QB Moniz on indefinite leave
By Stephen Tsai
LĪHU'E — The Hawai'i football team will be without its No. 1 quarterback for an indefinite period, head coach Greg McMackin confirmed yesterday.
Bryant Moniz, who started eight games in 2009 and was No. 1 during this spring training, has been placed on "personal leave," McMackin said.
Moniz did not accompany the team to Kaua'i for yesterday's scrimmage. He did not return messages left on his cell phone. McMackin said: "He has to take care of some personal things."
Moniz, who will be a junior, became somewhat of a folk hero after filling in for injured Greg Alexander last season. As a walk-on, Moniz delivered pizzas to defray school and family expenses.
McMackin said Moniz's absence will not hinder the Warriors' plans during spring training, which runs through April 30. "We'll just move on," McMackin said.
Using a king-of-the-hill competition, the quarterbacks are graded after every practice. A daily leaderboard is set up in the meeting room for quarterbacks.
"You want to get on that," said Shane Austin, a fourth-year junior.
Entering yesterday's practice — which featured warmups, drills and a 68-play scrimmage — the quarterback order was this: Austin, David Graves, Brent Rausch, Cayman Shutter and Corey Nielsen.
"I'm just thankful and blessed," Austin said of his No. 1 rating. "I'm taking it day by day."
Austin, who was placed on scholarship in July 2009, started one game last season — an overtime road victory over San Jose State.
"Once you get (a start) under your belt, you have that comfort level," Austin said. "It makes it a little easier You're going to have a little more patience. Things seem a lot more wide open. They're not so narrow."
Offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said Austin "throws a very catchable ball. He's pretty disciplined about his reads, and he's very accurate. He has a good knowledge of the offense."
Graves, who will be a second-year freshman in the fall, has impressed coaches with his passing and scrambling.
"He's very competitive," Rolovich said. "I like his personality. He enjoys being out there. He does things naturally, like moving through his progressions."
Graves said: "I feel on paper, I have it down. But getting out there and reading coverages and knowing exactly where the ball is going, I'm not there yet. But it will come with time. I want to make the right reads and do what I've been doing and just keep working and fighting and competing."
Rausch did not take a snap last season because of a finger injury. He said he is focusing on remaining healthy and improving.
"I'm not looking ahead or behind me," Rausch said. "I'm trying to do my thing."