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Davis to make D-I debut at corner


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lametrius Davis prides himself on defending the pass.

But his perspective remains shaped by the time he spent catching them.

“;I have an offensive mind-set,”; Davis said. “;I'm always trying to get the ball every time I get the chance, always trying to score and make plays.”;

Davis was a running back and receiver when he started playing football as an eighth-grader. He didn't play high school ball until his junior year, when the coaches at Roosevelt High (the one in Portland, Ore.) introduced him to defense while he continued to rack up yards on offense.

Fast-forward five years and Davis is preparing to make his Division I college debut as one of Hawaii's starting cornerbacks when the Warriors open the season against Central Arkansas on Friday at Aloha Stadium.

UH head coach Greg McMackin said Davis will start on the left side, with Jeramy Bryant on the right. The junior-dominated secondary will also feature Mana Silva and Spencer Smith at the safety spots.

“;Our whole secondary is brand new, so I'm pleased with the progress and we'll find out when the lights go on where we're at,”; UH head coach Greg McMackin said.

Bryant entered fall camp as the leader at one of the cornerback positions and locked down the job in practice. The other side was tightly contested between Davis and fellow junior college transfer Tank Hopkins. But Hopkins has missed the last week of practice with an injury, and his availability for Friday's game is in question.

Davis signed with UH last fall out of Butte (Calif.) College, where he and Warriors running back Alex Green helped lead the Roadrunners to a 12-0 record.

He enrolled at midterm and practiced at both cornerback and safety in spring practice. He was moved back to cornerback full-time to begin fall camp.

“;Physically he's got the talent, he can run, he's strong,”; said UH associate coach Rich Miano, who focuses on the cornerbacks in practice. “;His techniques and his execution are getting a lot better every day.”;

Davis focused on basketball early in high school before deciding to give football a shot. Although he began his career on offense, Davis quickly took to the one-on-one challenge of playing cornerback.

Both Davis and Bryant, who played in three games last season before an injury led to a medical hardship, said working against the Warriors' receivers in practice has accelerated their progress.

“;I think we have one of the fastest receiver corps in the nation, so it's like game day every day,”; Bryant said. “;You have to bring your 'A' game every day or you can get embarrassed out here with the speed these guys have like Rodney (Bradley) and Jovonte (Taylor).”;

Davis and Bryant step into the spots shared by Ryan Mouton, Calvin Roberts and Jameel Dowling last season. Mouton and Dowling are now on NFL rosters, and the time Bryant spent watching last year's seniors work proved beneficial.

“;I still go into the film room and study Mouton,”; Bryant said of the All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection. “;What I liked about Mouton was he was just so smart. That's why he was able to play so fast, because he knew what they were going to do before they did it. That was just because of his preparation and just being a student of the game.”;

Along with adjusting to game speed, Davis also had a chance to acclimate to a Division I environment when the Warriors practiced at Aloha Stadium last week.

“;That was fun. I was ready to play,”; Davis said. “;I went to the volleyball game (Sunday) and just hearing the band, it gets you pumped. I'm ready.”;

Moving up

Silva and Smith saw considerable playing time on special teams last year, but enter this season looking forward to making an impact on defense by emerging from the competition with starting spots.

“;Every one of these safeties can play in the game, so to be able to start means a lot, that the coaches have faith in me,”; Smith said. “;I just can't wait to go out there and show what I can do.”;

Sophomore Richard Torres is listed as the top nickel back, with Aaron Brown working in a linebacker/safety role in certain packages.

Short yardage

Defensive end John Fonoti continued to rest an injury yesterday, but is expected to be ready for the game. Liko Satele has been practicing at right defensive end in his place. ... Defensive tackle David Hafoka suited up for practice for the first time. The junior college transfer sat out fall camp due to a back injury.