CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Khevin Peoples will move to running back after making stops like this one during practice in 2004.
Peoples hopes to make dad proud
The UH running back is looking forward to playing at Alabama
Khevin Peoples' jersey, the one the world sees, reads "HAWAII."
The T-shirt under the pads, the garment closest to his heart, reads, "AUBURN FOOTBALL."
Peoples' father, George, was a star running back at Auburn. His mother, Regina, was a standout there in track and field.
"I come from an Auburn family. So even though it's not personal, I hate Alabama," Peoples said. "And I love Hawaii."
Khevin Peoples is a third-year sophomore who moved from outside linebacker to running back this week.
His father died a few months before Khevin, whose first name is also George, came to Hawaii two years ago as a true freshman.
"(Playing at Alabama) will be a pretty emotional one. My father played running back against Alabama in some big games, and now I might have a chance to do it. I've got to make him proud, hopefully he's up in the sky watching me, smiling, what-not."
The Warriors open their season at Tuscaloosa on Sept. 2. It might not be enough time for Peoples to climb the depth chart for playing time at running back, but he will likely make the travel roster at least as a special teams player.
Peoples played running back four years in high school, two as a fullback at Blake High School in Tampa, Fla.
"I know all about blocking, I know that's the most important part of playing running back in this offense," he said.
Coach June Jones said the 5-foot-11, 202-pound Peoples' combination of speed and strength will be an asset at his new position. He was gridlocked among several other solid young players at outside linebacker.
"He's a hard worker. We wanted to find a place where he might fit in," Jones said. "We've got some senior running backs this year so if he gets some time this year he might be the heir apparent."
Peoples said Jones told him he could eventually see playing time as a kickoff returner, too. But the first priority is learning the running back plays and blocking schemes.
"It's all about him getting re-familiar with being a running back. He's got a lot of talent and we just have to get him up to par with the offensive scheme. I think he'll be solid," running backs coach Wes Suan said. "We're just trying to get the best athletes in the best positions. I think he's looking forward to it, too."
Peoples said the shift to offense is literally a dream come true.
"There wasn't any talk about it before yesterday, but it was funny, I actually had a dream about it the other night, running the football," he said.
After a medical redshirt in 2004 due to a knee injury, Peoples played in six games last year, mostly on special teams. He made two tackles, including one for loss.