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Monday, September 13, 2004



[ WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]


Poumele targets
return vs. Rice
this week

The Hawaii senior suffered
a stretched nerve against FAU,
but there is no permanent damage


When Hawaii slotback Se'e Poumele was gang-tackled during the second quarter of the Warriors' Sept. 4 loss to Florida Atlantic, he feared the worst. The senior thought his career might have ended.

"My whole side went numb. It was scary, I didn't know what was wrong at first. I thought it was my knee," Poumele said.

After diagnostic tests, it was determined Poumele had suffered a stretched nerve. It sounds bad, but the good news is there's no permanent damage and he might be able to play Saturday at Rice.

Following a week of rest, Poumele was able to do some running yesterday during UH's afternoon practice.

"It feels a lot better than it did before. I want to get back as soon as I can," he said. "There's going to be pain, and it bothered me today. I'm going to try to come out in full pads (today)."

If Poumele can't go, senior Gerald Welch will start. Freshmen Jason Ferguson and Patrick Olchovy are other possibilities, and senior wide receiver Britton Komine can move in to play slot.

But coach June Jones said he thinks Poumele will be ready.

"It seems he'll be OK," Jones said after yesterday's practice.

Poumele caught four passes for 26 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown, before the injury.

The transfer from Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., played 13 games for UH last year. He caught 29 passes for 330 yards and two scores. He also rushed nine times for 19 yards and a TD.

Ready for action: Ferguson made his UH debut in the season opener against Florida Atlantic, and although he didn't have a reception he relished the opportunity.

He went in for Chad Owens when the senior took a hard hit in the fourth quarter.

"Regardless of the situation I'm going to be ready," Ferguson said. "It came down to the fourth quarter and I still wasn't sure I was going to get in, they put me in and I was ready. Same thing this week. I'm not going to expect the most, I'm not going to expect the least, I'm just going to be ready. As long as you're ready you can never fail."

Ferguson's parents, Danny and Allison White, were in town for the FAU game and may be back in the winter. Ferguson's younger brother, Donovan White, is a member of the Fairfax (Los Angeles) basketball team, which will play in the Iolani Prep Classic. Ferguson played in the tournament twice with the Lions.

"He is the truth," Ferguson said of his little brother. "You'll see."

WAC attack: While UH had the weekend off, it was a huge one for the Western Athletic Conference, as Boise State and Fresno State turned in big wins and both jumped into the Top 25 of both major polls.

Jones was pleased, but not surprised.

"I thought both of them played like they always do. Fresno played with an attitude, a great attitude," he said.

Jones said he didn't pay as much attention to Florida Atlantic's victory at North Texas, which takes some of the sting out of UH's loss to the Owls.

"I didn't really think much about that because it's out of our conference," he said.

Junior linebacker Ikaika Curnan said the wins give the Warriors opportunities later in the season.

"Great for the WAC, two teams representing like that," he said. "When we play them, it makes it better for us, playing teams that have done what they did this weekend."

Short yardage: Sophomore running back Ryan Stickler will not undergo surgery for a shoulder injury suffered on the opening kickoff against Florida Atlantic. He is out for the season. ... Defensive tackle Ali Likio, a transfer from Arizona State, will not join the team until spring. ... UH practiced in the afternoon most of last week and yesterday to get used to the heat in Houston, which will likely be warm even at the 7:05 p.m. kickoff this time of year. The Warriors returned to their regular schedule this morning, 7 to 9 a.m. ... They leave for Houston on Wednesday.


Jason Kaneshiro of the Star-Bulletin contributed to this report.

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