Thursday, October 19, 2006 9:41 AM HST
Former HPA lineman Teo-Nesheim energizes Huskies' revival
by Brendan Shriane
Teo-Nesheim, a redshirt freshman defensive tackle, has started all six games for Washington (2-1 Pac-10, 4-2 overall) and from what his former line coach at HPA, Bern Brostek, has been hearing, he's making a tremendous impact.
"He's just got a motor that never stops, he'll chase somebody from sideline to sideline," said Brostek, who was an all-American center at Washington in 1989 before spending eight seasons in the NFL. "And from what I've heard from his position coach (Randy Hart) and reports I've seen online, is that's starting to rub off on the rest of the team.
"They're saying here's this kid from the Big Island getting the ball rolling."
Brostek, the offensive and defensive line coach for HPA, said aggressive defense was a trademark of Huskies' teams when he was at Washington.
It seemed to him like the program had gotten away from that tough defense, but it's now resurfacing on a team that has won four games this season under second-year coach Tyrone Willingham. The team had won only three games the last two years.
Teo-Nesheim, who's listed at 6-foot-4 and 245 pounds, said the whole team seems to be playing a more intense brand of football, leading to a better attitude on the team.
"People are going harder and we're hustling more," he said. "I'm just happy we're winning."
He said one of the best experiences he's had so far this year was during the Huskies' 21-10 win over Arizona on Oct. 1 in Tucson, Ariz.
"Once it was the fourth quarter, the (Arizona) crowd didn't want to watch the end of the game," he said.
It was the opposite of what the Washington players experienced in 2005, when the Huskies went 2-8, forcing their fans to look away at the end of games.
"It was nice to see that happen to someone else,'' Teo-Nesheim said.
This year the team has played much better and Teo-Nesheim has contributed with 18 tackles -- six solo and 12 assists -- which gives him the lead among Washington defensive linemen. He also has four tackles for loss and a couple of quarterback hurries. Teo-Nesheim, who lines up in every position on the line and even drops back into pass coverage, also has broken up a pass and was credited with defending another pass attempt.
"If they're dropping you back into coverage like that, the coaches think you have some real talent," Brostek said.
Washington defensive line coach Hart said he's been impressed with Teo-Nesheim.
"He's done a good job since the first time he got here," said Hart, who has coached at Washington for 19 years. Hart said even when Teo-Nesheim wasn't actually playing in games, he helped the team out, starring on the defensive scout team, earning defensive scout squad player of the year honors."
"He did a terrific job," Hart said.
Hart said Teo-Nesheim tested the first-team offense on a daily basis, challenging the offensive line to block him.
"He's a very spirited, high-energy type of player," Hart said. "When he's out there on the field, you can see he enjoys playing."
That his new coach would describe Teo-Nesheim as energetic should come as no surprise to his high school head coach.
"Daniel was an incredible player for us," said former HPA coach Tom Goodspeed, who's now the athletic director at Parker. "I always call him the Energizer Bunny -- he would just go and go and go on every play."
Teo-Nesheim played defensive tackle, left offensive tackle and was part of the wedge on special teams for the 2004 team that reached the semifinals in the Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II state tournament.
That Ka Makani team is the only Big Island Interscholastic Federation football team to win a playoff game.
"He never came off the field," Goodspeed said.
Brostek said Teo-Nesheim and his offensive and defensive linemate, Andrew Queen, who plays defensive line for NCAA Division II Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., actually played themselves to exhaustion in their Big Island Interscholastic Federation undefeated season in 2004.
Brostek said both needed IV injections three or four times that season to rehydrate themselves after playing both ways for entire games.
"It's kind of tough they have to play so hard both ways, but it makes you proud," said Brostek.
Hart has seen that kind of drive and he said one of Teo-Nesheim's strengths is his "overall intensity."
Hart said that intensity helped Teo-Nesheim, who recently turned 19, earn his starting defensive end spot at spring practice.
At Washington, Teo-Nesheim doesn't have to play both ways, but he does have to balance his time.
"I've been surprised how much time football takes out of my day," said Teo-Nesheim, who also throws the shot put and discus on the Washington track team. "It's hard to do everything, with meetings, watching film, practice, classes, but it's all worth it."
He's also in his second year of college, taking his basic classes.
"We'll, I'm not exactly enjoying it, but I'm doing pretty well," he said.
As far as actually going to class -- "that's probably the worst part of school," he said.
He's currently taking photography, geology and Russian geography.
"Yeah, I don't really know what I'm doing in that class, but it's interesting," he said.