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UH chooses Moniz as QB starter

McMackin, Rolovich and Davis agree that he's earned the right to lead the Warriors into the opener

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 1:32 a.m. HST, Aug 10, 2010

In an announcement confirming the expected, yesterday Bryant Moniz was named the University of Hawaii football team's No. 1 quarterback.

"Chee-hoo," said Moniz, a fourth-year junior who started eight games as an injury replacement for Greg Alexander in 2009.

Barring injury, Moniz will lead the Warriors' four-wide offense in the Sept. 2 season opener against Southern California.

Moniz entered spring training as the No. 1 quarterback, but was placed on personal leave for the final three weeks of the spring. He rejoined the team in late May for the start of the offseason conditioning program. By then, the quarterback competition was opened.

For the first three practices of training camp, the so-called top tier -- Moniz, Shane Austin, Brent Rausch and David Graves -- received an equal number of snaps during passing drills. Yesterday, Moniz took the majority of the snaps.

"Moniz is our No. 1 quarterback," said head coach Greg McMackin, who made the decision after consulting with offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich and receivers coach Mouse Davis. "He's the unanimous pick. He's got all of that game experience. Not only did he make the plays, he made plays when he was in trouble and got out of there because he was an athlete. He's having an excellent fall camp."

McMackin said it will take at least another week to name a No. 2 quarterback.

Austin, a fourth-year junior, started in the Warriors' road victory over San Jose State last year. Graves, a second-year freshman, took snaps as the No. 1 quarterback during Moniz's spring-training leave. Rolovich said the mystery candidate is Rausch, who did not play last season because of a broken finger on his throwing hand.

"Brent's had some bad luck, and he hasn't had a real true game opportunity to show what he can do," Rolovich said. "But he's a senior, and he's been doing well. He's in a very productive mind-set."

Moniz, a Leilehua High graduate, played at Fresno City College in 2007. He transferred to UH in January 2009. He entered the 2009 training camp as the No. 4 quarterback, but scaled the depth chart, and was the first summoned after Alexander, a senior, suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Moniz was troubled by arm fatigue during the 2009 season and was placed on a throwing limit during practices. This past offseason he strengthened his right arm with band exercises and weightlifting focusing on specific muscles.

"A lot of protein and weights and time," Moniz said. "I put in the time to strengthen my body and arm."

Rolovich said: "He worked really hard physically this year. It means a lot to him. His arm is fine. He has a nice touch on his (passes). He has zip when he needs zip."

Moniz said he never imagined he would be in this position.

"I was ready to quit when I first started football," said Moniz, whose first experience was as a member of Mililani's Pop Warner team. "I was scared to play football when I was a kid. When we started, I was 9, and we did some 'meat grinders,' and I got blasted. There's a drill where two guys come, and you have to shed both of them. I must have gone on the ground five times. But then we won the state championship that year, and I fell in love with it. That was a long way from now."

Moniz said he is prepared for the demands that come with being the No. 1 quarterback.

"I enjoy all that comes with it -- good stuff or bad stuff, pressure, not pressure," Moniz said. "It's just exciting for me."


Scout teams get work

Yesterday marked the first practice in which the top offenses and defenses went against scout teams.

"We needed to start working on the things to get us ready for the opener," McMackin said.

McMackin said the practice was run "pro style," in which defenders would wrap up ball carriers but not bring them to the ground. McMackin said the intent is to practice at full speed while minimizing the risk of injuries.


Paredes, Nielsen back at it

Linebacker Parker Paredes and quarterback Corey Nielsen practiced for the first time since being added to the 105-player roster for training camp.

Both were expected to join Aug. 23, the first day of UH's fall semester, when roster limits are lifted. But two injuries opened the way for the early invitations.

Both had kept in shape. Paredes worked out on his own at UH, and Nielsen trained in California.

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