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It's a brand-new season for Warriors defensive tackle Leatigaga


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POSTED: Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rather than fret over the time he's missed, Hawaii defensive tackle Chris Leatigaga is thankful for what he has left.

“;I'm just blessed I got the chance to come back and finish my season,”; Leatigaga said.

Whether Leatigaga would get that opportunity was in doubt in late August when his leg twisted in the Aloha Stadium turf and he was carted off the field during a preseason practice.

He spent the time since then rehabbing his knee, and was back taking repetitions in practice yesterday.

“;I give Chris a lot of credit for working hard and all our support people who worked with him,”; defensive line coach Dave Aranda said. “;There's been situations where guys kind of blow up weight-wise and guys who maybe aren't as diligent as they need to be. But Chris did all the right things. This is his senior year and he's really dedicated to helping us out.”;

Leatigaga was having a solid camp when he suffered the injury. Now after sitting out the first half of the season, Leatigaga is gradually working into game shape.

Whether he can contribute this week remains to be determined. In the meantime, he's busy playing catch-up.

“;The fastest way to get into it is just get in there and play,”; Leatigaga said. “;That's what I'm trying to do, get as many reps as I can. Everybody's on game seven and I'm on game one.”;

Lefiti fills in

Sophomore Sila Lefiti has been filling in at right guard while Raphael Ieru rests an ankle injury. Ieru is expected to be back in practice today.

Lefiti has worked primarily at center, backing up John Estes, but shifted over a spot to help out this week.

“;When you play center you have to know the whole system,”; Lefiti said. “;You have to know what the guards are doing and what you're doing.”;

Austin Hansen was the backup right guard, but has been rotating with Adrian Thomas at right tackle.

Hinshaw visits

UH-Manoa chancellor Virginia Hinshaw stopped by yesterday's practice and gave the Warriors a brief pep talk.

“;It's been a tough time in lots of different ways,”; Hinshaw said. “;I think it's time to be sure we express our support for them because I know they work hard.”;