After 20 practices spread over 23 days, the Warriors completed training camp yesterday and are prepared for game week. But before packing away the sun screen — OK, the sun screen can still stay — and figuring out different ways to get KK Padello on the interview list, here’s what we learned from camp:
> Age does not matter: Freshmen created some of the loudest buzz. Quarterbacks Jeremy Moussa and Chevan Cordeiro proved they could make the jump from high school, offensive tackles Ilm Manning and Solo Vaipulu were taking first-team reps, and nose tackle Blessman Taala continued his outstanding play since joining in January. Also, keep an eye on safety Alaka‘i Mashima, who aced the walk-on tryout in the spring. Mashima is noted for chasing down Cedric Byrd in a scrimmage-like session. Sure, he had the angle, but perseverance is perseverance.
> Ready to go: For years, we’ve heard about Boise State’s perfect attendance during summer workouts and blah, blah, blah. But UH also was near perfect in offseason participation with eligible players. The lone exception was a player training with an Olympic team. That definitely counts as an excused absence. The Warriors appeared to be fit entering training camp.
> New tradition: The koa plaque and accompanying picture of Polynesian warriors … there’s nothing like starting each practice with chicken skin.
> Grown man’s sport: For years, we’ve heard about Boise State’s tradition of not staying in hotels the night before home games and blah, blah, blah. But Nick Rolovich also has trusted his experienced players to stay in off-campus apartments, if they wish, during training camp. Comfort is comfort, and trust is trust. No player was late because of an alarm not sounding in his off-campus home.
> Mind does matter: As part of an exercise in positive thinking, a player was asked to rip a phone book in half. He could not. But Oli Vea, the team’s video coordinator, used a secret she was taught from a motivational speaker to dissect the phone book.
> Secret room: So, while the rest of you fans are sweating in the sweltering weather, there’s a hidden field-level area at Aloha Stadium where certain-level Na Koa donors can chill. (Yes, it is air conditioned.) So, sign up now.