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H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Tuesday, September 19, 2000

Nate Jackson
bounces back quickly

University of Hawaii free safety Nate Jackson has recovered so quickly from his foot injury, members of the coaching staff are at a loss for words.

Whether he plays this weekend at Texas-El Paso is up for speculation, even defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa doesn't know for sure. But suffice it to say, Jackson's status has been upgraded to questionable.

“If he played, it would be limited to emergency situations or our nickel-and-dime packages,” Lempa said today. “The kid is amazing. Two days ago, he was wearing a boot cast and was receiving electrode therapy. He couldn't walk, much less run.

“Today, he's out on the field, running fairly well for a kid with a broken foot. He's a tough guy. If he's available, he might go on this trip. We could use him.”

Hawaii head coach June Jones said he would talk with his assistants before determining whether he is one of the 60 players to make the trip. But right now, it's a possibility.

“He ran around pretty good today,” Jones said. “But I don't think he's going to play. We'll have to talk about it (making the trip) when we get in.”

Other than Jackson, all of Hawaii's projected starters are fit for duty.

Defensive tackle Lui Fuga is still bothered by a shoulder injury, but is making the trip this weekend. He has a redshirt year available and can seek a medical hardship as long as he doesn't play in more than 50 percent of the first six games.

Berryman punting

Freshman walk-on Dan Berryman will be handling the punting this weekend, Jones said today. He also will take place-kickers Jake Huggins and Eric Hannum.

Huggins will handle kickoffs, and Hannum will be on PATs and field goals.

Jones had said earlier in the year he would take only one kicker on the road, but has since changed that stance.

Berryman replaced junior college transfer Greg Kleidon, who sprained his ankle on the way to class several days before the season opener with Portland State. Kleidon returned to practice this week, but is not at full strength.

Jones also took a hard look at Australian kicker Mat McBriar. But he is still having problems adjusting to punting at this level. He has played Australian rules football. Growing accustomed to a one-step kick and catching the snap are his two biggest problems.

“When he catches a punt, it goes a long way,” Jones said of McBriar's lively leg. “He just needs a little seasoning and he'll be fine.

“Dan is going to be our punter this weekend. He is doing a good job, considering the situation. He gets the kick out of there pretty good.”

Silence is golden

Despite Jones' assurances that he would talk with the team about the current media boycott, the head coach hasn't addressed the Warriors about the matter.

“I've had my mind on other things,” Jones said. “I guess they don't want to talk until after this game. I guess they were upset about the coverage of the Portland State game on TV and in the newspapers.”

That may be, but other players have said they want to focus on the Texas-El Paso game this weekend and come together as a team without any outside influences.

As Hannum put it, “Us against the world.”

Jones indicated yesterday that he didn't think the blackout was the best way to go. But it's unlikely he'll overrule the team at this point because Hawaii media rules state that Wednesday is the last chance to talk with the players prior to a game.

Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin

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