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UH's Taylor strives to stay with first unit


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POSTED: Saturday, August 08, 2009

Those summer sessions on the track helped the already speedy Jovonte Taylor add to his burst.

Experience, though, may prove an even more valuable asset for the Hawaii receiver when it comes to playing faster on game nights.

“;When I first got here I didn't know all the reads and all that,”; Taylor said. “;But now I feel like I know it. I just look at the defense and know what route I'm going to run.”;

Taylor has been running first at wide receiver in the first two days of fall camp with senior Malcolm Lane out of action. UH coach Greg McMackin said Lane is not practicing while he tends to “;personal business.”;

Taylor and Lane entered the summer sharing the top line of the depth chart and Taylor views his increased work load as a chance “;to show what I can fully do, to show my potential and that I can make big plays.”;

With tight battles expected at several positions, including the receiver spots, the competitions will pick up this morning when the Warriors report for their first practice in pads.

“;We've worked on a bunch of fundamentals and techniques right now and went over basic defenses and offenses. (Today) we'll get to start competing with one another,”; McMackin said. “;Now we can start evaluating, because we'll be competing and see who's making plays.”;

Taylor, a junior, sat out most of last season due to an illness and was granted a medical hardship. He returned at full strength in the spring and was the leading receiver in the Warrior Bowl with five receptions for 135 yards and the decisive touchdown.

He stayed in Hawaii the entire summer, working on improving his speed and strength.

“;Track workouts, running routes, going at it the whole summer,”; said Taylor, who ran a 10.4 100-meter dash in junior college. “;I'm a lot stronger than I was before, that's for sure. I feel a lot faster and I feel a lot more confident in my routes going over it the whole summer. I'm a lot more precise with my cuts and catching and all of that.”;

Rodney Bradley entered camp as the leader at the receiver spot opposite Taylor, with sophomore Royce Pollard also in the mix. The Warriors are looking for the outside receivers to provide a deep threat, which could then loosen the coverage for the slot receivers.

“;It's going to be tough competition,”; McMackin said. “;Obviously that outside burning speed is really important in this offense so we can spread the field.”;

LaCount him in

Kainoa LaCount learned the importance of hitting the books. Now he can get back to hitting on the field.

LaCount signed with UH last year, but did not complete his associate's degree at College of the Canyons in time to enroll for the fall semester. He finished up in the spring and walked on with the Warriors this season.

“;Last year was pretty rough. It was a good learning experience, do your homework,”; said LaCount, a 6-foot-6, 330-pound offensive tackle. “;I don't take education for granted any more. I'm a student-athlete.”;

LaCount was a highly recruited prospect coming out of both Kailua High and College of the Canyons. After sitting out a year and finally reaching the Division I level, getting back into football shape will be among his chief tasks during fall camp.

“;I've been working out and stuff, but we'll find out (today) with the hitting,”; he said.

Short yardage

Freshman cornerback Lewis Walker did not practice yesterday after learning of a health problem involving his mother yesterday. McMackin said Walker spoke with his parents and will remain “;with his football family,”; and could return to practice today.