Quarry Q & A: John West, parts 1 & 2

John West is as low key and balanced as running backs go.

Quarry Q & A

John West

 

 

By Paul Honda

Senior Writer

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

 

HONOLULU – John Cedric West is as low key and balanced as running backs go.

 

The former Leilehua High School football and track standout went to the West Coast and carved out a niche at Yuba College (Calif.). From there, the highly-recruited back decided to go West, returning to the islands to play for the University of Hawaii.

 

That left UH coaches happy, happy, happy.

 

"He had some opportunities to go other places and at the last second, we decided to give him a scholarship," head coach June Jones said. "It ended up looking like it's going to be a real plus."

 

West talked with RSN April 4 after a morning practice at the quarry.

 

 

RSN Paul: Coach Jones mentioned earlier that he likes what he's seen. It's only been a couple weeks, but how does that make you feel? 

 

West: It makes me feel real good. I mean, I highly respect that man. You know, I'm proud to be playing for this team. I feel as if I've done some pretty good things, but I also have a lot to learn, and there's a lot more in store.

 

RSN Paul: What kind of offense did you guys run at Yuba?

 

West: It's basically the same kind of offense, a single back, but what it is, is we ran a little bit more.

 

RSN Paul: Fifty-fifty?

 

West: Yeah. I gotta get used to the transition, but it's nothing I'm not willing to get used to.

 

RSN Paul: So they ran a lot of toss sweeps there?

 

West: Yeah, a lot of toss sweeps. A lot of direct dives. A lot of options, but pretty much the same thing.

 

RSN Paul: Options, uh? No options here. (laughs)

 

West: We don't have the option (at UH), but we have the dives. We have, like, the screen plays. It's pretty much the same thing.

 

RSN Paul: Who was the first guy from UH to contact you?

 

West: Coach Suan, coach Wes Suan. He was the first guy that I got in contact with.

 

RSN Paul: At that point, who else was recruiting you?

 

West: Well, I had, like, 25 other schools looking at me, Indiana being one of the top ones, from the Big Ten. And Marshall, a few other schools.

 

RSN Paul: So it was the offensive schools. Indiana likes to put it up, right?

 

West: Oh yeah, they like to run. They like to run smashmouth, right at you; 400-something yards a game is what they were averaging. But I know something in my heart wanted to be back here.

 

RSN Paul: When did you feel, before LOI day, like you were committed and set?

 

West: I think when I came home on my visit, because I'm a local boy here, basically around here…

 

RSN Paul: Leilehua, right?

 

West: Yeah, Leilehua grad. Basically, it was the people, the players made me feel more at home. I know we're headed for success and I want to be a part of it.

 

RSN Paul: When you were a senior in high school, June Jones had just started here or was it still (Fred) von Appen?

 

West: It was still von Appen when I was still in high school. He recruited me here, actually. I came on a visit, but I didn't really like the way his system was going. You know, June, he brings a different presence to like, the field. He expands our offense in ways I haven't seen in a while.

 

RSN Paul: What's your 40?

 

West: Oh, 4.4, probably less than that. It'll get lower, if it's not lower right now.

 

RSN Paul: You ran track at Leilehua?

 

West: Yeah, I ran track.

 

RSN Paul: What about the bench? How many times do you rep with 225?

 

West: Ahh, 19 to 20 times.

 

RSN Paul: How about the squat?

 

West: Aah, about four, four-something. It's still undeclared. It's in the four range.

 

RSN Paul: What about your vertical?

 

West: Thirty-three, 34.

 

RSN Paul: So you can slam?

 

West: I can get up a little bit.

 

RSN Paul: You can slam?

 

West: Yeah, I can pretty much dunk, but I try not to stay on the basketball court too much.

 

RSN Paul: I could take you, you know.

 

West: Aah, I don't …

 

RSN Paul: You'd run off five or six points in a row, but me, I'd just back you down slowly, you know.

 

West: Naaa! (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: I'd just back you down. You'd have to forearm me. I'd back you down with my 214 pounds and take old man shots. Little hook shots.

 

West: That's right. With age comes wisdom, so I don't know if I'm ready for you yet.

 

RSN Paul: You'd get all frustrated. ‘Come on, play some ball!' But I'd tell you, this is ball. I'd just back you down.

 

West: You're right, I'd want to play. I like winning, so I guess…

 

RSN Paul: If you're hitting the outside shot, I'm dead. And if you dunk on me, I'll cry.

 

West: (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: Yeah man, I'd just walk out of the gym.

 

End Part 1

 

RSN Paul: OK, tell me about the tattoos. You got one here that says "Ceddy." What is that?

 

West: Ceddy is on my arm because it's short for Cedric, which is my middle name. When I was younger, people used to call me Ceddy.

 

RSN Paul: What's the other one?

 

West: On the other side, I have a cross. It represents, like, Christ above. I feel like He's the reason for all of this. He gives me my strength that makes me feel nothing.  

 

RSN Paul: What about all the girls who come to you, sitting on your lap? What do you do then?

 

West: Uh, I try to maintain focus, because…

 

RSN Paul: (laughs)

 

West: (laughs) … I mean, I understand there's going to be obstacles like that, but…

 

RSN Paul: At parties.

 

West: Yeah.

 

RSN Paul: They'll be drunk.

 

West: Yeah, all of the above. But I gotta, like, maintain and keep focused so I can be in that stadium, bringing the home crowd... 

 

RSN Paul: You'll leave the room when that happens?

 

West: Oh yeah! I leave the room all the time. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: After about 15 minutes, right?

 

West: After about 15 minutes. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: Better watch out, man. Some girls, they'll tell you it's all fine, but next thing you know…

 

West: They're all serious?

 

RSN Paul: Three months later, they call you up.

 

West: No.

 

RSN Paul: "We have to talk."  

 

West: Noo…

 

RSN Paul: "You know what I'm going to tell you?" Oh, no…

 

West: No, I'm trying to be responsible. I gotta be on top of my game. Just gotta watch the side distractions.

 

RSN Paul: You play Madden 2002?

 

West: I'm into NCAA 2002.

 

RSN Paul: Oh, I hear about that game. I gotta try it.

 

West: Oh yeah, it gives you college football at its best. They should give Hawaii more ratings on the game, but…

 

RSN Paul: Maybe after this past season.

 

West: Oh, definitely.

 

RSN Paul: You get time to play that game?

 

West: Well, I don't have much time, but you know, here and then, I play a game every other day.

 

RSN Paul: You know Channon Harris likes to say he's the best at that game.

 

West: Uh, no, he don't wanna see me. I came here and he's scared to see me in that game. 

 

RSN Paul: Ashley used to play that a lot, too.

 

West: He doesn't want none, either. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: (laughs) You guys can have a tournament. Who's your roommate? You dorming up here or you got an apartment? 

 

West: Oh yeah, I stay up here in Noelani apartments. My roommate is a guy named Makana. He's from Kauai, but he doesn't play football, so it kind of brings us, like, different aspects. I don't have to come home to football. I mean, it's always in my head, but I don't have to hear it day in and day out. I can hear it from another person's perspective on life.

 

RSN Paul: So you don't have a kitchen or anything like that?

 

West: Oh yeah, we got a kitchen. We got a kitchen, but we don't know how to cook, so we go to the cafeteria.

 

RSN Paul: Noelani is back there, that's right. There's no food in the apartment?

 

West: Just snacks in the apartment.

 

RSN Paul: Snacks? Like what?

 

West: Uhh, we got, like, protein bars. We got chips, cookies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

 

RSN Paul: What flavor?

 

West: Uh…ooh, Cookie Dough.

 

RSN Paul: That's yours?

 

West: That's my favorite.

 

RSN Paul: So you're going to be a fat man when your playing days are over.

 

West: Uh, no, not really. I have a high metabolism. I think it's going to stick with me forever. (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: Where did you go before Leilehua?

 

West: Before that, I came from San Diego a long time ago. I played a little Pop Warner there. Watched Marshall Faulk growing up as a kid. Pretty much was inspired by that guy, still to this day.

 

RSN Paul: Is he your favorite NFL player?

 

West: Most definitely. He's the most versatile, most explosive, got good hands; that's what I try to bring to the table. 

 

RSN Paul: In my Madden, he just breaks tackles and he's unreal.  

 

West: He's definitely elusive. I can see myself becoming the same type of player in the near future. 

 

RSN Paul: Faulk is only about 5-8, uh?

 

West: Yeah, he's about 5-8, 5-9.

 

RSN Paul: You're listed, uh…at 5-10! I'm 5-10 1/2. You're about 5-8. I'm sorry, John. But you know… 

 

West: (laughs)

 

RSN Paul: See, I like to tease guys, but see, that doesn't matter. I saw Faulk play. I've seen a lot of backs play; they weren't that tall, but they could play. As long as they're buff, it's hard to bring them down. 

 

West: I feel as if, you know, I'm pretty good size, but my heart is bigger than Texas. I don't fear any man. I mean, the only thing I'm looking to do is score every time. I don't like to settle for just three or four yards. I like big breaks. I'll take what I can get. I'm a north and south runner, and I feel like I'm pretty explosive.

 

RSN Paul: What's the workout routine going to be once spring ball is over?

 

West: Well, I'm going to train a lot with coach Mel (DeLaura). He's going to work with me a lot, try to complete me.

 

RSN Paul: Monday through Friday?

 

West: Monday through Friday. On the weekends, me and Justin Colbert, the receiver, we're going to do a lot of sprint training.

 

RSN Paul: Over there (on Cooke Field) or over here (quarry)?

 

West: On both fields. Cooke Field or grass field, both.

 

RSN Paul: What time of day do you usually train?

 

West: On Saturdays, around 12 or 1.

 

RSN Paul: Ooh, the hottest time of day.

 

West: Yeah, so we can get the best out of the workout.

 

RSN Paul: And Sundays, too?

 

West: Yeah, yeah, even Sundays, if we have energy.

 

RSN Paul: All right, man. Thanks, John.

 

West: I appreciate it.


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