Wright-Jackson, Libre are rewarding coaches’ faith
The opportunities don't come all that often, so Leon Wright-Jackson
wasn't going to waste his.
The passing game remains the emphasis when the Hawaii offense lines up against the defense. So the running backs haven't had much of a chance to stretch their legs in the team periods early in fall camp, but Wright-Jackson was able to get loose for a long run yesterday.
The junior took a handoff from Inoke Funaki around the left side, hit a seam and tightroped down the sideline, celebrating his way to the end zone.
"I was just trying to have fun, trying to make practice as fun as possible," Wright-Jackson said. "We're really working hard and sometimes people forget to have fun."
Wright-Jackson and senior Daniel Libre entered camp atop the depth chart and have been the first running backs in the rotation in UH's one-back formation.
UH coaches have indicated the running game would play a greater role in the offense this season, but the aerial game remains the staple of the system.
"I was just waiting to see when we were going to run the rock, but once we did we have to do what we can," Wright-Jackson said. "Whatever the coaches want, that's all I'm trying to do. If they want us to block we're going to block our butts off; if they want us to run we're going to run."
Fellow running back Jake Heun observed practice for a second day with a leg injury. Returnee David Farmer suited up but saw limited action to rest an abdominal injury.
, a projected starter at right defensive end sat out yesterday's practice with a strained hamstring and his status is considered day to day. In the meantime, Elliott Purcell
moved up to the first unit yesterday to fill Fonoti's spot.
"He took advantage of it; he had his best day today," defensive line coach Dave Aranda said. "Elliott's issue has always been consistency, the talent level's there."
Junior tackle Rocky Savaiigaea, back from a leg injury suffered during spring practice, had been working with the second unit early on, but saw some time with the first team yesterday.
"We're real fortunate with our defensive tackle depth, so we're looking at guys working with different guys," Aranda said. "That's a luxury we have."
Yesterday's 7-on-7 period produced just five incomplete passes as the competition at quarterback and receiver spots continued and offensive coordinator Ron Lee
said he saw some progress in the team period after the unit struggled a bit on Wednesday.
"I liked the way the quarterbacks are coming," offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. "We'll see if they keep improving. We have to make some decisions by Saturday. It's going to be tough decisions. The guys are working hard, they're competing, that's the big thing. Our defense is such a good defense, we're getting a good look."
Funaki, Greg Alexander and Brent Rausch are splitting repetitions. Senior Tyler Graunke is working through an academic issue in hopes of rejoining the team for camp.
Today's and tomorrow's practices are set for 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. The first of six sets of two-a-days is scheduled for Monday.