POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Oct 28, 2010
Sometimes history deletes itself, which is why it often is forgotten that Jake Heun was Hawaii head coach Greg McMackin's first recruit.
"They might like to sweep that under the rug, but, yeah, I was the first one," said Heun, a linebacker who joined the Warriors in January 2008, shortly after McMackin was named head coach.
At City College of San Francisco, Alaska-raised Heun was a rush end who was used as a power back in short-yardage situations. Yesterday, the circle was completed: Heun practiced as a running back.
"It might be a one-week thing, but I got to hang out with the offensive guys," Heun said.
With running backs Alex Green and Chizzy Dimude resting because of wear-and-tear ailments, Heun was asked to work out at running back. He was there for 15 snaps, all as a backfield blocker.
But Heun, who still will be used as a middle linebacker, said he is ready for screen or shovel passes.
"I keep telling Rolo to give me the ball," Heun said, referring to offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich.
Rolovich said: "He's a vocal leader. He's intense and competitive, and he wants to win. That's how he was in junior college. People respect him here."
Punt returner Ryan Henry will undergo season-ending surgery Monday. Henry, a senior from California, suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during UH's 45-7 rout of Utah State last week.
"I gave it my all," he said of his three-year UH career. "I wish I had more opportunities."
Henry was recruited as a slotback in 2008. He redshirted that year and had one catch last season and one catch this season.
"It wasn't what I expected," he said of his limited playing time as a slotback.
Henry earned the punt returner's job this season. He will complete work on a bachelor's degree in December, but will remain in Hawaii for his rehabilitation sessions.
For 20 minutes following yesterday's practice, the Warriors continued to audition punt returners.
Punter Alex Dunnachie gave high marks to slotbacks Kealoha Pilares and Dustin Blount, left wideout Rodney Bradley and safety Richard Torres. Left slotback Greg Salas, who has two punt returns this season, did not participate in that workout.
Dunnachie said Torres has a knack for tracking punts. "He sees the ball really well off the (punter's) foot, and gets in position early," he said.
Torres, a junior, said he has not fielded punts since his senior season at Kahuku.
Pilares, who has been on the punt-coverage team, said returning punts is "another opportunity to make a big play. It's so much easier to make moves when they're running right at you. ... It's about setting up blocks, too."
Parker Paredes, a key member of two special teams, suffered an apparent shoulder injury during yesterday's practice.
"Somebody put their helmet on my shoulder, and I heard two pops," he said.
Paredes, the older brother of UH linebacker Corey Paredes, is on the kickoff and kick-return teams. Starting left-side linebacker Aaron Brown is his replacement on those units.
"If the coach asks me to play, I'm not going to turn him down," Brown said.