A look at the Warriors by position
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
The University of Hawai'i football team had a spirited two-hour practice yesterday in its final full dress rehearsal for tomorrow's season opener against Eastern Illinois.
The Warriors will have a light private practice this afternoon before sequestering themselves in a Waikiki hotel tonight.
Here's a look at the team (with the names of the probable starters in bold):
Candidates: Tim Chang (6-2, 191, So.), Preston Maloney (6-1, 186, Fr.), Jeff Rhode (6-5, 243, Fr.), Ryan Stickler (6-2, 218, Fr.), Shawn Withy-Allen (6-4, 219, Sr.), Jason Whieldon (6-1, 187, Jr.).
Notes: Chang practiced yesterday, completing the requirements needed to start. (Jones said starters must practice on Wednesday and Thursday.) Chang was impressive in reading defenses, and he appears to have adjusted to the brace protecting the broken right pinkie on his throwing hand.
Candidates: Mike Bass (5-6, 158, So.), Michael Brewster (5-6, 176, So.), Pesefea Fiaseu Jr. (5-9, 248, Fr.), Josh Galeai (5-11, 236, Sr.), Jonathan Kauka (6-0, 209, Sr.), Thero Mitchell (5-10, 210, Sr.), John West (5-10, 180, Jr.).
Notes: Mitchell always has been an effective short-yardage runner, but the coaches are hopeful his increased quickness he lost about 15 pounds since the end of spring practice will enable him to attack the perimeters on rushes and become a fifth receiver. Fiaseu, who is recovering from a leg injury, won't play.
Wideouts: Mike Akiu (5-8, 164, Fr.), Omar Bennett (5-11, 178, Sr.), Jeremiah Cockheran (6-0, 193, Jr.), Justin Colbert (5-8, 170, Sr.), Denny Flanagan (6-0, 179, Fr.), Kanale George (6-2, 193, So.), Neal Gossett (5-10, 177, Sr.), Daniel Inferrera (6-0, 189, Fr.), Nainoa Kuna (5-11, 200, Fr.), Se'e Poumele (5-9, 179, Jr.), Sean Stennis (5-11, 153, Fr.), Bryant Stevens (6-2, 182, So.), Mark Tate (6-1, 212, So.).
Slotbacks: Ross Dickerson (5-10, 174, Fr.), Clifton Herbert (5-8, 157, Jr.), Nate Ilaoa (5-9, 204, Fr.), Britton Komine (5-9, 184, So.), Chad Owens (5-9, 177, So.), Gerald Welch (5-7, 204, Jr.).
Notes: Ilaoa returned to practice this week, apparently fully recovered from a strained hamstring, but Herbert should earn the start. Herbert, who can run 40 yards in under 4.5 seconds, is the team's quickest slotback. He has made several acrobatic catches in recent practices. Owens has been impressive since become a full-time slotback. If Cockerhan and Poumele have available redshirt years, they will sit out this season; it already has been decided that Dickerson, Stennis and Flanagan will redshirt.
Tackles: Brandon Eaton (6-3, 301, Fr.), Jonathan Ekno (6-5, 300, So.), Wayne Hunter (6-6, 299, Jr.), Kahai LaCount (6-2, 294, Fr.), Uriah Moenoa (6-3, 327, So.), Ryan Santos (6-5, 320, So.), Dane Uperesa (6-4, 305, Fr.).
Guards: Alapai Andrews (6-0, 298, Sr.), Chad Kahale (6-1, 337, So.), Shayne Kajioka (6-3, 308, Jr.), Marques Kaonohi (6-1, 252, Fr.), Phil Kauffman (6-1,283, So.), Vince Manuwai (6-2, 309, Sr.), Samson Satele (6-2, 289, Fr.).
Centers: Derek Faavi (6-0, 266, Fr.), Lui Fuata (6-2, 315, Sr.).
Notes: The depth was evident when Kahale, a third-year sophomore, was able to fill in for injured Kajioka and Kauffman. There were six dependable offensive linemen in 1999; now, UH is nearly three-deep at every position. A bonus is that several players can be used at multiple positions. Manuwai can play the three interior positions, Moenoa can play center and tackle, Fuata can play tackle, guard and center, and so forth. Still, not all of the veterans are safe. Satele, the nephew of former Warrior Alvis Satele, has drawn raves for his work and might become the first UH offensive lineman since Manuwai to play as a true freshman.
Ends: Houston Ala (6-1, 250, Jr.), La'anui Correa (6-5, 264, Sr.), Garrett Dearing (6-4, 239, Fr.), Tala Esera (6-3, 265, Fr.), Kevin Jackson (6-5, 229, Jr.), Kila Kamakawiwo'ole (6-3, 231, Fr.), Travis Laboy (6-4, 249, Jr.), Kaipo Patoc (6-2, 230, Fr.), Mel Purcell III (6-5, 227, Fr.), Colin Wills (6-1, 244, Sr.). Tackles: Kealii Aguiar (6-0, 310, Jr.), Lui Fuga (6-1, 301, Jr.), Abu Ma'afala (6-2, 268, Fr.), Lance Samuseva (5-11, 290, Jr.), Isaac Sopoaga (6-3, 315, Jr.), Robertson Sosene (6-2, 296, Jr.), Viliami Taufa (6-0, 258, Sr.), Peivi Tauiliili (6-0, 258, Fr.).
Notes: Although Laboy did not compete in contact drills yesterday, a day after being promoted to No. 1 right end, he still might start in the opener. It apparently was the coaches' decision not to use Laboy in certain drills. "That's a situation we'll look at closely and see," Jones said. Fuga, who missed last season after undergoing surgery to both shoulders, appears to have recovered from a sprained ankle suffered Monday.
Strong side: Keani Alapa (6-0, 221, Jr.), Kilinahe Noa (6-0, 213, So.), Matt Wright (6-1, 225, Sr.). Middle: Chris Brown (6-1, 255, Sr.), Ikaika Curnan (5-11, 210, Fr.), Chad Kalilimoku (5-11, 243, Jr.), Anipati Mailo (6-2, 214, So.), Tanuvasa Moe (5-11, 218, Fr.). Weak side:Tyrone Brown (6-1, 202, So.), Marco Chavez (6-3, 243, Jr.), Patrick Lavar Harley (6-0, 220, So.), Pisa Tinoisamoa (6-0, 218, Sr.).
Notes: With the starting lineup set, the Warriors spent preseason training trying to build the depth chart. Curnan interned at outside linebacker, but has since returned to the middle. Kalilimoku will redshirt. Noa has received extended practice time.
Cornerbacks: Lamar Broadway (5-11, 173, Fr.), Josiah Cravalho (5-10, 188, So.), Abraham Elimimian (5-10, 173, So.), Omega Hogan (5-10, 176, Fr.), Cameron Hollingsworth (6-0, 176, Fr.), Kelvin Millhouse (6-1, 205, Jr.), Kenny Patton (6-0, 170, Fr.),
Safeties: Keith Bhonapha (5-9, 197, Sr.), Sean Butts (6-3, 202, Sr.), David Gilmore (6-0, 197, Jr.), Patrick Jenkins (6-0, 199, Fr.), Chad Kapanui (6-0, 205, So.), Lono Manners (5-11, 154, Fr.), Matt Manuma (6-1, 205, So.), Hyrum Peters (5-8, 188, Jr.), Leonard Peters (6-1, 174, Fr.).
Notes: It took two weeks to establish a lineup, a transition that was not solidified until Hyrum Peters won the starting job at strong safety. That enabled Millhouse to start opposite a team's fastest wideout, and Bhonapha to become the nickelback. Patton, who has had an outstanding training camp, is scheduled to redshirt. Injured strong safeties Leonard Peters and Matt Manuma won't play tomorrow.
Kickers: Justin Ayat (5-11, 192, So.), Nolan Miranda (5-8, 162, Fr.).
Punters: Greg Kleidon (6-0, 190, Sr.), Mat McBriar (6-0, 221, Sr.), Kurt Milne (5-11, 199, Fr.)
Notes: Ayat lost 13 pounds since the start of training camp, but none of his leg strength. Yesterday, two of his 40-yard attempts struck the television tower behind the goal posts. Ayat consistently converted 60-yard kicks while training this summer.