“Bulldog?” Inoke Funaki said. “I thought they were talking about Kaimuki.”
Bulldog actually is the hybrid running back/slotback position that Funaki is expected to play during spring training.
With Greg Alexander set as the No. 1 quarterback, it was decided that a new role needed to be crafted to take advantage of Funaki’s athletic ability and knowledge of the run-and-shoot offense. Funaki has played quarterback in his first four years at UH.
For Funaki, the key will be his ability to block. Funaki said he has picked up blocking tips from Kealoha Pilares, who is moving from running back to slotback this spring.
Although Funaki was a skilled scrambler as a quarterback, “it’ll be different,” he said. “It’s not like when you’re scrambling, and everyone is more scattered out.”
As for slotback Funaki said, “I’m working on footwork, speed, cutting and catching the ball. It’s not as easy as these guys tend to make it look. You gain a lot of appreciation when you go out and do it.”
Funaki said his weight has fluctuated between 205 and 211 pounds during offseason training.
The Kahuku graduate also would welcome renaming his new job “Raider.”
“I wouldn’t complain about that,” he said, smiling.
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Aaron Kia will enter his final spring training as the No. 1 left tackle.
Kia acknowledges the depth chart is written in chalk, and that he will face several challengers.
What’s more, Kia still is trying to gain back the weight he lost soon after the 2008 Hawai‘i Bowl.
“I got sick after the bowl game,” Kia said. “I dropped weight like crazy. I’ve had a hard time gaining it back.”
He said he hopes to gain five to 10 pounds this week. Spring practice starts March 30.
“I’m just happy I still have my starting spot, and (the coaches) have faith in me,” Kia said. “I’m going to produce for them the best I can with what I have.”
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Barry Markowitz provides us with this picture of JoJo and family:
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And here’s Kazz (note the cool pendant):
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To save money, the volleyball team did away with pre-match meals. A half-hour before the match, middle blocker Ramzi Korkor, in full uniform, went to get a hot dog at the concession stand:
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Here are other pre-match scenes: