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Citing philosophical differences over handling of disciplinary matters, Hawaii OL coach Chris Naeole resigns

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When Hawaii takes the field for its game Saturday night against Nevada, it’ll do so without one of its nine assistant coaches.

In a statement released overnight, Chris Naeole announced his resignation as the Rainbow Warriors offensive line coach, effective immediately. Naeole cited unspecified “philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters in the program” as the trigger for his decision.

Naeole was absent from a pair of practices this week and didn’t travel with the team to Reno, giving rise to speculation about his status with the football program.

“In my heart, I believe I served the program and the student-athletes to the best of my ability, and with the same work ethic, desire and passion to excel that pushed me at all levels of my playing career,” Naeole said in the statement. “However, due to certain philosophical differences with the handling of disciplinary matters in the program, I’ve offered my resignation as the offensive line coach. I have always believed in the integrity and principles of what our community and the University stands for and those same beliefs are what I have tried to instill in my players.”

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, at least seven Rainbow Warrior football players have been suspended the last couple of weeks.

Naeole was in his fifth season as UH’s line coach.  In 2015, the former Colorado first-team All-American served as interim head coach for the final four games of the season after Norm Chow was dismissed by the university.

“He was critical in holding this program together in the transition from Coach (Norm) Chow to myself,” head coach Nick Rolovich said in his statement. “We wish him well in his future, and we will meet this challenge head-on, because that is the Warrior way.”

WATCH: Hawaii assistant dislocates elbow, breaks wrist chest-bumping 300-pound lineman

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Some people have to learn the hard way, I guess.

In a 41-18 Week 1 win over Western Carolina, Hawaii blocked three kicks attempted by the FCS program. After one of them, linebackers coach Sean Duggan thought it’d be wise to attempt a chest-bump with offensive lineman Viane Moala as he came off the field.

As Moala is 6-7 and north of 300 pounds, it was decidedly unwise.

The carnage in the aftermath of that fateful chest-bump was significant as Duggan sustained a dislocated elbow and broken wrist as a result of the high-speed, mid-air encounter.

“You advise against chest-bumping a 6-foot-7, 300-pound Tongan,” Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich deadpanned via Hawaii News Now. “That’s just, as a new haole* guy to the island, that’s just not something you should make a habit of. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but he’ll get through it.”

Despite being in a sling for “a while” per Rolovich, Duggan is expected to continue his coaching duties, including this weekend for the road trip to UCLA.

(*For those unfamiliar the term, haole is defined as “a person who is not a native Hawaiian, especially a white person.”)

Vegas prop bets mix Mayweather-McGregor megafight, college football opening night

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What an absolutely huge sports night we’re getting set for. It just doesn’t get much bigger than this. What a spectacle it will be.

That’s right, it’s opening night of the 2017 college football season! Oh yeah, and there’s that other sporting event you may have heard about.

As the Stanford-Rice game Down Under in Australia is being played, the much-hyped megafight between one of the greatest pound-for-pound boxers of any generation, 40-year-old Floyd Mayweather, and 29-year-old UFC superstar Conor McGregor will be going down in a Las Vegas squared circle.

Earlier in the day, Colorado State will christen its brand-new on-campus stadium with its opener against Oregon State as well. All of that leads us to this, with Bovada.lv releasing earlier this week a pair of cross-sport prop bets involving the latest Fight of the Century and the two previously-mentioned college football games.

For the record, No. 14 Stanford is a 31-point favorite over a Rice team that won three games last season while the over-under for the entire OSU-CSU game is 60 points. If I were a gambling man — and I’ll bet you I’m not — I’d go with McGregor on both counts.  But that’s just me.

Back to football one final time, though, as there are three other games featuring at least one FBS team being played today on what’s officially the opening weekend of the college football season but is more like a formal dress rehearsal for the real thing next weekend: Portland State at BYU (3 p.m. ET on ESPN), Hawaii at UMass (no TV) and No. 19 South Florida at San Jose State (7:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network).

Coaches fund gives $10,000 to Hawaii football player who suffered serious spinal injury in diving accident

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Even if it’s just a sliver, there’s some good news for one Hawaii football player dealing with a significant health issue.

In early July, Kalepo Naotala was seriously injured in a diving accident after jumping off a wall near the iconic Waikiki Beach. In confirming the injury and asking for prayers, the football program did not state the specific nature of the injury; Thursday night, the school confirmed in a press release that Naotala suffered a serious spinal cord injury and has been moved from a hospital to a treatment facility in Colorado to further his rehabilitation.

It was also announced by the university in the same release that Naotala and his family were on the receiving end of a grant from the College Football Assistance Fund (CFAF) to help with ongoing medical and non-medical costs. The CFAF was founded in 2010, and is described as “a group of collegiate coaches and athletic administrators concerned about the limited resources available to injured football players. Major donors include some of today’s top college football coaches and Bowls.”

The generous grant by no means ends the family’s financial responsibilities, but it will certainly help defray some of the rising medical costs. For those who are so inclined, you can make donations to further defray it at CFAFund.com, with any donation being placed in a fund reserved solely for Kalepo and his family.

Below are the statements from some of the pertinent parties involved.

NAOTALA FAMILY
“Words can’t express how blessed we’ve been in the midst of this trying time for our family. The outpouring of God’s love and grace through prayers, love and support from Virginia to Hawaii and now Colorado has been tremendous! We’d like to thank the College Football Assistance Fund (CFAF) for their support and generous donation in allowing our family to focus on Kalepo and his recovery & rehabilitation. We are grateful and appreciative that such an organization exists and is able to help us out during this critical time in our son’s life.”

HEAD COACH NICK ROLOVICH
“As unfortunate of an incident as it was for Kalepo, the outpouring of support has been amazing. With the help of the College Football Assistance Fund and many others who have generously supported the Naotala family, it will make their journey a little easier.”

ATHLETIC DIRECTOR DAVID MATLIN
“On behalf of the University of Hawaiʻi, we wish to extend our appreciation to the College Football Assistance Fund for their generosity and support of Kalepo. This gift will make a big difference in assisting the Naotala family in Kalepo’s road to recovery.”

Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts