Archive for December, 2007

June Jones with the line of the day/Moreno won’t start

December 31st, 2007
By



NEW ORLEANS >> The Hawaii coach isn’t always a great quipster, but maybe that snazzy suit got him in the groove.

“We liked that the Saints facility is a 30-minute drive from the hotel,” Jones said in opening remarks at his final news conference today before the Sugar Bowl. “That kept the players off the streets for 30 minutes.”

He also said this is the first time he’s worn a suit in “nine years,” referring to around the time he interviewed to become the Hawaii coach.

Will he be wearing one again soon?

“Tonight,” Jones answered.

Don’t worry Warrior fans, the SMU athletic director is nowhere in sight; Jones has to suit-up again for a Sugar Bowl sponsor function.

***

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Knowshon Moreno won’t start at running back. Thomas Brown is his replacement. Moreno has been hampered by a sprained left ankle but is still expected to play.

***

More to come after I write tomorrow’s stories.

***

Who let the Dawgs out?

December 31st, 2007
By



NEW ORLEANS >> Now that’s a party!

And the after party was even better.

Yesterday was a relatively easy work day, after a 15-hour stint on Saturday. Sunday was just three stories to write as opposed to five the day before. At any rate, I was ready to let off a little steam with the boys and girls on Bourbon Street.

We were bused to Pat O’Brien’s, which is where they invented the hurricane. Actually, I think my college roommates and I invented the hurricane independently when we mixed rum and Hawaiian Punch.

Food was awesome again, it was a pupu deal where they brought trays around with bits of steak, excellent spanokopita (Greek pastry filled with cheese) and other goodie.

We looked down from the balcony at red waves of Georgia fans … plenty of students, as well as alumni.

When the official media party was over, Paul Arnett, Richard Walker and I made our way past the DMZ and a couple blocks down to Johhny White’s, the unoffical UH headquarters on Bourbon. It was home away from home, and we marveled at how many young UH fans had made their way here — most I talked to from Hawaii, rather than the mainland as I figured them for recent college grads who hadn’t found their way back to the islands yet.

Walker got the money shot with pictures of Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann reuniting with his Iolani football teammate and classmate, Warrior Nation Ambassador (New Orleans chapter) Lynn Sapir, the owner of Johnny White’s.

Overall, it was a night of happy chaos on Bourbon Street, where not a UH player was to be seen. A few Bulldogs from deep down the depth chart were spotted, however.

Wrong way/OSU Puntboy

December 30th, 2007
By



NEW ORLEANS >> Our charter bus headed to the last regular practice for Hawaii before the Sugar Bowl went to the Superdome rather than the Saints’ facility by mistake. Some folks were worried that we might not make it to the UH practice before it ended. But I wasn’t too concerned, since the Warriors usually go a little long two days prior to a game — especially a big one.

Because we were “late” it just meant we stood around in the chill outside of the indoor facility for a few minutes less than we would have. Today’s practice was closed, but we got to talk to a few players.

The players seem to be at just the right emotional level. They’re loose, but they really do want to do everything right so that they represent themselves, the team, the school and the state as well as possible.

Paul Arnett told me the Georgia players were also loose today. I’d heard they were tight earlier in the week. Mark Richt, a master of motivational techniques, probably noticed that and had his assistants lighten up some.

We were fed a very nice lunch today by the Sugar Bowl folks. It included collard greens, a personal favorite. Grilled chicken, jambalaya and chopped salad. Very nice.

Tonight we go to Pat O’Brien’s for a media gathering. I can’t even begin to mention all the other parties; there are several being hosted by folks from Hawaii, and I’m sure we’ll try to stop by as many of those as possible.

***

Former Ohio State punter and Punahou athlete Scott Terna just arrived. Scott’s an outstanding sports photographer. He’ll be shooting the Sugar Bowl for UH and the national championship for This Week in Football in Ohio.

***

Good morning, this is your wakeup call

December 29th, 2007
By



NEW ORLEANS >> The Warriors practiced in the wee hours this morning, starting at around 7:30 a.m. Central. Shrewd move by coach June Jones on the day after the first 11 p.m. bed check.

“I think he was just making sure everyone was in their room for curfew,” linebacker Blaze Soares said.

Back to normal, since UH practices in the morning at home?

“Back home it’s 3 a.m.,” Soares said. “I don’t think this is normal.”

Will post more later … today is a heavy work day.

No spats

December 28th, 2007
By



NEW ORLEANS >> The first complaint I’ve heard from any player is a minor one. Ryan Grice-Mullins is unhappy that the players won’t be able to spat their shoes in the Sugar Bowl (spatting means to apply tape to the outside of the shoes). While spatting supposedly offers ankle support, it is also a show of style.

*Brian Kajiyama and I agreed today that you can tell people here are genuinely friendly, and not only because we’re tourists. They possess a giving spirit, like folks from Hawaii. Of course, we know there are evil-doers out there, just like there are in Waikiki. We haven’t encountered any though.

*Colt Brennan was again a hit at pre-practice interviews, and he looked very sharp at what we got to see before we were hustled out of practice.

*Someone commented that Georgia receiver Sean Bailey and running back Knowshon Moreno are very articulate. They were among the players offered up at today’s news conference.

*Today’s lunch: shrimp po’boy and red beans and rice at the Cajun Cafe at the River Walk. I’ll give it a B compared to an A for the grilled gator yesterday at Mulate’s. Cajun Cafe is behind a souvenir shop with a nice view of the Mississippi.

Stood in line for coffee at Cafe Du Monde, but the line didn’t move for nearly 10 minutes, so we bagged it.

***