Graunke takes a day off
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As the Hawaii football team welcomed a couple of veterans back to practice, Warriors quarterback Tyler Graunke gave his sprained thumb another day to recover.
San Jose State at Hawaii, Saturday, 6:05 p.m. at Aloha Stadium, TV: PPV Ch. 255. Radio: KKEA 1420-AM
Graunke threw early in yesterday morning's hourlong practice, but said he felt some discomfort gripping the ball and sat out as the Warriors offense worked against the scout team.
"I thought I was going to go today, but it just didn't feel right gripping the ball," said Graunke, who'll try it again when the Warriors return to the field for this morning's practice.
Defensive tackle Rocky Savaiigaea and running back David Farmer practiced for the first time since fall camp, as they returned from injuries.
Hawaii (1-2) opens defense of its Western Athletic Conference title and puts a 15-game league winning streak on the line against San Jose State (2-2), led by former UH coach Dick Tomey.
The Warriors returned to work following a three-day weekend as they recharge for seven straight weeks of WAC contests starting with Saturday's meeting with the Spartans.
"It's good for these guys because we had an intense camp and then we've probably traveled as much as anybody in the country will for the entire year. So now this starts a new season," UH coach Greg McMackin said. "I really liked the quickness. It looks like we've got our legs back."
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
UH's Rocky Savaiigaea is pumped up to play at home against San Jose State on Saturday.
Having to watch Hawaii's two road games on television was rough on Rocky Savaiigaea.
But the angst of those mornings didn't come close to what the sidelined defensive tackle felt the evening of the Warriors' lone home date so far this season.
"When we played Weber State, coming out of the tunnel, looking at all the boys putting their game faces on, seeing their excitement, it tore me apart," Savaiigaea said.
"I told myself, 'I'm not going to go through this feeling again.' "
Savaiigaea hasn't played a down for the Warriors this season due to a tear in his triceps muscle that has kept him out since the second week of fall camp, and is anticipating suiting up for Saturday's game against San Jose State at Aloha Stadium.
Savaiigaea was back in drills for yesterday morning's hourlong workout as the defending Western Athletic Conference champion Warriors (1-2) resumed preparations for their league opener against the Spartans (2-2).
Along with Savaiigaea, running back David Farmer was back for his full practice since suffering a sprained knee in the final week of camp.
"I could always be in better shape, but it felt good as far as everything else, cutting and running," Farmer said. "It felt good just from a confidence standpoint to get out there and run around on it.
"I was out here running last week, but nothing's quite the same as getting in there and going through it."
Quarterback Tyler Graunke tossed the ball around early in his first practice since suffering a sprained wrist and thumb against Oregon State, but decided against pushing it when he felt some discomfort.
"My hand has to extend when I grab the ball and that's what hurts," Graunke said. "Throwing was fine, but grabbing the ball was when it hurt. ... I'll just sit out today and see how I feel tomorrow. I think I'll go tomorrow."
Savaiigaea was expected to contend for a starting job coming out of the summer, but suffered the injury early in camp. Since then Keala Watson and Josh Leonard have been solid in the middle of the Warriors' four-man front, though depth has been a concern with Savaiigaea and Fale Laeli (sprained ankle) out.
Savaiigaea said he still needs to get into game shape and can feel lingering effects of the injury, "but it's something I can play though."
"I was focusing on coming back this home game," said Savaiigaea, who worked with the first two units yesterday. "I really wanted to make it to the Oregon State game, but I knew I definitely wasn't ready. ... I targeted (this week) and it ended up working out this way."
Farmer also set the WAC opener as a target after hurting his knee during a preseason practice at Aloha Stadium. He went through drills and took handoffs as the offense worked against the scout team, sharing time with Kealoha Pilares and Leon Wright-Jackson.
Farmer carved out a niche as a blocking back over the last three seasons and hopes to contribute against the Spartans.
"But there's guys who have been out here and been working. So I have to go out there and prove myself," he said.
Wright-Jackson was also back after resting his sore foot during the bye week. He hurt the foot against Weber State, then aggravated the injury on the first play against Oregon State.
"It's a minor setback, it's over," he said.
But Daniel Libre's sprained ankle still hasn't recovered enough for the senior to resume practicing. Libre suited up for practice and thought he might be able to practice yesterday until he tried running and his ankle "told me otherwise."
Linebacker Blaze Soares (calf) attended practice, but didn't participate. Coach Greg McMackin said Soares has been cleared to run, but still had a doctor's appointment set for yesterday as he looks to return to full duty.