Sports Notebook

Thursday, September 11, 2003


Hawaii passing game
catches a break

And all of a sudden, like magic, the Hawaii receivers contingent is fairly healthy again.

Starting pass-catchers Jeremiah Cockheran and Chad Owens returned to practice yesterday -- just a day after coach June Jones told everyone how worried he was that the two big playmakers might not make it to the field at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday. It now looks like both will be ready to play when the Warriors (1-0) take on fourth-ranked Southern California (2-0) at 10 a.m. Hawaii time.

Cockheran has been bothered by a nagging strain of his right knee since Sunday. He ran crisply yesterday, but the senior co-captain did take off the last 10 or so plays of the 2 1/2-hour practice.

"It keeps recurring. But I felt a little bit better today. I'm tough. I think I'll be ready come game time," said Cockheran, who caught three touchdown passes in UH's 40-17 victory over Appalachian State on Aug. 30.

Owens is nursing an infected cut on his left foot. The junior slot receiver eased his way back after missing three practices this week.

"I started out slow. I'm just trying to get my legs back. Once I got warmed up I started feeling better every play. It should be all right. It doesn't feel too bad," said Owens, who produced 177 all-purpose yards against the Mountaineers.

Jones was much more optimistic than he was Tuesday.

"Hopefully, they'll be OK," Jones said. "Chad wasn't quite as sharp as he usually is, but he ran."

The news wasn't as good about defensive end Travis LaBoy. He spent most the morning getting massage treatment for his recurring groin injury.

"I don't know right now if I'll be able to play," LaBoy said. "I'm hoping I'll be able to play at UNLV (a week from Friday)."

Jones hasn't given up on the idea of playing LaBoy against USC, but he has to heal soon.

"Well, we'll see how he is Saturday, but he's not gonna start," Jones said.

Senior Kevin Jackson will likely start in LaBoy's place.

Bada Bing: USC freshman safety Darnell Bing said he isn't sure whether he'll play Saturday because his ankle is more tender than it was a week ago at this time, when he nursed it back for the Brigham Young game.

Bing did not practice yesterday and said he would attempt to go today.

"It still hurts a little bit," Bing said. "I would hate to say I'll play and then not be able to. I wouldn't mind playing, but if I don't, it'll help my ankle get better."

If Bing doesn't play, sophomore Mike Ross will start in his place. It also means linebacker Dallas Sartz probably would play safety in the game.

"I was hoping to get (Bing) some work (yesterday)," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "It'll affect him. (Hawaii) is an excellent football team. The safeties have got to play good football."

Offensive tackle Jacob Rogers rested his sore ankle and wore a protective boot but is expected to play.

Freshman tailback LenDale White took off part of practice to rest a sore toe he originally hurt last week when he bruised his knee. White said he would be fine for the game.

Eye of the storm: There's been only one constant on the rebuilt UH offensive line this fall.

Sophomore center Derek Faavi is the only starter from the Appalachian State game expected to start again at the same position Saturday.

"He's pretty much the guy who runs what we do. He's a smart guy, I have a lot of faith and trust in him," offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said. "He's played with great leverage this week. He's going up against a couple of great players in (USC tackles) Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody."

Faavi was the junior member of UH's veteran offensive line at the end of last season. But now, among all the shifting, the quiet 6-foot-1, 273-pound Campbell High School graduate finds himself in a de facto leadership role.

"Derek's not the biggest guy," Cavanaugh said. "But he's going to do the right thing and battle you all the way."

Three Squeezes: John "Squeeze" Kamana III insists going to USC was all his idea when he was a star at Punahou in 1980. His father, John "Squeeze" Kamana Jr., a Trojans walk-on center and linebacker in 1955 and '56, let him make his own choice. Need proof? Junior's son and III's twin brother Carter Kamana, a Kamehameha standout, decided to go to Michigan State, where he played cornerback.

"Carter surprised us all," John Kamana III said. "The night before letter of intent day we went to sleep thinking he was going to Arizona State."

John Kamana III, a fullback, tight end and wide receiver, played with Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen and dozens of other future NFL players at USC. Kamana had brief stints with the Rams and Falcons after college.

And how did the John Kamanas get their nickname?

"Back when he was a little kid my grandfather didn't have money for lunch, so the girls would share their food with him. He'd reciprocate with a hug," Kamana III said. "True story."

Film flap follow-up: Jones clarified the botched game film exchange between the two teams yesterday.

He said the Warriors didn't ask for both USC games for the one Hawaii game. UH asked for a copy of USC's game against BYU only, but USC wanted to provide only the Auburn game, Jones said.

Short yardage: The Warriors were scheduled to leave for Burbank, Calif., at 1 p.m. today and arrive at 9 p.m., Pacific Time. ... USC has won its last 10 games, and 10 in a row at home.

The Los Angeles Daily News contributed to this report.

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