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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Arizona St. walks fine line between business, pleasure

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

UH's Samson Satele, left, greets Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter as bowl director Jim Donovan watches.

RICHARD AMBO | The Honolulu Advertiser

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In a Waikiki conference room overseeing this country's most famous beach, Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter spoke of the reward of finishing off a football season in paradise.

But the scenic background and the back story did not match. Koetter's six-year tenure as ASU coach concludes with the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on Sunday.

Koetter was fired Nov. 27, a day after the Sun Devils completed a 7-5 regular season with a 28-14 victory over Arizona.

"No, I didn't expect it," said Koetter, who was dismissed that Sunday morning and broke the news to his players before the team banquet that night.

Koetter, who built a 40-33 record at ASU, was allowed to coach through the bowl.

"It's a difficult challenge," Koetter said. "We try to teach our players all of the time that change is a part of life. You're not going to go through life with a big bowl of cherries. You've got to deal with adversity. I'm not different from the players when they're coming off injury or when things aren't going the way they want it to. You've got to deal with it and keep moving forward."

Koetter said he wanted to install the game plan during the seven practices on their campus. The Sun Devils arrived in town on Monday.

"Most of the work was done on the Mainland," Koetter said. "Now it's a matter of polishing things up."

ASU officials had moved quickly, hiring Dennis Erickson as Koetter's successor, freeing the current staff to focus on this game.

"Since we didn't have to go on the road recruiting," Koetter said, "we decided to go ahead and get the majority of our preparation done on the front end so the coaches and their families and the players could enjoy some free time over here."

Koetter said he is trying to mix intense practices with fun activities.

"Bowl games are a reward," Koetter said. "You shouldn't be all uptight. In my experience as a coach, teams that get all pressured out and take it too seriously get their butts kicked. We're going to have fun. I know our guys are coming out and playing hard on Christmas Eve."

Koetter said he does not have any immediate plans following the bowl game.

"I'll worry about it after the game," he said. "Right now we're focusing on having a good holiday and having a great game over here in Hawai'i. We'll worry about the rest later."


UH quarterback Colt Brennan finished in a tie for second place in balloting for the Associated Press college football Player of the Year.

Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith was the runaway winner, receiving 59 of 65 first-place votes.

Brennan and Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden each received two No. 1 votes. (Brennan received one of the No. 1 votes from Advertiser columnist Ferd Lewis.)

"To finish second to a guy like Troy Smith is awesome," Brennan said. "I'm very grateful."

Brennan leads the nation in five of seven significant categories for a quarterback, including total offense, touchdown passes and passing efficiency.


Somehow receiver Chad Mock has managed to make the X and Z positions seem as easy as A-B-C.

"It's the same plays, but on opposite sides," Mock said of X (left wideout) and Z (right wideout). "It was hard learning one side, but once I got that down, it was easy to pick up the other side."

Now Mock is teaching the younger players about teamwork.

Last year, Mock became the starting left wideout after Ian Sample suffered a knee injury in the third game. This year, Sample moved to right wideout and Jason Rivers, who did not play last season, returned as the starting left wideout. That left Mock without a starting job, but with no complaints.

"We're a team," Mock said. "It's not all about one person. I want to go out there and do what I can for the team."

The pattern for Mock, who has 25 catches for 363 yards and three touchdowns, is to spell Rivers and then Sample. Sometimes, Mock will alternate between left and right wideout during the same drive.

"Chad is very unselfish," Brennan said. "He put his time in, and I'm glad things are working out for him the past two years. A guy like that you don't appreciate fully until you don't have him anymore."

Mock, a 2002 Farrington High School graduate, aspires a career in law enforcement.

• • •


WHAT: University of Hawai'i (10-3) vs. Arizona State (7-5)

WHEN: 3:05 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24

WHERE: Aloha Stadium

TV: Live nationwide on ESPN with Mark Jones (play-by-play), David Norrie (analyst) and Heather Cox (sideline).

AUDIO WEBCAST: espn1420am.com

RADIO: Live on ESPN 1420, with Bobby Curran (play-by-play), Robert Kekaula (color) and John Veneri (sideline). Don Robbs hosts "Warrior Warm-up" beginning at 2 p.m. and also the halftime show. Neighbor Island simulcasts can be heard live on KAOI on Maui/Kona, KPUA in Hilo and KQNG on Kaua'i.

TICKET PRICES: $10 to $45.

TICKET SALES: On sale online at sheratonhawaiibowl.com, or by calling 548-BOWL (2695) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium, UH Campus Center, RainBowtique and Windward Community College's OCET Office during normal business hours. Convenience fees may apply.

GATES OPEN: Parking lot gates at Aloha Stadium will open at 10 a.m. Stadium gates open at 11 a.m.


ALTERNATIVE PARKING (no tailgating):

• Leeward Community College (free parking and $2 per person charge for shuttle service); opens 11 a.m.

(A giveaway of stadium concession coupons for two free 32-ounce soft drinks ($7 value) to the first 500 drivers who use this parking site.)

• Kamehameha Drive-In ($5 with free shuttle service); opens 11 a.m.

(A giveaway of stadium concession coupons for two free 32-ounce soft drinks ($7 value) for the first 500 drivers who use this parking site.)

• Radford High School ($3 with no shuttle service); opens 11 a.m.

SECURITY: Only fanny packs, purses, backpacks and handbags will be allowed into stadium (subject to check).

TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Sports Radio ESPN 1420 will provide traffic advisories and updates.


Roberts Hawaii is offering round trip "air conditioned" shuttle bus services to Aloha Stadium for $6 from three O'ahu areas.

Bus No. 1 will pick up at the Mililani Mauka Park n' Ride at 1 p.m. and go directly to the stadium.

Bus No. 2 will pick up at the Hawai'i Kai Park n' Ride at 12:15 p.m., at Bank of Hawai'i at Kahala Mall at 12:45 and proceed to the stadium.

Bus No. 3 will pick up at the Kailua District Park, Kainalu Avenue at 12:15 p.m., at Windward Mall Shopping Center on Alaloa Street facing Sears at 12:45 and proceed to the stadium.

The shuttle will depart from Aloha Stadium half hour after the game ends.

Reservations are required and service is first come, first serve. Call Roberts School Bus at 832-4886 for reservations and additional information.


The FootballExpress offers 17 pickup locations throughout O'ahu.

The first trip from each location leaves approximately three hours before kickoff and the last trip leaves approximately 90 minutes before the game. Return trips leave as soon as the bus is full, with the final trip leaving 30 minutes after the game ends.

Honolulu pickup locations are at:

• Ala Moana (Kona Street), noon, 12:30 p.m., 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m.

• Downtown (Alapai Transit Center), 12:10 p.m., 12:40, 1:10, 1:40.

• Palolo (Waialae, Palolo, fronting McDonald), 12:02 p.m., 12:32 p.m., 1:02 p.m.

• University of Hawai'i (Sinclair Circle), 12:10 p.m., 12:50, 1:10, 1:30.

• Kahala Mall (Waialae, Kilauea across mall), noon, 12:40, 1:10, 1:40.

• Kaimuki (Koko Head, Waialae, fronting Liliuokalani Elementary), noon, 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m.

• Waikiki (Monsarrat at Kapiolani Boulevard), 11:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., noon, 12:15, 12:30, 12:50, 1, 1:10, 1:30.

• Hawai'i Kai (Keahole St., Hawai'i Kai Park & Ride), 12:15 p.m., 12:30, 12:45, 1, 1:15, 1:30.

Leeward pickups are at:

• 'Ewa Beach (Fort Weaver, Kaimalie before 'Ewa Beach Shopping Center), noon, 1:20.

• Kapolei (Kamokila Boulevard at Kahuhihewa State Building), noon, 1:40.

• Mililani Mauka (Ukuwai Strett at Mililani Park & Ride), noon, 1 p.m., 1:40.

• Village Park (Kupuohi Street, Royal Kunia Park & Ride), 12:20 p.m. and 1:40.

Windward pickups are at:

• Kalaniana'ole/Kailua (acros Castle Medical Center), noon, 1:20.

• Kailua: Keolu/Hele (across Enchanted Lake Shopping Center), 12:05 p.m., 1:25.

• Kailua / Hahani (Kailua Shopping Center), 12:10 p.m., 1:30.

• Kaneohe Bay / Mokapu (fronting Aikahi Shopping Center), noon, 1:20.

• Kaneohe Bay / Makalani (across Windward City Shopping Center), 12:10 p.m., 1:30.

Buses will leave the stadium when the bus is full and the last return trip will leave a half-hour after the game ends.

Rates are $3 one way and $6 roundtrip. Passes and transfers are not accepted.

For information, go to: http://www.thebus.org


The stadium authority has released a set of new plans to help prevent gridlock at this weekend's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

The authority has created the following procedures for the Christmas Eve game:

-- Cancellation of the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet on Sunday only.

-- Opening parking gates at 10 a.m., five hours before the 3 p.m. kick-off.

-- Halawa gate, Gate 3, will be used as the entry for upper and lower Halawa parking lot only.

-- Lower Salt Lake gate, Gate 4, will be used for entry for upper and lower Halawa parking lot.

-- Kamehameha Lot gate, Gate 5, will be used for entry for Kamehameha Lot only.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.