Warriors rest up for trip to Fresno
Both guards are dinged up but won't miss playing one of Hawaii's rivals in their home state
Hawaii's football game at Fresno State on Saturday is homecoming for the Bulldogs -- and also for the Warriors starting guards.
Well, at least technically. California is a very big state. Junior left guard Hercules Satele is from Long Beach and freshman right guard John Estes is from Stockton.
Until yesterday, it was feared one or both might not be able to play Saturday because of knee injuries incurred during Saturday's 41-34 victory over Nevada. But MRI tests on both players came back showing no ligament damage.
"I could feel it wasn't that bad," Satele said. "And I'm not going to miss this week. I'm going back to California."
Satele was a star at powerhouse Long Beach Poly. In his fourth year at UH, he is among five players who have started every game this season on the Warriors offensive line.
So is Estes, who said he is expecting about 30 family and friends to make the hour-and-a-half drive from Stockton to Fresno for the first game of his college career in his home state.
"My knee looked worse than it was," Estes said. "When the test came back, the doctor told me he wishes he had knees like mine."
Both players suited up, but were held out of yesterday's practice as a precautionary measure.
"We got really good news this morning. I think both of them will probably be all right," UH coach June Jones said.
Satele and Estes are part of a line that is helping to generate 516.2 yards in total offense per game, second in NCAA Division I.
"(The offensive line has) been very, very solid. They've played very well," Jones said. "And Reagan and Nate (running backs Mauia and Ilaoa) have done a great job on pass protection. They're a big reason Colt's (quarterback Brennan) had so much success."
Mauia also participated in a limited fashion yesterday, with his left arm in a sling to rest his shoulder.
"I rest it all week and destroy it again Saturday," Mauia said. "That's just how it is. But it really helped taking that week off against (Eastern) Illinois."
With Satele and Estes watching, Marques Kaonohi worked out at center (moving Samson Satele from center to left guard) and Larry Sauafea played right guard with the first team.
"It's always scary when you don't have your starters in there, but we have some players who can do it if they can't," Jones said.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Warriors hope receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins is able to get over a tender ankle well enough to play at Fresno State on Saturday.
Meanwhile, two starting receivers -- slot Ross Dickerson and wideout Ian Sample -- and backup slot Aaron Bain also watched while others took reps.
But Jones said he expects all three to be ready to play Saturday. He's not quite as optimistic about starting slot Ryan Grice-Mullins, who was expected to try running routes on his tender ankle today or tomorrow.
Dickerson has a bruised hip, Sample a nagging hamstring and Bain is still bouncing back from food poisoning.
Wideouts Jason Rivers and Chad Mock, and slots Davone Bess and Mitch Farney took most of the first-team reps yesterday.
The first three are starters, but Farney, a true freshman, is just filling in while Dickerson, Bain and Grice-Mullins get better.
"I'm not necessarily taking off the redshirt, it's more taking some reps for the injured guys at the Y position," said Farney, who started out at the H spot where Bess and Mike Washington top the depth chart.
Farney is also still coming back from an injury that cut into some of his learning-by-doing time.
"Right during camp. I pulled a quad and it's kind of a recurring injury. Now I'm feeling back close to 100 percent, out there running around again," he said. "I felt good today. I messed up some of my assignments but overall it felt good."
Jones said it's unlikely Farney will join wideout Malcolm Lane as a true freshman to play this year in lieu of apprenticing as a redshirt.
"At this point, probably not. But he looks like he's going to be a really good slot for us," Jones said. "I'd have to weigh real heavy if we were to break his redshirt year. But if he plays, he would hold his own."
Sample has caught two touchdown passes in each of the Warriors past two games. He pulled himself out of the Nevada game.
"My hamstrings are always kind of tight. There's a little strain, I try to battle through it. But there was a point where I couldn't pick up an extra gear so I took myself out before I popped anything," Sample said. "Right now, I'm taking it easy but I'll be good to go on Saturday."
Suffice to say, Hawaii's offense will look a lot different at Bulldog Stadium than it did yesterday at Manoa.
"That's exactly what it is. No point going all out on Tuesday when you need to go all out on Saturday. We're just resting up and healing," Sample said.
With Jones' approval.
"We kind of told them to take today off," the coach said.