Heun excited about move to defense


POSTED: Thursday, April 02, 2009

Jake Heun's reaction to the Hawaii coaches' decision to move him from running back to defensive end for the 2009 season was succinct.

“;Hell, yeah,”; Heun said.

The 6-foot-1, 250-pound junior from Anchorage, Alaska, got in his second practice at his new position yesterday in the Warriors' spring training, and he couldn't be happier at his current fortune. Over the winter, the UH coaches decided on the switch to help replace three lost starters on the defensive line, including team MVP David Veikune.

“;I'm excited. All through high school I played linebacker and in junior college (two years at City College of San Francisco) I played outside-middle linebacker,”; Heun said.

“;Absolutely (I'm more comfortable on defense). I feel like I can play football wherever. It's just a different mentality. Go after people again and such.”;

Defensive line coach Dave Aranda is working on fundamentals unique to the position with Heun—pad level and specific hand motions—but sees promise in the former high school wrestler.

“;He's handled it well,”; Aranda said. “;I think Jake is an old-school football player. He has good strength. He has explosive hips, and his speed is good. A good football understanding of the game, a guy you don't have to explain things more than once. All those things have helped in his transition to D-end.”;

Heun missed all of last season due to a herniated disk in his back and redshirted.


Maximum exposure

Timing is everything at pro day, both in terms of speed and scheduling.

About 15 former Hawaii players are expected to compete in the program's pro day today at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and it's hardly coincidence that UH's scouting event happens to fall just after those held by UCLA and USC.

“;We're expecting a representative from every team,”; said UH associate coach Rich Miano, who coordinates pro day.

“;We find out when USC's day is. We want the most visibility, maximum exposure and it's worked out well for us. If we were out in Hawaii we wouldn't get the same representation. And Home Depot has been great to us, it's a beautiful facility.”;

Among the former Warriors expected to run through the tests and drills for the scouts are defensive linemen Veikune, Josh Leonard and Fale Laeli, cornerback Ryan Mouton, long snapper Jake Ingram, linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard, offensive lineman Keith AhSoon and punter Tim Grasso. Safety Jake Patek and defensive lineman Amani Purcell, who completed their UH careers in 2007, are also scheduled to run for the scouts.


National exposure

The Western Athletic Conference released its 11-game slate of games to be shown on ESPN or ESPN2 next season, with the Warriors making two appearances on national television.

UH's WAC opener at Louisiana Tech, a Wednesday night game, will be shown on ESPN2 on Sept. 30. The Warriors' regular-season finale against Wisconsin on Dec. 5 at Aloha Stadium is set to be picked up on either ESPN or ESPN2.