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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, August 13, 2001

UH ready for fresh start

 •  Prized freshman elusive on, off field
 •  WAC preview: Bulldogs toughen up for title run

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Like "Jeopardy!," football training camp is about questions.

As the University of Hawai'i football team prepares for the start of camp this week, here are a few:

• How many recruits will redshirt this season?

As of now, none. The four new running backs — junior-college transfer Josh Galeai and freshmen Mike Bass, Pesefea Fiaseu Jr. and Brian Daniels — will get an equal shot at winning the vacant job. With workouts extended an extra week because of Iowa State's decision to cancel the Sept. 1 game, a starting running back might not be selected until the flight to Maui for the Sept. 8 opener against Montana at War Memorial Stadium.

If redshirt freshman Uriah Moenoa retains the starting job at right tackle — he was No. 1 exiting spring practice — there is a possibility junior-college transfer Mike Holt will redshirt. There are no plans for Holt to move to the short-handed defensive line.

While defensive tackle Lui Fuga has expressed an interest in redshirting following his second shoulder surgery, he is expected to play this season. The coaches believe that Fuga will be ready for the third game, against Rice on Sept. 29.

• Which newcomers have the best chances of starting?

Bass, who was the California Interscholastic Federation's Division V Player of the Year in 2000, offers speed at a position usually reserved for a blocker/interior runner. Omar Bennett, a speedy junior-college transfer, will play extensively at left slotback.

Defensive tackle Wayne Hunter, one of two Pac-10 transfers, will start, and Tafiti Uso, who was projected to start at Stanford, will contend for one of the wideout jobs. Injuries abbreviated Uso's spring practice.

• Who will be missed the most?

While James Fenderson provided the run in the run-and-shoot offense and assistant coach Dennis McKnight emphasized special teams as an important phase, the Warriors will discover that placekicker Eric Hannum cannot be easily replaced.

Hannum was 9-of-12 from beyond 30 yards last year, and he missed one extra-point attempt in his last 16 games. (UH did not convert a two-point play last season.) Hannum was a self-starter, a key factor for a team that does not have a kicking coach.

• Who's the most significant addition?

Melody Toth, who was the Wahine volleyball team's athletic trainer for nearly 25 years, joins football this year, teaming with head trainer Eric Okasaki to provide nearly 45 years of experience. Both should help reduce injuries. As a student trainer, Toth worked for basketball coach Bob Knight at Indiana University.

• Why play a game on Maui?

This is a payback to the Neighbor Island fans who regularly attend UH games at Aloha Stadium. The game is considered a bonus because the Warriors were scheduled to play nine home games instead of the usual eight this season.

Even if the Sept. 8 game against Montana is not a sellout — 14,000 of the 20,000 tickets were issued as of last week — UH will still earn a sizeable profit.

The drawback is the game was supposed to be the Warriors' second of the season. But when Iowa State canceled its Sept. 1 date, the Montana game became the opener. With a game in Nevada on Sept. 15 and a bye the following week, UH's first game on O'ahu will be Sept. 29.