Correa relishes Saturdays


POSTED: Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saturdays can't come quick enough for Haku Correa.

Sure, Correa relishes each of the weekday practices that make up the bulk of Hawaii's spring schedule. But Saturday — and the weekly live scrimmage — well, that's what really gets his pulse pumping.

“;I love Saturdays because during the week (in scrimmage periods) all we do is take our five steps and then we stop,”; Correa said. “;On Saturdays I get to go all out and hit people, that's what I like.

“;After Wednesday's practice I'm bummed out because we have nothing to do for two days. All we do is lift, and I'm just getting anxious for Saturday.”;

The Warriors held their third Saturday scrimmage of spring practice yesterday afternoon and gave the first unit more snaps than the previous two weeks.

Correa, a sophomore, has maintained his spot at defensive tackle alongside Vaughn Meatoga so far this spring, though Arizona transfer Kaniela Tuipulotu is making a strong run for the job as well.

“;It's still ongoing,”; defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said of the competition. “;Every day they come out and battle for that thing. Haku's really consistent making plays. Kaniela's an explosive player. It's a contest and it's every day and that's the way you want it.”;

Said Correa: “;Kani's always right there to push me. I want to get to the top and he wants to get to the top, so it's good competition.”;

Correa earned a prominent role in the tackle rotation as a redshirt freshman, backing up Tuika Tufaga, and entered the spring atop the depth chart. He saw action in all 13 games and made two tackles for losses in his introduction to Division I.

“;Last year I was learning my plays; now it's all second nature for me,”; said Correa. “;I know what I have to do — everything's better, everything's faster.”;

Correa also has the perspective of an older brother who toiled on the Warriors defensive line.

Haku said the main point Laanui Correa, who played for UH from 2000 to 2002, drills into him is “;staying low and consistency.”;

“;I just try to give him any knowledge I've learned through the years,”; said Laanui, who attended yesterday's practice at Ching Field. “;It's not really any secrets, just try to guide him the right way and he works hard himself.”;

Heavy hitting

The Warriors took full advantage of their weekly dose of live hitting yesterday. Early in the scrimmage linebacker Corey Paredes flattened running back Chizzy Dimude, who later took a big hit from cornerback Lametrius Davis.

Dimude bounced back with a 25-yard gain on a swing pass to help set up a touchdown. The drive, directed by freshman quarterback David Graves, ended in another big blow, this one delivered by slotback Kealoha Pilares as he crossed the goal line on a 4-yard run.

“;When you lower the shoulder and you want the end zone, that's having heart,”; said Graves.

The defense opened the scrimmage period by forcing a punt, then coming up with interceptions by Davis and Steve Stepter. Graves then drove the offense 70 yards for a touchdown and used his scrambling ability to spark a scoring drive during the overtime drill to close practice.

“;I like the way he acts on the football field. That's probably his strongest characteristic,”; offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said. “;It means a lot to him, very vocal, he's positive, competitive.”;

Brent Rausch had a brief turn at quarterback in the overtime period. He hit slotback Dustin Blount across the middle for a touchdown on his lone snap.

One more week

The Warriors have practices tomorrow and Thursday before closing the spring with the Warrior Bowl on Friday.

“;I'm pleased with how we're coming along,”; head coach Greg McMackin said. “;We only have two more practices and a scrimmage, so we have to get the most out of this next week. We have to try to come out of this spring better than we were when we ended last year, and we're gaining on it.”;

Campaign trail

Receiver Jett Jasper's bid for the ASUH presidency fell short last week, but he was upbeat about the experience a day after learning the results.

“;I was upset (Friday), but a day later you think about it and me and my sister (running mate Jori Jasper) ran a really good campaign. We broke records in voter turnout,”; Jasper said. “;I feel like the athletic department really came together and we just came about a couple hundred votes short.”;

Jasper said he'll remain active with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and there are plans to develop a park on the lower campus.

Short yardage

McMackin said about 150 coaches attended yesterday's Warrior Football Coaching Clinic that preceded practice. Mouse Davis and Pete Jenkins were the featured speakers.