Moniz delivers as No. 2
By Stephen Tsai
LAS VEGAS — There are few doubts about Hawai'i quarterback Bryant Moniz's delivery.
Or his drive. Or his ability to handle the job.
"It's the easiest job in the world," Moniz said of his part-time employment as a pizza deliveryman in Mililani. "Just drive, and give the people their pizza."
Moniz also is handling his role as the top backup to starting quarterback Greg Alexander as the Warriors prepare for Saturday's game against UNLV.
Moniz was the No. 3 quarterback entering the Sept. 4 season opener against Central Arkansas. In UH's practice system, the top two quarterbacks split the majority of the snaps in 6-on-7 and team drills. The No. 3 quarterback observes during those sessions.
But last week Thursday, No. 2 quarterback Brent Rausch suffered a fracture on the pinkie of his throwing hand. Moniz ascended to No. 2 on the eve of the Washington State game. The Warriors won, 38-20, and Moniz completed his only pass, for 36 yards, to slotback Jon Medeiros.
"That's great," Moniz said of his perfect accuracy. "Maybe I can change positions so I don't have to throw the ball again and I can always be at 100 percent."
Alexander said that despite limited work, Moniz quickly grasped the offense.
"He stepped in and did a good job last week," Alexander said. "He's 100 percent. You can't get any better than that. He's probably picked (up the offense) way faster than me and Brent did."
Moniz, a former standout at Leilehua High, attended Fresno City College in 2007. He moved back to Hawai'i after that. In January, he joined the Warriors as a non-scholarship player.
Moniz said his family pays for his tuition and school expenses. Moniz uses his delivery job to help support his daughter, Cali.
UH head coach Greg McMackin said Moniz is deserving of consideration for a football scholarship.
"Look at all of the (walk-ons) we've put on scholarship," McMackin said. "If a player can help us win, why not scholarship him? Where are we going to go out and find a better quarterback than him?"
But Moniz is not in any rush. In junior college, the team traveled by bus to every road game. Some rides were as long as nine hours.
"You appreciate the things you have here," Moniz said.
Moniz's right arm, which was fatigued from over-use, is now ache-free.
"We have a lot of respect for Bryant," McMackin said. "He has such a great feel for the game, and he looks really smooth. I think he's an outstanding quarterback."
Alexander noted that Moniz is so calm in the pass pocket "he almost looks like he's bored in there."
Moniz said: "That's pretty funny. I guess playing football, you know you're going to get hit. There's no sense being worried about it. If you worry, then you're in the wrong sport. I have a lot of trust in the o-line."
Moniz said he tries to focus on reading coverages and anticipating his receivers' breaks.
"I trust my offense," Moniz said. "There are a lot of good athletes around me."
Fonoti still out: Defensive right end Fetaiagogo "John" Fonoti missed another practice because of a hyper-extended left kneecap. He has not played in first two games. "It's very frustrating," Fonoti said. "I've been working hard — day and night. We'll see what happens." Fonoti said he would like for the left knee to be at least 95 percent. He said he is at 85 percent.
Coaches will be on Liberty: The UH coaches have set aside time for recruiting this week. The Warriors reportedly are considering 10 Las Vegas-area prospects. The coaches will visit schools this week. One of the most intriguing is Liberty High. The area has been dubbed the "Ninth Island" because of the large Polynesian population. The Liberty High players perform the haka before games.
Leonard upholds scouts' honor: Because of roster limits on travel squads, the Warriors have had to scramble to fill the scout teams that go against the starters. Yesterday, offensive tackle Brett Leonard practiced as a tight end and linebacker. "They put me on the field, I make plays," Leonard said, smiling. "I help out where I'm needed." In one drill, he was assigned to defend slotback Kealoha Pilares. "Pilares had a step on me, but I was right there," Leonard said.
UNLV QB practices: An MRI showed that Nevada-Las Vegas quarterback Omar Clayton suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last week. The injury is not considered to be serious. Clayton practiced yesterday. Coach Mike Sanford said he did not know about Clayton's role in Saturday's game. Sanford said Clayton's availability depends on "how he does this week, and if (the knee) swells up. But he practiced hard, and he practiced well."