49ers to try out former Warrior
BY Stephen Tsai
Former Hawai'i football player Aaron Kia said he has been invited to participate in a tryout with the San Francisco 49ers this weekend.
If the tryout is successful Kia hopes to receive a free-agent offer. The tryout is part of the 49ers' mini-camp for rookies and free agents.
"I have to go there and be ready and be strong," Kia said.
Kia started 13 games at left tackle in 2009. He is being asked to audition at guard. The 49ers also would like to see Kia work out as a center.
"They like his height and his arm reach and his athletic ability," said UH offensive line coach Gordy Shaw, who met with more than 50 pro scouts during UH's Pro Day earlier this month. "He plays tremendously hard. He's a very aggressive football player . All of those things were positive."
Kia has had some experience at guard.
Shaw said Kia's one-on-one blocking skills are helpful in playing center against National Football League defenses that try to create isolation situations. Shaw said Kia can use the tryout to show "he can snap the ball, and (make the) snap-and-step (move)."
At Pro Day, Kia was measured at 6 feet 4, with an arm reach of 34 1/4 inches and a hand span of 10 1/2 inches. He bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times, and sprinted 10 yards in 1.74 seconds.
He said he weighs 290 pounds, and probably needs to add at least another 10 pounds.
"I have to do my part right now," Kia said.
This spring, UH strength coach Tommy Heffernan has emphasized running a clean program.
That is why a significant portion of every weight-lifting session is spent on power cleans.
The clean is a lift in which a player pulls the weights from the floor to a racked position across the deltoids.
"The power clean is good for us," running back Alex Green said. "It's an explosive lift. We're lifting weights while actually doing active movements."
Heffernan, who took over the Warriors' strength and conditioning program this year, said cleans are more football-specific workouts than bench presses.
Heffernan said cleans, as well as squat lifts, develop hip and lower-body strength.
"As far as playing and running, the stronger your legs and hips are, the faster you run, and the better player you'll be," Heffernan said.
Heffernan said every offensive lineman can power clean at least 300 pounds.
Kicker Scott Enos said: "I'm definitely getting stronger."
The most improved is right slotback Kealoha Pilares, who did not have a weight-lifting schedule in high school. Pilares, now a UH'senior, can power clean a team-best 365 pounds
"To do it, you need good form," Pilares said. "Tommy took a lot of time to teach the proper mechanics. Power cleans are different from the bench press. You have to generate force and movement."
GREEN GETS A GRIP
Green, who is the No. 1 running back, plays by this motto: "Get a grip."
"I'm working on my ball security," said Green, who wishes to cut down on fumbles.
This spring he has developed a running style in which he holds the football close to his body.
"When (defenders) reach, they won't knock the ball out," Green said. "I feel more powerful when I run with the ball close to me. It keeps my pads low. It keeps me leaning forward."
He said he does forearm exercises every day.