Conque sought counsel from familiar sources


POSTED: Friday, September 04, 2009

When the contract was finalized, Clint Conque knew just getting his team from Conway, Ark., to Honolulu would be a challenge. So the Central Arkansas coach took some time this summer to seek the advice of coaches familiar with the logistics.

“;I took some advice from guys like Brian Kelly (Cincinnati) and Derek Dooley (Louisiana Tech) and Dick Tomey (San Jose State) throughout the spring and summer knowing we were playing this game,”; Conque said.

Tomey in particular is versed in the challenges of travel both to and from the islands as head coach at Hawaii from 1977 to '86 and with WAC rival SJSU.

The most useful tip Conque picked up in those conversations ...

“;Work them out right when you get off the plane, and make sure they stay hydrated,”; Conque said.

So after an all-day journey, the Bears bused from the airport to Aloha Stadium for a 75-minute practice upon arriving late Wednesday afternoon.

“;They rested very well last night, obviously very tired, but I think everybody's re-energized today,”; Conque said.

While Conque said the Bears will learn a lot about themselves in tonight's season opener with Hawaii and is confident the players are focused on business, he views the trip as an educational opportunity extending beyond football.

The team visited Pearl Harbor prior to its walk-through yesterday afternoon. The players will also have some free time tomorrow morning before heading back to Arkansas.

“;I've got a son at the United States Military Academy and (the Pearl Harbor visit) really resonated with me,”; Conque said. “;I'm really proud of our players, they really conducted themselves with a lot of class.

“;I think it's important as educators, because that's what we are, that when you get an opportunity to go someplace new you expose them to the culture and I thought Pearl Harbor was something they could definitely learn about and relate to.”;


Snap to it

Hawaii freshman Luke Ingram has also been getting some tips regarding tonight's game.

Ingram has been on the phone with the Warriors' previous long snapper, older brother Jake, in preparing for his college debut.

“;He tells me the basic things, stay focused, don't think about the crowd too much, do your job and get on the sideline and then you can let everything go,”; Luke Ingram said.

“;The thing about long snapping you have to be real calm. You have to do your job and stay calm and collected, but I'll definitely be excited.”;

Luke Ingram attended UH-West Oahu after graduating from Mililani and steps into a role Jake held down for the last three years before being drafted by the New England Patriots.


Parking reminder

Aloha Stadium's Lower Halawa Lot opens at 1:30 p.m. for tonight's game. All other lots open at 2:30 p.m. Alternate parking is available at Radford High School ($5), Kam Drive In ($5, free shuttle) and Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle). Ford Island will not be available.