Warriors' Lutu-Carroll might miss two weeks
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
University of Hawai'i outside linebacker Paul Lutu-Carroll said he will miss up to two weeks of practice after suffering a partial tear to the medial collateral ligament in his right knee.
Jeff Widener The Honolulu Advertiser
Freshman running back Ryan Grice-Mullin broke free with linebacker Rustin Saole in pursuit as the University of Hawai'i football team held its first practice in full pads yesterday.
Jeff Widener The Honolulu Advertiser
Although he will miss a significant portion of training camp, the diagnosis "is really good news," he said. "It would have been scary to have a bad tear or something. Somebody must be praying for me."
He said the amount of practice time he misses "depends on how I respond to treatment." He said the injury can heal without surgery.
He also vowed to play in the Sept. 4 season opener against Florida Atlantic.
"I'm planning on it," he said.
The 2000 Damien Memorial High graduate is a distant relative of former Hawai'i high school standout Leroy Lutu. He attended Wayne State for a semester before transferring to Dakota State, where he earned two letters in football. Lutu-Carroll was a member of the UH scout team last season. He moved from strong safety in the final week of spring practice, emerging as the No. 1 weakside linebacker.
Khevin Peoples, a freshman from Tampa, was the first-team weakside linebacker yesterday.
"I just wanted to get (Peoples) some reps," UH coach June Jones said. "His head is swimming. He's not going to get any better unless you throw him in there and give him some (playing) time. He's young. He needs to get in there and live with his mistakes."
Peoples, who is regarded as the Warriors' fastest linebacker, said: "I'm trying to learn everything as fast as I can. Sept. 4 is rolling around. It's been a little bit hard, but you have to step up."
Jones said Tanuvasa Moe or Ikaika Curnan, who started at weakside linebacker last season, also can fill in for Lutu-Carroll.
"We can slide guys around," Jones said. "We have a lot of options. But I want to look at the young players right now."
DT recruit Wilson won't play this season
Sept. 4 UH vs, Florida Atlantic at Aloha Stadium, 6:05 p.m.
Wilson, a 2002 Farrington High graduate, played the past two seasons at Dixie College in Utah. In accordance with NCAA transfer rules, he needed to earn an associate degree to be eligible to play for the Warriors this season.
The Warriors are inexperienced at defensive tackle. Last year's starters, Lance Samuseva and Isa'ako Sopoaga, completed their eligibility. Albert Ma'afala transferred to California, and Austin Jackson did not report. Lui Fuga, projected to start at left defensive tackle, suffered a sprained right knee Saturday.
Punter Wright working out as placekicker, too
Backup punter Tim Wright is auditioning as a placekicker.
"It gives me more opportunities to play," said Wright, a third-year sophomore from Mississippi who played in one game last season. He received a medical hardship for a knee injury.
At Bay (St. Louis, Miss.) High, Wright doubled as a punter/kicker, with 92 percent of his kickoffs resulting in touchbacks. In high school, kickoffs are launched from the 40 5 yards ahead of the NCAA starting line but "I usually put it on the goal line to 5 yards deep," he said.
Wright said he is prepared to rebound from his punting problems last season, his first at UH.
"I was struggling big time," he said. "It took me a while to get accustomed to everything and feel comfortable."
Nickel package has many variations
For now, it is a coin toss as to which defensive backs will be used in the nickel coverage on passing situations.
Left cornerback Abraham Elimimian, right cornerback Kenny Patton, free safety Lamar Broadway and strong safety Leonard Peters start in the base defense. Pass-defense coordinator Rich Miano said the nickelback is a "third cornerback" who is a skilled blitzer and open-field tackler. The fifth defensive back replaces strongside linebacker Chad Kapanui.
If Elimimian moves to nickelback, then junior-college transfer Turmarian Moreland enters as the second cornerback.
If Broadway plays nickelback, then either Lono Manners or Patrick Jenkins enters as the free safety.
"We have a number of options," Miano said. "We're looking at Abraham Elimimian as a nickel because we think he can be a good blitzer and cover guy. He's very smart."
Broadway, a fourth-year junior, joined the Warriors as a cornerback.
"We know he can cover fast receivers," Miano said. "Lamar is a guy who's smart, a good blitzer and a good coverage guy. Lamar is a lot like Hyrum (Peters, a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference player)."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com or 525-8051.