To drop the butterflies, Miah Ostrowski had to catch a pass.
"It was hard waiting around all day," Ostrowski said of his first football practice of spring training. "Once I caught my first ball, I was all right."
After spending the past three months as a point guard on the Hawaii basketball team, Ostrowski yesterday rejoined the Warriors football team, where he has spent the past three years as a backup receiver. The basketball team concluded its season during last week’s spring break.
For yesterday afternoon’s 2 1/2-hour practice, Ostrowski was the right slotback on the first-team offense.
"It was great getting him out there," UH head coach Greg McMackin said. "Everybody was really excited about having him back. He has to get his timing back. I think every sport has a different tempo. But our offense is like basketball on a field, and he did a good job running his routes."
Offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich said the competition to find successors to last season’s starting slotbacks Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares will remain open until training camp in August. But Rolovich acknowledged that Ostrowski, who will be a junior in the fall, has the most experience among the slotbacks.
What’s more, Ostrowski and starting quarterback Bryant Moniz were roommates on road trips in 2010.
"Miah knows the offense as well as anybody else out there," Moniz said. "We have good chemistry."
Rolovich said Ostrowski absorbed details of the Warriors’ four-wide offense while serving as apprentice to Salas and Pilares.
"He communicated a lot with them, and all of those things are positives," Rolovich said.
Ostrowski said the receivers are "close as a unit. I learned from (Salas and Pilares) after watching them for two, three solid years. Just the way they ran after the catch helped me a lot."
With several days off before rejoining the football team, Ostrowski spent most of his idle time idling. "I didn’t do anything at all," he said. "I relaxed the body. I didn’t want to do any running at all."
Ostrowski did enough running as the basketball team’s lone healthy point guard the final two games.
"I think he’s in really good shape," Rolovich said. "He didn’t have any trouble in that area."
During 6-on-7 situational drills, Ostrowski caught the three passes thrown his way, including a 10-yarder for a touchdown. In 12 plays during team drills against the top defense, he ran only one route incorrectly.
"It was a minor mistake," Ostrowski said.
Rolovich said: "He did a lot of good things out there."
Billy Ray Stutzmann, who practiced as the No. 1 right slotback in the previous three practices, took most of the other reps at that position yesterday. Allen Sampson, who opened spring training as the No. 1 left slotback, worked out exclusively as left wideout yesterday. Terence Bell, the No. 1 right slotback for the first two spring practices, was at right wideout.
Rolovich said Bell might be a better fit at wideout.
"Everybody is getting a lot of work," Rolovich said. "Allen is doing some nice things on the outside. Billy Ray is doing a good job at slot. Bell is smart, and he can help us in a lot of ways."
Backup quarterbacks Shane Austin, David Graves, Cayman Shutter and Corey Nielsen received an equal number of reps during 6-on-7 and team drills. Kevin Spain, who underwent surgery on his right (throwing) shoulder last year, has been used on a limited basis.