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Wednesday, July 30, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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Masoli might play in Hawaii this fall, but not for UH

By Dave Reardon

POSTED:



Jeremiah Masoli in a University of Hawaii football uniform.

Got your attention?

Well, it isn't going to happen. UH turned down the overture from the many-time winner on the field but two-time loser off of it.

Whichever side you lined up on, it was a no-brainer, right?

Fans: "Of course you accept him! He's one of the best players in all of college football, quarterback of the Pac-10 champs."

Moralists: "Of course you reject him! He got busted for burglary. Then he got caught driving with marijuana in the car, but not a valid license. Enough trouble for Oregon to give him the boot."

Clear-cut, isn't it? If you want the Warriors to win, yay. If you want the streets safe, nay.

He's Tim Tebow ... but with a rap sheet.

But there are many considerations -- practical, ethical, emotional.

IN LESS than a year the Heisman Trophy candidate's image went from the cover of Sports Illustrated to police mug shots, and now he's looking around for a place to play a final college season.

Louisiana Tech seems like the front-runner. LaTech, like Hawaii, plays in the WAC. And the Bulldogs meet the Warriors on Oct. 2 at Aloha Stadium.

At this point, my guess is UH has a good chance for a winning season -- but not if it loses to any teams against which it is favored. Louisiana Tech, which has never won here, is in that category.

How much does the point spread change if Masoli does play in Halawa this year, in a blue and red jersey?

Should UH have embraced Masoli, at least to keep him away from LaTech? In today's Machiavellian world of sports, where players are referred to as pieces, was that the move? Worth the public backlash of bringing in a piece with a record?

It would be tactical, kind of "Hollywood Squares"-ish. "Jeremiah Masoli, to block, Tom."

And blocking might have been his job at UH, more than throwing.

Masoli has one season left and no redshirt year available. He'd have to learn the run-and-shoot offense on the job to challenge at quarterback.

He's a super stud in an offense where he's expected to run, like Oregon's. Remember him rumbling for 164 on the ground last year when the Ducks flattened USC 47-20?

But for a run-and-shoot quarterback, the keys are passing accuracy and experience in the system.

His completion percentage was under 60 percent as a Duck, actually a shade better than UH starter Bryant Moniz, and against better competition. But unless he learned UH's schemes faster than Nick Rolovich (who, incidentally, coached Masoli at junior college and would've here) and Colt Brennan, Masoli would have to be a backup.

Maybe he'd get on the field as a wildcat specialist, or enter a running back situation already crowded with talent. And you know what running backs do most of the time in the run-and-shoot. Too bad he's not an offensive lineman.

SECOND CHANCES are much easier to justify than third chances. Brennan, Davone Bess and Pisa Tinoisamoa are just the biggest names to have done themselves and Hawaii proud, proving legal problems before UH were not indicative of their character.

But in this game, two strikes and you're out.

Masoli graduated from Saint Louis School. I'm told he's a good guy when he's around his family here. In some ways, he seems a perfect fit for another chance, home in Hawaii.

But, all things considered, coach Greg McMackin made the right decision -- even if Jeremiah Masoli is triumphant in a return to Aloha Stadium, as LaTech's quarterback.

Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.






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