UH's Kiesel-Kauhane gets a look in the middle


POSTED: Wednesday, September 09, 2009

It was moving day for a few members of the Hawaii defense.

R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane shifted over to middle linebacker yesterday for the Warriors' first full practice of the week.

An outside linebacker for most of his career, Kiesel-Kauhane had played in the middle when the Warriors called for a package of four linemen, two linebackers and five defensive backs.

Now he holds that spot in the base 4-3 formation as well, with Blaze Soares and Corey Paredes at the outside positions. UH head coach Greg McMackin said Mana Lolotai, last week's starter in the middle, can also jump in at any time.

“;We're trying to get our best players on the field,”; McMackin said.

Kiesel-Kauhane's move allowed Paredes to rejoin the first group. He practiced with the starters for much of fall camp, but saw most of his action last Friday on special teams. He was on the field for just one play at linebacker last week, forcing a game-clinching fumble with his first career sack.

“;I'm really excited, getting butterflies already,”; Paredes said.

Jake Heun, the Warriors' second-string middle linebacker going into last week, got a look with the first team at defensive end, where injuries have thinned the depth chart.

Heun began the spring on the defensive line, but ended up at linebacker, where he worked throughout fall camp. He was told just before yesterday's practice that he'd be working with the ends again.

“;Wherever I can help out, it's all good,”; Heun said. “;As long I get to get after it I'm not too worried about it.

“;I'm 5 yards closer to the quarterback, which is nice.”;

McMackin said Heun reminded him of Matt Paul, a linebacker who moved to defensive end in 1999 and went on to earn second-team All-WAC honors.

Heun said learning the entire scheme as a middle linebacker will help in the transition back to end. The focus now is on getting a refresher course on the techniques of line play.

“;There's the little intricacies of where you're putting your hand and when you're turning your hips. It's a lot easier to just run into people and throw them around,”; Heun said.

Defensive ends John Fonoti (knee) and Elliott Purcell (thigh) haven't practiced this week.

Packing up

Bo Montgomery and Mike Maracle both got late starts on their seasons, but have moved into the rotation at defensive end and will be on today's trip to Seattle.

Maracle, a walk-on transfer from San Diego Mesa College, was held out of the early portion of fall camp while undergoing tests for an enlarged heart.

He's been playing catch-up since being cleared to practice, and saw his first extensive action in team periods yesterday. He began his career at Colorado State before spending the last two years at San Diego Mesa.

“;It's really unexpected,”; Maracle said of making the travel list. “;I came in just trying to be a role guy, just trying to fit in and do what I can. ... I feel like (the opportunity) fell to me and I have to try to really take advantage of it.”;

Montgomery, who played in two games last season, was invited to join the team when the fall semester began on Aug. 24.

Not participating in fall camp was frustrating for Montgomery, “;but I tried to stay positive and worked hard and tried to stay in shape,”; he said.

“;I just came in with the attitude I wanted to work hard and hustle and what I lacked in maybe knowledge of the defense I could make up in hard work.”;

The death of fellow Kealakehe graduate Jesse Mahelona in a traffic accident over the weekend hit close to home for Montgomery. Mahelona, a former Tennessee standout who played in the NFL, was a speaker at Kealakehe's graduation in Montgomery's senior year.

“;He was a big figure and I think he represented Big Island football just because there's not that many guys that get a chance to go to the league,”; Montgomery said.