifty interceptions yesterday morning.
Peters -- who scored three touchdowns on interceptions last season -- ran his back to the "end zone," but his attempt at a spike took a wild bounce, drawing laughter and applause.
Rolo's rollin': True freshman Jack Rolovich has had an impressive first few days of camp. Coming a couple of weeks early to participate in voluntary workouts seems to have paid off.
"He threw some good balls. I can tell already he's got some of the skills his brother (Nick) has," coach June Jones said. "He stands in there and he's got good vision and he's pretty accurate. So once he learns it, we've probably got a chance to get four pretty good years out of him."
Short yardage: Second-year freshman offensive lineman Tala Esera has yet to suit up because he hasn't passed his physical. ... Junior wide receiver Kanale George is on the roster, but has not been to practice. ... Second-year freshman defensive lineman Ikaika Alama-Francis has been attending practice, but not in uniform. He is expected to be cleared to suit up tomorrow. ... Running back West Keliikipi, a 6-1, 266-pound freshman from Waianae, did some impressive straight-ahead running yesterday. Two other freshman walk-on running backs are on the roster: Doug Wiley (6-0, 196 from Granite Bay, Calif.) and Kala Latuselu (5-11, 215 from Kahuku). ... Quarterback Tim Chang scrambled for what would've been a good gain against the first-team defense. ... Defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga combined brute strength and finesse to dominate lineman one-on-ones, although right guard Uriah Moenoa did stop his rush when they faced off. ... The Warriors had a closed hour-and-a-half walk-through yesterday afternoon. ... Today's practice is 2-5 p.m. at UH.