Pilares hopes to stick to slotback this time


POSTED: Sunday, April 05, 2009

Kealoha Pilares hopes the move will stick this time.

Last spring, Pilares was adjusting to the view from the slot rather than running back in learning a new position. He ended up shuffling between receiver and running back in the fall while also battling nagging injuries.

This year, the Hawaii junior is again concentrating on running routes rather than taking handoffs and would like to put down roots as a slotback.

“;Hopefully I can play one position and build the trust that (the coaches) want and show them I can play this position,”; Pilares said. “;I hope I get the opportunity to stay in one position this year.”;

Pilares is still nursing a foot injury he suffered in a loss at Boise State last year that hampered him the rest of season.

It didn't appear to slow him down much yesterday as the Warriors offense and defense met up for 7-on-7 and team periods for the first time in spring practice.

Pilares, teaming with Jon Medeiros as the first-team slots, caught six passes in the 7-on-7 period, connecting with Greg Alexander on three consecutive completions at one stretch. On the second, he made a leaping catch of a deep pass down the right sideline, and he hauled in another long pass in the team period.

“;Getting introduced to it last year makes a lot of difference,”; Pilares said. “;I know what to look for now. It just makes a lot more sense this year.”;

Medeiros had five catches in the team period.

“;We've been working (in the offseason)—they know the offense, and we know what to expect from each other,”; Alexander said of Pilares and Medeiros.

With the Warriors replacing starting slotbacks Aaron Bain and Mike Washington, junior Greg Salas—a returning starter at wide receiver—is also playing slotback this spring to expand his repertoire and give the coaches another option.

“;It's going pretty good. I'm picking it up pretty fast,”; Salas said. “;We still have to put in more plays, but right now I'm feeling real comfortable.”;


On target

Four quarterbacks combined to complete 18 of 21 throws, including two shovel passes, in the team period. Alexander was 7-for-10, including a drop. Brent Rausch, Shane Austin and Bryant Moniz rotated in behind Alexander.

“;Compared to last spring, we're way ahead,”; quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;It's a great place to be. We still have room to grow, but it's a great feeling on offense.”;

Chris Black, the first string left cornerback in the first two practices, appeared to hurt his ankle in a drill early in practice. Melvin Hopkins and Richard Torres saw more time with the top units in the secondary.


All-Poly Camp coming

For the last eight years, players from Hawaii had to travel to Utah to participate in the All-Poly Camp. This year, the camp is coming to them.

Alema Te'o, the president of the Polynesian Coaches Association, plans to hold a camp in Hawaii for the first time this summer. The camp is scheduled for June 29 to July 1, with plans to hold it at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Complex.

Te'o said he's been working with HHSAA executive director Keith Amemiya to bring the camp to Hawaii and expects around 300 youngsters to participate.

“;We're trying to bring exposure to the Pacific rim and help all the kids out here in the islands,”; said Te'o, the uncle of Punahou's Manti Te'o. “;I think eventually we're going to have to do more than one camp in Hawaii because there are too many good kids who need the exposure.”;

The Hawaii coaching staff is slated to help at the camp, as well as coaches such as UCLA's Norm Chow, Colorado's Brian Cabral and UNLV's Keith Uperesa. Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach is another possibility.