Hawaii gets Estes back, but loses DL Savaiigaea
The Hawaii offensive line welcomed back one of its leaders yesterday.
Meanwhile, a veteran defensive lineman learned his spring may be over.
Center John Estes was back with the first unit full time after missing a week with a tight hamstring.
On the other side of the line, X-rays showed junior defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea suffered a "slight break" in his right tibia that could keep him out for six weeks.
Savaiigaea had been enjoying a strong spring when he suffered the injury during three-on-three drills against the offensive line Saturday.
"I thought it was just a sprain because I've had worse stuff before," Savaiigaea said while leaning on crutches after watching yesterday's practice. "Since I could put pressure on it on Saturday I thought it would be a couple days or whatever. But when I went to see the trainer he was like, 'I've got some bad news for you.' "
"Coach (Greg McMackin) told me to take the time I needed and not get hurt again and it's lucky it's not in camp or the regular season."
Savaiigaea was scheduled to be re-evaluated yesterday afternoon.
"There's a chance," McMackin said of Savaiigaea possibly returning before the end of spring practice. "Whichever way, he's shown us that he's a starting-type rotation player. If he just keeps working like he's working and stays in great shape, he's going to have an outstanding career here."
With Savaiigaea out, freshman Vaughn Meatoga moves up to the second unit at tackle, playing alongside Tuika Tufaga. The duo backs up starters Keala Watson and Joshua Leonard.
The offensive line moved closer to getting back to full strength with Estes' return.
"Just working out the rust and adjusting to the speed again," Estes said. "Today's my first day (back), so it's pretty tough."
Left guard Keith AhSoon, out with a strained calf, could be back for Thursday's practice. Sophomore Brysen Ginlack worked at that spot the last two practices and offensive line coach Brian Smith said Raphael Ieru could get a look there as well tomorrow.
"With (Estes) being out it gave us a chance to give lots of reps to two redshirt freshmen and really try to develop them," Smith said. "So putting a veteran back in there makes a big difference and it brings the group up just because he's kind of the leader of that group."
Gibson makes progress
continues to make strides in his recovery from knee surgery. The freshman safety was in contention for playing time early last season before suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament during a practice in Houston prior to UH's game at Louisiana Tech. The school is applying for a medical hardship for Gibson.
Though he's limited to non-contact drills this spring, Gibson is relishing the chance to put the pads on again and worked his way into the seven-on-seven period yesterday.
"I told (the coaches) I wanted to get in today, I felt like I'm ready for it, so they threw me in and I felt good," Gibson said.
"My thing was I just wanted to get back into going against the offense instead of just doing drills."
Man on fire
Extra rest and relaxation were never so excruciating for Blaze Soares
The hard-hitting linebacker, out with a pinched nerve in his left shoulder, is anxious to get back on the field in any capacity he can. That could happen sooner than expected -- he was previously estimated to be out the rest of spring ball.
"I'm going to try to come back (tomorrow), run around," Soares said. "Felt kind of out of place (on the sidelines), naked without my pads on. Maybe do some seven-on-sevens, some drills, but I think no contact."
When he's observing teammates go through drills, he offers what help he can by pointing out mistakes, and goes through mental reps.
"I try to have a positive set of mind," Soares said. "It's hard, but I really want to be out there. I love hitting people. This is the time you usually get your cracks in, you know what I mean. But this spring I'm taking a break."