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First Day of Practice for University of Hawaii Warriors a Breeze

Kevin RileyContributor IAugust 5, 2011

UH quarterback Bryant Moniz is all smiles after the first day of practice at Clarence T.C. Ching Field in Manoa.
UH quarterback Bryant Moniz is all smiles after the first day of practice at Clarence T.C. Ching Field in Manoa.

Thursday's schedule was posted on the doors of two dance studios that are converted into the training-camp living quarters for University of Hawai'i football players every year at this time.

The morning consisted of meetings, breakfast and more meetings. The afternoon read something like, 12:00-1:00 Lunch, 1:00-1:30 Get Taped/Dressed, 2:00-4:30 Practice.

When two o'clock finally rolled around on this breezy summer day players were already littered clear across Clarence T.C. Ching Field, immersed in both a healthy sweat and an earful of instructions from their position coaches.

Suffice it to say, head coach Greg McMackin and his Warriors couldn't wait to get the 2011 season started.

"It's real exciting to get back out here and just watch where the guys are physically and mentally, I'm really proud of these guys and the coaches," McMackin said after the first day of practice.

"There's a great attitude out here, there's great leadership, I thought it was a good first practice. We've improved our speed and I think we've improved our depth.

"So for the first day, we're going in the right direction."

UH Warriors take the field for the first day of practice on August, 4 2011.
UH Warriors take the field for the first day of practice on August, 4 2011.

2010 brought Hawai'i a WAC Co-Championship with Nevada and Boise State.

This year could be better.

Boise State is now playing in the Mountain West Conference, and Nevada is playing with a first-year starter at quarterback. Hawai'i actually is the only school in the conference who is not playing this season with a first-year starter at quarterback.

And they have a good one.

Last year Bryant Moniz threw for 5,040 yardsโ€”10th all-time in NCAA historyโ€”and 39 touchdowns. This year he is going to have to find some new targets.

Greg Salas (1,889 yds, 14 td)ย  and Kealoha Pilares (1,306 yds, 15 td) are now in the NFL. Royce Pollard (901 yds, 7 td) is the only starter returning for an offense that constantly runs four-receiver sets.

"It's rough you know, there's another number one jersey (Salas' old number) out there and we made some jokes today, "That's a big jersey to fill," " Moniz replied about his first day of practice without his old receiving duo.

"But it's just the way the game goes, guys graduate and new guys come in. But it's happened before and they've learned."

Who are the early favorites to replace Salas and Pilares?

Moniz declared, "Everybody. That's the thing about this offense, when all four guys work together then the receivers will be successful."

In addition to finding new receivers, McMackin and offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich are also tasked with finding a new starting running back and four offensive lineman.

Only left tackle Austin Hansen is returning up front.

The 2011 Warriors' defense will be returning six starters.

McMackin believes that it will be his best defensive unit since taking over the head coaching job from June Jones in 2008.

Follow me on Twitter @KevinARiley

Email me at kevriley15@hotmail.com

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