UH safety candidates to miss time
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Hawaii starts spring football practice Monday minus three safeties expected to contend for playing time in the fall.
Erik Robinson, Viliami Nauahi and Le'Marcus Gibson are all potential contributors and could have used the 15 practices and scrimmages.
But all are recovering from injuries that will keep them out of the workouts.
Safety remains a deep position for the Warriors, though, as starters Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas return for their senior season, as does top backup Dane Porlas. Like Gibson, sophomores Kenny Estes and Spencer Smith are also considered potential standouts, and will get long looks this spring.
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Three safeties expected to contend for playing time this fall will miss Hawaii spring football practice while recovering from injuries.
Senior Erik Robinson (shoulder), junior Viliami Nauahi (arm) and freshman Le'Marcus Gibson (knee) all need time to heal, but should be ready for fall practice, Warriors defensive backs coach Rich Miano said yesterday.
Spring practice starts Monday and concludes April 26 with a game (minus special teams) at Aloha Stadium.
Two-year starting safety Jake Patek's eligibility has expired, but the Warriors return seniors Keao Monteilh and Desmond Thomas, who both started last year.
Top backup Dane Porlas, also a senior, and the potential of sophomores Spencer Smith and Kenny Estes makes safety one of UH's deepest positions, despite the spring injuries.
Cornerback took a hit with the suspension this week of senior Keenan Jones. Jones, one of the team's most talented raw athletes, was expected to battle junior JoPierre Davis for one of the starting spots vacated by Myron Newberry and Gerard Lewis.
Jones was charged over the weekend with two felonies having to do with domestic violence allegations, and his UH career may be over with this second suspension in as many seasons.
Senior Ryan Mouton will likely start at one corner after making big contributions as a nickelback and emergency safety last year.
Miano said he is also excited about Oregon transfer Jameel Dowling, a senior who can play corner or safety. The plan for now is corner.
"He's rangy and long, but he's also very tough," Miano said. "He has the skills to play anywhere in the secondary."
Dowling is listed at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds. He played in 11 games at Oregon in 2006 as a first-year JC transfer.
Senior Calvin Roberts is also in the mix, Miano said.
Brothers at DE
Brothers Cameron Allen-Jones
and C.J. Allen-Jones
will both give defensive end a shot this spring, coming from different directions.
Cameron was an offensive lineman and H-back. C.J. was an outside linebacker who started four games in 2006.
At 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, Cameron has the bulk for strong side end, while C.J. is listed at 6-2 and 200, making him more suited for pass rush.
Offense or defense?
The coaches plan to take their time in determining a position for perhaps their most intriguing prospect: 6-5, 290-pound former rugby and basketball player Les Soloai
The sophomore from New Zealand and Australia is a football newbie, but is athletic and fast for his size.
"He sort of wants to play defense, but since he's just starting out we want to look at him on both sides and let him get a feel for the game," coach Greg McMackin said. "We're going to move some guys back and forth."
Associate athletic director Carl Clapp
said it is too soon to say if UH will lose any scholarships when the NCAA's Academic Performance Rates come out April 24 and May 6. But he is optimistic.
"I can say I believe we are making good progress," Clapp said yesterday.
UH lost five football and one baseball scholarship in 2006 and one football scholarship last year.