This Warrior relishes the bench
Lawrence Wilson, a 300-pound nose tackle, bench-presses 500 pounds during UH testing
Strength won't be an issue for Lawrence Wilson as he vies for playing time on the Hawaii defensive line next season. The 6-foot-1, 300-pound senior nose tackle bench-pressed 500 pounds yesterday as the Warriors players were tested prior to the start of spring camp a week away.
"I can't remember any other guys doing that here," coach June Jones said. "Very few guys in America can lift 500 pounds."
Former UH safety Lono Manners once achieved a 500-pound bench press, but not during team testing. Senior offensive tackle Dane Uperesa completed a 465-pound bench yesterday.
"We had several guys improve 40 to 60 pounds," interim defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "They're buying what (strength coach) Mel deLaura is selling."
Wilson, a Farrington High School and Dixie State College (Utah) graduate, will compete and possibly rotate with sophomore Keala Watson and junior Michael Lafaele at nose tackle in UH's 3-4 defense. Second-year freshman Rocky Savaiigaea will get a long look this spring, too, Jones said.
"Keala Watson has his arm out of the cast and is getting stronger. He played one-handed all last year," Jones said. "Michael Lafaele is a big-time nose tackle. He'll pick right up where he left off last year."
With Vantz Singletary departed for Tennessee-Chattanooga, the defensive line will probably start spring camp without a position coach -- technically, anyway.
Jones said he's still determining the replacement.
"That's not been decided yet. We still have to go through the process," he said.
That could last through next week, leaving Reinebold -- a prime candidate for the permanent job -- in charge at the start of camp.
"Jeff handled a lot of the defensive line stuff last year, and the punt protection. He will do so until we get someone in place," said Jones, by no means ruling out the graduate assistant who has CFL and NFL Europe experience.
"We've obviously talked," Reinebold said. "My position here is the same. I just told him I want to make whatever contribution I can. If he wants me to work with one guy, I'll work with one guy. If he wants me to work with 20 guys, I'll work with 20 guys."
Reinebold worked with the defensive ends last year and assisted on special teams.
Spring fling?: Jones still hasn't decided if the Warriors will scrimmage to complete spring camp on April 15. If they do, it won't be taxing on the starters; they likely won't participate in any full-contact action, Jones said.
"We're probably going to do something, whether it's at the stadium or (at UH) ... I'll be meeting with Herman (athletic director Frazier) and (assistant A.D.) John McNamara," Jones said.
Purcell in: Starting defensive end Mel Purcell is on pace to be eligible to play as a senior this fall, Jones said. Purcell needed to achieve 80 percent of the credits needed for graduation by the end of the upcoming summer sessions.
Purcell entered UH as a partial qualifier in 2003.
Sweet road Alabama: Jones said he doesn't think his team will be intimidated playing its first game at Alabama on Sept. 2.
"As long as they don't worry about 105,000 people and 105 percent humidity," he said.