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Warriors leave studios, but practices go on

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Hawaii assistant coach Tony Tuioti took a swat at defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu during practice yesterday.
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For the University of Hawaii football team, a perfect roll call is when nobody says, "Here."

A sign that these are more mature and self-disciplined Warriors can be found in the absence of rolls during training camp.

As punishment for violating a team rule, such as being tardy for practice or a meeting, a player is required to roll the length of the grass practice field several times. During the two weeks of training camp, there was one instance that required post-practice rolls.

"That’s what I like about this team," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "These guys have worked hard and they’ve been smart. You don’t have to tell them to do things. They do what they’re supposed to do."

The Warriors, essentially, broke camp yesterday, with the players allowed to move out of two dance studios where they lived the past two weeks. Although they may sleep in the dormitories or off-campus housing, they still had to report to evening meetings and early practices.

"It’s my last camp," said slotback Greg Salas, a fifth-year senior, "but it’s over, and I’m glad to be able to sleep in my own bed."

During training camp, the players slept on cots. The newcomers and seniors were in one studio, the rest were in the other. McMackin said hazing was punishable by rolls.

"I don’t believe in hazing," McMackin said. "Everybody has been a new guy, and you know how you feel as a new guy. That’s another thing about leadership. It’s important to look out for others."

David Lefotu, a freshman offensive lineman from Pearl City High, said the elder players provided a welcoming atmosphere.

"The first day (of camp), we introduced ourselves to the team," Lefotu said. "The seniors knew this was a new experience for us. They helped us bond with the team. It was a long road during camp, but we got to earn the team’s respect."

Spencer Smith, a senior safety, said: "My motto for this camp was: ‘Praise, don’t haze.’ Hazing was not allowed. It worked out good. Nobody left because they felt uncomfortable. We had a lot of fun."

One of the activities was to learn the haka. Nickel back Richard Torres, linebacker Paipai Falemalu and safety Kamalani Alo taught the players the Maori chant they learned as Kahuku High players.

"We wanted to help the young guys," Torres said. "We explained the culture and background behind the haka. We didn’t want to disrespect anybody."

Meanwhile, Dave Aranda, who was promoted to defensive coordinator in February, implemented his extensive defensive schemes. Aranda said some plays come with five pages of options.

Aranda said a scout-team offense was formed after the first week of training camp to give the defense on-field experience in different situations.

Although the players were introduced to the entire defensive package, only certain parts will be used each game, based on the opponent.

"We want them to say, ‘I remember that call,’ or ‘I remember this adjustment,’ " Aranda said. "That’s what you want. What you don’t want is for them to see that call for the first time on a Tuesday when you play on a Saturday. We want to give them the best chance to be ready."

 

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