Kalilimoku a linebacker again
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
The University of Hawai'i football team has removed the safety lock, enabling Brad Kalilimoku to switch from strong safety to outside linebacker.
"He's fast, he's tough, and he'll hit you," said George Lumpkin, who coaches the outside linebackers. "He'll do good over there."
The Roosevelt High graduate started his UH career as a weak-side linebacker, amassing 29 tackles in five starts in 2004. Last season, when UH switched from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4, Kalilimoku played inside linebacker, starting all 12 games and finishing with 71 tackles.
He can bench press 430 pounds and sprint 40 yards in 4.5 seconds.
But during spring practice, he was moved to strong safety, an experiment that was short-circuited when he suffered a pulled hamstring. Three weeks ago, he aggravated the injury, and ceded the starting job to Jake Patek, a transfer from Blinn (junior) College in Texas.
With Patek emerging as a breakout safety — he had 10 tackles in Saturday's 25-17 loss to Alabama — it was decided to move Kalilimoku back to a more comfortable position.
"He's not very far off at all" from contributing, Lumpkin said. "Linebacker is all he's ever played, really. Safety was new to him."
Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said: "He missed so much with the injury. We think he'll help us more over there."
Kalilimoku joins a crowded competition. Against Alabama, UH rotated Tyson Kafentzis, C.J. Allen-Jones, Amani Purcell, Brashton Satele and Micah Lau at the two outside positions.
Mike Malala and Desmond Thomas now ascend to top backups at strong safety. Glanville also is moving freshman Spencer Smith from free safety to strong safety.
"It's not that big of a change," said Smith, who only played free safety at Kell High School in Georgia. "I look at it as pretty much the same concept. Either way, I'm doing what I can to help the team. That's the most important thing."
BACK IN THE RUNNING
Running back Jazen Anderson, who once appeared on an MTV reality-dating show, is parlaying his acting skills into playing time.
In preparation for the season opener, Anderson portrayed Alabama running back Kenneth Darby during practices in Honolulu. Anderson was not on the 60-player travel roster to Alabama, but he did such a good job, he will be rewarded with playing time when UH hosts Nevada-Las Vegas on Sept. 16.
"He ran hard on the scout team, and he showed toughness," UH coach June Jones said.
In practicing against UH's defense, Anderson was handed a script.
"I never followed the actual plays," Anderson said. "I made a cutback, or some type of play. To me, it was offense. It wasn't scout team. (The defenders) told me that helped them find the cutback lane Darby would use, and help them cut it off."
Darby, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the previous two seasons, was held to 25 yards on 16 carries.
"(Anderson) really helped us get ready for Darby," said linebacker Adam Leonard, who was in charge of tracking the Tide's inside running back.
Anderson said he is adjusting after quitting the team at the end of the first week of training camp. In UH's offense, the running back is primarily a backfield blocker. Anderson struggled with his block reads, and slipped on the depth chart. He changed his mind four days later, but was not allowed to rejoin the team until the first day of the fall semester.
"You have to pay your dues," Anderson said. "I understand what I did (in quitting) in the summer time. Obviously, I can't be rewarded with a trip to Alabama. There were guys who were more deserving who were here during fall camp. I understand that."
With help from assistant coach Wes Suan, Anderson is an improved blocker. "I know what to do," he said. "But once I'm handed the ball, I have to do what I know best, and that's to run"
NOTES AND UPDATES
In Elimimian's absence, freshman Blaze Soares is working out with the first team.
"I'm in there just for the practices," said Soares, a three-time All-State linebacker at Castle High. "I feel good out there. I feel comfortable. I adjusted to the game speed."
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.