CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Nose tackle Michael Lafaele (No. 67), flexed his muscles as he and his Warriors teammates posed for cameras yesterday during the team's picture day.
Banged-up defenders feeling better
Hawaii nose tackle Michael Lafaele returned to his place with the first-team defensive line for yesterday's no-pads practice. He had missed most of this week with a sore heel. Keala Watson, Renolds Fruean and Fale Laeli also played in the middle of the line during the team period.
"Not bad," Lafaele said. "I was just trying to see how it is today. It feels pretty good. I just took a couple of reps to try to make sure I have the run game down."
C.J. Allen-Jones, who has been hampered by a tight hamstring, played with the first team at outside linebacker opposite Tyson Kafentzis. Amani Purcell's reps were mostly with the second team.
Reserve offensive lineman Keith Ah Soon (stinger) also participated in drills and said he feels fine.
Freshman linebacker Brashton Satele (bruised quadriceps) and junior safety Brad Kalilimoku (hamstring) remained sidelined.
Catch du jour: In his brief career at UH, slotback Davone Bess has often made the spectacular appear routine as passes entering his vicinity rarely escape his grasp.
During the 7-on-7 period yesterday, Bess was at it again. The 5-foot-10 sophomore had to leap for a high throw, stretching his arms over the head of cornerback Gerard Lewis, who was on his right hip, to snatch the ball out of the air.
But the highlights weren't reserved for the offense. One play after Bess made an over-the-shoulder catch on a deep pass near the boundary during the team period, safety Leonard Peters stepped in front of a throw over the middle, catching it in stride and sprinting toward the end zone.
Starting quarterback Colt Brennan threw both passes.
"I got a little bit ahead of myself on the second one," Brennan said. "That's part of what practice is for."
Just a number: Unlike Willie McGinest's mixed feelings about Junior Seau taking his old uniform number 55 with the New England Patriots, Al Noga has no problem with Purcell wearing 54 for Hawaii.
"That's really sad. Didn't they both wear it at USC? Numbers are made famous by many players," Noga said of McGinest and Seau.
Noga was No. 54 in 1986 when he became UH's only Associated Press first-team All-American, as a defensive tackle. His older brother, two-time All-WAC defensive tackle Niko Noga, wore the number before him, and a younger brother, linebacker George Noga, in the 1990s.
"The number doesn't belong to the Nogas. It belongs to UH," Al Noga said. "I think he's going to be a great player. Just watching him move side-to-side, he looks like a great athlete. Amani will make the number more famous. Once you have your glory you pass it on to the next generation."
Purcell wore 54 at Penn State, from where he transferred to UH.
Noga, who recently received his bachelor's degree at Manoa, played seven NFL seasons after he was picked in the third round of the 1988 draft by the Vikings. He also played and coached in arena football, most recently as defensive coordinator for the now defunct arenafootball2 Hawaiian Islanders.
"I'm trying to get on with staff here and get a master's in music," Noga said. "I'll look around on the mainland if I have to, but this is where it all happened for me."
Short yardage: Cornerback Ryan Keomaka worked extensively with the No. 2 defense and made several good plays. ... Today's practice was changed to 7 a.m. at UH. It was originally set for 4 p.m. with the idea of holding it at Aloha Stadium, but that venue was unavailable. ... As of yesterday afternoon, cornerback Keenan Jones' transfer paperwork was still not cleared by UH.