2 UH DBs out for academics
Novices get the first looks at starting cornerback as Hawaii football spring practice starts next week with two returning starters sidelined by academic issues.
Junior A.J. Martinez and second-year freshman Jo Pierre Davis -- neither of whom has played a down at cornerback for Hawaii -- will be under the gun with the first-team defense when spring drills start a week from tomorrow.
Juniors Ryan Keomaka and Keao Monteilh are out for the spring because they need to address school issues, coach June Jones said yesterday. So does senior Andre Taylor, who returned kicks last year and was also expected to compete at cornerback this spring.
They could be back in time for fall camp, Jones said.
"That could happen, but they need to show they're taking care of what they need to do in the classroom," Jones said.
Martinez and Davis -- as well as a slew of other candidates, some arriving in August -- were expected to push Keomaka and Monteilh hard, anyway.
"They (Martinez and Davis) would have to be the top two guys in camp. They at least look the part," defensive backs coach Rich Miano said. "They're both big and strong and physical, and both have run 4.4 (in the 40). The more reps we can give them, the better our defense will be."
Martinez, a former safety, is listed at 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds and Davis at 6-foot and 196 pounds. Keomaka is listed at 5-10, 160 and Monteilh at 5-10, 171.
Keomaka and Monteilh got plenty of playing time last year, much of it due to injuries to starters Turmarian Moreland and Kenny Patton. Moreland has completed his eligibility and Patton, a senior, will be experimenting at wide receiver this spring.
Keomaka intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble in UH's season-ending win against San Diego State, and was named the Western Athletic Conference defensive player of the week.
Jones also said he is toying with the idea of playing standout slot receiver Davone Bess in the secondary.
Also, UH might have a spring football game (or, more likely, full-contact scrimmage) to conclude spring practice April 15 after not having one last year. It depends how healthy the Warriors are, Jones said.
Spring practice dates are next Tuesday through Friday and -- following spring break -- April 3-8, 10-13 and 15. The practices are generally from 7 to 9 a.m. at the UH grass practice fields and are open to the public at no charge.