RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Coming off a year he had to sit out due to transfer rules, Jake Santos had an impressive practice yesterday.
Santos ready for sweeter QB role
As it was for just about everyone affiliated with Hawaii, Jake Santos' Sugar Bowl experience was bittersweet at best, since the Warriors lost 41-10 to Georgia.
But the redshirting quarterback dealt with the additional disappointment of not being on the travel squad -- this despite helping UH to its first BCS game, as scout team MVP.
In another twist that would be considered cruel by a person with a less positive outlook, Santos' brother had more access to the Superdome field than he did. Joel Santos was there as a producer for FOX's "Best Damn Sports Show."
But Jake said it was all good (except, of course, for the final score).
"Hung out, watched the game," Santos said. "I wish I was there for the whole week, like the team was, but I had Christmas at home, and we got there about an hour before the game. It was cool. My brother and my parents went. After the game I got to be with the team, so it was a good experience."
Santos is back to being much more than a spectator. And now that he has sat out the required year after transferring from Missouri Southern, he can play in games this fall. He helped his case yesterday, completing all three of his passes in 11-on-11 action.
But his most impressive play was during 7-on-7, when he lofted a well-placed pass to Greg Salas, in stride, 40 yards downfield behind the defense. Santos is known more for throwing short and medium-range bullets.
"I kind of always had the touch, I just never used it. To me, I'm more accurate when I throw the ball hard," Santos said.
The patience to make the play was also impressive, since it involved checking off and freezing the safety.
"All last week Coach was telling us if our X receiver, Greg, if he gets a clean release, set that safety and go back to him," Santos said. "We weren't doing it last week, none of us would. It was something I saw right away. I set the safety and I hit him. It was a good teaching point, a good learning point, something good for me, because it shows I'm coachable."
Santos just hopes to keep improving and moving up the depth chart going into his senior season.
"I started out (spring practice) with the fourth reps. Today I took the third reps. I don't know if it means anything, in my eyes I have to look at it as it means something," Santos said. "Maybe the second spot is open, maybe the first spot is open. But if it ain't? Just do things like today and the coaches will notice. If you make them notice you, you're going to get playing time."
Heun hits the hole
Did the constant drizzle yesterday bother Jake Heun
Get real. The burly running back is from Alaska.
"I like being out here in the wetness," Heun said. "We're working on taking care of the ball, and these are the right conditions for that."
The 6-foot-1, 255-pound former linebacker also likes contact.
"I can't wait until the spring game, get out there and bang a little bit. But today, you saw the D-line, they were crackin'. So it was good."
Heun carried once in the team period for what would probably have been a gain of about 5 yards.
The fans riding Mana Silva
two years ago figure to be a bit more welcoming when he returns to Aloha Stadium this fall.
The Kamehameha-Hawaii graduate was a true freshman at Oregon State when the Beavers closed the 2006 regular season against UH, making him a target for some of those sitting behind the OSU sideline.
"All the fans were saying 'traitor' and stuff like that. It was just fun though," said Silva, who transferred to UH in the fall to be closer to family. He is working out at safety with the Warriors this spring.
Silva played quarterback at KS-Hawaii and in his redshirt year at Oregon State. He also played some receiver with the Beavers. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound sophomore is making the transition to defense this spring. Roaming the secondary with the third team, he broke up a couple of passes with jarring hits during yesterday's 7-on-7 and team periods.
"The veterans have been helping me learn the plays and learn the techniques," he said.
Junior starting linebacker Blaze Soares
received treatment in the training room for his shoulder injury from last year and did not practice. "It's just precautionary," coach Greg McMackin
Junior starting right wide receiver Malcolm Lane turned his right ankle, and may miss a day or two.
Soares was replaced by junior R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane and Lane by senior Dylan Linkner.
Junior defensive end Victor Clore (shoulder) donned full pads yesterday for the first time this spring. Clore is expected to contend for serious playing time this fall.
Saturday's first scrimmage will go 30-40 plays at the end of the 7 to 9 a.m. practice, McMackin said. "We'll use it to evaluate new players and hold out guys we know can play," the coach said. ... Ryan Mouton
and Khevin Peoples intercepted passes in 7-on-7. ... Renowned sports performance trainer Chad Ikei
attended yesterday's practice.