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Friday, December 19, 2014         

FERD'S WORDS


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UH will throw Hail Mary for Moniz’s Heisman chase

By Ferd Lewis

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The odds are daunting and the competition fierce where University of Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz will soon tread.

Nobody from what we now call Bowl Championship Series automatic qualification conferences has won the Heisman Trophy since Ty Detmer of Brigham Young in 1990. And good luck on getting Las Vegas odds on this one.

But, then, when was the last time somebody who came to campus as a pizza delivery guy was even a candidate?

Which is sort of the why-the-heck-not approach UH is taking to pushing Moniz for college athletics’ most famous piece of statuary.

Like the most accomplished walk-on to play quarterback for them, the Warriors are throwing deep with this one and hoping for the best.

Make no mistake about it, though, there is a dedication of purpose and roll-up-the-sleeves commitment to the whole project. “It is our big summer project, our biggest,” sports information director Derek Inouchi said.

While UH coaches have been breaking down video and pouring over stats in preparation for the upcoming football season the SID office has been doing the same in preparation for the school’s first all-electronic and social media award campaign.

The Heisman Pundit and ESPN.com are among the outlets that have put Moniz on their Heisman watch lists. National outlets have begun to set up interviews.

Unlike Colt Brennan’s 2007 candidacy that resulted in a third-place finish and cost the school about $25,000 for materials, postage and out-sourced production of “A Colt Following,” Moniz’s venture, still largely wrapped in secrecy, is strictly bottom line.

Videos, sure. Statistical updates, of course. Stories and testimonials, yup. Even some Hawaii travelogue. But UH says the project is all in-house and electronic to keep costs down in these austere times. No DVDs or cute trinkets in the mail like the ones that marked award and post-season honors campaigns for Brennan, Tim Chang, Vince Manuwai and Al Noga.

Moniz’s campaign is one that could either be over faster than you can say Jay Berwanger — or pick up momentum with the speed of Johnny Rodgers, thanks to the first two games of the season. Show well against Colorado in the Sept. 3 nationally televised season opener and follow it up a week later at Washington and “we may need to expand things,” Inouchi said.

But a replay of that performance against Tulsa in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl folds the tent in a hurry.

Moniz is as unassuming a candidate as UH has ever pushed for an award and, surely, among the least self-oriented. That he has willingly participated in something that will make him an even larger target for every defender on the schedule is acknowledgement of what success can mean for the team, school and state.

When you are Division I’s most geographically isolated team, you have to take your shots when you can.

And, all things considered, why not put them in the hands of a guy who has delivered for a living?

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@staradvertiser.com.






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