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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, July 8, 2007

Hawaii's June Jones excited about season

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

June Jones

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For the University of Hawai'i football team, it has been an eventful offseason.

In quick review:

  • By deciding to return to UH for his senior year, record-setting quarterback Colt Brennan relinquished an opportunity to earn millions of dollars as a potential high draft pick.

  • Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville accepted the head coaching job at Portland State, then signed up Mouse Davis as his offensive coordinator. Davis, who is UH head coach June Jones' mentor, served as offensive assistant last year.

  • Greg McMackin, UH's defensive coordinator in 1999, replaced Glanville.

  • Five Warriors received National Football League draft notices, and another six earned free-agent offers from pro football teams.

  • Brennan criticized the state of the athletic facilities, prompting lawmakers to call for an "informational" hearing.

  • And the favorite parlor game will athletic director Herman Frazier fill all of the pukas on the 2007 football schedule? ended with an exhausted "nope."

    Over spicy calamari and Diet Cokes, Jones met with reporters to discuss Brennan, Glanville, the Warriors' Bowl Championship Series chances, and why he had nothing to say about the schedule fiasco.

    On the 2007 schedule:

    "Herman and I e-mailed and talked about it, but I wasn't calling teams or anything.

    "I've never called teams since I've been here.

    "If I was told to do it, I would do it. But that's not my job. ... Would I like it to be? I don't go to sleep at night and say, 'Let me schedule the games.' "

    On the possibility of an unbeaten UH team qualifying for a BCS berth:

    "That's somebody else's decision. We don't ever talk in those terms. We speak only about each one at a time.

    "Every year I break up the season into three phases, and the first phase is probably the most critical this year because of the two games on the road back to back (Sept. 8 against Louisiana Tech and Sept. 15 against Nevada-Las Vegas). Fortunately, we're opening at home (Sept. 1 against Division I-AA Northern Colorado). ... Those two (road) games ... I think, will really make us who we are. ...

    "It's hard to win on the road, especially when you just took off of our football team 11 players that signed (pro) contracts. ... Any team that lost 11 (pro) potential players, there are some things you've got to find out about yourself."

    On the pressure to succeed this year because of the quality of the schedule:

    "To me it's no different than last year. Last year was bigger, more pressure than the year before, because we had gone through all of the ticket-price change and we had done everything. You'd better win when you do those kinds of things, and we did.

    "To me, I'm excited about this season as a coach, but I don't feel any more pressure than any other time I teed it up. Colt made a decision that all of us try to send him out. What he did for our school, what he did for us, we owe him as coaches and players to go play our ass off, and do the best job we can do, for all of the seniors, let alone him."

    On replacing three starters on the offensive line:

    "I think we're going to be good in the offensive line. ... Last year that was probably our strongest position. But I'm confident the guys replacing them will be as strong as we get through the season. They don't have the chance to do it by Week 7. They have to do it by Week 1."

    On replacing running backs Nate Ilaoa and Reagan Mauia:

    "I'm really happy with Kealoha Pilares. ... I think Kealoha Pilares is the real deal. ... He can block. He knows who to block and he will block. He's special. ... This kid is different. He ain't a frickin' coward. He ain't frickin' afraid to hang on to the ball. He is the real deal. He will be a Gary Allen kind of guy. ... When we throw him the ball and when he runs the ball, you guys will go: 'Whoa, who's that?' That's what you guys will say next year.

    "(Nebraska transfer Leon Wright-Jackson) kind of reminds me of Eric Dickerson when he runs. I remember watching the first 10 or 12 plays of his highlight tape by myself. I called Jerry (Glanville) down here. I wrote on a piece of paper, 'Eric Dickerson.' I threw my book over it. I said, 'Jerry, look at this tape. Who does this guy remind you of?' About the 10th play, he said, 'Dickerson. The guy runs like Eric Dickerson.' That's pretty impressive that he would say it, too."

    On right wideout C.J. Hawthorne, a converted cornerback:

    "C.J. Hawthorne, I think, is going to be a big-time-vertical-speed guy for us. We haven't had one of those guys since Ashley (Lelie in 2001), really. (Left wideout) Jason Rivers makes plays, but he's not as fast as C.J. He's really a hard worker, really diligent. He wants to be the best he can be.

    "When you have that combination, those guys really take off. I would say by Week 3 or 4 ... he's one of the guys who will make you shake your head."

    On the starting receivers:

    "Jason Rivers, I mean, he's had unbelievable seasons. Davone (Bess) and Ryan (Grice-Mullins) are great slots. (Hawthorne) gives us four that are pretty special. ... I've never been at a place where we've had four guys of this caliber, that probably will get a chance to play in the NFL. That's pretty hard to believe."

    On Glanville going to Portland State:

    "If it had been somewhere else but Portland State, I probably would have never even given him a recommendation. I would have said, 'You don't want to go there.' But when he said, 'Portland,' I knew that it may be Portland State's last hurrah.

    "As I told Teri Mariani, the athletic director, I said, 'You need to hire him. He'll bring Mouse back. He'll save the program.'

    "That's what's happening. I can see it already. They get more newspaper time than Oregon and Oregon State in the Oregonian."

    On losing close friends Glanville and Davis:

    "No question, the last two years were the most fun I ever had coaching. ... Just their personality. It was fun to come to work every day. We laughed. We had fun. Get your job done, work hard, and have fun doing it. That's what makes life good."

    On Brennan's decision to return to UH:

    "I really do believe this: If he had come out last year, after it's all said and done, after all the coaches worked out everybody, after they sat and talked to everybody, that he would have gone first.

    "You can say what you want. Cut out (Oakland Raiders' owner) Al Davis. He's crazy drafting (LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 pick). That guy isn't ready to play, I'm sorry.

    This guy can play. And they would have figured it out coaches, and in individual workouts. What are they going to say about him? Well, they're going to say he's 205 pounds or 210. They're going to say he has a low release. He's in the shotgun. They're going to come up with all of these negative statements. But when they work him out, all of that stuff will go away. And if they look at the film, (the doubts) will all go away (because of) his accuracy and the type of kid he is. He can throw."

    On where Brennan will be selected in the 2008 draft:

    "Coming into next year's draft, the 'experts' will have him second round or low first round. But when it's all said and done, he'll be in the top 10 picks in the first round. I can't imagine that he would not be. You've got to be nuts not to take a quarterback who can throw like that."

    On Brennan speaking out about the problems with UH's athletic facilities and the parking situation:

    "He handled that fine. I knew it. Just like he said, 'Coach I'm not saying that for me. I'm saying that trying to make it better for my teammates.' That's how Colt is. You don't have to worry about what everybody else thinks. Just worry about what guys think in the (locker) room, and we all know.

    "I didn't tell him what to say. I didn't tell him he was wrong in saying it.

    "It's kind of interesting was that some of the things have gotten solved. Like the parking thing. It was a legitimate thing. Kids come in before the toll booths (are open in the morning). They park their cars, and then come out, and they get a ticket. Well, nobody's there to take the ticket (when they arrive), and they've got to be at practice. I mean, who's fault is that?

    "They changed the system. They're going to allow them to come in and they're going to allow them to go back and get a thing after. So, guess what? If he hadn't said what he said, it would still go on."

    On the difference between McMackin and Glanville:

    "Every defensive coach has (his) own personality. Jerry always gets the team to play at a level. It always amazed me how hard the guys would play every week. Greg does that, too, but he does it a different way."

    On rehiring McMackin:

    "I like what he did (in 1999). And I've coached with him before, and I know what he's about. He's a known quantity."

    Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com.