Hawaii Football's Big 3
There was a lot to be optimistic about after the first two days of camp in my opinion. But really, screw all those things (for now). The only thing that really mattered to me this weekend was seeing the new big three in action. And by "big three" I'm referring to the triumvirate of Marcus Kemp (83), Keith Kirkwood (89) and Ammon Barker (80). And I was not disappointed. One of the first things that I learned? Ammon is pronounced like Salmon (and NOT like Eh Sanka…You Dead mon?) The second? They are as advertised height wise (6' 3? and above). And they are friends. Whether it be standing together on the sideline during special teams' drills, or walking off together after practice, they've acknowledged that they've bonded quite quickly (and have already taken to calling themselves the Big Three.) I know that it's early, but once Vasquez Haynes went down with a minor shoulder injury on friday, Ammon stepped in and spent a lot of time running with the 1's during drills. Keith and Marcus also shared time there, rotating with incumbent Chris Gant. I was lucky enough to get to chat with both Marcus and Ammon (couldn't track down Keith) after practice and both expressed much of the same sentiment: They love Hawaii, and they are excited to be here. I thought maybe they knew each other in high school (both being from Utah) and maybe that contributed to why they chose to come here. I was informed, though, that this was incorrect. They'd never met until they arrived (although that commonality ended up being an instant point of bonding anyway.) In fact both were here because of their desire to play under Norm. Marcus was pretty candid, letting me know that the pace between the high school and college games was the most difficult thing he had to adjust to. Even running what he thought was a "high tempo" offense at his high school was nothing compared to Hawaii, which operated both from the pistol and at a breakneck pace with literally no stoppage between plays (the offense would sprint to the line after a tackle was made.) He also told me that the CB who he hated going against the most was Nequan Phillips (which is a common theme among wideouts I talk to.) Said he's super physical off the line and was excellent in bump and run. In truth, I haven't seen enough of either of them to figure out who will see the field the most next year. All have size, speed, and hands. All are raw, but super devoted and i didn't see any of them take plays off or suffer from half-assed dropped passes. And this isn't something I take for granted. The competition between the three of them to see the field in the opener will be stiff. Aside from Scott Harding, Gant, Haynes and MAYBE Ewaliko (who is also a freshman), I'm hoping that Norm will let them just cut their teeth in real time this year to help them grow. At the same time, I'll have to remember to keep reminding myself that they are still just freshmen. And then pinch myself when I realize that this means they'll be here at least two more years after this one. Looks like the Big 3's in great shape regardless. Go Bows!
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