It's shaping up to be a good season at UH
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By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
The success of Mel deLaura's School of Hard Knocks could be measured in the low dropout rate.
DeLaura, who oversees the summer conditioning program for University of Hawai'i football players, measures his students' accomplishments with the "220s" — a rite-of-Warrior discipline in which each player must complete 10 sprints of 220 yards.
The 220s are always conducted on the first practice of training camp, and time limits and rest breaks are set according to a player's position. As a bonus, deLaura allowed 38 players who participated in every summer workout to run only six 220-yard sprints.
DeLaura said 82 of 104 Warriors completed the discipline. Offensive lineman Larry Sauafea did not run because of an ankle injury. The success rate of 79 percent is the highest during deLaura's six years as summer coordinator.
"They did an awesome job," deLaura said.
UH head coach June Jones said: "They worked hard all summer, and they obviously reported to camp in shape, even the guys who were on the Mainland. They handled their 220s pretty good."
DeLaura said the four quarterbacks, 17 of 18 receivers and all but two defensive backs completed their required 220s. Kicker Daniel Kelly and punter Kurt Milne breezed through their 220s.
Quarterback Colt Brennan took off his cleats and ran in socks. Strong safety Brad Kalilimoku ran in bare feet, then practiced that way, too. Running back Nate Ilaoa, who had perfect summer attendance, easily completed his six sprints.
"I feel good," said Ilaoa, who failed to make his minimum sprints last year. "The hardest part of camp is the 220s. We got that out of the way. It's now just football."
Jones said: "Nate had a good summer."
Jones also was pleased with the improved condition of several players who spent the summer on the Mainland.
Adam Leonard, who is projected to start at middle linebacker, spent the summer at his family home in Seattle, reshaping his body.
Two years ago, as a high school senior, Leonard underwent two knee surgeries. He played in eight games as a UH freshman last year, but was admittedly out of shape.
"I came in (last year) at 237, (but) it was a lot of bad weight," Leonard said. "I cut down to about 225 (in the spring), then I put the good weight back on (this summer)."
He said he weighs 235 pounds.
Tyson Kafentzis, who is listed No. 1 at left outside linebacker, gained 22 pounds, and now weighs 230.
Ilaoa compared Kafentzis to a former All-American and first-round NFL draft choice.
"I thought he was A.J. Hawk when he showed up," Ilaoa sid.
Kafentzis said: "I had to go home (to Washington) for the summer because I can't afford to live here, being a walk-on and all. I went home, and mom fed me. I'm really working hard."
Kafentzis said he worked a construction job during the day, then trained in the late afternoon and evening.
"You have to do what you have to do," he said. "I love being here. I wouldn't change it. If I have to be a walk-on for five years (to play here) ... that's what I've got to do. I don't want to be (a walk-on), but I love playing here. There are a lot of guys (on scholarship) who aren't going to be playing. I'm a walk-on, and I'm playing."
As for being listed as a starter, Kafentzis said: "You can lose your job in one day. I know that."
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