Galdeira at nickel makes sense
Guyton Galdeira won't have the green light for the orange jerseys tonight at the Hawaii football Ohana Festival.
Hawaii Football Ohana Festival
Where: Aloha Stadium
Schedule: 5-7 p.m., contests and activities (south concourse); 5:30-6:30 p.m., autograph and photo session with players (south concourse); 7-8:30 p.m., football team practice (fan seating in Makai section); 8:30 p.m., team performs the haka
After all, this is supposed to be one big happy family, and coach June Jones doesn't want a re-run of Monday's injury to No. 2 quarterback Tyler Graunke.
But Galdeira, a junior cornerback from Kamehameha, will likely be all over the Aloha Stadium carpet this fall -- and not just on kickoff coverage, at which he shined last year.
Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin likes him as a nickel back.
"And we blitz our nickel a lot," McMackin said.
He's only 5-feet-7 and 170 pounds, but size is not a requirement for the position, said McMackin; he used the light but lethal Nate Jackson as his fifth defensive back in 1999.
The best nickel backs are combos of corners, safeties and linebackers, McMackin said.
"I started working Guyton there and he's been great, and two other guys. Keao (Monteilh), and (Ryan) Perry," McMackin said after practice this week.
"They're all the same kind of guys," he added. "Smart guys who can blitz, who can do different techniques. Good athletes."
Another good athlete helped Galdeira get the gig. McMackin asked starting receiver Davone Bess for recommendations.
"He kinda helped make up my mind on that," McMackin said of Bess. "I asked him, 'Who are the best corners?' Because I like a corner being the nickel back. So he named off the first four guys, and I said, 'OK, I'm looking for a guy who can blitz like a wild man, cover and be technically sound, and is smart, because he's got to play a linebacker technique, corner technique, safety technique.'
"He said, 'Oh, that's Guyton.'"
Galdeira, who joined the team in the middle of the 2004 season, spent three weeks of spring camp last year as a first-team corner. But that was a stop-gap situation because players expected to start were taking care of off-field matters or were not on campus yet. He made the most of it, and was a kickoff coverage star when the season began.
Galdeira has often been on the bubble, scratching to make the team. His new role gives him a little bit of job security, as Jones will have to make some tough cuts to get down to the 105-player roster limitation prior to fall camp.
That doesn't mean he plans on letting up. He knows more competition arrives in August.
"I'm most definitely excited about this, and I've been working hard, ever since the beginning," Galdeira said. "My only downfall is my height. But (McMackin) sees something in me, so I'm going to work even harder this summer, on my speed, on my jumping ability.
"Nickel's a pretty big package for Coach, so hopefully I can fill that spot."