Fonoti catches up with work and fellow Warriors in Texas
HOUSTON » The Hawaii Warriors got reinforcements yesterday.
Well, make that a single reinforcement.
Sophomore defensive end John Fonoti arrived just after noon and was set to practice today. Coach June Jones said Fonoti -- who was slated to start last season before eligibility problems sidelined him -- will join the rotation of Amani Purcell, Karl Noa, Francis Maka and David Veikune at end.
He's also a special teams dynamo, and Jones didn't fly him halfway across the country to sit on the bench Saturday at UNLV.
"He'll play," Jones said.
Fonoti was told last Wednesday (the day of the trip) that he would not be going to the Louisiana Tech game because he needed to make up some summer school work. He was replaced on the 64-player roster by sophomore safety B.J. Fruean.
"I was short of credits and had to go back and get it done, an incomplete for a summer school class," Fonoti said. "It was easy, I just had to get it done."
The road roster limit for Western Athletic Conference games is 64. There is no limit for interconference games, so no player needs to be dropped to make room for Fonoti.
Fonoti did not play in the season opener against Northern Colorado because of bruised heels suffered when he fell off a roof.
"I'm about 95 percent. Come game time I won't feel anything," he said.
UNLV coach Mike Sanford
asked for clarification regarding the haka. UH was penalized 15 yards for performing the pregame ritual while LaTech was still on the field for warmups last week.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson said that since the game is being handled by WAC officials, that rule will remain in place -- reven though the game is being played at the home field of UNLV, a Mountain West school.
"It's a pretty simple issue," Benson said, reiterating that the haka can be done without penalty, as long as the opposing team is not on the field.
"I've been pretty consistent in saying this isn't directed at Hawaii or the haka," Benson added. "I respect the cultural elements. But it has to be done in a manner that isn't offensive to the opponents."
Jones said the Warriors will continue their pregame performances. Senior linebacker Brad Kalilimoku and other players have developed a Hawaiian revision to the Maori haka. Kalilimoku said it might be unveiled Saturday.
Bess will return again
Jones said starting slotback Davone Bess
will be the punt returner again Saturday after not running any back against LaTech despite being the deep man for six Chris Keagle
"He was booming them in practice," said Bess, who stood too far back to effectively field several kicks during the game. Bess made one fair catch.
Keagle averaged 44.8 yards on six punts.
Bess said on one punt he was confused by a scheme by the Bulldogs gunners.
"That was one he probably should've run back," Jones said.
Jones and Bess both said that the primary job of the punt returner is to make sure the Hawaii offense gets the ball.