Pre-Spring report - Manase Hopoi

It's seems cliche to roll out the 1991 Washington-Nebraska tape, but it sounds like that's exactly what's been going on in Montlake this winter. When the coaches do their season review, they had film of that memorable national championship year close by. And from listening to senior-to-be DL Manase Hopoi, the coaches weren't the only ones paying attention.

"After watching a couple of the films from last year we lacked execution," Hopoi told "We made too many little mistakes."

Linebackers coach Jimmy Lake are new additions to the UW defensive brain trust, and they are making their presence known. "I think this off-season we had a lot of leadership and also disciplined coaches that tried to lock down on team effort and team unity," Hopoi said. "We tried to get everybody to feel like a family, take care of each other and play as a team and win as a team.

They are also trying to help fix the things that happened at Nevada, Cal - games like that, so they are helping us get lower, tackle better and run to the ball going after second chances. Every chance counts."

That's where visions of Steve Emtman, Chico Fraley, Dave Hoffman and Dana Hall on the big screen hit home.

"We watched a little bit of the '91 season and watched how they ran to the ball," said Hopoi. "Not one guy was loafing. It was a battle as to who would make the tackle, get to the quarterback, make the fumble, recover the fumble. So we're trying to get to that same mentality. We have to get everybody on the same page and get going."

Husky fans looking to see Hopoi at his normal HUSKY defensive end position may be searching a little bit before they see number 56 through their binoculars. That's because Hopoi is most likely set to be a defensive tackle, helping to shore up spots left somewhat bare now that both Tui Alailefaleula has been moved to offense.

At 6-4, Manase is now 280 pounds. "I'm trying to get stronger. I've got bench up to 350 (pounds) and I'm trying to get it to 380, 400 if I can.

"Coach (Randy) Hart told me that I just might not be fast enough to play outside anymore, but it really doesn't matter to me. It's all about what I can do for the team. I'm still going to try to get down to a 4.8 or 4.7. But I also know that we are lacking a little bit as far as experience on the inside. So I'm just going to go out there and work hard and wherever they need me I'm going to go out there and play my best."

Manase feels that there is plenty of talent on the DL and there should be some breakout performances this spring. "I think it's going to be Dan Milsten, Brandon Ala, Ty Eriks," Hopoi said when asked about those players he expects big things from. "There are a lot of guys out there. Some of them need a lot more work, especially myself. We'll see who has the will to get better."

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