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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, September 6, 2004

Warriors' depth at slotback takes hit

 •  Ferd Lewis: UH defeat is one for the books

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Over the next few days, the University of Hawai'i football team will learn how much injury will be added to the insult of Saturday night's 35-28 overtime loss to Florida Atlantic.

Nate Ilaoa
Slotback Nate Ilaoa, who did not play in the opener, is set to undergo shoulder surgery. UH coach June Jones said the Warriors will prepare as if Ilaoa, who has not played since suffering torn knee ligaments in the 2003 opener, will not be available this season.

Jones said the shoulder surgery, which will be performed after Ilaoa's right knee is fully healed, "would put him out for the year."

Ron Lee, who coaches the UH receivers, said: "If we get him back, it's a bonus. We'd love to get him back. ... He told me he's going to have surgery, so we'll see what happens."

In the loss to Florida Atlantic, Se'e Poumele, who is filling in for Ilaoa, left in the second quarter after suffering a pulled right hamstring after being tackled.

"I just got up and my whole leg felt kind of numb," Poumele said after the game. "I'm kind of in limbo now."

Because of the numbness, Poumele's lower back also will be examined.

UH receiver Britton Komine watched Florida Atlantic celebrate its 35-28 overtime victory Saturday night.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Jones said he does not know how long Poumele will be sidelined.

Chad Owens, the starting left slotback, suffered pain on the back of his right shoulder after being struck out of bounds by an Owl defensive back. Owens left for one series, but returned after that.

Yesterday, Owens said the area still was sore. Asked when he would be available to resume practicing, Owens said: "I don't know. We'll have to see how treatment goes."

Jones said Gerald Welch, who replaced Poumele, and freshman Jason Ferguson are the immediate backups in the slot positions.

"Gerald is a solid player," Jones said of the fifth-year senior. "He knows what we're doing. He blocks really well, too."

Jones said Britton Komine, the starting right wideout, will not move to slotback. He has played both slot positions and left wideout.

Freshman receivers Andrew Pearman, Desmond Thomas and Ryan Grice-Mullen did not play in the opener. Thomas, who is recovering from a pulled hamstring, is expected to redshirt. Grice-Mullen also is a redshirt candidate, although the coaches probably will not make any decision until the slotback situation is resolved.

Flanagan's career with Warriors is over

The UH career of receiver Denny Flanagan has ended without it ever beginning.

Flanagan, who has missed the past two seasons because of a torn left hamstring, aggravated the injury during a recent practice.

Jones said Flanagan will remain on scholarship, although he will not play. UH might petition the NCAA for a medical retirement. If granted, Flanagan's scholarship would not count against the Warriors' limit.

In other health news, running back Ryan Stickler, who suffered a strained right shoulder during the opening kickoff, will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging, a procedure that uses magnetic fields to create a picture of the body's interior.

Reserve running back Chris Cole suffered a sprained left ankle in the opener.

Offensive line holds up well against FAU

The offensive line allowed no sacks and two hurries in 71 pass plays Saturday night. Quarterback Tim Chang threw 69 passes, scrambled once and recovered an errant shotgun snap.

With more right tackles than starting jobs, UH will rotate Brandon Eaton and Jeremy Inferrera. "They're both good players and they should both be playing," UH line coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Kicker Ayat hurting with groin injury

Jones said he had no choice but to go for it twice on fourth down in the fourth quarter.

Justin Ayat, who converted all four of his extra-point kicks, is recovering from a groin injury. "I didn't want to risk putting him in" for a field-goal attempt, Jones said. "He didn't kick any in practice (the previous two weeks) and only three in (pregame) warmups."

Jones said backup kicker Nolan Miranda had been "very inconsistent" in practice.

Reach Stephen Tsai at stsai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8051.