Friends fight for guard spot
Friends off the field. Competitors between the lines.
It's a common dichotomy in college sports as teammates fight for starting jobs, and one Ray Hisatake and Lafu Tuioti-Mariner find themselves in as Hawaii heads toward its season opener.
Tuioti-Mariner began fall camp as the incumbent at right guard, but missed a week and a half of practice while resting a calf injury and finishing summer school.
In the meantime, Hisatake moved from tackle to guard and has been taking the first-team reps in Tuioti-Mariner's place.
"We're all fighting for a job just to represent our school. I take that seriously," Tuioti-Mariner said yesterday. "Off the field we're friends, and on the field we're just going at it. Ray's a good guy and right now he's getting a lot of reps. ... We're all in this together, but Coach said if I want my spot back I have to work for it. I believe that and it's a fair thing."
Offensive line coach Brian Smith said the right guard and left tackle positions remain unsettled and the linemen who don't start at those spots will still see playing time because the Warriors plan to use eight to 10 linemen in a game.
Hisatake entered camp as a candidate for the left tackle spot, but moved inside to guard early on and has found a home in the middle of the line.
"I feel real comfortable at guard now," he said. "A couple weeks ago everything was new to me, but I slowly worked myself into the system, I'm getting down all my calls. I still have a lot of stuff to work on, little things, but so far I really like it."
Hisatake said the biggest difference in the position switch is, "I have more responsibility inside. When you're a tackle you're mostly one-on-one."
And if he needs guidance, he can still turn to his teammate/competitor.
"He's asking a lot of questions and I'm just teaching him," Tuioti-Mariner said.
Aaron Kia continues to take the first-team reps at left tackle, but Laupepa Letuli remains close. Smith said Keoni Steinhoff (right tackle), Keith AhSoon (left guard) and John Estes (center) are solid in their roles.
Tuioti-Mariner filled in at center yesterday when Estes' shoulder acted up.
Tuioti-Mariner's younger brother, Max, is in a position battle of his own as a true freshman at Colorado, battling for a starting guard spot with the Buffaloes.
Good news for Farmer
The news was much better yesterday afternoon for senior running back David Farmer
After saying Farmer's knee injury suffered Thursday "didn't look good" yesterday morning, coach Greg McMackin said in the afternoon that Farmer's injury is only a sprain and that he expects him back soon.
Farmer won't need surgery, but it's not clear if he'll make the Florida trip.
Junior Leon Wright-Jackson continues to get most of the looks with the first team at running back, while Khevin Peoples saw a lot of action yesterday as the backup.
Daniel Libre was held out of drills, but it's nothing serious, according to McMackin.