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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2006

Oregon St. making most of trip

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Columnist

The 24th-ranked University of Hawai'i football team plays another non-conference game against a team from a Bowl Championship Series Conference this week, but unlike recent victim Purdue, chances are you will hear little of the bleating.

Yes, like Purdue, Oregon State is coming off an emotional win over the in-state rival. And, yes, what happens in Halawa will not change the postseason for the likely Sun Bowl-bound Beavers (8-4).

But unlike Purdue, these are eager Beavers, glad to be coming. They are visitors with a purpose. And, not just for a football game or the mounds of kimchee fried rice at Big City Diner that their offensive line coach, Mike Cavanaugh, a former UH assistant, has been telling people he's looking forward to.

Oregon State has been building quite a recruiting pipeline here and Saturday's game, the first of a home-and-home series with UH, affords the opportunity to do more work on it after signing six prospects in February. Yesterday signalled the shotgun start to the NCAA's football contact period, the point when coaches can begin going into homes. Bet that the Beavers won't be shy about knocking on doors.

Not when they already have 11 players with Hawai'i ties on their active roster and several more who are either redshirting or on church missions. Then, there's the coaching staff that includes Joe Seumalo, a former UH player and coach, Brian Smith, a former UH player, along with ex-UH coaches Cavanaugh, Mark Banker and Greg Newhouse.

These guys are here to try and win more than a football game. Indeed, when OSU signed the contract for the series with UH, head coach Mike Riley noted: "It'll be a real treat to bring all of our (Hawai'i) players home for a game. It is an important recruiting area for us, so it is great to go and play a game there and let everyone in Hawai'i see our football team in person."

With the First Hawaiian Bank/Hawai'i High School State Football Championships Friday, there is also the opportunity to watch some of the top players in action. It probably isn't a coincidence, either, that the Beavers will be staying at Turtle Bay or showing a presence by scheduling a practice at a local high school.

Of course, with the season they are having, the Warriors are in a better position to woo recruits. With a 10-2 and counting record, a national ranking and growing crowds, the Warriors have a lot to sell about their program.

Good thing, too, because the competition comes knocking this week.

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.