Warrior Names To Look For In 2009
Friday - September 02, 2009
This weekend’s UH football home opener against Central Arkansas may beg more questions than it answers.
The crowd is expected to be around 32,000. Is that number a result of the economy or lack of name recognition in the opponent? If UH is able to dominate the Bears, does it mean they’re better than predicted? If they struggle, is the team in trouble?
The problem with a FCS (DIV. 1-AA) opener is that it doesn’t completely tell you where you stand, whether on the field or in the seats. In theory, the chance to learn from mistakes while you win seems like a good idea, but there is always the possibility that you’ll lose (Portland State, Florida Atlantic), and that’s a bit of a disaster.
Couple that with three road games to follow and the fans don’t get to watch Hawaii at Aloha Stadium again until October. We may have to wait a while to find out what kind of a team this is and how well it’ll draw.
Every year there are new faces who will shortly become household names, and familiar players who will have breakout years.
Here are a few players to watch on this year’s team:
DE John Fonoti: Overshadowed by David Veikune last year, Fonoti has a great first step and explosive strength. He is just about unblockable one on one and would make an NFL team right now. The fact that he’s been overlooked on the pre-season All WAC first teams should provide some extra motivation. He’ll be a household name, particularly if the house in question belongs to an opposing offensive coordinator.
LB Cory Paredes: The former walk-on from Castle High just keeps getting better. He can run, he’s strong and he’s a big hitter. Look for him to help make this linebacking corps better than anticipated.
CB Jeramy Bryant: Bryant has worked hard on technique and on his skills, and it shows. He should be able to cover in man, and is smart about zone. He’s shown leadership and could have an outstanding year.
WR Rodney Bradley: Bradley has outstanding speed, fine hands and just needs to continue learning the offense. He stretches the field and will make some big plays.
RB Alex Green: He’s a big, strong, fast back (6-foot-1, 220) whose elusive style belies his size. He’s made some fabulous runs in training camp. Learning the blocking schemes will dictate how often he gets on the field.
UH is picked either fifth or sixth in the WAC by just about every pre-season poll. To exceed expectations the all-senior offensive line must be a whole lot better than last year. QB Greg Alexander will need to show second-year improvement, and the defense, which has some athletes, will have to learn to play together. If this team wins seven and gets to a bowl game, that would be a terrific achievement.
Michelle Wie is on the brink of jettisoning the former phenom tag she’s worn like an anchor the last couple of years. After leading the U.S. team to the Solheim Cup, Wie took a huge step forward. Her game, her confidence and the public perception all got a huge boost last week as she became one of the girls for the first time in her career. She looked like she was having a blast. Maybe it’s time to disband the dysfunctional entity referred to as Team Wie and just let her be Michelle, because that golfer we saw last weekend is going to be hard to beat.
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