Thursday was scheduled to be check-in day for the University of Hawaii Football team’s spring training camp, with practice number one sounding the horn on Friday morning.
But, of course, as the nation fights to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Rainbow Warriors anxiously await a return to the gridiron.
Coming off of the program’s first Mountain West Conference West Divsion title, the ‘Bows are entering a new era with the departure of Nick Rolovich to Washington State.
Former Arizona State head coach Todd Graham was brought in to keep the climb going, as he brought in eight new assistant coaches to help guide more than two dozen returning starters for 2020.
One of those coaches is Graham’s former quarterback at Tulsa, G.J. Kinne, who spent last season on the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff, and although pressed into unprecedented times, Kinne says he is impressed with how the Warriors have responded.
“We’re talking to the guys as much as we can, just staying on top of them. Staying on their online courses, football wise, installs. Getting everything ready to go. These guys are awesome. That’s been the best part of the job so far, it’s these players,” Kinne told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello on Wednesday.”We’re still in the beginning stages of all this, we’re working out all the kinks but like I said, these guys have been great. They’re bought in.”
With players and coaches urged to remain off campus, players and coaches have stayed in touch via social media and through the phone, a chance that Kinne feels could be strengthening the team’s bond.
“I think right when we first got here, Coach Graham made the point of emphasis was really poured into our current players, and I think we laid a great foundation with them so now, just talking with them every day, calling them, texting them, group chats, we’re constantly in contact with these guys, making sure that they’re okay and staying on top of all their course work and so yeah, I do think that our relationships have been great and I’m just continuing that,” said Kinne.
In regards to his relocation to Hawaii, despite the trying times, Kinne says he has no complaints with transitioning into island life. He, along with wife and son have been enjoying with the Aloha State has to offer.
“I love it. What I told those guys when I got here, I’m all in. I went and bought me a Jeep, got me a Jeep Wrangler, top down, cruising around, I love it. Everyday is a blessing and a dream come true.”
For the time being, Kinne will remain doing everything he can to best prepare his offense for when they receive word that football activities can resume, but is grateful for how that task is being accomplished by the roster.
“Like I said, the best thing about this job are these current players. They’re amazing. They make my life easy, and I can’t wait to really hit the field with these guys and get after it.”