POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Mar 10, 2011
The early Hawaii football line was inconclusive.
The Warriors are looking to rebuild after five starters on the offensive line in 2010 completed their eligibility. Yesterday's 2-hour practice, the first of spring training, did not provide definitive answers.
"No, we were in our underwear," line coach Gordy Shaw mused, a reference to the Warriors' attire of helmets, jerseys, long shorts and turf shoes. "It'll be different when they put the pads on. But the first day was good."
Seniors Matagisila Lefiti and Brett Leonard will rotate between center and left guard, often during the same practice. Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, a sophomore, is a top candidate to start at right tackle or left guard. The other spots are open.
"We have guys who have been waiting their turn," said Lefiti, who was on track to start in 2010 before breaking his foot. He resumed playing in the fourth game of the season, platooning at center before Bronson Tiwanak became the full-time starter.
Shaw said the seven senior offensive linemen conducted twice-weekly unsupervised workouts during the offseason.
"They took responsibility and ownership of the offensive line," Shaw said. "I'm very pleased with their work ethic. I don't think anybody outworked them this offseason. That showed in the first practice."
Lefiti said: "I don't think anybody should worry. We're going to be a high-powered offense. We'll be all right. The young guys are filling in. We'll be good."
Left tackle Austin Hansen, who started 12 games at left tackle, is appealing an NCAA suspension.
Linebacker Corey Paredes, who led the Warriors with 151 tackles in 2010, is being held out of contact drills while recovering from shoulder surgery. But Paredes is hardly idle. He is helping to tutor the linebackers.
It has been a busy semester for Paredes. He got married last month and he and his wife are expecting their first child in June.
"It's been hectic," Paredes said.
Nearly a year after leaving the UH basketball team, Leroy Lutu has adjusted to his role as football safety.
"Don't get me wrong, I miss basketball a lot," Lutu said. "I told Gib (Arnold, UH's basketball coach) I'll be one of their biggest fans. I played basketball my whole life, but I missed football a lot, too. It's just a better situation for me. I'll have more opportunities to be successful in football."
Lutu, who is 6 feet 3, gained more than 10 pounds and weighs 212. He said he hopes to report to training camp at 215 pounds.
He said he has worked on improving his strength, particularly through power cleans.
"Kealoha Pilares is one of my best friends," Lutu said of the former UH slotback, "and he was really into the (power) cleans. I'm trying to be like him. He's really quick. That's a key thing to be when you're a football player."
Lutu said he spends free time studying football videos. He consults regularly with associate head coach Rich Miano and starting safety Richard Torres.
"(Torres) is like another coach out there," Lutu said. "I can ask him a lot of things."