Archive for November, 2012

Kapua Sai retires from football

November 30th, 2012
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Offensive lineman Kapua Sai is retiring from football after suffering yet another concussion. He had a season of eligibility remaining.

"For safety reasons and for later on in life, I need to do this," Sai said.

Sai said he had "quite a few" concussions "in middle school and high school." He said he suffered from mild concussion-like symptoms earlier this year. He suffered his recent concussion against UNLV this past week.

"You don't want to take chances," UH coach Norm Chow said. "I read the Jim McMahon story with tears in my eyes. Football's not that important."

Sai is a Saint Louis School graduate who played at Utah, earning a bachelor's degree in three years. The early graduation enabled him to transfer this past summer without having to redshirt this year.

"He really worked hard to get home for a year and get his studies and really help us," Chow said. "He brought a lot of leadership."

Sai said he plans to continue working toward a master's degree.

Kiha Sai, who is redshirting this season, said he will request to wear his older brother's No. 57 next year.

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Jesse Sapolu, who is this week's honorary captain, addressed the Warriors after their final practice of the season yesterday.

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The  parents of players were invited to join the post-practice huddle. They were introduced, with each receiving three claps of appreciation.

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Friends and family will be allowed to give lei to the seniors after tomorrow's game against South Alabama.

The 17 seniors will be introduced before the game. After the game, there will be no team meeting, and the players will be free to mingle with friends and family immediately.

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Whole-hearted birthday wishes to two better halves — Mrs. Sailor Blue and Mrs. BigHiloFan2.

The son also rose

November 29th, 2012
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When you're the son of a local athletic legend with the same name, the expectations can be daunting.

But Leroy Lutu Jr. managed to find his own path.

Both father and son were standout basketball players in high school. But it was Lutu Jr. who played the sport in college, as a Rainbow Warrior walk-on.

While the father had a successful football career at Washington, the son started his own gridiron career from scratch. He joined the Warriors with more enthusiasm than technique. But he developed from a popular scout player to the coming-of-rage moment when everybody, including himself, felt he deserved significant playing time. It was the equivalent of going from the mail room to an associate's title.

This past summer, he earned a football scholarship and, this season, he won a part-time starting role. He was at his best against Air Force, when he showed his grittiness as a rover by helping to contain the perimeter. But that game exposed a season-long secret: He had been suffering from a shoulder injury.

Lutu is undergoing shoulder surgery and will not be available for the season — and his collegiate — finale against South Alabama. He earns a bachelor's degree next month.

There are no guarantees in football, no guarantees in life. Just the way Leroy Lutu Jr. preferred.

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Defensive tackle Calen Friel undergoes surgery today to remove screws in his surgically repaired ankle. The procedure should allow Friel to be ready for spring training.

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Interesting that South Alabama's acronym is USA.

Staying put?

November 28th, 2012
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It's still early, of course, and there are a lot of factors that still could come into play, but as of now, cornerback/returner Mike Edwards is leaning toward returning for his senior season in 2013.

"It might be the best thing, not only for me but for my family," Edwards said.

Edwards, who has two sons, said he would like to earn a bachelor's degree. He also said he could benefit from another college season.

Edwards will not make a final decision until after he receives a draft-prediction assessment from an NFL panel.

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While there is optimism that Sean Schroeder will be ready for Saturday's game, he did not practice yesterday because of a back ailment. Jeremy Higgins took all of the first-team reps. Cayman Shutter took the other QB reps.

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Former UH slotback/punter Craig Stutzmann, Bill Stutzmann Sr. and Mark Davis (Trevor Davis' dad):

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Whoops. Not sure how this got on here:

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The funniest thing with all of the conference shifting and big TV contracts is, while it will be healthy for the bank accounts, it won't necessarily improve viewership.

There can never be an all-star conference because somebody has to be at the bottom. Look at the Avengers. Not everyone can be Thor. Somebody has to be the Black Widow.

Also , what makes sports compelling is the unscripted drama. There's going to be some great story — an orphan quarterback who has to support three siblings; a running back who was home-schooled — that will capture viewers. You can't force spontaneity.

Held up by red tape

November 27th, 2012
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Former Warrior defensive back Richard Torres and Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn are top candidates to join the Warriors as graduate-assistant coaches in January.

The holdup, as with most things involving UH, is the procedure.

While a GA has the same financial value as a player — scholarship that includes tuition, school expenses and a monthly stipend — in the view of the school, it is considered a job. And like all campus jobs, HR and other departments are involved. If Bill Parcells decided he wanted to be a UH GA, well, please fill out an application and bring proper ID and references.

This year, the NCAA granted schools up to four on-field GAs. The Warriors have three — Inoke Funaki, Daniel Bukarau and Jared Vanderbeek. Oliva Vea is a graduate assistant in the video department.

Funaki fulfills the NCAA limit of three seasons at the end of this semester.

UH also is expected to create a fourth position for an on-field GA.

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His left wrist is puffy but not broken, and thus tight end Ryan Hall is expected to play in Saturday's season-finale against South Alabama.

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Quarterback Sean Schroeder, who has experienced back spasms, will resume practicing today.

OC Sports to televise Wahine matches; new senior walk; JHT honored

November 26th, 2012
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OC Sports will televise the Rainbow Wahine NCAA Tournament matches this weekend.

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The senior walk will be conducted before the start of Saturday's game against South Alabama. At least that will be the formal ceremony.

The players are free to take their final walk or party with their friends and family after the game — reviving the spontaneity of the first senior walk in 1979.

In recent years, the administration-controlled senior walk was too commercialized with delays that were so long a few hundred remained in the stands for the final introduction.

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John Hardy-Tuliau was named the Mountain West Conference's player of the week for defense. He had two picks, one of which was run back for a TD.

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Kennedy Tulimasealii's commitment to UH is a big deal. He is a dominant defensive lineman.

Kahuku coach Reggie Torres described Tulimasealii as a "beast" who can play sideline to sideline.

By the way, Torres said four Red Raiders have received scholarship offers from the Warriors. Torres said all four are "leaning" toward UH.

H-4 — Kahuku to Manoa — is under construction.

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It appears tight end Ryan Hall has suffered a wrist injury. His status is doubtful, at best, for Saturday's game.