Warriors suffer with 2 'nose' injuries
Lafaele and Wilson sit out practice, and LaCount shows his durability
Hawaii's front line of defense was weakened, but its last line bolstered yesterday.
UH was down to its third nose tackle as nagging injuries sidelined first-teamer Mike Lafaele and his first backup, Lawrence Wilson.
But first-string free safety Leonard Peters -- who has had a tender ankle since fall camp started nearly three weeks ago -- stepped up his activity level yesterday.
Kahai LaCount was left to man the middle of the line for the Warriors, 11 days before UH opens at Alabama.
"He's been the one guy durable enough to hold up every day," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said of the converted offensive lineman.
UH head coach June Jones expects that Lafaele (heel) and Wilson (ankle) will be ready to make the trip to Tuscaloosa when he finalizes the 60-player travel roster on Sunday.
Another possibility for nose tackle is Renolds Fruean, but he has a recurring foot injury. Keala Watson also has some experience there, and Fale Laeli has been playing it in some nickel defenses.
"We almost have to hide his pads to keep him out," Reinebold said of Fruean.
Reinebold doesn't know who will be healthy enough to play a week from Saturday, but he knows LaCount is dependable.
"He's very unselfish. It doesn't matter if he's working out with the third team or the first team, he always
gives you the same strong effort. The biggest thing with him is he plays heavy. He can hold against the double team and his pass-rush technique is improving."
LaCount plays on the field goal and kickoff return teams.
"The more I can provide for the team, the better chance I have," LaCount said. "Mike's a little sore, so I'm there in his place now."
Lafaele said he expects to return to the trenches this week.
"I just don't want it to get worse," he said.
Peters led the Warriors with 120 tackles in 2004, but a knee injury in the 2005 season opener knocked him out for the year. He's back after an NCAA extension to his playing career.
Yesterday was the first practice that he worked extensively with the first team, because of an ankle injury that limited his practice time to "as able."
Right outside linebacker Amani Purcell observed the second half of practice and rode a bicycle after the two-hour session to try to loosen a tight instep.
C.J. Allen-Jones came back from a sore hamstring and practiced with the first team.
"He's still sore, but he (practiced)," Jones said of Allen-Jones. "We'll get everybody by game day."
Tyson Kafentzis, another outside linebacker expected to play against Alabama, was out sick yesterday. That gave starter Brashton Satele and backup Micah Lau more reps on the left side.
Jones is in no hurry to name starters at the wide receiver spots. Jason Rivers and Chad Mock on the left and Ian Sample and Ross Dickerson on the right are still in contention.
And no conclusions are supposed to be drawn from Rivers and Dickerson usually taking the first reps with the first team.
"We just go on our own," Rivers said. "Nothing's set in stone. I just get whatever work I can with Colt (quarterback Brennan). We throw the ball so much, everyone's going to get a chance."
Rebels' Hinds gets the nod:
In less than a year, Rocky Hinds has gone from quarterback of the future to quarterback of the present for UNLV, which plays Hawaii on Sept. 16 at Aloha Stadium.
Hinds, a sophomore who transferred from the University of Southern California a year ago, was named the Rebels' starter yesterday, beating out senior Shane Steichen.
"We have two really good quarterbacks," coach Mike Sanford said as UNLV prepares in northern Nevada for the Sept. 2 season opener against Idaho State. "It's just that I think the best thing for this program right now is for Rocky to be the starting quarterback."
Jones said he has already made most of the decisions on which players will make the trip to Alabama. He submitted a list of 65 names for the commercial flight, leaving room for some adjustments before leaving for Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon. ... The Warriors will select team captains within the next few days. ... JC transfer cornerback Keenan Jones had still not been cleared to join the team late yesterday.