The gloves came off at Hawaii's football practice yesterday.
Hawaii defense shows
intensity against scouts
By Dave Reardon
The defense and the scout offense representing season-opening opponent Montana hit each other about as hard as is practical with only helmets and shoulder pads for protection.
"It wasn't by design," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "But the defense is getting more confident in what they're doing. The defense, I thought, stepped it up today. That was good to see."
The intensity carried over to a practice-ending first-team on first-team session, where the defense gave up some completions, but contained the offense and didn't yield any long gains.
"The defense was really flying around," receiver Channon Harris said. "That's a good sign."
And best of all for UH, some of the hardest hitting since brief full-contact last week produced no new injuries.
Linebacker Chris Brown said the defense was inspired by research done Wednesday on the Grizzlies, whom the Warriors play Sept. 8 on Maui.
"We talked among each other and said we got to get ready for these guys. We went over their depth chart and the scouting report and we know we're up against a good team," Brown said. "So just from seeing that, it got us mentally motivated. I talked to the D-line and the linebackers and said let's do it because that's the only way we'll get better.
"Actually, we told the (scout team) we're coming, so protect yourselves. We have to go full-blast. If we go half-blast in practice, we might do it in the game," Brown added. "So we practiced breaking down and hitting because it will all pay off in the game."
Defensive end Laanui Correa credited the scout team.
"They really came after it today and caught us off guard at the beginning, but then we kind of picked it up, too, and got after them. It really helps when the scout team comes hard at us so we get a realistic look," Correa said. "The intensity has been OK through camp and the first couple days of practice, but there's always room to bring it up. We've been playing pretty hard, but not up to the potential we should be at now, so today was good."
Wright better, Espiau sore: Cornerback Gary Wright's sprained right knee is still keeping him out of practice, but there is no ligament damage and he should be back soon.
But safety Jacob Espiau said he overcompensated last week for an ankle injury and pulled a groin muscle. He is expected back early next week.
Robert Grant filled in yesterday for Espiau, while Josiah Cravalho continued to take the place of Wright and starter Hyrum Peters. Peters continues to be limited by a bad hamstring.
East Carolina transfer: Travis Barksdale, a 6-foot-2, 228-pound outside linebacker, has transferred to Hawaii from East Carolina.
Barksdale must sit out this season due to NCAA rules for transfers. He will have two years of eligibility beginning next year.
He said he transferred to UH because his parents live here. His mother is a nurse at Tripler Army Medical Center.
Short yardage: "XL: The UH Sports Show" debuts Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on Hawaii Public Television. The half-hour weekly program, hosted by Don Robbs, features game highlights and commentary from UH coaches. ... Montana starting center Brian Pelc suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to a knee earlier this week in practice, according to a report in the Missoulian newspaper. There has been no word on whether he will play in Montana's opener tomorrow at Cal Poly.