UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII FOOTBALL
Warriors get their kicks
With a new rule looming in the fall, Hawaii kicker Dan Kelly was among the Warriors devoted to his summer weight-lifting regimen.
The rule change pushes kickoffs back 5 yards to the 30, putting a premium on Kelly getting more depth and height on his kicks.
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"It's not different technique-wise, it's now about raw power," said Kelly, who had 42 touchbacks in 112 kickoffs last season.
"He's got some muscles and it shows," UH special teams veteran Rustin Saole said after an afternoon practice focused on the kicking game. "He was kicking against the wind and it was going pretty far."
The Warriors endured the first of four sets of two-a-day practices yesterday. The first hour of the second workout was devoted to kickoff coverage and returns, with assistant coaches Dennis McKnight and Rich Miano breaking down fundamentals such as shedding blocks and maintaining pursuit lanes.
"We're the first guys on the field (in the games) and we just want to make a statement," Saole said.
The coverage unit is made primarily of backup linebackers and defensive backs, including Saole, Timo Paepule, C.J. Allen-Jones, Brashton Satele and Micah Lau. R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane and John Fonoti also add size with speed to the unit.
"We've got bigger, faster, stronger athletes this year and that should compute to having more success on special teams," Miano said.
On the other end of the equation, Malcolm Lane and Kealoha Pilares were the first in the rotation as kick returners yesterday, backed up by Jason Rivers and Michael Washington.