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  1. #1
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    Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    BY JIM THOMAS Sunday, August 29, 2010 12:20 am

    Steve Spagnuolo calls him Illinois Mike. But there's also Big Mike. And "Oh-Oh."

    Back in Bloomington, Ill., at Central Catholic High, they called him "Ho." Some keep it simple and just call him Michael.

    If rookie Michael Hoomanawanui keeps playing the way he has this preseason, you might have to call him starting tight end for the Rams.

    "No question," Spagnuolo said. "He's jumped out there, I think that's pretty obvious. He made a great catch with that one hand (against New England). I thought the catch and getting into the end zone for the first touchdown was a really good play, too. He made some blocks as a fullback. Mike's done some good things."

    (Hoomanawanui also has been working out of the backfield at fullback.)

    It's no mirage, Spagnuolo says. "He's what you're seeing out there, and we're happy he's doing it."

    The last name, by the way, is pronounced "Oh-oh-mah-NAH-wah-NEW-ee." Or, like Spagnuolo, you can call him Illinois Mike, since he attended the University of Illinois. In the starting lineup Thursday in place of the injured Daniel Fells, Hoomanawanui caught four passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

    All of his catches came in the first half against the Patriots' starting defense, meaning all came from quarterback Sam Bradford. Maybe we should get used to this Bradford-to-Hoomanawanui combination.

    "It sure was a good combination (Thursday), that's for sure," Bradford said. "That one-handed catch he had in the first half, that was unbelievable."

    Hoomanawanui snatched the ball out of the air like it was a small beanbag. It resulted in a 23-yard gain on the final play of the first quarter, setting up the first of four field goals by Josh Brown in a 36-35 Rams preseason win.

    How'd he make that catch?

    "Everyone's asking me," Hoomanawanui said. "I don't know; it's just instinct after a while. I felt like I couldn't get my left hand on it, so spread the (right) hand wide open and hold on tight."

    He can thank his father, Isy, for the good hands.

    "I remember in my younger days when me and my dad would play catch in the backyard," Hoomanawanui said. "He'd 'beam' it at me."

    Isy would throw the ball so hard that young Michael sometimes would cry. Occasionally, he'd take it off the chest, off the face, you name it.

    "Being 5 years old trying to catch a fastball isn't easy," Hoomanawanui said. "I'd tell him to slow it down. But I guess it paid off in the long run."

    When the Rams drafted him in the fifth round this past April, one of the things mentioned by Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney about Hoomanawanui was that he had good hands.

    Which begs the question: How could they tell? With eight catches for 112 yards this preseason, Hoomanawanui has caught almost as many balls as he did during his entire senior season at Illinois.

    "I think that's about true," Hoomanawanui said, laughing.

    It's pretty close. He had 10 catches for 114 yards in 2009, a season in which the Illini passing attack struggled and Hoomanawanui was bothered by an ankle injury, missing three games entirely.

    He was thrilled to get drafted by the Rams. How thrilled? He has a tattoo on his hand that reads "4-24-10," signifying the day he got drafted, April 24.

    "I pinch myself every day when I wake up," he said. "That's no exaggeration. There's people all around the world that'd love to be in our position right now. We've got to take this position and run with it."

    So far, he's doing just that. Hoomanawanui caught the coaches' eyes with some highlight-reel catches during the Rams' spring minicamps and organized team activities. He did more of the same once training camp started. But it's one thing to do it on the practice field; it's entirely another to do it in a game.

    "It's nice to see him take it from the practice field into the game," Spagnuolo said. "I think all of the young guys gained a little confidence (against New England), and that's a good thing."

    No one more than Hoomanawanui. "To know that I can do that against a great opponent like New England, that definitely boosts my confidence," he said. "But there's still a lot of things I've got to work on. So I've got another week of training camp and find out if I make that 53."

    He probably no longer has to sweat making the final roster, not that he can sit back and strum his ukulele and relax. Yes, Hoomanawanui plays the ukulele. In fact, he may be the first Rams player ever to bring a ukulele to training camp.

    "I just play it in my free time," said Hoomanawanui, whose immediate family is from Bloomington, but who has relatives in Hawaii. "It's nice and relaxing. Fendi Onobun, my roommate (during camp), I think he likes it. He's always falling asleep to it."

    Which is something opposing defenses can't afford to do when "Oh-oh" is on the field.


  2. #2
    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    I find it incomprehensible that we have found a tight end with a better name than Mamliamamliamula within five years. I thought it would take about 25 years to get a guy with a better name at that position.!

    I recall draft day very clearly when a number of people in the chat room were blasting away at the rams for using that pick on a "pure" blocking tight end. Its clear that he has real receiving skills and shows strong early signs of being able to find the spot in the zone in which to "sit down" for Sam to find him.

    Tremendous upside on this guy, the one hand catch was really special. Example number one million of why amateurs such as ALL OF US should be really careful about jumping to any conclusions or reactions on draft day, especially in the middle rounds where everyone has their own pet players and has minimal exposure to the thousands of hours of film that the scouts watch.

    He had very very few catches last year. Why? First, the illinois qb rarely threw to him and second, because the Illiinios qb was incredibly erratic with his accuracy (or lack thereof). I am STRONGLY of the view that you can only catch balls that are actually thrown to you. The fact that your statistics dont look great never meant that he didnt have good hands.

    Ramming speed to all

    general counsel
    Last edited by general counsel; -08-29-2010 at 04:01 PM.


  3. #3
    VegasRam's Avatar
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Quote Originally Posted by general counsel View Post
    I am STRONGLY of the view that you can only catch balls that are actually thrown to you.
    general counsel
    Classic.
    "the Heart Lies and the Head Plays Tricks with us, but the Eyes See True".

  4. #4
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Looks like we may have got our hands on a huge steal! This draft class is looking great! We could potentially get 3 or 4 steals: Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun, George Selvie, and Hall Davis.

  5. #5
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Fells STINKS start Oh-Oh IMO. Better hands by far and also better blocker by far. Fells may be more athletic but what is he doing with that athleticism dropping balls and disappointing. I would even cut Fells and just keep Oh-Oh Bajema and Fendi.

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    general counsel's Avatar
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    I am concerned that if we try and stash fendi on the practice squad (which is where i think he is going to wind up) another team grabs him at some point (especially once someone is out of contention)

    ramming speed to all

    general counsel


  7. #7
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    How does that name fit on a jersey?

  8. #8
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Quote Originally Posted by 39thebeast View Post
    Fells STINKS start Oh-Oh IMO. Better hands by far and also better blocker by far. Fells may be more athletic but what is he doing with that athleticism dropping balls and disappointing. I would even cut Fells and just keep Oh-Oh Bajema and Fendi.
    We can't really determine them being starting material over Fells based on one game. Yes that was a really impressive game that day against the Patsies but if they can keep it up consistently then they'll prove their worth well and I do hope you're right except for Fells stinks part.

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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramer View Post
    How does that name fit on a jersey?
    Tiny letters.

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    Rich86 is offline Registered User
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    i'm glad i was dead wrong on this pick. i saw guys like ed dickson and dennis dickerson go before him, and i was mad that they didn't jump at the idea of pairing these workout warriors with samdog millionaire, but after seeing him perform i feel uh oh is going to be trouble for the nfc west

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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    I really like this pick ! I was wondering why drafting this guy when more famous were still avaible. The guy was known to be a good blocker, he proves he has great hands. The kind of TE who can have a good NFL career, not just a big WR with no blocking skills.
    Si vous croyez en vous, que vous avez de la fierté, et que vous ne lâchez jamais, vous serez un gagnant.
    Le prix de la victoire est chère, mais la récompense en vaut la peine.

  12. #12
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    Re: Hoomanawanui making a name for himself ..

    Quote Originally Posted by fliptalianstallion View Post
    We can't really determine them being starting material over Fells based on one game. Yes that was a really impressive game that day against the Patsies but if they can keep it up consistently then they'll prove their worth well and I do hope you're right except for Fells stinks part.
    I'm not basing it one game he has been the best receiver in the preseason just check the stats. He is 5th among TEs in preaseason yards and 29th overall at any position in yards. He has been an excellent blocker also whether he is playing full back or TE. Ya its preseason but it is verry impressive work from a rookie. He has also really really impressed the coaches the whole off season blocking and receiving. Fells has consistently dropped balls all off season, I don't think he has earned anything based on last and this year.

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