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Laurel versatile, like an elephant

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    Safety Leroy Lutu deflected a pass yesterday during morning practice.
    Art Laurel has improved his strength to where he can bench press 225 pounds 18 times.

The Hawaii football team’s "elephant" man is not an animal, but he is expected to play like a beast.

"He’s physical and he can run," defensive coordinator Dave Aranda said of linebacker Art Laurel.

In certain schemes, Laurel will be used at "elephant," a hybrid position in which the outside linebacker is aligned as a rush end near the line of scrimmage. The position demands strength, quickness and perseverance.

"We have some hybrid guys now, like Art, whereas a couple of years ago, we didn’t have anyone who could fit that bill," Aranda said. "If we can do things that are simple for us, but hard and complex for (the opposing team), then we’ll want to do that."

It is hoped that Laurel can create mismatches against lumbering blockers.

Laurel said he hangs out with defensive ends to pick up pass-rushing tips.

He also spends extra time in the weight room. He admittedly did not lift weights regularly as a Leilehua High student. Now he can bench press 225 pounds 18 times. His maximum bench is 325 pounds.

"Art’s always been a guy who’s had potential," Aranda said. "He’s been in the system for a long time. It’s Art Laurel time. He knows that more than anybody, and to his credit, he’s doing something about it."

Chun added at PK

For one day, Kenton Chun was the best three-point specialist on the Manoa campus not named Zane Johnson.

Last week, Chun was added to the UH spring roster after passing a tryout for place-kickers. Yesterday, surrounded by heckling teammates, Chun converted all six of his 35-yard field goals during the fourth spring practice. He kicked two each from the right hashmark, left hashmark and the middle.

"I came out of the trials, so I’m in the competition mode," Chun said. "Hopefully, I can make my way on the fall roster."

Chun, 5 feet 6 and 160 pounds, is a Saint Louis School graduate who was on the Southern Oregon football team for two years. He transferred to UH in 2009, and participated in the 2010 walk-on tryouts.

But the Warriors, who were seeking a player who could kick off, did not offer a spot on the 2010 spring roster to Chun.

Undaunted, he spent the past year training under Peter Kim, a former UH kicker who went on to play at Alabama. Chun worked on his kicking accuracy and strengthening his right leg.

Tyler Hadden, who is on scholarship, and Kyle Niiro are the other Warriors kickers. UH will hold kicking tryouts tomorrow.

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