Spring standouts earn their spots
Senior Dylan Linkner and freshman Royce Pollard have scaled the Hawaii depth chart. One will likely be the listed starter at right wide receiver when offensive coordinator Ron Lee scratches out a new pecking order today.
"I like what Royce and Dylan have been doing on the outside," Lee said. "And I want to take a closer look at Daniel (Lofton, who has been working out on the left side)."
Linkner and Pollard have shared the repetitions since the previous No. 1, junior Malcolm Lane, sprained his right ankle last week. Lee said Lane will have to earn back his top spot.
"Malcolm is down to No. 3 and it looks like he's out for a while," Lee said. "He hasn't done anything since spring (practice) started."
At quarterback, Tyler Graunke has pulled even with Inoke Funaki, who entered camp as the No. 1. Graunke has been the primary backup to Colt Brennan the past three seasons, but was suspended in the offseason and lost his heir-apparent status. Lee said Graunke has battled back to the top.
"I thought he deserved it. He's been getting better. Tyler was down splitting reps with Shane (Austin), now we want him to get more reps. He's focused."
Austin and Jake Santos are equal behind Funaki and Graunke, Lee said.
At the crowded running back spot, Lee said juniors Mario Cox and Jayson Rego have helped themselves at recent practices. Daniel Libre and Leon Wright-Jackson are considered co-starters there.
"He has a little wiggle, he has some ability when he runs the ball," Lee said of Rego.
Three possible offensive line starters -- left tackle Laupepa Letuli, left guard Keith AhSoon and center John Estes -- have been out. Lee said that could cause some changes on the depth chart, although he is not as concerned about All-WAC performer Estes' hamstring as he is about Letuli's hamstring and AhSoon's calf.
"Keith might be out the longest," Lee said. "He's been limping around."
Head coach Greg McMackin said he may have some changes in the defensive depth chart today.