After a long discussion with Jesse Sapolu, Greg McMackin has decided to visit (Western) Samoa in early 2009.
McMackin said he believes the independent state of Samoa, which is a 2-hour flight from American Samoa, has several athletes with Division I-A talent.
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The SMU-UH goodwill trip to American Samoa was successful in many ways. Too often, coaches go to the U.S. territory solely for recruiting purposes. This time, the group of coaches went there to help, delivering medical supplies and teaching a two-day clinic.
The tour and the preceding golf tournaments on Kaua‘i and Kona gave closure to last year’s coaching staff. With the chaos surrounding June Jones’ sudden departure to SMU (followed by the departure of four UH assistants), there was little time for a proper goodbye. Jones and McMackin sat side-by-side on the flights to and from American Samoa.
“We just had a great time,” McMackin said.
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Wideout Ryan Henry, a junior-college transfer, will arrive in town this week for Summer Session II, which starts next week.
But two other transfers — Jovonte Taylor and Dustin Blount — will remain at their JCs for the next few weeks.
It was hoped that Taylor and Blount would arrive early enough to participate in unsupervised workouts. But they still need to complete work at their JCs. They are expected to arrive in time for the start of training camp in August.
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The donation money is being put to use. Each of the coaches received a new wide-screen television. Now, all of the practice and game videos can be shot in wide screen. Here’s offensive coordinator Ron Lee’s TV (with a video from a spring practice):
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From what I’ve observed, several players have assumed leadership roles this season. The offensive leaders are Inoke Funaki, Tyler Graunke, Malcolm Lane, Leon Wright-Jackson, Daniel Libre, Dylan Linkner, Aaron Bain, Mike Washington, Jake Santos, Shane Austin, Ray Hisatake and Keith AhSoon. On defense, the guys running the show are David Veikune, Adam Leonard, Keala Watson, Ryan Mouton, Keao Monteilh and Blaze Soares. There are other leaders, of course, in other workouts.
This past weekend, Adam Leonard said, he went surfing for the first time. He said he went to Waikiki. Fortunately, he avoided the box jellyfish.
He is one of the few who embraces my camera:
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It hasn’t been easy for Tyler Graunke to balance workouts with a busy academic schedule. But he has made the most of his time on the field. Graunke has been a helpful tutor:
And here’s Graunke with wideout Malcolm Lane:
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Remember Jayson Rego, former state Offensive Player of the Year? He’s in the mix at running back. The No. 1s are Leon Wright-Jackson and Daniel Libre. Jake Heun and David Farmer are competing at power back. Mario Cox isn’t on the 105-player training camp roster, although he has been invited to rejoin the first day of school. Here’s Rego:
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Big thanks to Dr. Dennis Watkins, who removed an inch-long cyst from my head today. He even did his own stitching. Quite a talented guy. Thanks again.