Hammer Time: Ask and you shall receive.....

The Warriors return for the 2002 football season without four of the five core receivers that played in 2001...many questions for the upcoming season remain unanswered....RSN seeks answers to some of these questions with Warriors' wide receivers coach Ron Lee.....

Another week had gone by and we're already in the midst of another hot summer…..lots of recent news about the new AD, sub-surface news about the field turf, but, where's the UH football news???? Checked the daily publications religiously……nothing, nada, zippo, zilch about UH football…..what's the deal??? Isn't UH football the engine that drives the whole athletic machine???? Wait, what's this on the radio??? It's Rolo!!!!Finally, football!!!!! Great to hear Rolo talk to callers and talk to Bobby and Jo on the Sports Café……After one week of nada UH football stuff I was so thankful that Warrior wide receivers' coach Ron Lee was able to fit me into his busy schedule to just talk story…..

To the UH football office to meet coach Ron Lee……the student receptionist points me to coach Lee's office…….as I walk down the hallway I suddenly hear a sweet sounding voice behind me…."Excuse me……can I help you?"…...I turn around and see someone walking towards me…...I know who you are, page 37, 2001 Warriors' media guide, you're Bianca Tokumoto, Administrative Assistant for Football Operations….Bianca, Bianca…….all of us know the real truth, it's people like you who really run the whole UH athletic department……."Here to see Ron Lee"……"Keep going down a couple of doors".

"Coach Lee"…."Hey, how you"……we exchange pleasantries….I remember meeting this man several years back….Coach Lee always had the time to talk story, and this man has a memory that is so sharp….."So this is gonna be for?"….."Rainbow Sports Network"……."Before we start let's make sure what the NCAA says you can and cannot write about….the rule book is this thick….here's the rulebook, they test us on this….hey, coach Morrison and Cav have done some internet stuff before so let's ask Dan what you can and cannot write about"…..to coach Morrison's office….."Yeah Cav and me did do something on the internet with the Honolulu Advertiser chat a while back…..pretty sure this is the stuff you can't write about, but, just in case here's the telephone number to UH's compliance officer."……Oh, wow, there goes all the real juicy stuff about the new kids coming in…….oh well…..

Back to coach Lee's office…….now that we know what cannot be written because of NCAA rules we begin……the unofficial numerical fall roster in ascending order….."Chad Owens?"…….."He is fearless….extremely hard working and very, very determined……wants to have the football all the time…..just wants to take it to the house all the time."……."Chad is pre-season All-American as a return man….will he continue to return kick-offs and punts?"………"depends on how June wants to use him…..but, we got a lot of players who we feel can be real good returning the ball this year….but, if we can let Chad return kicks maybe seven times a game and get him the ball in the slot position another seven or eight times he is going to be very productive…..just gonna have to see"……."Nate Ilaoa?"…….."Very, very talented……you know he's real…..still learning, but, Nate had a real good spring……really look forward to getting Nate the ball out in the open…..once Nate gets the football in the open he is going to do a lot and make a lot happen……….another player who will surprise is Clifton Herbert…..Clifton has the speed and is going to do very well……not a whole lot bigger than before, but, stronger….he's gonna surprise a lot of people this year……Britton Komine is coming along real nice too…..Gerald who had the ACL in the last day of spring camp is already running….Gerald should do real well also and should be available for the fall camp…..Omar Bennett is a talent, but, he's been out of football for a while….he's worked hard and has just one year with us…..Omar isn't here for the summer, but, he is a hard worker…….the thing about this system is that it just takes time to learn it."………."Redshirt Gerald?"……"He should be ready for the season, but, we just have to see……that's the core guys we got in the slot positions……..they are a real talented group that just needs game experience….they're young, but, real hungry to play………this group has been in the system two to three years already and are familiar with what we're trying to do, but, they need to play and get used to each other."

"On the outside we have Justin Colbert and Neal Gossett…….Justin Colbert along with Ashley, Stutz. Channon and Tafiti had a very solid 2001 season…..Justin's been in the system a while and knows what we do…………Neal has speed, around 4.4………..he's not Ashley, but, he is fast and runs good routes….Neal is going to surprise a lot of people……behind them are Kanale George, Mark Tate, Frank Rivers and walk-on Bryant Stevens……Stevens has some experience since he transferred in from another program…..Stevens has good size and is learning……..Mike Akiu should also be in the mix…….Mark Tate's coming along well and continues to learn the system…..last week Mark was in a moped accident……saw him limping around….don't know how he'll be by fall time…….also got some talented slots and wideouts coming in during the fall…..you know, the bar at wide receivers has really gone up so much…..the new guys coming in need to be where the new bar is…..well, just gotta see what happens……we got a talented and hungry group, but, there is just so much to learn in this system…

Just listening about the players coming back for 2002 I wished that football camp would start already….……I remember the last few games of the 2001 season and I couldn't help but be impressed by the receivers….the receivers were fluid and Rolo was so much on the same page with them…….Coach Lee mentioned that he felt so good about the last three games of last season……..Coach Lee felt so confident with his receivers that at that point in time he would have had no fear in playing anyone in the country……

Coach Lee explained that the receivers we saw at the close of the 2001 season were a veteran group of players………..Ashley, Stutz, Channon and Justin were veteran receivers who were very familiar with system…….having played together for a while they had become very familiar with one another…..running routes continuously day in and day out in practice and on game days, this group had learned how to read defensive coverages and how to get open….all the training and repetition over the years for the 2001 Warrior receivers translated into a group that had confidence in the routes they ran and the reading of the defense……. Tafiti sat out one year due to transfer rules, but, he too was a veteran receiver who benefited from watching film and attending team meetings………the result of all the repetition and practice was best summed up by sports commentators who said the Warrior team had such great speed…..the Warriors were a speed team, but, coach Lee explained the reason for this was the receivers' confidence…….the receivers ran their routes without hesitation, without second guessing where the defender was going to be……

Just when I thought the light had gone on in weeks past, I realized once again how little I really knew about our offense and why the Run and Shoot was more than just a matter of throwing and catching the football……Coach Lee continued…..

To be continued………………


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