Coach Jones solidifies the first-string O-line
Guards Hercules Satele and John Estes join the three returning starters
Junior Hercules Satele and freshman John Estes have won the starting guard spots, Hawaii football coach June Jones said after yesterday's practice, and the Warriors offensive line is set for the opener at Alabama eight days from today.
"They've done the best in practice," Jones said. "Everyone's had a good camp, but those two have been better."
While the defensive lineup still has several questions because of nagging injuries, the offense is nearly in place. The only starting spots not determined are the wide receivers, where Jones said Jason Rivers and Chad Mock on one side and Ian Sample and Ross Dickerson on the other will likely share time, anyway.
Satele at left guard and Estes at right guard join three seniors: left tackle Tala Esera, center Sam Satele and right tackle Dane Uperesa. Those three returning starters were virtual locks to keep their jobs going into fall camp. But Hercules Satele and Estes -- who were also atop the depth chart after spring practice -- had to fight off strong challenges from Larry Sauafea, Marques Kaonohi and Laupepa Letuli.
"I have to keep progressing because Marques and Larry are right there, right behind me ready to take my spot if I screw up or anything," Estes said.
This will be the first college game for the 6-foot-2, 290-pound Estes, who redshirted last year.
Hercules Satele played in five games in 2005 and five as a freshman in 2004, but this will be his first start.
"I'm just trying to work my hardest," he said. "I feel more comfortable this year than last year, I have a lot more experience now and know my plays more."
Offensive line assistant Dennis McKnight said both newcomers to the starting five are ready.
"(Satele is) just very solid, and on the field he's very powerful. He plays the game at a good low pad level. And I think John Estes could be as good a guard as we've ever had here. That's Vincent Manuwai, Kynan (Forney), everybody."
Uperesa and Sam Satele started their first game as freshmen three years ago.
"I know how (Estes) is mentally right now, everything's coming so fast. Things may seem like they're 100 mph," Uperesa said. "But he'll be fine. Me and Sam try to lift him up and let him know that what he's doing is good. He just has to take it day by day.
"Herc's a little different because he's a junior, he's been in this thing for a while. He's one of the only guys, along with the seniors, that were here when Coach Cav (Mike Cavanaugh) was here. Coach Cav taught us a lot of the system stuff, so Herc's got it."