Sports Notebook

Friday, August 27, 2004

Offensive line
takes day off

Coach Cavanaugh says the
unit has a lackluster practice

With five solid returning starters and several experienced backups, everything's fine and dandy on the Hawaii offensive line. Right?

Well, it wasn't yesterday, according to position coach Mike Cavanaugh and starting right tackle Brandon Eaton. Both said their unit lacked effort and focus nine days before the season opener against Florida Atlantic at Aloha Stadium.

"It wasn't real good," Cavanaugh said after practice. "Guys were going through the motions and we can't have that. Thank God we finally have depth. We need to come out ready to work every day."

Eaton said he hopes the off-day was an aberration.

"Man, up to this point our intensity was good," he said. "Today we came out lackadaisical. We didn't work to our full potential today. Today was almost like a waste of time for us. We've got to come back out tomorrow focused."

It was a bad day for the line, but on paper, it looks like it could be a great year.

Senior right guard Uriah Moenoa has worked his way back into the starting five after missing much of fall camp with a slight knee sprain. Going into his fourth year as a starter, he's in the best shape he's been in at UH.

"I got on the other night and I'm down another 5 pounds, to 327. I just have to be careful I don't lose strength, so I get in the weightroom every day," said Moenoa, who was up around 365 to 370 pounds last spring.

With sophomore left tackle Tala Esera, sophomore left guard Samson Satele and junior center Derek Faavi joining Moenoa and Eaton, the Warriors appear solid across the front. But more days like yesterday between now and next Saturday could mean a different name or two in the starting lineup.

"We've got some really solid backups. (Sophomore guard) Marques Kaonohi, (freshman center) Michael Lafaele. (Sophomore tackle) Dane Uperesa's had his best camp," head coach June Jones said. "We've got four tackles, and four or five guards and centers who are all pretty good players."

Jones said the worst thing UH can do is underestimate Florida Atlantic's defensive line.

"They're very athletic, very fast and they've got some size to them," he said.

Moenoa has begun to study the Owls' tendencies.

"I'm looking at a lot more film on each individual. The only way to prepare yourself is practice hard and study film," he said.

Captains' corner: Quarterback Tim Chang, cornerback Abraham Elimimian, defensive tackle Lui Fuga and slotback Chad Owens, all seniors, were voted team captains by their teammates.

"It's an honor," Elimimian said. "I don't think we'll be putting in any new rules. The important ones are pretty basic and they're already in there, they're all based on encouraging and respecting each other."

Injury update: Junior starting safety Leonard Peters rested a shoulder he fell on Wednesday, junior cornerback Turmarian Moreland nursed a recurring groin strain and senior starting receiver Britton Komine sat out with a hamstring strain. All three are considered day-to-day.

Jones said Fuga (knee sprain) and junior defensive end Mel Purcell (foot sprain), both starters, might both be back in action Monday. Starting senior outside linebacker Paul Lutu-Carroll has been running well the past few days, and said he might try to return to the lineup Monday.

Sophomore defensive tackle Kahai LaCount wrapped up a cut middle finger and continued to practice.

Good Manners: With Peters only watching from the side, sophomore Lono Manners got most of the first-team reps yesterday at one of the safety spots. Jones said Peters is still the starter, but it's becoming apparent that Manners, a converted running back from Waianae, will likely be a key contributor this fall. And starting against Florida Atlantic hasn't been ruled out.

"It's a matter of Lono's played as well as anybody else. It's justice," defensive backs coach Rich Miano said. "Who should be the starter? We're not sure. The only thing the others have over Lono is they have more game-time experience. Will Lono communicate? How will he play when the lights go on? Sometimes you want to work guys into the situation a little more slowly. We'll make the decision some time next week."

Peters said he knows this isn't a good time for him to be injured.

"You always worry if you take a day off. Everyone's good out here," he said. "But I'm a team player. If the coaches want to play someone else, that's their call."

Short yardage: The Warriors have the day off Sunday. ... Freshman kicker C.J. Santiago said he hopes to try some field goals at today's closed practice at Aloha Stadium.


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