Warriors' Brennan says he's good to go
|Photo gallery: UH Football practice|
|Video: Hawaii linebacker earns WAC honor|
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
Showing no adverse effects of a sprained right ankle, Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan yesterday practiced and then reiterated his pledge to start in Friday's nationally televised road game against San Jose State.
"I'm determined," Brennan said, noting the Warriors have a bye the following weekend. That will give Brennan 15 days to prepare for the Oct. 27 game against New Mexico State. "It's just one week and then I can rest it up. It's all out this week."
In Saturday's 52-37 victory over Utah State, Brennan was limited to five full series — one in the second half — after aggravating his sprained right ankle.
He participated in yesterday's one-hour practice, then afterward walked without a limp.
"He'll be fine," head coach June Jones said.
Defensive right tackle Michael Lafaele also is poised to play. Lafaele was held out Saturday because of a strained hamstring that caused pain in the back of his right knee. He also has a fracture in his right hand and a strained left calf.
"As much as I wanted to play, coach didn't want me to play," said Lafaele, who is the defensive captain. "It was the first time ever I didn't suit up for a home game. It was different for me. But I'll be playing this week. It's nothing serious."
Cornerback Ryan Mouton said he will miss his second consecutive game because of a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
"The bye week will be good," Mouton said. "I'll be back in there after that."
He was scheduled to be fitted for a knee brace yesterday.
"I can't run without that," Mouton said. "It's for security purposes."
Although the injury is in an area that does not require surgery, the back of his knee hurts every time he bends it.
"I lost all of the pain everywhere else but there," Mouton said. "I'll be fine. I just have to strengthen the area around it. I've never been hurt before. It's one of those things."
Mouton's injury proved costly. Mouton and Malcolm Lane have a gentleman's bet. Each entered Saturday game with a kickoff return for a touchdown. But Lane's 87-yard return gave him the lead.
"I was laughing during the game," Lane said. "I said, 'Now I get to tell everyone I'm up by one.' He started laughing. He's happy for me. I can't wait until he gets back there."
Mouton said: "It counts. He needed a head start. I'll bounce back. I've got plans for two or three more."
SAFETY PORLAS IN MIX
Safety Dane Kealoha Porlas is returning to the site of his best college play, this time as a possible starter in one of the Warriors' defensive schemes.
In the nickel package that employs five defensive backs, left safety Keao Monteilh becomes the nickelback, replacing left-side linebacker Brad Kalilimoku. Yesterday, Porlas entered as the left safety, a position previously played by Desmond Thomas when the Warriors used five defensive backs.
"We'll see what happens," defensive coordinator Greg McMackin said, noting Thomas also will be used in nickel defenses.
Porlas said: "I'm getting an opportunity, and I'll do the best I can. We'll see how long it lasts."
Two years ago, Porlas made a key interception against San Jose State.
"I hope good things happen again," Porlas said.
Rich Miano, who coaches the defensive backs, said Porlas has "worked hard. He's going to get an opportunity to see what he can do."
For the second time this season, Solomon Elimimian was named the Western Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week.
More remarkable than his career-high 20 tackles — a total that appeared to be under-counted, according to television replays — was that Elimimian played after suffering a mild concussion in the third quarter.
"I don't remember," Elimimian said of a play that left him briefly groggy. "It happens in football. It was one of those things that happens in a game that you have to bounce back from. I was able to come back."
He re-entered after being cleared by the medical staff.
Elimimian praised the defensive line for opening gaps for the linebackers.
"The scheme that we have allows me to make plays," Elimimian said.
Elimimian leads the Warriors with 73 tackles, 22 more than runner-up Adam Leonard. Elimimian said he gains inspiration studying videotapes of All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. McMackin coached Lewis at the University of Miami.
"It's unbelievable how instinctive he is, and ferocious," Elimimian said.
Linebackers coach Cal Lee said: "Why not try to emulate a guy who's at the next level, plays hard and does good things? If he wants to be like Ray, I'm all for it."
Inspiration comes in many forms, and last Friday night it was drawn from a 300-pound defensive tackle acting like the title character from the movie "Rudy," who had acted like Notre Dame legend Knute Rockne giving a win-one-for-the-Gipper speech.
During a defensive meeting at a Waikiki hotel, the Warriors had finished watching, "Rudy." Then Keala Watson stood on a chair and gave an animated recital of that movie's famous pep talk.
"I was the only one who had the guts to stand up and do the speech," said Watson, whose impersonation received howling laughter, mostly because it was delivered on a wobbling chair.
"I was trippin'," defensive tackle Fale Laeli said. "It was something out of the ordinary for Keala. I knew he was a comedian, but I didn't know he would do that."
Defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said: "I wasn't surprised he spoke. I was surprised with what he chose to do. ... Keala gets up and stands on the chair and goes into the whole Rudy speech with the pantomime and the whole thing. It brought the house down. As he was standing up there, the leg of the chair collapses. We almost lost him for the game."
Reach Stephen Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org.