combos boost

Three freshmen follow their
siblings' footsteps by joining
the Hawaii football program

Mike Bass doesn't seem distracted at all. The Hawaii junior made some nifty runs yesterday morning as the Warriors football team got pretty close to actual scrimmaging. But Bass admits to gazing off toward the defensive backs at times while he is in running back drills. After all, it is a big brother's job to keep an occasional eye on his freshman sibling.

And Bass -- like everyone else who has glimpsed Ray Bass, No. 31 in green -- is happy with what he sees.

"It's cool to see him out there making plays from the other side. He's doing real good. For a rookie, he's making plays and that's all that matters," Mike Bass said.

The Basses are among three sets of brothers in fall camp for UH, with the younger brother a true freshman in all three cases. Interestingly, none of them play the same position as their older brothers.

Sophomore Daniel Inferrera is a wide receiver, while freshman Jeremy Inferrera is working out at right tackle. Junior college transfer Darrell Tautofi is a defensive tackle; freshman brother Daniel Tautofi might end up there eventually, but he's a middle linebacker for now.

Daniel Tautofi also finds his eyes wandering toward his brother's group at times during drills.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing," said Daniel, who will likely redshirt, considering UH's wealth of linebackers and defensive linemen. "Having him here gives me more confidence, and I can use him as a role model. I'd say we're damn close. We're all close. My older brother's (David) still at UCLA. We're one big tight family."

Daniel Inferrera said he helped recruit his brother to UH, but he tried not to push too hard.

"For us, the older guys, for me and Mike (Bass), we came over here to try to pave the way for our brothers, bringing talent to UH. My brother was pretty highly recruited. I wanted him to do what he wanted to do, but I guess he wanted to follow in my footsteps and go to UH," he said. "Plus, we have a passing offense and Coach Cav (offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh) is sending a lot of guys to the NFL, so I think my brother is looking at that. Coach Cav kept telling me to push him to come here. So I gave him a couple talks about coming here."

Jeremy Inferrera, who was heavily recruited by Arizona and Arizona State, said he was pretty much sold on UH anyway.

"I kind of wanted to stay home and play with my family and friends," Jeremy said. "It wasn't too hard a decision. The program's on the rise."

Mike and Ray Bass tried to play it cool during recruiting, but both said yesterday they wanted to end up together in Hawaii all along.

"We talked about it in high school, it was a plan, definitely. And it worked out," Mike said. "I'm glad it's here and not Fresno State."

Ray said he and his "big brother" (they both weigh 174 pounds, but Ray is 3 inches taller at 5-10) have always been close.

"Growing up, we've always been tight," Ray said. "We played baseball together, football, and we always tried to help each other be the best in everything we did."

Mike and Ray Bass were teammates one year at Centennial High School in Corona, Calif.

"He was on my scout team," Mike said. "He was real skinny and little. It's good to see him now, grown up."

Ray Bass has displayed athleticism to match his 4.31 speed in the 40 and 40.4-inch vertical leap. If he learns the playbook quickly enough, Bass might play as a true freshman despite a crowded UH secondary.

"I feel confident, but I still don't know too many of the plays very good. I just try to get better every day," he said. "I want to play as soon as possible. If I don't get a chance to play, I'll deal with it. I'm not going to get down on myself. But I want to work as hard as I can and try to play right away."

So does Jeremy Inferrera. He will likely redshirt, but he has physical maturity at 6-foot-2 and 281 pounds, and will get a long look at right tackle if slated starter Dane Uperesa should falter.

"The guys are a lot bigger, faster, stronger, quicker, smarter than they were in high school," the Saint Louis School graduate said. "I just got to work my heart out and maybe I can get a chance of playing this year. I've got to learn from the older people and learn from Coach Cav."

Daniel Inferrera has had some time to watch his brother, since he's sidelined with a hip injury.

"As of right now, he's doing fine," he said. "I'm proud of my brother."

Oh, Brothers

Here are some of Hawaii football's more noted brother combinations:

>> Al, Niko, Pete and George Noga (1980-87, 93-95): DL Al was AP All-American.

>> Mark, Kent, Kurt, Kyle, and Sean Kafentzis (1980-87): All were hard-hitting DBs.

>> Mark and Zac Odom (1987-94): LB Mark starred on BYU-beaters.

>> Larry and Leo Goeas (1979-82, 85, 87-89): OL Leo went on to NFL.

>> Tom and Mark Tuinei (1976-79, 82): OL Mark was All-Pro with Cowboys.


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