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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Manuwai, Brown, Tinoisamoa named team captains

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

University of Hawai'i football coach June Jones yesterday announced that offensive guard Vince Manuwai and linebackers Chris Brown and Pisa Tinoisamoa have been named team captains for the season.

In polling of the players, Brown and Tinoisamoa finished tied for first, according to Jones, who decided to name both as defensive captains.

Manuwai, a fourth-year senior from Farrington High, is a candidate for the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman. He can bench press 500 pounds, and has been invited to play in the Senior Bowl, East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl. Mel Kiper Jr., who analyzes the National Football League draft for ESPN, ranks Manuwai as the top prospect at guard.

Brown, a fifth-year senior from Damien Memorial High, bench pressed 505 pounds last month. A converted defensive lineman, Brown has been invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game and Hula Bowl.

Tinoisamoa, a fourth-year senior from San Diego, entered UH as a partial-academic qualifier in 1999. If he earns a bachelor's degree by next August, he will be eligible to play as a fifth-year senior in 2003. Tinoisamoa, who is regarded as an NFL draft prospect, has indicated he would like to remain at UH for another season.

• Willing, if he's able: Quarterback Tim Chang is expected to practice today or tomorrow, increasing the likelihood he will start in Saturday's season opener against Eastern Illinois.

Jones has said Chang, who has a broken right pinkie on his throwing hand, needs to practice by tomorrow to start.

"I'm going to give it a go and see what happens," said Chang, who has been fitted for a special brace. "If I'm ready to go, let's go, let's do it on Saturday."

• Bonus year: The UH coaches are looking into whether junior-college transfers Jeremiah Cockerhan and Se'e Poumele each might have an available redshirt year.

Both wide receivers attended junior college after graduating from high school in 1999. But they insist they were part-time college students in 1999, meaning their eligibility clock might not have started. The NCAA allows a player five years to play four seasons.

Jones said it was assumed both would have two years to play two seasons. If they are each awarded an extra year, Jones said, both would redshirt this season.

Jones said it was thought that middle linebacker Chad Kalilimoku, also a 1999 high school graduate, did not have a redshirt year. But UH officials ruled otherwise, and Kalilimoku will redshirt this season.

Jones said Kalilimoku, the top backup to Brown at middle linebacker, has the ability to play this season. "If we have one injury, he'll be in there," Jones said. "But it's more of an advantage, to him, to redshirt. He'll have more playing time for two years."

• Wait till next year: Defensive tackle Matt Faga will not play for the Warriors this season, UH officials announced yesterday. Faga, a Kaimuki High graduate who attended Fresno City College last year, is expected to enroll at UH this semester. There is a chance he will compete in spring practice in March.

• No place like home: Quarterback Kainoa Akina said he does not regret relinquishing a starting job at Eastern Michigan to join the Warriors as a nonscholarship player.

Akina completed medical tests and orientation meetings yesterday, and will begin practicing with the Warriors today. In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, he must redshirt this season.

"It's always been a dream of mine to play where I was born," said Akina, whose father Duane Akina was a former Punahou School quarterback and UH assistant coach. Duane Akina now is an assistant coach at Texas.

"I had a good deal going in Michigan," Akina said. "The bottom line is, I always wanted to come here. It's always been a dream of mine to grow up here. Hawai'i is home. Every place else is an adventure. Some day, the rest of my family will end up back here, too."

Akina said he looks forward to playing in front of family members. Another attraction is the Pacific Ocean.

"You really can't surf every day anywhere else in the United States," he said. "Here, the beach is right down the street. I've got my board. I just go down to my uncle's house and surf it up."

• Bring 'em on: Jones said he has no problem playing at least one Division I-AA team each year, such as the season opener against Eastern Illinois.

It was suggested that the Warriors have everything to lose by playing a Division I-AA team, but Jones said, "every game is high risk. We're not any different from other Division I schools."

Besides, Jones said: "It's tough to get teams to come over. We found that out with Texas, Virginia, Washington State. You have to play what you can play. (Division I-AA teams) are willing to play us. Eastern Illinois is a good team. (It is) probably as good as Washington State, to be quite honest."