Archive for June, 2011

Competing at the next level

June 30th, 2011

If linebacker Dylan McCagg were to fill out a UH information sheet, he could list his vertical reach as 14,000 feet.

As part of his conditioning program, McCagg recently made the winding 15-mile hike up Colorado's Mount Evans.

"It's pretty high," McCagg said of the trek. "There aren't a lot of 240-pound mountain climbers, for sure. It's one of the hardest things I've ever done."

He said it took eight hours to ascend; three hours to descend.

"Mountain climbing is not a passion of mine," he admitted. "I do it for exercise."

McCagg, who was raised in Denver, is prepared for another journey when he joins the Warriors in a few weeks. He was an NCAA qualifier as a Kent Denver High School senior in 2008, and his junior college transcripts should be approved soon by UH's admissions department.

"I'll definitely be there before (the start of training) camp in August," McCagg said.

McCagg, who is 6 feet 2, was a standout in football and lacrosse in high school. Kent Denver's lacrosse team won the state title when McCagg was a senior. He never considered playing lacrosse in college.

"I wanted to play football," he said.

He was a walk-on at SMU in 2008, former UH coach June Jones' first season at the Dallas campus.

"I was on the scout team, and didn't have too much interaction with (Jones)," McCagg recalled. "I talked to him once, and he told me I was in the wrong spot. He was a good coach. He's really soft-spoken. He's a smart guy."

McCagg quit the team before the season ended. Later, he reclaimed his passion for football.

"I figured junior college was my best option," he said.

He enrolled at San Diego Mesa College, where a Kent Denver graduate was on the coaching staff. McCagg was a two-year starter.

After the 2010 season, he received a scholarship offer from Division II schools. He waited, then received an offer from a I-AA school. Then he ran into UH defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who was evaluating prospects on the West Coast. Soon after, Aranda called McCagg, saying the UH coaches were impressed with his football videos.

With no scholarships available, McCagg was asked to join UH as a preferred walk-on. He accepted

"I can't wait to get out there," said McCagg, who will compete as an outside linebacker. At San Diego Mesa, which ran a 4-3 scheme similar to the Warriors', McCagg was used as  middle linebacker, weakside linebacker and defensive end. He will have two years to play two UH seasons.

Here's his highlight video: Dylan McCagg.

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Former Warrior safety Mana Silva is training in Hawaii while awaiting the end of the NFL lockout. He hopes to sign a free-agent deal.


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Yes, a Tank can fly:


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I've watched enough Godfather movies to know this is an omen:


Sellers market

June 29th, 2011


It is an emotional time when a member of a football family decides to go to the Mainland.

It will be particularly heart-tugging for cornerback Mike Sellers, whose mother, step-father and 8-year brother are planning to move to Virginia in September. Sellers' step-father is in the Army, and he has exhausted his stints in Hawaii.

"I hope they'll come and visit," said Sellers, who has lived in Hawaii since 2000. He had moved here when his mother and step-father — both in the Army — received transfers.

Sellers attended Shafter Elementary, Moanalua Middle School and, after his family bought a house in Ewa Beach, Campbell High. After his mother retired, his step-father had tours of duty three times in the Middle East.

"The first time was the hardest," Sellers said. "That was when it was the most violent. We really couldn't contact him or anything. The second time he had a little bit more freedom. … The first two times, he actually lost some soldiers."

His step-father returned from Iraq last week.

Sellers said he eventually will stay with his older brother, who lives in Red Hill.

Sellers said he attended UH's Junior Day in 2009. Later, he signed up for a series of speed and quickness clinics on the UH campus. Helped partly by a video produced by Campbell coach Wes Pacheco, Sellers drew attention from the Warriors, who made a gray-shirt offer. Sellers was a part-time UH student during the 2010 fall semester, then joined the Warriors on scholarship in January.

"I think it's a surreal experience," he said. "When you're in high school, you're like, 'I'm going to play college ball.' You never realize what you're going to do until it happens. When it happened, I was excited to come out here and be a part of the team."

Sellers made a significant impression during spring training to be considered a contender at quarter, a linebacker/safety position in the Warriors' nickel defense.

He also has earned recognition from UH head coach Greg McMackin, who used to refer to Sellers only by his surname.

"I took it in stride," Sellers said. "It kind of motivated me to let my play do the talking. I kept trying to do that. One day, he came up to me, and we started talking, really getting to know me. Ever since then, he knows me on a first-name basis."

Sportscast forecast

June 27th, 2011

With Oceanic set to officially take over the rights to UH sportscasts this week, here are some updates:

• Candace Fujishima, who was a director of KFVE sportscasts, was recently hired. There is one opening — for now — remaining: Coordinating producer. That position was posted last week. Steve Jackson, considered one of the best in the business in coordinating local sportscasts, should be considered a top candidate. He has done wonders at KFVE the past two decades.

• Because Oceanic does not own its own production truck — and there are no immediate plans to purchase one — the production crew for UH sportscasts will be on a contractual-hire basis. At least for the 2011-2012 academic year.

• There have been no firm decisions made on the commentators for UH sportscasts.

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New York Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will not be able to make his annual visit with the UH coaches this year. But UH head coach Greg McMackin has brought in a couple of speakers, including former Nebraska assistant coach Marvin Sanders.

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Remember Kawika Borden, a defensive back from Pearl City High?

He aced the walk-on tryout in February 2010, but then suffered a leg injury. While rehabbing, he was removed from the active roster. But Borden kept working out on his own, and he often watched practices.

Now he is healthy again. He will join the team the first day of the fall semester.


Red wave

June 27th, 2011

The past couple of weeks, there has been a guy taking reps as a running back and receiver during the Warriors' unsupervised 7-on-7 drills.

When several players were asked to identify the player, most responded: Don't know. But I think he's from Kahuku.


The player is Pololu "Pete" Silva, and he is indeed a former Kahuku High running back/receiver. Silva is hoping that word-of-mouth reports will lead to an opportunity to join the Warriors as a walk-on.

The significance is there is nothing unique about a Kahuku player pursuing the Warriors. That wasn't the case several years ago, when the Warriors had difficult drawing interest on the North Shore. That was lowlighted when an offensive lineman, Jeremy Perry, signed a letter of intent with the Warriors, then decided against submitting the paper work, and ended up going to Oregon State.

Things have changed since then. Maybe it had to do with Kahuku grad Leonard Peters's successful Warrior career. Maybe the atmosphere became more welcoming when Reggie Torres was promoted to Red Raider head coach, and subsequently, his son, Richard Torres, developed into the leader of the UH secondary. Or maybe it goes back to the recruitment of Perry. Turns out that Lori Miano, wife of UH associate head coach Rich Miano, had known that Perry's line mate, Tala Esera, was a very good player. UH ended up signing Esera, who had a solid career as quarterback Colt Brennan's blindside blocker.

Now there are eight former Red Raiders on the Warriors' 120-player roster, including nickelback Kamalani Alo, whose aunt is Lori Miano.

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People in the business said Oceanic made a great hire in picking up Candace Fujishima, who previously worked as a director for KFVE. She's smart, with a great talent for video storytelling.

J-E-T-T, Jett! Jett! Jett!

June 26th, 2011

Whether he plays a down or not this season, wideout Jett Jasper is viewed as an important member of the Warriors. A UH coach said there was never any doubt that Jasper would be included in the 105-player roster for training camp. Jasper is praised widely as being a "good teammate."

Jasper's diligence extends beyond football. He is a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee that helps newcomers and serves as a liaison to the administration. The SAAC helped install bicycle air stations, cleaned Manoa pond, and started a read-to-me program at elementary schools.  The SAAC recently installed permanent umbrellas stands outside the weight room.

Jasper was a volunteer host during the Warriors' Junior Day the past semester.

Jasper earned a bachelor's degree the past December, and he is taking classes toward a master's degree. One other thing: As a walk-on, he pays the student-activity fee.

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It's sad to hear about former Warrior receiver and coach Craig Stutzmann's situation. Stutz is a good guy, and a good coach, and I'm sure he'll bounce back.

Here's one take: Stutzmann.

Although the charge is serious, the "resignation" is surprising because there's supposed to be a presumption of innocence until a verdict is reached, and any action probably could have waited until after next month's court hearing.