There was an interesting debate yesterday between a scout and a coach over the value of a pro day. The scout had argued that the “grades are in” before the pro day. The coach argued that a standout pro day performance can boost a player’s stock, citing how Ryan Mouton was selected in the third round last year. The scout argued that teams knew Mouton could play from his work against Florida in the 2008 UH opener. The coach argued that Mouton’s 11-foot long jump sealed the deal.
And so it went.
Both were correct. Yes, the grades might be in, but they also can be changed and, to further a bad analogy, the enrollment period does not end until draft day. Teams needing to fill training-camp rosters needed to see some of the UH prospects in person, particularly those who have limited work on video. Perhaps the most helpful aspect of yesterday’s UH Pro Day was when line coach Gordy Shaw gave scouts his analysis of linemen Laupepa Letuli, Ray Hisatake, Aaron Kia and Raphael Ieru. Later, the scouts were able to see those players perform drills testing blocking and awareness.
Did that help? Sure. Did it change the players’ stock? Well, at least there’s more information — positive information, as it turned out.
Wideout Jovonte Taylor, who ran a 4.34 in the 40 (with a tight hamstring), and running back Daniel Libre, who had the top performance in three categories, are intriguing prospects for teams who go by the numbers.
The thing I liked most is that UH made the most to promote its players. Deep down, every recruit wants a shot at the big time, which is why many choose the Warriors’ offense or attacking defense. The UH coaches are doing their part to help, even if many are chasing impossible dreams. The players might not end up with NFL jobs, but they won’t have regrets, either.
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If the polls closed today, Charlie Wade would be the volleyball coach of the year. He’s done that good of a job. He has the right coaches doing specific work, and he cured two big weaknesses of the previous two years: poor passing and inconsistent serving.
To be sure, opposite attacker Jonas Umlauft has factored in the improvement. He was trumpeted as the next Yuval Katz — a comparison because he is playing Katz’s position. But Katz was the go-to hitter on an athletic team with good ball-control players. Umlauft, in contrast, is a good ball-control player. His ability to pass eases the pressure on libero Ric Cervantes and left-side hitter Steven Hunt. Also, because Umlauft is a threat on trouble balls and out of the back right, that opens the way for Joshua Walker on the other side. Umlauft’s value is in helping to make his teammates better. In that regard, he is everything the Warriors needed this year.