Uncle Jesse

“I’m like the uncle who shares,” Jesse Sapolu said.

Sapolu is just like any other uncle who was a center/guard for the San Francisco 49ers for 15 seasons, won four Super Bowl championships, and appeared in two Pro Bowls.

This summer in California, like the previous two years, Sapolu provided tutorial sessions for UH center Kody Afusia and right guard Dave Lefotu. (Sapolu and the two players met through Sapolu’s son, London Sapolu, a former UH center.)

During a visit to Hawaii, Sapolu stopped by the Warriors’ unsupervised workouts and offered advice to the UH linemen.

Sapolu’s sessions focused on two points: 1) Be prepared and, 2) be prepared to adapt.

Sapolu said offensive linemen need to know the basics and this basic premise: Defensive linemen and pass rushers are not built alike. He cited the difference in blocking 6-foot-1 John Randle and 6-6 Leon Lett

“I can’t play them the same way,” Sapolu said. “(Lett) is 6-6. I can’t reach him automatically. When people say it’s a game of inches, it’s more than the first-down marker. You have to move your game around to give yourself an edge.”

Sapolu explained how he approached certain situations and matchups.

“I never want to say: ‘ I did it this way, so you should do it this way,'” Sapolu recalled. “I just want to let them know why I approached it this way or that way.”

He also emphasized remaining confident, even if a pass-rusher gets through. He said every offensive lineman has been beaten on a play. “People who make it to the NFL,” he said, “have been beaten the least. If you get beat, don’t lose your confidence.”


  1. T0fuzuke July 20, 2014 8:30 am

    Mahalo Braddah Jesse!

  2. tommui July 20, 2014 8:37 am


    Thank you Uncle Jesse – for all you do for Hawaii.

  3. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2014 8:39 am

    Of course, for parents of children of a certain age, “Uncle Jesse” also is Jesse Katsopolis.

  4. Fan July 20, 2014 8:48 am

    Jesse is part of a legacy and his desire to give back is inspiring.

    After reading Ferd’s column today I feel rather sober in my assessment of how long UH football will last. There are forces in play that are much bigger than our program. It feels like the big conferences are intent on cannabalizing college sports and taking as much for themselves as they possibly can. I find this rather pathetic but it seems to be what is happening. I don’t know if the UH institutional will and visionary leadership is strong enough for football to survive. Even if it is, the other forces may still bring the whole thing down. Maybe I am wrong. I hope I am.

    But what to do now? For me it is look forward to the season. Go to every game. Enjoy every tailgate. Realize that things don’t last forever and it’s best to appreciate them while they are here.

    I think I will also try to be less annoyed by the occasional blog poster who seems able only to criticize and portray themselves as having some superior knowledge. Perhaps I will miss them too when and if the whole thing comes to an end…..or perhaps not.

    Can’t wait for the season to start. Already lining up friends to invite and getting tailgate ready. Nothing lasts forever. Enjoy it while it is here!

  5. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2014 9:00 am

    It’s always good to appreciate and enjoy every moment — football; time with family, food.

  6. SteveM July 20, 2014 9:06 am

    Good morning everyone!

    Mahalo Jesse Sapolu!

  7. Inyoface July 20, 2014 9:08 am

    If UH ever loses the football team, I will switch to watching NFL full time and will not support NCAA football at all. I don’t think we get enough support from them compared to other schools, they will feel the effect as a whole if Hawaii does not have a team. The thing about college footballs marketing is that it represents every state and nearly every town in the U.S. SEC’s attendance is down and I read that they’re looking for help in marketing from the MLB. College football will dig themselves into a hole if the greed persist.

  8. st. anthony trojan July 20, 2014 9:11 am

    Morning all…try to have a happy sunday there…even with all the “gloom n doom news”…

    What BJ did..by e mail…is really showing no respect for his coaches…enough said 4 this podogee…

  9. Wes'side Warrior July 20, 2014 9:15 am

    Morning, Gang!

    Good to read such inspirational stuff early in the day. Good to know that, despite our struggles, people are still coming forward to share their time and talent.

    Have a great day, everyone!

  10. Shoko July 20, 2014 9:21 am

    I would be surprised if UH football is eliminated in the near future, if ever. I can see it going away if there is an economic recession of epic proportions, but then again, UH athletics wouldn’t be the only one to suffer were that to happen. The reality is UH athletics has always run in the red for a better part of a decade and built up a sizable deficit over the course of those years. Revenue might be down, but the interest is still there. I can think of other programs that are closer to the brink of extinction than UH athletics.

  11. oneseason July 20, 2014 9:27 am

    The problem with some news articles is that they lack the background information and analysis needed to access the positions being taken by the newsmakers.

  12. tommui July 20, 2014 9:33 am


    I assume BJ used e-mail as he is out of State for a couple of weeks for business and then vacation.

    Not defending – but I can’t image him calling each and everyone by phone.

  13. oneseason July 20, 2014 9:42 am

    UH could increase football season ticket revenue by over $1M with some relatively minor changes. Increase the price of the best 1,000 seats by $300/yr, the next best 2,000 by $150/yr, the next best 4,000 by $75/yr, and the next best 8,000 by $50/yr. That would bring in an additional $1.3M. If those in the best seats decide not to renew, open those up to the general public. A review of the annual revenue generated by the “Luxury Seating” program would be needed, but taking the best seats (sections K, L, KK, LL) off the regular ticket market might not be best for revenue.

  14. d1shima July 20, 2014 9:51 am

    Great Morning All!

    Sage advice.


  15. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2014 10:13 am

    There will be UH football for a long, long time.

  16. hossana July 20, 2014 10:23 am

    There is no one one better to be an Assistant Coach, in this case, offensive line coach, than Jesse Sapolu. If he is ever hired, he should be paid the maximum because the skills, techniques,knowledge and practical solutions that occur on the field is what he knows best and can impart to his lineman. Not even Chris Naeole can compare what Sapolu has to offer but we all appreciate our local boys for coming back and giving to our local athletes. Jesse has always been a true mentor and idol in character, integrity, class, and as a person and athlete.

  17. SteveM July 20, 2014 10:48 am

    In my younger days, I was put in charge of a small company. I reported to the Marketing Director. We were losing money, so I wanted to cut expenses. My boss told me: “Don’t cut expenses– make more money (sales)”.

    Needless too say I didn’t last long. I took his words literally and only years later realized the attitude behind the words was the real meaning.

    Gotta be able to “sell” the teams to donors and the public, as well as merchandise, tickets, etc. Turning down a 13th game and $600K payday last year is not the way to sell donors. UH sports needs a salesman more than an expense cutter, although good money management is wise.

  18. st. anthony trojan July 20, 2014 10:50 am

    I hear you TM..

    However a good “business man” would call his secretary..n have her contact all the head coaches
    for a meeting the day after he is back….maybe at mcdo’s (n spring for it)…for me…. would be the more appropriate thing to do…

    And this announcement was made to coaches (the e-mail) when he was away from state ?
    I guess we can call it his “light bulb” strategy huh…he he he

    A “business man or ceo” would temper that announcement with something positive..like a 2 prong attack to try to handle the deficit…his was….”step up hawaii”…no plan…no one to follow…no ideas…no leadership…no green blood in his veins…like the lurline in harbor..with no captain…

    I can only feel for the coaches …for the money revenue sports…how they must feel…busting there okole…n the non revenue ones..the volunteers… asking them to “step up”…do more …give more…

    Hawaiians say…waha…would have been so easy for him to just call a meeting of the coaches…
    n lay the cards on the table… ask for suggestions etc.. n move on n try do the best…the damage this does to potential recruits…will be manifested in the future…not look to rosy…can imagine coaches talking now to potential recruits…have to give credit for our present athletics.. n al they have to endure…yet 100% participation in unsupervised workouts…amazing what a head coach n assistants can do to make our “warriors” believe…n endure n never give up…no matter the “crap” someone throws at you…

    Maybe…just maybe…that is not really coming from him.. could be the “messenger” …but seems the new appointee up there is “mute” on this huh…along with the so called governor…like bill would say…”Mr. Ige…what sat you” ?

  19. Old School Dave July 20, 2014 10:55 am

    Someone may have mentioned this, but I wonder if there’s a market for package tours (overnighters) for neighbor island folks to UH games on Oahu? Handle all transportation (stress free) from the airport to stadium to hotel and back to the airport the next day.

  20. C-Pop July 20, 2014 10:56 am

    Jesse Sapolu wears many hats nowadays, with 49ers as alumni relations, multiple boards/committees, if he is able to commit to coaching profession he no doubt would excel!

  21. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2014 10:58 am

    If you’re going to scare people, it’s always good to dangle football. If the AD said swimming had to be cut, everyone would say: Sure, why not? Mention football being in jeopardy and people rally. It’s like if you own a circus. You don’t threaten to get rid of the clowns. You dangle trapeze and high-wire acts.

  22. oneseason July 20, 2014 11:01 am

    I thought UH Athletics had a great new feature for football and wahine VB season ticket sales this year. Just like individual ticket sales last year, you could select you seats online and see all that were available. Photos of the field/court views from each section were available, so you could see pretty much what you were buying. That seemed like a great way to encourage more ticket sales. But I went back to the site yesterday, and that feature had been removed. I don’t recall seeing any explanation of why, but I think it would be a mistake not to bring it back ASAP.

  23. oneseason July 20, 2014 11:11 am

    # 21 … AKA “gold watching it”? … an obvious and disingenuous ploy to avoid a budget cut by offering up items that are so critical, it is assumed nobody would approve the cut.

  24. Shoko July 20, 2014 11:48 am

    The problem with scare tactics is that it only works for a short time. After awhile, people start to get wise and begin to call your bluff about the threat of eliminating football.

  25. BigWave96744 July 20, 2014 11:50 am

    Some feel the circus at Manoa has way too many clowns

  26. Rodney July 20, 2014 12:03 pm

    BJ gotta go!!!!!!’
    Who hired this clown!
    We need someone from
    PAC -10 ties,experience,
    Hire experienced asst AD
    a doer!!!!!!

  27. Rodney July 20, 2014 12:07 pm

    Damage control!!!!!
    All potential recruits!!!!
    Hawaii will have Football!!!!’
    BJ gotta go!!!

  28. Rodney July 20, 2014 12:11 pm

    Maybe Norm can recruit
    USC again!( asst AD) !!!
    BJ gotta go!!!!!

  29. tommui July 20, 2014 12:18 pm

    #27 Rodney:

    Ben Jay’s resume includes :

    He has been the senior associate athletics director for finance and operations at Ohio State.
    He served as associate commissioner for business and finance at the Pacific-10 Conference for 12 and a half years

    Also served as general manager for the Redwood Pioneers, a minor league baseball team affiliated with Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and then was director of operations for the Cleveland Indians. Jay served as an assistant athletics director at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn., before moving on to the Pac-10.

    So he has Pac-10 (12) experience.

    Whether or not he will be the great AD Hawaii will ever have like Stan Sheriff, only time will tell.

  30. Stephen Tsai July 20, 2014 12:23 pm

    Here’s another bad analogy: A guy earns enough to support his family. His cousins don’t make any money and want the guy to support all of them. Should the guy just quit his job? Football makes money. It doesn’t make enough to support every other sport. At some point, the legislature or tourism authority will have to step up.

  31. Shoko July 20, 2014 12:37 pm

    Kick one or all of the cousins out of the house. Simple. 😉

    Actually, that seems reasonable since there might be some non-revenue sports that would be worthy of getting the ax. If I remember correctly, Apple eliminated a sport at his previous school. So, he’s got experience.

    Nevada eliminated their ski teams.

  32. Hodad July 20, 2014 12:38 pm


    what makes you think SEC attendance is down?


    And ticket and seat license fees are waaay up so there is a big revenue increase. What is worrysome is the 60″ flat screen. I have friends who have tickets to South Carolina games, have a condoed tailgate spot (yes, they sell tailing spots complete with electricity, internet, etc.), but go home to watch most games on their 70: tv where it is air conditioned and they can mix drinks.

    So stadiums are upgrading WiFi, have much larger video screens (South Carolina’s looks like high def TV) anad I often found mnyself watching the screen rahter than the actual game.
    No problem at UH since we have a dump of a stadium and a lousy team.

  33. Ralph July 20, 2014 1:06 pm

    #31 Shoko “All D-I schools must field teams in at least seven sports for men and seven for women or six for men and eight for women, with at least two team sports for each gender.” Per NCAA

    UH has 7 men’s team, 3 of them offer only 4.5 scholarships – men’s golf, tennis and volleyball. Savings yes, but won’t put a dent in the 2 million deficit. Golf, volleyball and tennis meets the “two team sports for each gender”. Then the Big West has an expectation of UH fielding a number of teams outside of football to be part of the conference.

  34. Shoko July 20, 2014 1:28 pm

    Yep, good point. Probably wouldn’t do much in terms of savings. However, I could have sworn it was mentioned by either BJ or Apple earlier this year about eliminating a sport. Maybe it was just talk given the money troubles UH is facing. Threatening the livelihood of a non-revenue sport, like ST mentioned, does little in the way of causing much grief compared to football or basketball.

    I suppose Nevada eliminating their ski program a few years ago did little in the way of cost savings, either. But they did it anyway, and the reactions was more or less one of indifference.

  35. oldtimer808 July 20, 2014 1:41 pm

    Mahalo #4 Fan…you have the right spirit and attitude. We are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and we are disadvantaged compared to the colleges on the mainland in terms of Football. We can only hope that when the super conferences realign that we are not left behind. Yes enjoy our football team while it last win or lose. I truly believe despite the record that Coach Chow has developed a culture with the student/athlete as one of his main focus.

  36. Rodney July 20, 2014 1:48 pm

    #30 not a good analogy
    I’d ask that somebody gotta
    go and bum bye they can return.

  37. Inyoface July 20, 2014 1:50 pm

    MLS, my bad. Not sure if it’s true attendance is down, just the messenger.


  38. st. anthony trojan July 20, 2014 2:43 pm

    Time waits for no one…

    The redlands pioneers are no longer…kaput..
    first you cut players pay… then you have no players…saves money..all around…
    while at cleveland he sure built them up to a super duper world series power house huh…

  39. st. anthony trojan July 20, 2014 2:51 pm


    impressive resumes..does not a man make…
    a dept of education superintendent once told me….just because he/she has a letter of recommendation…does not mean squat…we do it to get rid of people that would take years to fire…so just ask them to leave… with that letter.. n problem is solved…not saying this is or was the case in this situation that seems to be the sunday topic…

  40. Old School Dave July 20, 2014 2:58 pm

    Here’s a list of undergraduate degree programs at UH Manoa. I wonder if we could eliminate some of those majors that have low enrollment as cost cutting measures? The Classics? Russian? Second Language Studies and ESL (how come get 2 departments)? Family Resources? Peace Studies? No huhu, just asking.

    BTW, how come there is a Women’s Studies major, but no Men’s Studies?

  41. Old School Dave July 20, 2014 2:59 pm

    Sorry, here’s the list of majors:

  42. nutmegger July 20, 2014 3:02 pm

    How about opening a University of Hawaii – Las Vegas. It would consist of a football stadium and a classroom / coaches office. Open every fall semester for football only, Spring and summer at Manoa. It would cut travel costs and subsidies. Set up a big screen TV somewhere for local tailgaters in one of the Community College campuses or on Manoa campus somewhere.

  43. jiminycricket July 20, 2014 3:12 pm

    Hire JJ to be the new football coach and watch the $2 million deficit immediately vanish. Football season tickets sales are down from 26,000 right after Sugar Bowl to 12,000 today. That is a lot of revenue, not to mention reduced walk up sales the day of the games. Also, TV and sponsorship revenue will increase, national media will increase. That is a no brainer solution, especially since JJ wants to come home to coach. I hope BJ knows this.

  44. islandman July 20, 2014 3:55 pm

    SMU didn’t do that well last season, 5-7, 4-4 in conference, averaged about 17,906 home attendance.

  45. Ipu Man July 20, 2014 7:22 pm

    Jesse was helped by also by a gifted quarterback and coach…

  46. Ipu Man July 20, 2014 7:23 pm

    Too many by’s…

  47. Ipu Man July 20, 2014 7:24 pm

    Anyhow, it’s Chow Time, Baby. Win Coach, win. It’s your time to shine.

  48. hossana July 20, 2014 7:55 pm

    Jiminycricket: Do you keep up with the daily sports news in Dallas?? Many fans and sports columnists were not too happy with JJ couple yrs. ago because they felt he had reached a plateau and couldn’t take them any higher but people were arguing about the buyout but now its even worse even though he was able to get a contract extension, his record at SMU has been going or spiraling downward and SMU people will love to see JJ leave and return to Hawaii…….Also, do you have the monies to buyout N.C.’s contract and, more significantly, pay JJ a salary comparable to what he is making at SMU….Please don’t fantasize and stick to facts…….if UH’s program is to be turned around, it will take a collective effort from all of us e.g. fans, students, big time donors to get behind the dept. and provide the resources needed for a winning program.

  49. tom-warriornation July 20, 2014 7:58 pm

    Last call for UH-SDSU tickets for Oct. 18; so far we got a group of 75 Hawaii fans sitting together close behind our Warrior bench on the Field level–tickets will be $20 each; come join us by calling me at 415-324-0585; posting here; or emailing me at: tomkitaguchi@yahoo.com

  50. maddog50 July 21, 2014 3:17 am

    I just want to see some football……Go Warriors

  51. Inyoface July 21, 2014 6:58 am

    Just win baby. Do it for coach Chow. We can beat Washington!

  52. leron July 21, 2014 7:40 am

    Is Stephen Tsai in Vegas already?

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