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StarBulletin.com

Hansen's versatility is key


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POSTED: Thursday, October 29, 2009

Scan the Hawaii depth chart and one name pops up over and over.

There's Austin Hansen listed as the starting right tackle ...

And again as the backup left guard ...

And one more time as the second-string left tackle.

Hansen, who worked primarily as the backup left guard three weeks ago, can fill in just about anywhere on the line. These days, though, he's narrowed his focus to holding down the right side.

Hansen has started the last two games at tackle, stepping in for Adrian Thomas, who had replaced an injured Laupepa Letuli. With both Letuli and Thomas still nursing injuries, Hansen continues to work with the first-team in practice this week.

“;My feet are more comfortable, my set is more comfortable. But I know there's a lot of things I need to improve on technique-wise,”; Hansen said of settling in at tackle.

“;Like last week, I didn't give up any sacks and we gave up one sack as a unit. But I know from watching the film there's times where there's a play open downfield, but pressure off the edge is going to rush the quarterback. Keeping guys off my quarterback is basically all I want to do.”;

Hansen and left tackle Aaron Kia will be tested by two of the Western Athletic Conference's most disruptive defensive ends when the Warriors (2-5, 0-4 WAC) face first-place Nevada (4-3, 3-0) on Saturday at Mackay Stadium.

The Wolf Pack duo of Dontay Moch and Kevin Basped lead the WAC in sacks and tackles for loss. Moch's 16 1/2 tackles behind the line of scrimmage is tied for the most in the country. Basped's six sacks is the highest total in the WAC this season, followed by Moch's 5 1/2 .

“;They have a combination of speed and talent,”; UH offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said. “;(The 6-foot-6 Basped) is tall and can get around the edge pretty good, but he also can just straighten you up and walk you back to the quarterback. (Moch) is just a great combination of both.”;

Basped, an All-WAC first-team pick last season, is considered probable for the game after leaving last week's win over Idaho with a knee injury, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal. Basped and Moch combined for five sacks in last year's meeting with Hawaii.

“;They're good players, they play hard. Just have to be technique-sound and trust what I know,”; Kia said. “;They have all kinds of moves — swim, bull rush, just coming upfield — and they play with good leverage.”;

Hawaii quarterbacks dropped back 48 times and were sacked once last week, one of the silver linings UH head coach Greg McMackin found following a largely gloomy 54-9 loss to Boise State. But the statistic remains a secondary concern for the Warriors.

“;Nothing but wins does anything for anyone,”; Hansen said. “;Until we get a 'W' to put up on the board again, I don't think anyone's feeling positive. We're staying together and working hard. All we care about is getting that 'W.' “;

Moniz good to go

Bryant Moniz took the first-team repetitions yesterday and UH head coach Greg McMackin confirmed the sophomore will be the Warriors' starting quarterback heading into Saturday's game.

“;Came out had a good warm-up, and went on with practice and felt good,”; said Moniz, who is coming back from a concussion suffered last weekend. “;My arm was rested, so I felt like I had good zip on the ball. It feels good to be back out there. No headaches, no problems, felt normal.”;

Shane Austin followed Moniz in the rotation, with Brent Rausch next.

Defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga is coming back from a sprained ankle and it held up well in his first full practice in two weeks.

Change at corner

With Jeramy Bryant staying back in Honolulu, redshirt freshman Kawika Ornellas worked with the first unit at right cornerback yesterday.

Bryant said his status is week-to-week due to an injured biceps muscle. He received two opinions on the injury. The first diagnosed him with a tear in the muscle. The other said it was stretched, but with a deep bruise. It was decided he'd sit out this week's game and be evaluated on a weekly basis.

“;Jeramy's the kind of guy you hate to lose on the field, but you hate to lose him off the field too as far as what he can show to these young kids,”; associate coach Rich Miano said.

Miano said Ornellas will play extensively, although he said a decision on a starter hadn't been finalized. Lametrius Davis has been the first-unit corner on the left side, backed up by Tank Hopkins. Lewis Walker is also in the mix.