Houma's Coach Lauds Youngster's Game

Salt Lake City (UT) Highland coach Brody Benson breaks down his standout fullback, Sione Houma. He sheds light on the talented youngster's explosion onto the scene last year, how Houma's skill set will be utilized by Michigan, his connection to the Michigan coaching staff, and much much more.

Sam Webb:  Coach, give me a scouting report on your star pupil and Michigan's newest commit, Sione Houma.

Brody Benson:  "He is a big, strong, physical kid.  He plays fullback for us in our offense. We run the triple flex bone, so he gets the majority of the carries in our offense.  He is also a great blocker.  He is probably top two, top three as far as having the best hands on the football team… so he can catch.  In Coach Hoke's offense, they are going to use him as a fullback that way… get him out in the flat and get him the ball.  I know he has talked to the coaches about possibly playing some tailback as well.  Time will tell on that.  I think he is nifty enough kid to do both.  He is six-foot, 210 pounds right now.  He is going to go back there and they are going to be able to add 20 to 25 pounds on him, so he is going to be a big kid.  He is a real nifty runner as far as being as big as he is, but he can also just lower his shoulder and run right over the top of you.  He has got some power, some agility, definitely got some quickness and speed to him.  Right now, he is a real good football player for us.  He was not the starter at the beginning of the year.  Due to some injuries and the kid in front of him who was a senior having an illness; he was battling some illnesses, Sione (Houma) kind of stepped into that role and did a great job of us.  He had almost 1000 yards in the last five games of the season."

Sam Webb:  What was he doing for you guys when he was not the starting fullback?  Was he playing anywhere for you before that?

Brody Benson:  "He played a little bit of linebacker.  He saw time at fullback, he came in, in the backup role.  To be honest with you, the first part of the season Sione had a problem with holding onto the football.  It was the third game of the season, he actually started that game, and he went out and had 75 yards in the first quarter… but he had two fumbles. So we yanked him and sat him on the bench and we sat down with him after the game and just told him if he does not get this fixed, he is not going to be playing the position.  It was funny because from that point on…I said you stand up and you hand the ball the ball to the ref, period… the end.  After that, every day in practice, when he gets tackled, he popped off the ground turn around and hand me the football.  At first, it was kind of catching me off guard.  I'm like, ‘what the hell are you handing me the ball for?' Then I realized the kid listened to me.  So from that point on, I just knew that he was going to look for me after the play and hand me the ball.  He ended up not fumbling those last five games, so he fixed the problem.  That's just the kind of kid he is.  He doesn't say a lot, he just works.  He is a blue collar kid."

Sam Webb:  Obviously it eventually became he was a real weapon for you guys at the high school level.  At what point did you realize he was a division one, high level BCS kind of kid?

Brody Benson:  "To be honest with you, last season about this time.  Our fullback that started as a junior for us was battling some stomach problems.  They thought he had Crohn's disease and a few different things and so we were plugging Sione in and physically, just looking at him, you know that he is a great athlete.  We had our first scrimmage after our camp and he was lights out in that scrimmage and we just figured okay, we're going to have two really, really good fullbacks.  As far as physically, I knew it last year.  Like I said, he is a big strong physical kid.  He just needed to work on a few things.  I think the biggest thing the kid needed was some confidence and he went out and he found that right before the playoff run and through the playoffs he was stellar for us.  He has that confidence right now.  He has the leadership right now.  He has really stepped up and taking on that leadership role, in the weight room, in practice.  I think he has a lot of tools.  He is not afraid to work in the weight room or the classroom, which he is going to need at the next level as well as for us.  I think he is a complete kid right now as far as a football player.  I'm just excited for the opportunity that he is going to have in front of him.  It is going to be fun having the kid back there.  It does not get much bigger than playing in the Big House."

Sam Webb:  I can't think of another guy that Michigan has landed from Utah, so what is the connection there?  Are you familiar with anyone on the Wolverines' staff?

Brody Benson:  "I am.  I really didn't know it at that time.  I kind of got to know the staff a little bit when Coach Hoke was at San Diego State.  They had come out to play at University of Utah and practiced on our field.  I had maybe a ten minute conversation with coach and from that point on I just kept sending him film of our kids.  I think they found his highlight on Youtube.com.   Then Coach Ferrigno called me and we started a dialogue that way.  Then it ended up that Coach Montgomery, their defensive line coach… we played against each other in high school out here in Utah.  It was kind of fun to sit down and visit with Jerry (Montgomery) and kind of talk about football a little bit or the past, but also see what he is doing for himself, it is great, fantastic."

Sam Webb:  Do you think that Michigan, with Sione in the fold, could potentially have more of a presence in Utah and more of a presence with some of the Polynesian kids?

Brody Benson:  "I think so.  I think that Coach Montgomery from being out here, he knows the type of player that is out here and the caliber of athlete.  Then you bring up the subject of a Polynesian player, and those kids are built to play football.  You are starting to see that they are starting to branch out and leave the state and other teams are recognizing that they are good football players as well as good kids, good students and they can contribute a lot to their programs.  I don't know if it will have much of an effect, but exposure is always good.   Kids getting out of the state and with Utah going to the PAC12, obviously, they have done a great job on the instate recruiting, as well as out of state.  I think people are starting to realize that hey you know what, Utah kids can play football as well… we'd better see what is going on there."

Sam Webb:  Last thing.  With Sione, what are the things that you are stressing to him heading into his senior season?"

Brody Benson:  "I think the biggest thing is that I don't want him to start changing the style of football player that he is.  With confidence comes that wanting to maybe and experience a little bit more, maybe even thinking he is more of the nifty little running back that…in our offense like I said, we're downhill runners.  I don't want him to get away from that because I think that is what makes him so tough in our offense is that he does hit north and south and once he gets his shoulders turned, people have a hard time stopping him.  I want him to really stay humble, which he is, and I don't worry about that.  I think him staying humble and staying with the offense, because the thing is, people know about him now and people are going to start putting two and three trying to stop the fullback.  That is going to open up our quarterback, our other running backs, as well as the pass game.  I don't see it bothering Sione.  I think he is a team guy.  He wants the team to be successful and that is the most important thing for him is that as a team collectively that we are successful.  As long as he keeps that attitude, I think we have a great shot to go out and be competitive this year."

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