Hawai'i practices at home of other 'UH'
HOUSTON The University of Hawai'i traveled all the way to Houston only to work out at "UH" last night.
"It was nice to practice here," Hawai'i coach June Jones said following the Warriors' two-hour practice last night at the University of Houston's indoor football facility. The Warriors play Rice tomorrow.
The fieldhouse was peppered with red "UH" signs, the team color for Houston, although the Warriors readily embraced the facility as their own.
Indeed, it was a homecoming for Jones and Warrior assistants Tyson Helton and Vantz Singletary. Helton and his wife, April, the Warriors' assistant marketing director, met at Houston, where Tyson was a star quarterback and April a champion swimmer.
Singletary was raised in Houston, and Jones coached the USFL's Houston Gamblers and NFL's Houston Oilers.
Practicing indoors allowed the Warriors to work on their new plays, as well as prepare on an artificial surface similar to the one at Rice Stadium.
The one drawback was Houston officials were late in setting up the practice, and the Warriors did not have any footballs for the first 30 minutes.
With the exception of defensive end Travis Laboy, who did not make the trip because of a sprained right ankle, the Warriors appeared to be in better health than two weeks ago. They had a bye last week.
Defensive end Houston Ala, who missed the last three games because of a bruised left Achilles' heel, ran without pain last night. Ala is expected to start at right defensive end.
Rice's Mocking Band: It was bad enough that the Rice University football team had its way with the University of Hawai'i in a 38-13 victory the last time the Warriors played here in 2000.
But being the butt of jokes in the halftime skit by the Marching Owl Band was something else.
This time UH might only have the Owls' football team to worry about.
Although she wouldn't divulge the theme of the script, Catherine Hornsby, a member of MOB, said, "I think Hawai'i is safe this time."
To the accompaniment of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," the MOB lampooned UH for dropping the Rainbow nickname and logo and adopting the Warrior.
11 games will do: Rice is one of seven schools among the 117 on the NCAA Division I-A level not to play 12 or more games this season.
The NCAA permits an extra game this season but Owl athletic director John "Bobby"May said the combination of some last-minute problems with a contracted opponent and concerns over the wear and tear of a longer season kept the school from adding the extra game.
At a school where tuition, room and board totals $25,800, walk-ons are scarce and "we were concerned about injuries and fatigue adding up," May said. "We're OK with just 11 (games)."