POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 19, 2010
Is it any wonder Hawaii linebacker Corey Paredes possesses the hunter's mentality to tracking ball-carriers?
"Hunting is in our family," Paredes said.
His grandfather raises hunting dogs in Makakilo.
"My dad has been hunting all his life," Paredes said.
His elder brother is named after Parker Ranch. A younger brother is named Hunter.
One of his best early memories was an outing when he was 5. It was in Moanalua, and it was Paredes' first pig hunt.
"I was excited because my whole family was going to be there," he said. "We had the dogs. When you find a spot where you want to hunt, you let (the dogs) go. Hopefully, you hear barking. You run to the bark, and hopefully, they're fighting with the pig; the dogs are on it."
For the countless number of hunts, Paredes has never heard the bark.
But to Paredes, the capture is not as important as the lesson, which he applies to football.
"The best hunting dogs are poi dogs," he said. "You want to mix pit bulls for the toughness, and hounds. You need veteran dogs that know what they're doing, and young dogs to help. When you're hunting, it's a team effort. All of the dogs have to be on him at once."
That mentality, he said, translates to the Warriors' defense.
"We're like that," he said. "We're a pack, and everybody swarms to the ball and makes plays. You can do it alone, but it's better when everybody is together. You see it (in UH's game) films. Guys are running hard and hitting piles. Everybody has that hunger."
For much of this season, Paredes has been the leader of the pack. He is second nationally with 82 tackles.
In the 27-21 upset of Nevada this past Saturday, Paredes made nine tackles and forced two momentum-changing fumbles. One was parlayed into a UH touchdown. The other, near the UH goal line, turned a sure Nevada touchdown into a touchback.
Yesterday, he was named the Western Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week.
"It's nice, and I'm happy, but this is a team award," Paredes said. "For some reason, it was awarded to me. I can't do it without the team. Everything we do, we do together."
Paredes, who joined the team as a walk-on, was awarded a football scholarship last year.
"I'm not as stressed about money," said Paredes, who no longer has to work part-time jobs to pay for school expenses.
In the past he worked as a packer for a company that sold 7-, 20- and 50-pound bags of ice cubes to stores.
He also worked on a ranch in Waimanalo, clearing trails for horses.
"I can focus on school and football," he said.
UH head coach Greg McMackin said Paredes has developed into the team's best tackler.
The key, Paredes said, "is to make the play. I'm not looking to make the big hit. If it comes, it comes. It's more important to bring the guy down for the least yardage. That's my job."