Pollard, Taylor see pluses in sharing


POSTED: Thursday, October 08, 2009

Sharing has its benefits.

Take the wide receiver positions in Hawaii's offense, for example.

Make no mistake, Royce Pollard and Jovonte Taylor both crave the starting spot at Z receiver. Running sprint after sprint in practice and games is an assignment they've trained for.

Still, having someone to share the work doesn't hurt.

“;We've got a lot of deep routes,”; Pollard said. “;Man, a lot of deep routes.

“;It's hard, but it's good work though. ... We're always helping each other out. It's good that we're on the same side doing the work because all those streak routes for one person is a load.”;

Pollard enters Saturday's Western Athletic Conference game against Fresno State as the starter on the right side of the formation. Taylor is close to full speed after being slowed by an ankle injury the last two weeks and split repetitions with Pollard during yesterday's practice.

Taylor started the first three games of the season at receiver and as a kickoff returner. Pollard filled both duties while Taylor's ankle healed and delivered a productive performance at Louisiana Tech.

UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said Pollard remains the starter for this week, though the staff will look to get Taylor into the mix as well against a Fresno State secondary also blessed with speed.

“;I've been waiting for this and I'll keep going hard at it, there's no time to slow down ever,”; Pollard said. “;It's still competitive over there splitting reps. We just need to win and make plays.”;

With Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares and Rodney Bradley accounting for the bulk of the receiving yardage early in the season, Lee hoped to get more production out of the Z receivers heading into the Louisiana Tech game.

In his first start of the season, Pollard topped his previous career bests by catching seven passes for 84 yards. He also returned six kickoffs for 146 yards, breaking loose for a 47-yard return late in the game.





        Fresno State (1-3, 0-1) vs. Hawaii (2-2, 0-1)

When: Saturday, 5 p.m.


Where: Aloha Stadium TV: PPV, Dig. 255 Radio: KKEA 1420-AM Line: FSU by 9 1/2


“;When you make your first catch it's like, 'OK, that's it,' “; Pollard said. “;Then you keep going and as it builds, your mind goes into the mode where you're focused and not worried about anything else but what you're doing.”;

Taylor hurt his ankle early in UH's loss at UNLV on Sept. 19. When he returned to practice, making cuts on the tender ankle proved painful. But with continued treatment, he now rates it at 95 percent.

“;I'm running, able to make my cuts, and run my routes as I did before,”; Taylor said. “;I'm pretty much back up to par.

“;I've got to get back in there and compete for it again. Royce is a good receiver, he makes plays, that's my boy. But it's all about competition.”;

Even if the ball doesn't come their way on those deep routes, providing a threat downfield can pay off for the offense by allowing the slotback to find soft spots in the secondary.

“;They open up things for us and we open up things for them. We work together, “; said Pilares, who ranks fourth nationally with 8.75 receptions per game. “;(The receivers' speed) helps the play develop faster and stretching the field opens pockets.”;

Along with competing for playing time at receiver, both Pollard and Taylor are looking to contribute on kickoff returns. UH ranks third in the WAC and 38th in the nation at 23.6 yards per return with Pollard getting the starting call again this week.

“;We've got two guys we can trust back there,”; UH special teams coordinator Chris Tormey said. “;They have good vision and they can hit a seam and make a big play.”;

Lee said he'd also like to get more playing time for slotbacks Jon Medeiros and Dustin Blount. Blount's practice time has been limited early in the season, but he has returned to the slotback rotation this week after fulfilling some academic requirements and has been cleared to play this week.

“;We need to play faster for 60 to 70 plays,”; Lee said.

Another start for “;Aussie”;

Adrian Thomas is slated to make his second straight start at right tackle with senior Laupepa Letuli still hobbled by a knee injury. Letuli missed the Louisiana Tech game and is targeting the game against Boise State on Oct. 24 for his return.

In the meantime, he's doing what he can to help Thomas prepare.

“;We're talking a lot. He knows what he needs to do, he has a good understanding,”; Letuli said.

Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said Thomas “;did a commendable job”; against Louisiana Tech. This week the UH tackles will line up against Fresno State end Chris Carter who leads the WAC with three sacks.

Short yardage

Defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga returned from a sprained ankle to practice for the first time this week. Defensive end Paipai Falemalu said his ankle is at “;85 percent”; but has been able to go through the drills in practice.