Soares counting the days to Florida kickoff

Ron Mizutani
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Wednesday - April 18, 2008
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Blaze Soares is anticipating going one-on-one with Tim Tebow
Blaze Soares is anticipating going one-on-one with Tim Tebow

The University of Hawaii spring football practices are in advanced mode - great enthusiasm, increased hitting,lots of snap,crackle and pop. And a good thing, too. After watching the University of Florida spring game on ESPN last week,Hawaii will have its hands full on the last Saturday in August. The Gators are big and speedy. They have a tradition where they invite regular students to compete against the football players in sprints. The fastest students get to run against players in heats prior to the spring game. Each heat had four or five students and one player running the 40-yard dash.Even the students are fast! Sign some of those guys up. UH will practice Saturday beginning at 3:30 p.m. featuring a live scrimmage.

I had a chat with UH linebacker Blaze Soares, who is being held out with a nerve injury to his shoulder, commonly referred to as a “stinger.” He is one of my favorite players to watch; he has an instinct for the football and shows up with an attitude. For Soares, high-speed collisions with a ball carrier are his idea of fun, and he’s not wild about watching from the sidelines.

“The doctors told me to rest for five months after the Georgia game,” says Soares,“but I hate sitting out.” So what if it was Boise State this Saturday? “I’d play,” says Soares simply. Asked if he’d seen any of the Florida spring game, Soares looked ahead to Gainesville in the fall.

“The thing I love about Tebow,” he says,“is he doesn’t run away from guys,he runs right at ‘em.I’m thinking sooner or later it’s gonna be me and him straight on.“As he said that, Soares had the dreamy smile of a kid promised ice cream. Now that’s a linebacker.

The UH baseball team had a second straight series win - over New Mexico State - last weekend. The Rainbows are getting solid pitching and more timely hitting than they did early in the season. Still, a couple of bats need to come around.

“We’re feeling better about ourselves, of course,” says head coach Mike Trapasso. “But I’m not talking about turning the corner of having things figured out. We’ve gotta stay after it because Nevada has the most-experienced team in the WAC, and we’ve got to be ready.”

Hawaii hosts the Wolfpack in a four-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

The basketball signing period began Wednesday with UH hoping to find some outstanding replacements for the seven departing seniors. It looks like the European connection is being reopened, and who wouldn’t want to have a few more like Nerius Puida or Savo? This recruiting class and next could go a long way toward defining Bob Nash’s tenure as Hawaii’s head coach.

Maybe it’s me, but could somebody explain why some of our young and incredibly wealthy sports stars don’t hire a car and driver when they go out to party? Last week’s arrest of Denver Nugget forward Carmelo Anthony for a DUI after a game makes you shake your head.I get that the young guns want to hit the clubs sometimes. So get a driver and end the problem. I’m a little surprised the teams or the league don’t get more involved in guiding players to avoid embarrassing and potentially lethal mistakes like these. NBA analyst Scoop Jackson has an entertaining take on the NBA MVP vote. He says Kobe Bryant won’t win - not because he doesn’t deserve it, but because the voters don’t like him.

Maybe we should call it the Bonds syndrome.


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