Warrior starting guards hurting
|Video: June Jones press conference|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
The University of Hawai'i football team's guards might be down, but as of now, they are not ruled out.
Starting left guard Hercules Satele and right guard John Estes did not participate in conditioning drills yesterday morning.
Satele, a fourth-year junior, has a sprained knee.
Estes, a second-year freshman, said he is suffering from a "sore" right knee.
While head coach June Jones is optimistic both will be available for Saturday's road game against Fresno State, contingency plans have been crafted.
If Satele, whose injury is regarded as more troublesome, cannot start, then Samson Satele would move from center, or Larry Sauafea would play left guard. Samson Satele was a three-year starter at left guard before moving to center in spring practice.
"I'm happy wherever I go," Samson Satele said. "When you play left guard, you get to pull. That's the best part. At center, you get to make all of the (blocking) calls, and everybody listens to you. I like that."
If Samson Satele plays left guard, then Marques Kaonohi, one of the team's strongest players, will open at center.
At 6 feet 1 and 270 pounds, Kaonohi is undersized in comparison to 6-3, 311-pound Samson Satele. But Kaonohi has bench pressed 225 pounds a team-record 42 times.
"I try to make up for it with technique," Kaonohi said.
Sauafea, a fourth-year junior, had practiced exclusively at right guard before replacing Hercules Satele at left guard during Saturday's 41-34 victory over Nevada.
"I'm ready," Sauafea said. "I would be honored to have the opportunity to play."
The Warriors' pet running play is "Tampa Right," in which Hercules Satele pulls to the right as lead blocker for running back Nate Ilaoa.
Estes said he suffered his knee injury when he was clipped by a Nevada defensive lineman.
"I was blocking my guy, and some guy tackled me from the back and was holding my leg," Estes said. "The first time, I thought somebody got thrown into me, or he missed the ball-carrier or something. It was a cheap shot."
If Hercules Satele and Estes are both unavailable, then Samson Satele, Kaonohi and Sauafea would all start.
"We've got a bunch of options," Jones said.
WAC HONORS BRENNAN
Quarterback Colt Brennan expressed surprise when he learned he had been selected as the Western Athletic Conference's Offensive Player of the Week.
"No way," said Brennan, who completed 36 of 47 passes for a season-high 419 yards and four touchdowns against Nevada.
"I'm kind of surprised," added Brennan, who completed 16 of his first 17 passes. "We had a good first half. We had a good run. We really wanted to close them out."
With UH leading 41-34 with under three minutes to play, Brennan fumbled. Nevada recovered at the UH 3.
Brennan went to the bench, where he covered his face with a towel.
"I was praying," Brennan said. "I was like, 'Please make a stop.' I put my head down and waited for the crowd to cheer four times. If the crowd cheered four times, I knew we stopped them."
The Warriors' defense indeed did not budge, and the Wolf Pack failed to advance the ball.
"I know it goes back to that fumble," Brennan said. "It was a huge mistake. It was a good thing the defense backed me up. That's why I don't feel like the WAC Player of the Week."
Brennan also praised running backs Nate Ilaoa and Reagan Mauia, the offensive linemen, and the starting receivers.
"We knew (Nevada) had a fantastic D-line and pass rush," Brennan said. "The O-line gave me all of the time in the world. The receivers found the right areas. We clicked early. I'm glad we got the victory. That's the main thing."
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"(Satele) played his best game," Jones said. "He was something else. The offensive line played its best game."
Satele said the award is "something special, but I think Nate Ilaoa deserves it. I want to give it to him. He ran for over 200 (combined) yards."
Ilaoa, who had 151 yards rushing and 68 receiving, said: "Get that guy out of here. Sam deserves it. He deserves it every week. Every game is Sam's best game. The only surprise is if he has a bad game. He's very consistent. Sam is Sam."
Of his game ball, Lafaele said, "I feel I did what I had to do."
"I'll do my regular treatment, keep praying, and I'm straight," Allen-Jones said.
He said he suffered the injuries when he was struck by a teammate while making a tackle.
"It was friendly fire," Allen-Jones said. "You know how we fly to the ball and everybody is hitting something? The dude hit me in the elbow. It's all good. I should be ready to go."
"Nothing's wrong," Mauia yelled before a reporter could ask if there was anything wrong. "That's my answer."
Mauia used the punch technique to effectively block J.J. Milan, Nevada's best pass rusher. By the fourth quarter, Mauia had difficulty raising his arms without wincing.
"He's been battling through that all year," Jones said. "It's a concern, obviously, but he seems to play through it."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.