Sharing the game with Tokai U
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
From the land of the rising sun comes a college football team of early risers.
Tokai University players are training this week on the University of Hawai'i's Lower Campus.
Their day begins early. At 6:30 a.m., the Tritons watch the UH football players go through weight-training exercises.
The Tritons then practice on UH's grass football field from 9:30 a.m. to noon.
At 1 p.m., the Tokai coaches watch videos of football plays with the UH coaches. A question-and-answer session follows.
At 4:30 p.m., the Tritons watch the Warriors go through on-field conditioning drills.
NCAA rules restrict UH coaches from providing on-field instructions to the Tritons.
"We can coach the coaches," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "Their coaches can come up to our offices and watch films and ask questions."
Tokai's visit, which has been in the works for about a year, is part of UH's plan to build relations with athletic programs in Japan.
The hope, according to McMackin, is to one day use Japan as a recruiting base. In turn, that would help UH develop marketing and merchandising efforts.
For now, UH is trying to share football tips. Last week, McMackin was the featured speaker at a football clinic in Japan.
"They asked good questions, like how to defend the spread offense," McMackin said.
This week, McMackin and his staff are providing guidance for the Tokai coaches.
McMackin said there are about 70 high schools in Japan that play American football. He said Tokai, which has an affiliate school in Hawai'i, is comparable to a Division III football program.
"It's getting to be a pretty big deal over there," said McMackin, noting UH football telecasts are available on a delayed basis in Japan. "We're doing this not just for football. We think there's a potential for all of our sports."
Visit Tsai's blog at http://warriorbeat.honadvblogs.com.