Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Warriors had depth --
till the injuries hit

SO much for optimism.

To quote one of former Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa's favorite lines, "We have depth -- if everybody stays healthy."

And so much for that.

Injury. Catastrophe. Freshmen ...

The left tackle is hurt. The Nagurski candidate has back problems. The best returning pass protector isn't yet his old self.

To quote the guy from "Airplane," "Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue."

Hold it. True, there is a much more somber tone coming out of UH football camp in recent days. True, there is ominous uncertainty about the health of cornerstone linemen Isaac Sopoaga and Samson Satele.

True, a trip to the Coliseum can go Lions-Christians on you quickly, if you're not ready to go.

True, the last days of August pass quickly and that clock continues to tick.

But as of today there is still time and this is still camp. And this camp just got interesting.

Now there are even younger guys taking spots on an already uncertain offensive line. That's interesting.

You'd wonder if some of those more-experienced guys wouldn't really be getting the call, were they to play a game today.

Can these new guys be that good? Or the veterans still not ready? Maybe a little of the former, but I can't believe that highly recruited guys that have been in Mike Cavanaugh's system for a few years can't play.

A couple of theories: One, opportunity. Phil Kauffman, who could seize the day here, said in yesterday's paper that his class never got the reps that these youngsters are getting. There weren't jobs open then like there are now. Two, everybody loves the next big recruit. Coaches get excited about potential (just like fans do), and the excitement hasn't worn off yet. You look at the older guy and you're already familiar with his every flaw.

More than two weeks left until the first game. Plenty of time for these things to work themselves out.

Just enough time for someone to take this chance to make a big move.

After all, would we even have heard of Britton Komine if there hadn't been an injury ahead of him? Derek Faavi?

Would undersized walk-ons like Chad Owens and Hyrum Peters have snuck into the lineup (and become stars) if everything was fine?

Now we're looking at Kealii Aguiar on defense, he of the "Body by Samuseva" look, and he's looking good.

These are the days when players are found. Made.

Or they'd better be. Maybe Lempa was right.

Depth is something you have until somebody gets hurt. And then it gets interesting.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at


E-mail to Sports Editor


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --