Blount tries to catch up
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By Stephen Tsai
Incompletions are not supposed to be a good thing for a football receiver.
But Hawai'i slotback Dustin Blount benefitted from an "incomplete" he received in an online class.
He has finished the outstanding assignments, and this week he was cleared to compete for the Warriors.
"I'm back," Blount said.
Blount provides added quickness to the Warriors' four-wide offense. He also is a threat as a kick returner.
"We have to try to get him involved," offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. "There might be a few plays we can use him."
Blount, a fourth-year junior who transferred from a junior college in August 2008, needed to earn a passing grade in a summer online class. The problem was he had to return home to Los Angeles because of a family emergency. He did not have regular access to a computer during that visit.
Blount successfully petitioned for an extension.
On missing the Warriors' first four games, Blount said, "it was so hard and frustrating. I missed out on the game, but I still have the rest of the year to play."
Yesterday, Blount was used on kick returns. He received mostly mental reps as as a receiver.
"I have to get back into the groove," Blount said. "They added a lot of stuff I have to catch up with. I'm trying to learn all of the new stuff so I can get back into the rotation."
Royce Pollard will remain as the Warriors' top right wideout and kick returner.
In last week's game against Louisiana Tech, Pollard started in place of Jovonte Taylor, who was recovering from a sprained ankle. Of the 11 plays in which he was the primary receiver, Pollard made seven catches for 84 yards. He also had six kickoff returns for 146 yards.
"I was nervous," Pollard said of his first real start, "but it went away quickly. ... I was reading the defense, and a lot of stuff was going on. All of a sudden I was tuned in, focused up."
Pollard and quarterback Bryant Moniz, who will start in place of injured Greg Alexander, are good friends. Both have long hair.
After the Louisiana Tech game, a fan approached Pollard.
"We had a full conversation," Pollard said, laughing, "before I told him I wasn't Moniz. He was like, 'Oh, my bad.' "
Taylor said he has fully recovered from the sprained ankle suffered on the second play of the Nevada-Las Vegas game.
Taylor was used for one series against Louisiana Tech. Of the two passes thrown in his direction, one fell short, the other was incomplete because of a miscommunication.
The Warriors would like Taylor to become more involved in the offense. He is regarded as the fastest Warrior, having clocked under 4.4 seconds over 40 yards.
Last year, Taylor's yards-after-catch average was 12.0. This year, he has four receptions in 11 attempts, with no post-catch yards.
"I tend to lose focus, and take my eyes off the ball to see where the defense is," Taylor said. "That's the main reason why I miss passes that should be caught. I'm anxious to go rather than catch the ball before going. I have to focus on the pass fully before I try to do anything else."
Lee said: "We're giving Jovonte more reps. We need to get him in there. He's had nagging injuries, but he looks like he's back to 100 percent."