CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kealoha Pilares will move from slotback to running back for the Warriors this week.
Pilares returns to backfield
Kealoha Pilares will return to an old, yet familiar role this week after playing slotback at Florida.
Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said yesterday the sophomore will go back to his original position of running back for the Warriors' home opener against Weber State on Saturday, a result of Daniel Libre's high ankle sprain in the team's 56-10 loss to the No. 5 Gators last week.
"I would know that Kealoha's going to get some time at running back," McMackin said at his weekly news conference.
The coach added that junior Jake Heun, who missed much of fall camp with a back injury, could be in the mix at the position. Also, Dave Farmer, who has experience as a starter, said his tweaked knee may be better enough for him to practice this week.
Pilares hinted midway through fall camp that he'd be open to such a move.
"I think I'm more of a slot than a running back, but I'll do both if Coach wants me to," Pilares said at the time.
Offensive coordinator Ron Lee voiced confidence in Pilares' ability to retain the ins and outs of the run-and-shoot ground game from last season.
"That's kind of his home," Lee said. "We wanted to try him at receiver too, but he can go back to running back. Same stuff, same offense. He knows the running plays."
Lee said Nate Nasca and JC transfers Dustin Blount and Jovonte Taylor will get a look at the backup right slotback spot that Pilares is vacating behind senior Aaron Bain.
Pilares, who caught one pass for 2 yards against the Gators, led UH in rushing last season with 388 yards on 68 carries, with three touchdowns.