Seti learns by filling in for Lafaele on D-line
Siave Seti knows the spot he occupies on the Hawaii defensive line will go to someone else when fall camp rolls around.
In the meantime, he's using the spring to prove himself worthy of a place in the rotation while Michael Lafaele takes time off to nurse a hand injury.
"I'm just trying to do whatever I can to contribute to my team," Seti said. "I'm just substituting for Mike. Mike's a great player and I'm just his assistant for now."
Seti, a senior, entered the program at nose tackle and was a running back last fall. He was brought back to the line late in the season and is now running with the first unit this spring in the interior of UH's 4-3 alignment.
At 6-foot, 280 pounds, Seti struggled a bit in the middle of UH's 3-4 front when he first arrived. But the scheme implemented by new defensive coordinator Greg McMackin has been a better fit for his game.
"I think the change has given him new life. He's got real good quickness and he's tough," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "Mike being hurt has been a blessing for him, because it's given him an opportunity to get reps, which he really needs."
Lafaele, a second-team All-Western Athletic Conference pick last season, is not expected to take part in spring drills due to the injury but will be back in the fall as the incumbent at one of the defensive tackle spots.
"I'm not worried about Michael. I know he'll come back in shape and I know he won't have any challenge processing the information once we get back for training camp," Reinebold said.
For now, Seti and junior Keala Watson have been first in the rotation at the tackle spots, with Karl Noa and Amani Purcell on the ends as the Warriors adjust to the new defense.
"Instead of just rushing up the field, you have to get your keys down," Seti said. "In order to play in this system you have to learn the way the offensive linemen react to the rush."
Regardless of who makes the first four on the defensive front, the Warrior coaches plan on using at least twice that number in games this fall.
So although Lafaele's return means taking a step back on the depth chart, there figure to be ample opportunities for playing time.
"Like Coach McMackin says, it's about eight defensive linemen, and I want to be part of the eight," Seti said.
"As hard as we demand that our guys play, we can't expect we'll be able to play only four guys and survive. We have to play 10 to 12 in a game," Reinebold said. "The good thing about the group is they're unselfish and they understand that we're not asking them to play six or 10 plays in a row, but we're asking them to play four as hard as they can."
Ohana Festival at Aloha
The Warriors will close spring practice with the "Football Ohana Festival" at Aloha Stadium on April 28.
Parking and admission to the festival are free.
The parking lot opens at 4 p.m. and stadium gates at 5. The event will include games and contests, with a trip to the UH baseball team's series at Fresno State next month among the prizes.
Players will be available for photos and autographs from 5:30 to 6:30. Scheduled to participate are Colt Brennan, Tyler Graunke, Davone Bess, Ryan Grice-Mullins, Jason Rivers, Hercules Satele, John Estes, Adam Leonard, Solomon Elimimian, Michael Lafaele, Jacob Patek, Blaze Soares, Ryan Keomaka, Keala Watson and Brad Kalilimoku.
The team will practice for 90 minutes starting at 7 p.m. and will end the evening by performing a haka.
The Warriors are off today, and tomorrow's workout at the UH practice fields has been moved to 9-11 a.m. Practices are open to the public.