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Sunday, September 21, 2014         

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Bless his heart, Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Clune's mantra is that his unit has to give up one less point than the Rainbow Warriors' offense scores. "If the offense scores 12, we have to hold them to 11, that's our job," Clune resolutely maintained Saturday.

Of all the black-and-gold-clad fans in Folsom Field to root for him and the University of Colorado against Hawaii on Saturday morning, defensive lineman Juda Parker knows there will be a special voice striving to be heard from section 107, row 28.

When doctors removed the kidney from Ma‘ake Kemoeatu that they would transplant to his ailing younger brother Chris they marveled at its size. "About one-and-a-half-times bigger than any other kidney I've ever put in," said Dr. Stephen Bartlett.

The words had a ring of distant familiarity to them Saturday night when Aloha Stadium public announcer Keenan Takamori intoned, "Touchdown by Yap!" Perhaps there was even a bit of nostalgia for old-timers who remember the late 1970s.

The Aloha Stadium fans might not have let coach Norm Chow get away with playing ultra conservative offense Saturday night, but the Rainbow Warriors' defense did.

Hawaii and Northern Iowa play what is commonly referred to as a "guarantee game" this evening at Aloha Stadium. Problem is, there seems to be a difference of opinion on what the term "guarantee game" means.

Twenty-one years after his death, the shadow of Stan Sheriff still looms large at Aloha Stadium. When Hawaii plays frequent Football Championship Subdivision contender Northern Iowa there Saturday it will be a match of football programs 4,035 miles and a division apart but now brought together, in part, by the memories of a man who was not only a common thread but a shaper and innovator at both.

Usually Marcus Mariota is driving a white Nissan Cube. These days the University of Oregon quarterback can also be found in the driver's seat of the just-beginning 2014 Heisman Trophy race.

One of these nights the University of Hawaii is going to win a football game again, but it probably won’t be until it stops beating itself.

What we have Saturday at Aloha Stadium just might be the University of Hawaii's best -- and last -- chance to beat Oregon State for many years to come. Never mind that the Rainbow Warriors are 10-point underdogs.

The book on University of Hawaii punter Scott Harding these days, it seems, is a dog-eared "Roget's Thesaurus." As in how many terms can opposing coaches employ in their attempts to describe the hardships that Harding, a six-year Australian Rules pro turned punter, presents for their special teams units?

The idea was for Edward "Skippa" Diaz and Rockne Freitas, two locally bred Oregon State football stars, to be honorary game captains Saturday when OSU plays the University of Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.

The chant rolled through Aloha Stadium like claps of rising thunder: "Dee-fense! Dee-fense!" For the first time in years it was again a rallying cry of the University of Hawaii football faithful, not some longshot prayer to the heavens.

Take a real good look at these first two opponents on the University of Hawaii's football schedule -- Washington today and Oregon State next week.

Holly Barker saw most of the 13 sacks that defensive lineman Hau'oli Kikaha registered for the University of Washington last season.

The mandate and, indeed, a slogan around University of Hawaii football for this year has been to "finish." After losing five games by a touchdown or less in 2013, it is a worthy goal. But the financial and emotional imperative at UH these days is for the Rainbow Warriors to start well, too.

At the start of his first meeting as chair of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, Jeff Portnoy slammed the opening gavel to the table with an exuberance that caused some people to recoil.

As a young football coach, Bob Wagner initially confessed surprise at the degree of interest some other coaches on campus showed in the team's fortunes.

Contrary to what's been floating around the Twitterverse and even some mainstream mainland sports media outlets, the University of Hawaii football team isn't going anywhere in the immediate future ... except to Aloha Stadium and six venues on the continent to play football games over the next few months.

Before the first volleyball is served or football kicked off this season, the University of Hawaii is already waging fierce competition. With itself. The battleground is shirts, hats and other newly minted athletic logowear being sold at both the campus bookstore and the newly created H-Zone.

Last month the consultant hired to work with the state on the future of Aloha Stadium told a public forum that "hundreds of reports" have been compiled on the facility in its nearly 40 years.

In the past quarter-century, the University of Hawaii has gone up against three quarterbacks in season openers who were or became Heisman Trophy winners.

It seems that Dave Shoji's volleyball national coaching brethren have two messages for his coming milestone 40th season. One for the celebratory cake and one for the court: On one hand, "Congratulations!"

Luxury high-rise condos sprouting in Kakaako, taxing pensions, preschool education, the excise tax surcharge... Sure, those are among the hot-button topics of the day as voters go to the polls. But what about the compelling issues of the local sports world?

Remarkably, it was just seven years ago that the University of Hawaii was one of three non-Power Five conference teams ranked in the preseason Top 25 football polls.

Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey finished a set of plays with the University of Hawaii's No. 1 offensive unit Monday when Jeremy Higgins began to trot onto the field ... only to be summoned back.

When the two newest members of the Aloha Stadium Authority rose to be sworn in this week, chairman Charles Toguchi quipped they were his linemen, "here to protect me."

At a time when money is tight and some raises are frowned upon, imagine a boss who proposes to take a portion of her bonus bucks and share them with her assistants.

Sacking an Ohio State quarterback in front of 104,719 predominantly scarlet and gray partisans at the Horseshoe remains a moment of considerable pride for Quinlinn Ka'uakeanihinawelau Onapaliulioke Koolau Adolpho.

Even now, more than 50 years and thousands of surfboards later, Randy Rarick vividly recalls his first wide-eyed steps into a Kakaako surf shop.

The biggest stage at Paramount Studios in Hollywood wasn't reserved for shooting a movie Wednesday. But if it had been, it could have been titled "The Amazing Marcus Mariota."

Loved your insightful-as-usual annual state-of-the-Big 12 address at Monday's media day in Dallas -- right up until the point where you reached into your golf bag, took out the Big Bertha driver and started whacking the NCAA enforcement gumshoes about the head with it.

For several years now, the University of Hawaii has hung those large green "Protect This House" banners when it plays football at Aloha Stadium.

In announcing deepening budget cuts and a hiring freeze, University of Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay grimly told coaches and staff in an internal email Thursday, "Suffice to say, these next two years will not be easy."

To the surprise of nobody who has known him, SMU football coach June Jones is still rarin’ back and daring to throw deep.

Derek Jeter couldn't do it Tuesday. Neither could LeBron James while teaming up with Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving in March. Nobody the NHL has put on the ice in years has even come close.

Marcus Mariota stepped onto the stage at the Hukilau restaurant Wednesday and uneasily eyed the expanding Downtown Athletic Club of Hawaii crowd.

It turns out that as Commissioner Bud Selig prepares to leave Major League Baseball he is grudgingly willing to leave the door slightly ajar for Pete Rose on the way out.

Commissioner Mike Slive began his annual state-of-the-Southeastern Conference address Monday in Alabama with a shout-out to his wife on their 46th wedding anniversary. Sweet and sentimental then quickly gave way to calculated and demanding.

Manti Te'o reclined in a beach chair in the middle of a large makeshift photo studio in Waipahu where sand was spread around his feet and props were arranged to give the appearance of a man on his own island.

As a 14-year-old on the way to surfing competitions at Huntington Beach, Calif., Carissa Moore would pause and inspect with awe the hand imprints of the legendary surfers pressed into the concrete along Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

They say that soccer star Lionel Andres Messi is so quick and nimble of foot, especially the left one, that he can dribble in circles in a phone booth. But for him the most meaningful change of direction, one that he is on the verge of with a victory in the World Cup finale Sunday, has been 13 often-arduous years in the making.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball home schedule this season is thin on marquee names but rich with marketing potential for schedule cards.

A good part of sports is about believing in the unlikely and clinging to hope in the face of long odds. In Cleveland the enduring faithful have surely had their belief heavily trampled upon and tested more than most.

When Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach Dave Shoji signed his latest deal in 2008, there was little fanfare over what became the longest contract — six years, eight months — in University of Hawaii athletic history.

At first, Haylie Shinsato saw judo only through red, tear-filled eyes. Now, she views the sport from an intensely focused perspective, and, usually, from a medalist's vantage point.

One of the ways the University of Hawaii has been attempting to boost its sagging bottom line is by encouraging fans who already have a season ticket in one sport to add or retain another one.

When parting the cobwebs of nearly 45 years of Aloha Stadium history and lore, you never know what you might find. Just like the Aloha Stadium Authority, which has been given plenty to consider by the Aloha Stadium Comprehensive Site Summary released Thursday.

In five seasons pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chuck Crim enjoyed few nights off. But it wasn't until he saw his numbers etched in a bronze plaque among the first wave of players enshrined on the Brewers' Wall of Honor this month that the former University of Hawaii star realized just how rare they really were.

They say the prestigious Harton S. Semple Trophy weighs about 10 pounds. When it isn't filled to its gleaming brim with beer, that is. The trophy that is toted by a white-gloved custodian before being handed over to the winner of the U.S. Women's Open found another use Sunday night.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota became an exhibit in the landmark O'Bannon vs. NCAA antitrust case Friday. Well, not him, exactly, but his popular and highly lucrative No. 8 University of Oregon jersey.

The most compelling commercial -- in any language -- of this World Cup belongs to the Bank of Chile. It is less an advertisement than an emotional exhortation for La Roja, Chile's team, to accomplish the remarkable.

When Tony Gwynn interviewed for the baseball coaching job at San Diego State, he brought a baseball card instead of a resume. It wasn't arrogance, the Aztecs would learn, but a point of pride.

We like our sports figures to be honest and genuine in their words. We don't want them to retreat behind mindless cliches, preferring that they say what is on their minds and speak from their hearts.

A look at the 2014 World Cup, from "A" to "Z." A -- is for "La Albiceleste" or the "white and sky blue" in Spanish, Argentina's nickname from its distinctive uniforms.

Sure, March is when madness overtakes the NCAA and January is when football crowns its champion, but history tells us that June is when the foundation of college athletics tends to undergo seismic shifts.

Kenneth Mortimer's "ah-ha" sports moment as University of Hawaii president came when the 28-4 Rainbow Wahine basketball team was denied a 1993 NCAA tournament berth.

Whether the University of Nevada-Las Vegas football team beats Hawaii or not, their Nov. 22 game at Aloha Stadium has already made the Rebels winners at the bank.

Baseball is one of the few widely visible sports where the have-not schools still have a chance to contend for a championship. A slim one, but a chance nonetheless.

It started innocently enough in 1984 when Mark Stewart went to sign up a 6-year-old son for soccer in Kailua. And now, 30 years later, he's left to marvel at how he has ended up with nearly 500,000 kids.

For the 10th time in 12 years the University of Hawaii athletic department expects to end the fiscal year with a deficit. Spot a trend here?

Bruce O'Neil was home in Oregon, looking at the Pacific Ocean and listening to an "Iz" CD when his cell phone buzzed Monday. "And, thinking about Hawaii," O'Neil added.

Famous for his front-and-center role in the NFL Draft, where he announces the next team up for a selection, it is Commissioner Roger Goodell's turn to make a decision. And a lot of eyes are on him in the Jim Irsay case.

The late University of Hawaii athletic director Stan Sheriff once observed that when "that damn Cougar roars, you can feel it all the way (here)."

University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has All-Pac-12 center Hroniss Grasu in front of him this season and, now, Lloyd's of London behind him.

Ever since Colt Brennan providentially landed in our midst, we've been waiting for the next big passer to drop into the University of Hawaii huddle from the heavens. Or, in the latest installment, from Los Angeles.

The Academic Progress Rate scores for UH, announced Wednesday by the NCAA, suggest a turnover in athletes is the biggest barrier to the athletic department reaching its avowed goal of breaking into the top 50 percent of Division I institutions in the APR.

The last time the University of Hawaii men's basketball team went to the NCAA Tournament, Predrag Savovic was awarded its Art Woolaway Most Outstanding Player award.

Watching the names of the quarterbacks come off the board in the NFL Draft, you had to wonder.

When Troy Buckley was a baseball coach at Santa Clara University, he could ask parents with rousing enthusiasm if they wanted their sons to be Broncos.

The University of Hawaii had a pretty good haul at the American Volleyball Coaches Association Sand Volleyball Championships over the weekend, and the Rainbow Wahine's head coach didn't do badly, either.

There is so little tradition being preserved in University of Hawaii athletics that when another piece of it, no matter how small, gets summarily discarded, you have to shake your head.

Three of the major ingredients that have helped the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl endure for 12 years are its Christmas Eve date, exclusivity and a tie-in with the University of Hawaii.

Their budgets and head-coaching records are almost as far apart as their campuses, but today, Hawaii's Norm Chow and Washington's Chris Petersen have more in common than just their Aug. 30 season opener.

For much of his 33 years in the NBA, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, in warped word and deed, symbolized what was once known as the "billion dollar boys club."

One by one, we're hearing NBA owners weigh in with outrage on the repugnant, racist comments alleged to have been made by dean of their lodge, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald T. Sterling.

There is a number the University of Hawaii football might want to carry with it into both Saturday's final spring practice and the next few months leading to fall camp: 21.5.

The gap between University of Hawaii athletic teams and their well-heeled foes figures to grow even wider after Thursday. By leaps and bounds, not to mention smoothie bars and bison burgers.

The standard measures of the growing success of the men's tennis team, of course, are the Sea Warriors' 20-0 record, Saturday's second consecutive Pacific West Conference championship and a No. 3 ranking in NCAA Division II.

Can somebody here beat Cal Poly, please? If you have followed the University of Hawaii's fortunes since joining the Big West Conference especially, you might have begun to wonder.

Watching quarterback Jeremy Higgins flip a pass to receiver Quinton Pedroza as linebacker Jeremy Castro tries to break up the play this spring makes for a revealing snapshot of the changing look of the University of Hawaii football team.

The $5,152,000 question now that the Pro Bowl won't be here in January is: What will the Hawaii Tourism Authority do with the money it saves?

No matter how deep her struggles, how ragged her putting or how many cuts she missed, Michelle Wie always seemed able to talk about closing the gap on winning as if it was right around the corner even, when her body language said otherwise.

To watch Tui Unga go about the opening of spring drills at the University of Hawaii has been to glimpse a lot of what you think a tight end should be.

Last year, in the midst of a 16-35 season gone quickly sour, fulfilling ticket requests was the least of University of Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso's problems. Now?

Quarterback Taylor Graham was asked, time and again, about his health as spring practice opened at the University of Hawaii.

University of Hawaii football coach Norm Chow says it is hard to put a price on the considerable experience that the newest assistant, Wayne Moses, brings to the Rainbow Warriors.

The University of Hawaii men's basketball team chases victory No. 20 Saturday at the Stan Sheriff Center -- and a lot more, if you are coach Gib Arnold.

Early last fall when a visitor noted the life-sized mannequin in the display window of the campus Duck Store modeling his popular No. 8 jersey, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota lowered his head, humbly.

The picture took some getting used to and it wasn't the quality of the video streamed from Chris Petersen's Seattle press conference. No amount of fiddling could make up for -- get this -- Petersen in a purple sweater.

It hasn't been easy to be a San Francisco Giants fan in Hawaii these past few seasons, even with two World Series banners. But this year it is getting more frustrating for the enduring faithful.

Last season, debuting University of Hawaii women's basketball coach Laura Beeman probably deserved to be the coach of the year in the Big West Conference. This season she looks to be doing an even better job.

A while back Kansas State's Bill Snyder offered rookie head coach Norm Chow some sage advice on a key part of turning around a struggling program.

A little more than a month ago, the prospect of another letter from the NCAA regarding the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex would have sent shivers through the University of Hawaii administration from Hawaii Hall to the quarry. Today, UH officials await one, hopefully.

The more you see the University of Hawaii men's basketball team succumb to the top teams in the Big West Conference, the more you have to wonder if the Rainbow Warriors are being betrayed by their choice of nonconference schedule.

This is a big game for the University of Hawaii -- not just because the Rainbow Warriors figure to be staring up at 7-foot, 6-inch Mamadou Ndiaye all night.

You need only look at the University of Hawaii's future nonconference schedules to see where the Rainbow Warriors line up in college football's hottest debate of the moment -- the proposed defensive substitution rule.

Every day of quarterback Max Wittek’s high school football career at Mater Dei brought him face to face with Colt Brennan. Never mind that they played at the Santa Ana, Calif., football powerhouse billed as “Quarterback High” nine years apart, the reminders were frequent and hard to miss.

On the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 2012, three Miami Dolphins offensive linemen "jokingly threatened to harm" an assistant trainer of Japanese ancestry "in retaliation for Pearl Harbor."

The visitor's roster featured first baseman Mark McGwire, who would lead college baseball in home runs, and imposing 6-foot, 10-inch pitcher Randy Johnson, who led the nation in making batters nervous.


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