Youngsters get more reps on D-line
Some notable absences in the middle of Hawaii's defensive front have equated to some unexpected opportunities for a few of the youngest Warriors to jump in with the top groups.
Redshirt freshman Vaughn Meatoga
, who entered fall camp looking to push for playing time, has seen more time with the first two units, rotating repetitions with seniors Keala Watson
and Joshua Leonard
, in recent practices.
Sophomore Keahi Watson, Keala's younger brother, and Geordon Hanohano, a true freshman from Saint Louis, also played with the second team yesterday.
"It helps me because I know I have to play at Keala and Josh's level," Meatoga said. "Everyone needs to keep in stride with everything and it makes everyone work harder."
The increased reps come as several front-line players deal with various injuries, including senior Fale Laeli and juniors Rocky Savaiigaea and Tuika Tufaga.
Meatoga won the respect of his teammates in fall camp last year and redshirted the season. Keahi Watson also redshirted last season and Hanohano joined the Warriors this fall after earning All-State honors at Saint Louis last season.
Recent Damien graduate Haku Correa has also been working at defensive end.
"They're intelligent and studious guys, they're asking questions and they're excited to have a shot," defensive line coach Dave Aranda said. "(Yesterday) was a good showing.
"Geordon's really making progress. He's going to be a great player for us in the future, and Haku brings a lot to the table."
Back in action
While several Warriors continue to heal, receiver Daniel Lofton
returned from a hamstring injury yesterday
The sophomore rejoined the competition at left wide receiver, where Greg Salas has been the leader, followed by redshirt freshman Joe Avery.
"That can kind of accelerate your healing process when you have that (competition) because every practice counts," Lofton said. "You have to come out and make the most of it, so I was kind of anxious to get back out, got tired of sitting on the side."
Dustin Blount, a transfer from Compton Community College, said he's waiting on a transcript to be processed and hopes to practice today. Jovonte Taylor, another JC transfer who's been observing practices, is also awaiting clearance.
AhSoon in the middle
Senior Keith AhSoon
slid over a spot to take some repetitions at center yesterday.
"It's been a while, but it felt good today," said AhSoon, the first-teamer at left guard. "We always have to adjust. I figured it would be good for the team just to help out and practice at center and guard."
Fall camp has been a steady stream of adjustments for offensive line coach Brian Smith, as players have shuffled in and out of the lineup due to injuries. Along with AhSoon, the starting left tackle last year, backup guard Brysen Ginlack got a look at tackle as well.
"It could be good for us. It's making some other guys a lot more versatile," Smith said.
Center John Estes was back in pads, but is giving a sore shoulder a chance to heal. He did make a brief appearance at guard to fill in during drills, but "he's still our center," Smith said.
's concentration is solely on football now. The senior cornerback took a final exam in his Samoan class yesterday morning, reporting to the field for the final few periods of practice.
"I can hold a conversation," Mouton said proudly.
Linebacker Adam Leonard, who's been out since Friday with a tight hamstring, dressed in full pads but didn't get into the team periods after arriving with Mouton following the exam.