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Experience needed


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POSTED: Monday, August 24, 2009

Not seeing Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard leading the linebacker unit onto the field will take some getting used to.

Both four-year starters, they left the program as the most productive duo in the program's history, Elimimian departing as UH's all-time leading tackler.

The linebacker corps' experience factor dwindled further when senior Brashton Satele, who was projected to step into Elimimian's role at middle linebacker, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury midway through fall camp.

That leaves senior R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane among the group's most seasoned performers. One of the Warriors' strongest players—he bench pressed 450 pounds during the spring—Kiesel-Kauhane started four games last season and has played with greater command since assuming a full-time starting job.

               

     

 

LINEBACKERS

        » Returnees: R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, Blaze Soares
       

» Quick Hit: Linebackers finding new leadership

       

» Key Stat: Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard tallied 750 career tackles between them

       

 

       

Mana Lolotai entered the summer slated to start at middle linebacker when the coaches were considering moving Satele to defensive end. With Satele sidelined, Lolotai and Jake Heun were the leading contenders to step into the middle.

Blaze Soares is a punishing hitter when healthy and will have to acclimate to game speed after missing all of last season due to injury.

Corey Paredes quietly moved into the starting unit midway through spring practice and proved tough to budge since then thanks to his athletic ability and consistency. He was rewarded with a scholarship during fall camp.

               

     

 

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WHAT'S NEW IN THIS VERSION:

Along with three new starters, a healthy Soares would be a relatively novel development for the Warriors. Heun also redshirted due to injuries last year and moved from running back to middle linebacker in the spring.

BUGS:

After losing a WAC Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time first-team all-conference pick in the same class, expecting a seamless transition might be a lot to ask. Elimimian and Leonard were focal points for the defense and replacing their on-field presence and off-field leadership won't be easy.

REQUIREMENTS:

Building on Hawaii's reputation for hard-hitting playmakers at linebacker will be central to the growth of the defense. After learning under last year's seniors, this season's crew must take charge of the unit and pick up their production.

               

     

 

COACH'S REVIEW

        YOUTH AND DEPTH

        By Coach Cal Lee

        “;You can never have enough linebackers. We have seven or eight good linebackers, heck, what a problem to be in.”;