Stroughter expects to be back stronger
This is the third in a series highlighting the teams the University of Hawaii football team will face this season. Tomorrow: San Jose State
The 2006 season was full of highlights for Hawaii, as the Warriors went 11-3. Some say it was a better team than last year's that went to the Sugar Bowl and finished 12-1.
OREGON STATE BEAVERS
» Coach: Mike Riley (47-38)
» 2007 record: 9-4, 6-3 Pac-10 (3rd)
» Hawaii series: OSU leads 4-3
One of the few down times two years ago was a 35-32 loss to Oregon State.
Most of the Beavers' top playmakers are gone from that team, and receiver/kick returner Sammie Stroughter was supposed to be done after last season.
But the 6-foot, 190-pound speedster is back and expected to start when Oregon State hosts Hawaii at Reser Stadium on Sept. 13.
Stroughter was a preseason All-American last fall after a junior year in which he caught 74 passes for 1,293 yards (including an 80-yard touchdown against UH) and returned three punts for scores.
But headed into 2007, Stroughter wasn't the same player or young man he was before two uncles and Oregon State assistant coach Jim Gilstrap all died in the offseason. Following an abbreviated fall camp in which he was suffering from depression, Stroughter suffered a lacerated kidney three games into the season.
Stroughter was granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA, and appears to be back to his old self, physically and emotionally.
His return is a plus for the Beavers, who went 9-4 last year but lose 12 starters.
The offensive line is still taking shape. Much hinges on the health of guard Jeremy Perry, a former all-state high school player at Kahuku.
Another former Red Raider, Al Afalava, returns at strong safety. He is one of the harderst hitters in the Pac-10.
Quarterback Lyle Moevao was 4-0 as a sophomore starter at the end of the year, and will open the season under center.