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Extra inspiration for Walker


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POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lewis Walker is doing his utmost to turn a distressing situation into a positive for himself and ultimately, he hopes, for his Hawaii teammates.

Walker's mother had a heart attack last week in his native Utah, but is recovering.

“;She's better and doing good,”; he said.

The redshirt freshman remained in Hawaii and is turning his emotion into fuel during fall camp with the depth chart at cornerback far from solidified.

“;I'm out here, more motivated, kind of, just working harder,”; Walker said. “;You see a lot of us competing for jobs out there, anywhere we can get, special teams or defense. So I'm just out there trying to earn a spot and help this team out as much as I can.”;

With Tank Hopkins and Lametrius Davis both out with ailments during the team's 11-on-11 morning session yesterday, Walker got his chance. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound DB stepped in ably at left corner — across from Jeramy Bryant, who he'd been backing up on the right — and held his own.

In the afternoon session, he made a pick in 7-on-7s.

“;Lewis has played so well the last four or five days that sometimes it's justice, he's playing well enough to be a starter,”; defensive backs coach Rich Miano said. “;One guy goes down, next guy's gotta step up.

“;We're not playing this Saturday or next Saturday, and we're going to continue to evaluate,”; he added. “;Lewis has not been ruled out as a starter.”;

Miano wants his corners to experience life near both sidelines to expand their versatility. Walker's polarity swap wasn't a big deal to him despite his experience falling entirely on the right side since his arrival out of Judge Memorial High last fall.

“;I think I kind of showed them that I could be that guy, be in that role,”; Walker said. “;The depth chart isn't steady yet, so any chance ... you have to go in there and prove yourself. I think I kind of did that today.”;

Davis was back to practice yesterday afternoon.

Change in approach

In recent years, two-a-days generally consisted of a 3-hour practice in the morning followed by an afternoon session dedicated to special teams. The UH staff tweaked the structure this year where the morning practice is closer to 2 hours and the Warriors have a full practice in the afternoon. Special teams periods are scheduled in both.

“;We just have a lot of reps we want to work on,”; head coach Greg McMackin said. “;We get more team reps and special teams reps.”;

Yesterday was the first of four sets of two-a-days. The team will have two practices again tomorrow, Monday and Wednesday.

Turning it on

The Warriors defense focused on forcing turnovers in drills, then came up with several takeaways in the team periods.

Safeties Mana Silva and Kenny Estes both pulled down picks, as did linebackers Jake Heun and R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane.

“;We started making plays today,”; McMackin said. “;I saw a big jump today both offensively and defensively. And the biggest thing was we started to have fun today.”;

Short yardage

Running back Inoke Funaki attended yesterday afternoon's practice but stayed out of contact drills after aggravating a nerve injury in his shoulder during the morning session. ... Today's practice is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.