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Faaumu's diligence pays off with start

By Stephen Tsai

LAST UPDATED: 10:12 p.m. HST, Sep 2, 2011

Read more in our 2011 UH Football Preview

There is an "or" next to Andrew Faaumu's name on the Hawaii football depth chart.

It signifies that Faaumu and Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, who has recovered from a stomach virus, are listed as the Warriors' No. 1 right guard.

Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said Faaumu will be in the opening lineup for Saturday's game against Colorado, and that Winchester-Makainai will enter in UH's second or third offensive series.

"We started our game preparation early," Shaw said. "Monday and Tuesday were heavy rep days. Chauncy was ill. He came back and took reps and looked pretty good, but Andrew took the majority of the reps. … We'll see Andrew at the start of the game, and Chauncy after that. I'll rotate them early to see who does the best job."

For Faaumu, "either/or" is a significant improvement from "neither/nor." Faaumu did not play organized football until his freshman year at Lahainaluna High.

"I couldn't play Pop Warner," he said. "I was too heavy."

That was also the situation in 2008, when he was cut by the Warriors for being overweight. But after a lengthy meeting with head coach Greg McMackin, Faaumu was given the conditions needed for reinstatement.

"He lost a lot of weight," McMackin said. "I told him what he had to do, and he did it, and he's here."

McMackin said he was impressed with Faaumu's passion for the sport.

"Being on the field, being in the weight room, being in the film room — all of those things make my day," Faaumu said. "People say I should get an outside life. They always ask if I have a girlfriend. I tell them: ‘No. I'm married to football. Anything else comes after.'"

Faaumu also is used as the "personal protector," a position in which he blocks for punter Alex Dunnachie.

"He has a lot of pride, he works hard, he's a terrific young man," said Dick Tomey, who coordinates UH's special teams.

A few weeks ago, Faaumu, who already has earned a bachelor's degree, was awarded a UH football scholarship.

"It's always compelling to watch someone overcome struggles," Tomey said. "He has a great story."

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