C.J. Spiller was born and raised in Florida.
But he spent four years in South Carolina at Clemson, and as he watched the coverage of the flooding that has gripped South Carolina since Hurricane Joaquin pushed torrential rains on the state, Spiller felt like he had to do something.
Spiller decided he had to help.
The hero of Sunday’s overtime victory over the Cowboys reached out to New Spring Church, the Anderson, South Carolina, church Spiller attended when he was at Clemson. Their area hasn’t been hit by the flooding or affected by a failed dam, but the church wants to help the rest of the state.
“We’re teaming up to send water, food, supplies, whatever we can,” Spiller said.
Spiller said he finds his thoughts straying to his adopted state when he isn’t on the field working with the Saints to prepare for this weekend’s game against Philadelphia.
“Your heart is heavy,” Spiller said. “You send out prayers to all the families that have been affected by the storm, and you do anything you can to help them. Me being a Clemson boy, and having played in the state of South Carolina, I feel like it’s important for me to do anything I can to help.”
Michael Hoomanawanui almost didn’t make it to New Orleans.
The tight end was in an airport last week, in line to catch a flight home to Arizona, when his agent called to tell him he had been traded from the New England Patriots to the Saints.
“Thank god I wasn’t on the plane, that would have made things a lot more difficult,” Hoomanawanui said. “I went home, packed up and turned the page.”
Now he’s trying to digest everything on the pages contained within his new playbook.
Hoomanawanui did not play during last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys after arriving in New Orleans late Thursday night. He said that he’s hoping to be up to speed to the point where he can play this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
There likely aren’t a lot of similarities between the two offenses in terms of the language. The Saints offense and terminology has its roots in a West Coast system, while the Patriots offense has its roots in the Erhardt-Perkins system and is built upon a lot of option routes.
It’s not uncommon for some of the calls in New Orleans to be around a dozen words long. In New England, a typical play might sound something like “73 Ghost/Tosser.” The Patriots even use one-word play calls when going no huddle.
It’s different, but Hoomanawanui is confident he can conquer it quickly.
“It’s football at the end of the day. That aspect never changes,” Hoomanwanui said. “Terminology, getting used to it and getting used to guys in the locker room.”
While he’s working on that, fans of the Saints will likely still be trying to figure out how to pronounce the new tight end’s last name. Don’t worry if you mess it up. He understands.
“I’m used to it. I realize that everyone is human,” he said. “It’s not the easiest last name. I do appreciate it when people try it and give it their best effort, realizing it’s not easy.”
Left tackle Terron Armstead did not practice for the Saints on Wednesday, according to the official injury report the team submitted to the NFL.
Punter Thomas Morstead (right quadriceps), wide receiver Marques Colston and defensive tackle Kevin Williams also did not practice, although Colston and Williams are not battling an injury.
The Saints did get back the services of right guard Jahri Evans, who has missed the past two games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his knee.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks (ankle), cornerback Keenan Lewis (hip) and safety Jairus Byrd (knee) all remain limited, but they handle the workload well.