Sample a role model for Warrior freshman Lane
Hawaii's dependable senior receiver has been setting a good example for his first-year peer
Rookies are supposed to learn by watching veterans, and Malcolm Lane has a good mentor in Ian Sample.
Lane, a true freshman with lots of raw talent, is learning the ropes at Z receiver from Sample, a senior starter who can run the Hawaii pass routes in his sleep after more than three years in the Warriors system.
Both will likely play when UH (8-2, 6-1 WAC) tries to win its eighth game in a row Saturday, against San Jose State (6-3, 3-2) at Aloha Stadium.
But Lane sat out of some of yesterday's practice with a sore back. He hurt it returning a kickoff in the 61-17 win against Louisiana Tech last Saturday.
Lane wants to make sure he can play against the Spartans, because his mother, Catherine Baldwin, is coming a long way to be at the game. The recently retired Army sergeant and Lane's stepfather arrive this week from Germany, where Lane graduated from high school last spring.
"They're coming out for two weeks," Lane said. "Hopefully I'll be healthy enough to play well."
Lane has three receptions for 120 yards in seven games, and has learned quickly enough to become Sample's first backup.
"A month ago he didn't know where to line up," UH receivers coach Ron Lee said. "From where he was at to now is a tremendous improvement. He's still making mistakes, but he's coming along."
Sample -- who has 39 catches for 529 yards and nine touchdowns -- is as dependable as they come. But he had a mishap two weeks ago that Lane might be able to learn from this week if his back continues to bother him.
At Utah State, Sample had his streak of five games with at least one touchdown reception snapped. He didn't even catch a pass.
"I was feeling sick the whole week and I never fully recovered. I felt kind of dizzy," he said. "My dad (former major league baseball player Billy Sample) showed up for the game, surprised me, and I was, 'fight through it and play,' and I played a crappy, crappy game. It was kind of my fault, I should've tapped out quicker because I knew I wasn't right on my feet and stuff like that."
Sample said he learned a lesson that might come in handy for Lane.
"People always say there's a difference between being hurt and being injured, and if you can play, play. But definitely don't think about who's there.
Just play your game and don't get nervous. He'll do fine, he's good under pressure."
Lee knew Sample would come back strong the next game.
"He wasn't feeling well and he was tight with his dad showing up unexpectedly. He was just trying too hard," Lee said. "Shoot, he came back (against LaTech) and played really well, one of his best games."
Sample caught six passes for 45 yards and a touchdown against the Bulldogs.
"I knew this game I had to step up," he said.
Sample will have another chance to play well in front of family. His parents and brother will be here for the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl.
"They'll be here for the game and Christmas in Hawaii," he said. "It'll be great. It'll be a real good gift."
"I feel great," added Sample, who suffered through injuries most of his UH career before this season. "These last four games are going to be good ones."
Fruean ready, Watson not:
Senior defensive lineman Renolds Fruean's ankle continues to hold up in practice, and he looks like he'll be able to play after missing the last two games with a sprain.
But sophomore defensive end Keala Watson's knee may need another week of rehab.
The first-string defensive line remains, from left to right, Mel Purcell, Mike Lafaele and Ikaika Alama-Francis.
Larry Sauafea, Lawrence Wilson and Fale Laeli were the second group at yesterday's practice.
Senior Ross Dickerson is among 18 semifinalists for the first Randy Moss Return Man Award.
Dickerson is third nationally and leads the WAC with 31.2 yards per kickoff return.
The winner of the award will be honored at the 2007 North-South All-Star Classic in Houston on Jan. 13. Finalists will be announced Dec. 13.
Spencer Smith sat on the shoulders of teammates and raised his arms to try to block field goals in practice yesterday.
Dan Kelly got enough elevation each time to clear the obstacle.
But on a later rep, Desmond Thomas took a more conventional approach. He beat his man on the edge and swooped in for a block.
San Jose State at Hawaii
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Saturday, 6:05 p.m. (Stadium gates open at 3 p.m.)
TV: Live (and rebroadcast at 10:30 p.m.) on pay per view (Dig. 255). Call 625-8100 on Oahu or (808) 643-2337 statewide. Delayed free on Sunday, 10 a.m. on KFVE (Ch. 5).
Parking: $5. Lot gates open at 2:30 p.m. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Shuttles are from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and approximately 1 hour after game ends. Parking also at Radford High School ($3, no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
Stadium security: Fanny packs, purses and backpacks and handbags will be permitted subject to check. No illegal contraband, weapons, fireworks, coolers, cans, bottles, air horns, noisemakers, umbrellas, outside food and or beverages are allowed inside the stadium gates.
Tickets: $5-38. Available online at hawaiiathletics.com, by phone at 944-2697 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or at the Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium, UH Campus Center, RainbowTique at Ward Center and Windward Community College's OCET office.
Student buses: Free buses will pick up students in front of Gateway House (2653 Dole Street), leave for the stadium at 4 p.m. and return 30 minutes after the game ends.
Promotions: Senior citizens (65-over) receive two tickets for price of one (maximum eight). ... The first 10,000 fans to enter stadium receive "Fanbannas" (retractable banners). ... Members of the military also have a two-for-one deal (maximum 12 tickets). ... Two-for-one deals are available at Aloha Stadium box office (through game day) and Stan Sheriff Center Box Office (Monday-Friday).