POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Sep 22, 2010
Hawaii football player Matagisila Lefiti practiced yesterday for the first time since having foot surgery in May, but he is not expected to start in Saturday's game against Charleston Southern.
Instead, Bronson Tiwanak will make his fourth consecutive start at center.
"Sila looked good today," offensive line coach Gordy Shaw said of Lefiti, who was the No. 1 center before injuring his foot on the last day of spring training. "In Sila's mind, he's been football-ready for three weeks. To play football, he's not physically in shape to play a whole game yet. The plan will be to watch him this week in practice. If he's good to go, then Bronson will start and Sila will go in for a couple of series, and we'll rotate them through, and see how it goes."
Lefiti said: "I'm fine with that. I have to stay confident and believe in myself."
During the Warriors' 12-day, two-game road trip, Lefiti and Brett Leonard, an offensive lineman who is recovering from a knee injury, coerced players left behind to work out.
"It was getting back and hitting each other," Lefiti said. "It was good. The younger guys got some work in, too."
Lefiti said he weighed about 300 pounds before the injury. He now weighs 290.
"Hopefully, with all of the training-table food I've been missing for the past three weeks, it'll help pick up my weight in five days," he said. "That's how the Samoan blood is. Once you eat, you get big."
Meanwhile, Leonard said he will receive medical clearance to practice next week.
"I'm doing some stuff to get the knee stronger and into playing shape," Leonard said.
Working out with the younger players last week, Leonard said, "helped me get back into the rhythm. I'll be good to go next week."
Strong safety Spencer Smith, who suffered two fractures in his right forearm in Hawaii's win against Army, said he expects to return in five weeks.
He said his cast will come off in three weeks.
Smith joked that he has kept in shape playing video games.
Running back Malosi Te'o has met admissions requirements and will enroll at UH in January.
Te'o, a Kahuku High graduate, went on a two-year mission to New York before rejoining Brigham Young. Te'o decided to relinquish his BYU scholarship to transfer to UH as a walk-on.
"I'm very excited to be back home, where my wife and I originally intended to be," said Te'o, who attended yesterday's UH practice. "We just made the big move to come back home."
He said his wife gave her blessing to the move.
"Happy wife, happy life," he said, smiling.