Time flies for Steinhoff
The fifth-year senior tackle can't wait to play Florida and have a standout season
| READ THE FULL STORY
For all of the mixing and matching along the line of scrimmage during fall camp, Keoni Steinhoff has quietly been one of the few constants, solidifying his place at right tackle for a Hawaii offense in transition.
"Keoni's been real steady for us," UH offensive line coach Brian Smith said. "He's one of the most experienced of the bunch as far as playing in games and being in the system for five years."
Steinhoff is among three returning starters to the offensive line, along with center John Estes and guard Keith AhSoon, who moved over from tackle this season.
The left tackle spot remains a duel between Aaron Kia and Laupepa Letuli, and Smith said the repetitions at the spot will be "split down the middle" as the Warriors enter the third week of camp.
Overall, the Warriors offense continues to develop, though not without some growing pains.
"Today was a good reminder that we lost everybody -- quarterback, receivers, and we're still searching," offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. "We didn't make the plays we needed to, that was a little bit about inexperience. We need to work on that."
"Coach Lee knows what he's talking about. We're going to watch a lot of film. He's going to look at this probably a million times, and help us try to correct every mistake, help us have a better offensive day," said receiver Royce Pollard, who has been running with the first team while Malcolm Lane nurses an injury.
FULL STORY »
Don't try to talk to Keoni Steinhoff about how long a 3-hour practice can feel.
Or about the seemingly interminable nature of fall camp.
Or about the wealth of time between August and December.
As far as the Hawaii offensive lineman is concerned, the clock is ticking at warp speed.
"As I look at it, the days go by so fast," Steinhoff said as he prepares for his senior season. "The next thing you know it's going to be the end of the season, already. I try to enjoy every day as much as I can, get as many reps as I can and try to help our younger guys.
"I can't miss any practices; this is my last chance to play. ... If you think about it, we play Florida two Saturdays from now. It's going to go by extremely fast."
With his fifth year in the program coming up, Steinhoff has solidified his place at right tackle for a Warrior offense in transition and a line that has seen various ailments force some shuffling through the first two weeks of camp.
Over time, Steinhoff developed from a promising walk-on, following his graduation from Damien, into a 6-foot-3, 280-pound starter who enters 2008 among the most seasoned of the linemen. He stepped into the position vacated by Dane Uperesa after the 2006 campaign and started all 13 games at right tackle last season.
"He was a walk-on and undersized, but we saw a lot of potential," said first-year offensive line coach Brian Smith, who was a graduate assistant during Steinhoff's redshirt year in 2004.
"He's just a kid who's always bought into the fundamentals of the program. He paid attention to the linemen who played before him and took coaching from them as well as the coaches."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keoni Steinhoff has refined his technique, improving his ability to take on pass rushers coming from the outside.
For his part, Steinhoff said Smith's emphasis on fundamentals and technique reminds him of former UH line coach Mike Cavanaugh. He said it has helped refine his game in taking on pass rushers coming off the edge.
"He's shown me a lot of mistakes I've made in the past and I try to do my best to improve on it," Steinhoff said. "I think I just have to work on my hands, my punch, getting guys off of me."
Although his focus is trained on the season ahead, reminders of the Warriors' last performance linger for Steinhoff.
Of the 35 sacks the Warriors gave up during their 12-1 campaign (in 494 passing attempts), a season-high eight came in a punishing Sugar Bowl loss to Georgia.
It's a memory Steinhoff carried with him over the summer and into the new season.
"It's still in my mind, every day somebody mentions it," he said. "It puts a chip on my shoulder and keeps me driving every day, makes me work harder and prepare for our bigger opponents. It does help me, but it's in the past."
A similar challenge awaits when the Warriors line up against Florida.
"Our defense is giving us a good fast look every day and we're playing at a fast tempo, trying to make it as stressful for them as possible," Smith said.
As Steinhoff approaches his last season of college ball, he's also looking forward to watching little brother, Kameron, begin his career.
Both Steinhoff brothers were football and basketball standouts in high school -- Keoni at Damien and Kameron at Punahou. But where Keoni gravitated to football after his prep career, basketball became Kameron's focus. He earned the Star-Bulletin's All-State Player of the Year honors last spring and enters his freshman season with the Hawaii Pacific University basketball team this fall.
"Once football's over I'm going to be at every one of this games," Keoni said. "I'm one of his biggest fans."