Running back Fiaseu no longer with team
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
Running back Pesefea Fiaseu Jr., who was The Advertiser's Offensive Player of the Year as a Saint Louis School senior in 2000, is no longer on the University of Hawai'i football team.
UH coach June Jones said he has not seen Fiaseu since Nov. 5, when the Warrior reserves and scouts competed in a full-contact scrimmage.
When asked if he would meet with Fiaseu, Jones said: "I have no obligation to do anything in that area. I mean, the guy doesn't come, doesn't show up, it tells me he doesn't want to be on the team. He makes his own bed."
As for a possible return, Jones said, "Not this year, he won't come back."
Fiaseu was not immediately available for comment.
As a Saint Louis senior, Fiaseu rushed for more than 1,600 yards and 31 touchdowns. He holds the Crusaders' career record of 63 touchdowns. He also was awarded the Marianist Award for leadership and academic honor.
But the 5-foot-10, 255-pound Fiaseu had said academic and personal problems forced him to withdraw from school last semester. He attended summer school, apparently earning enough credits to be eligible to practice with the team.
Coast to coast: The Nov. 29 football game between Alabama and host Hawai'i is expected to be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2, UH athletic director Herman Frazier said yesterday.
Kickoff is scheduled for 2:45 p.m., meaning it will air in prime time on the East Coast. UH's home games usually start at 6:05 p.m.
Sticking to his gunner: Jones said quarterback Tim Chang's performance "wasn't good enough" in Saturday's 24-14 loss to Nevada. But none of the other offensive players played well, either, Jones said.
"You all see Timmy's performance," Jones told reporters yesterday. "If you look at the other guys one on one, you'd say the same thing about their performance. It's not isolated to that. Timmy's wasn't good enough, but neither was 10 other guys' performance. The quarterback's the easy one to talk about."
In the cold drizzle, Chang completed 25 of 48 passes for 269 yards. He was intercepted twice and sacked three times. He often underthrew receivers in the flats. "That particular game there were some off-target high ones, too," Jones noted. "I mean, they were off target, period."
Of the criticism aimed at Chang, who was promoted by the school as a Heisman Trophy candidate, Jones said: "That's the way it is with the quarterback. Everybody thinks they know better. That's been my life. I know how to handle it."
Fighting through: Admittedly in a slump, placekicker Justin Ayat said: "I'm still positive. I'm focused this week on getting it done."
Ayat, a fourth-year junior from Kamehameha Schools, has missed his past four field-goal attempts, including two against Nevada. He thought he had corrected a glitch in which he extended his plant foot too far on his left-right-left approach.
Ayat led Western Athletic Conference kickers in field-goal percentage through UH's first eight games. When he missed kicks during that span, he recalled, "it probably wasn't a big problem to me. But when it gets so much attention from teammates, the media and the coaches, I start panicking, like, 'Oh, maybe it's a big problem.' I'm probably thinking too much about it. I've been doing this for years. It should be almost second nature."
In the past, Ayat said he did not dwell on his performance. "I'd kick it and, good or bad, it would be out of my mind," he said. "I've been getting down this year, and now I've hit a rough spot, I'm getting even more down on myself. I'm probably thinking about it more so than in the past. It's just a mental thing I have to get over."
UH, like most Division I-A programs, does not have a former kicker as one of its nine assistant coaches. Jones said NCAA rules prohibit him from asking a non-staff member to work with Ayat. Peter Kim, a Kaiser High graduate who kicked for Alabama, was told he could not serve as a volunteer kicking coach in 1999.
Ayat said he seeks occasional advice from his kicking coach in high school, and former Warrior kicker Eric Hannum.
Reach Stephen Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8051.