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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, September 13, 2004

Poumele battling injury to hamstring

By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The health of University of Hawai'i football player Se'e Poumele remains in question in the days leading to Saturday's road game against Rice.

Se'e Poumele
Poumele, the starting right slotback, said he sometimes experiences "sharp pain" in his right hamstring when he runs or moves awkwardly.

Poumele, of San Diego, has not competed in practice since suffering a stretched nerve in his right hamstring during the second quarter of the Warriors' Sept. 4 loss to Florida Atlantic. The Warriors had a bye this past weekend.

In the locker room after the FAU game, Poumele complained of numbness in his right leg. He said that no longer is a problem.

"I'm going to take it day by day, and see what happens," Poumele said.

He said he will attempt to practice today. The Warriors depart Wednesday night.

"It's up to how he feels," UH coach June Jones said, adding if Poumele can play, "he'll start."

If not, another fifth-year senior, Gerald Welch, will open at right slotback. Welch caught five passes in Poumele's absence.

"I've got until Wednesday," said Poumele, who succeeded injured Nate Ilaoa.

Akpan, Alama-Francis out this weekend

The Warriors are scrambling to create depth on the defensive line. Jones said Nkeruwem "Tony" Akpan, the top backup to starting defensive right end Kila Kamakawiwo'ole, will not play against Rice. Akpan is required to sit out a game because of his role in an on-field fight following last year's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl.

Jones said another backup defensive end, Ikaika Alama-Francis, will not be medically cleared to play against Rice. Jones said Alama-Francis has not fully recovered from back surgery in July.

Justin Faimealelei and Karl Noa will serve as the top backups to Kamakawiwo'ole and left end Melila Purcell III.

UH makes several adjustments for Owls

The Warriors are making several adjustments for the Rice game.

Although kickoff is at 7 p.m. Central time, this is a humid period in Houston, said Jones, who lived in the area for several years. Jones said the Warriors conducted three afternoon practices to help his players get used to the heat. The Warriors usually practice in the morning. "It's a lot hotter in the afternoon than at 7 in the morning," Jones said.

To counter Rice's run-oriented, triple-option offense, the Warriors are expected to switch from their base 4-3 defense to a 4-4 alignment. In this scheme, strong safety Leonard Peters will move up to outside linebacker.

"I like it a lot," said Peters, who played a similar role in last year's game against the Owls.

Strong-side linebacker Chad Kapanui will play the other outside position, and Ikaika Curnan and Tanuvasa Moe will serve as the inside linebackers.

In the past two years, cornerback Omega Hogan played the role of "Rice" quarterback during practice. This time, the casting call went to freshman Brandon Satcher, who turned down a scholarship offer from Rice. Satcher also doubles as the mobile quarterback in UH's short-yardage situations.

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