More often than not, I enjoy the week leading up to the HUB Goodwill Senior Bowl more than the actual game.
Let’s face it, we’ve seen our share of blowouts. What can these coaches and players do with just one week — basically three practices — to prepare? I know time is a factor, with lots of winter sports already in season. But I truly believe there’s one aspect of the annual event that can be improved drastically, and it would be this:
Two coaches, one draft, all 100 players. Think about it. The old West versus East concept used to tilt toward the population base of East Oahu. Now the base has shifted, as well as the talent, to the West. It doesn’t matter so much who has the edge as much as the fact that people simply aren’t interested in seeing blowouts. The game, now at Radford’s John Velasco Field, wasn’t a sellout at a high school field.
I don’t know the solution for quality of play other than to return to the two-week practice prep, which is not a fit in the time frame for this overlapping part of the fall and winter seasons. But a DRAFT would bring so much more fun and create two radically more even teams to the field.
I tossed the idea out to Wendell Say, the unofficial dean of OIA coaches, after last night’s 46-14 rout by the West. He chewed on it for a bit, then said no, he wouldn’t like it. Fair enough. What West side coach would favor leveling the playing field at this point? I understand.
But from a fan’s point of view, it would be magnificent to see the draft occur, then see the talent on the field. You think players won’t feel even more like they have something to prove when they’re “drafted” in the lower 50 or lower 25? The game would be so much more competitive.
It’s no guarantee of a great game, but certainly it would stimulate more interest, and it would stoke those competitive fires for the players, many who had not played since the end of the regular season six weeks ago.
Otherwise, this will remain what it is: a nice, friendly meeting of terrific coaches and student-athletes, and winning the game is an afterthought. Taylor Taliulu, the Washington State-bound safety, on the same team with all of that receiving talent of the West … but what if he’d been drafted on a team opposite some of these great pass catchers.
I know that’s what fans want to see — the best against the best. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a bit too much of the best on one squad, and by halftime, the place is as quiet as a library.
Time for a Senior Bowl Draft, guys. The buildup would be amazing.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser