QB Whieldon goes on leave of absence
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
|Junior Jason Whieldon has left the UH football team to tend to a personal problem. Coach June Jones hopes he will return by Monday. Whieldon threw two TD passes last Friday.
Cory Lum The Honolulu Advertiser
UH, which has a bye this weekend, plays at Texas-El Paso Sept. 21.
"He has some family problems," UH coach June Jones said. "I told him to take some time and go clean them up, and hopefully he'll be back Monday."
Whieldon threw two scoring passes in the Warriors' 35-32 loss to Brigham Young last Friday. Whieldon, a junior from California, was used in short-yardage situations in place of starter Tim Chang, who had difficulty receiving short snaps because of a broken right pinkie on his throwing hand.
Chang, who suffered the injury Aug. 15, yesterday practiced for the first time without a specially crafted splint on his right hand. He threw crisply.
"It does feel a little more comfortable," Chang said. "It feels all right. It feels like it's almost normal."
He said he did not take any aspirin before practice.
"Every time I threw leading up to all these days, there's been pain," he said. "You have to block that stuff out. That's something football players just deal with. There's always pain and injuries. You just have to block it out and do your job."
Jones said if Chang can take direct snaps, he will be used in all situations against UTEP.
"Next week," Jones said, "he should be completely healed."
First recruit: Daniel Murray, a 2000 Hilo High graduate who earned all-conference honors at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif., has committed to play for the Warriors next year.
If Murray, who is attending Hawai'i Community College, earns an associate degree in December, he will enroll at UH in January and compete in spring practice in March.
"That's my goal," said Murray, who also was a standout baseball player at Hilo High.
Murray, who is 5 feet 11 and 205 pounds, played rover at Foothill. He returned to Hilo during the summer, and is an assistant coach at his alma mater.
"He's a good role model," Hilo High athletic director Leroy Simms said. "He's a super kid."
Kauka offers support: Running back Jonathan Kauka, who suffered a season-ending knee injury against BYU, was on crutches at yesterday's practice. Kauka, who is scheduled to undergo reconstructive surgery in two weeks, said he wanted to be among teammates.
"What really makes me come out here is the love of the game and the love for these men," he said. "Even though I'm hurt, I feel I have to be on the side of them going into battle. If we're going to be one team, one family, we have to stick together no matter if we're hurt or 100 percent."
Kauka said the injury is a "bummer," but "it's how you take it and what your attitude is that makes you the person that you are. People can see your character by how you deal with adversity."