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Back with a vengeance

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  • 2015 AUGUST 21 SPT UHFB practice. Brenden Urban

With his youthful looks, the football player often called “baby face” could be mistaken for the other University of Hawaii newcomers who moved into the dorms on Friday.

“Most people think I’m a freshman or sophomore,” center Brenden Urban said. “It doesn’t bother me because I don’t play like one.”

Urban added: “I’m actually kind of an ass when it comes to certain things.”

He did not take rejection well when the University of Colorado, a 25-minute drive from his family home in Littleton, Colo., did not even send a letter of inquiry when he was a Chatfield High senior.

Urban, who went to Adams State for a year before transferring to UH, said he eagerly awaits the season opener against Colorado. The fuel comes from “the fact that I’m homegrown from there, and they didn’t even decide to take a look at me,” Urban said.

He also was defiant after being told he would need four to six weeks to rehabilitate a partially torn ligament in his right knee suffered during the first practice of this training camp. But on Friday, 16 days after incurring the injury, Urban was back in uniform, participating in offensive-line drills.

“No matter how my knee feels, I’m going to play (against Colorado),” Urban vowed.

Urban entered camp as the No. 1 center. Five plays into camp, he was on a golf cart heading to the training room after he was inadvertently struck during a drill. Medical tests showed a grade 2 sprain — moderate on a scale in which 3 is the most severe — of his right MCL. It was “on the verge of grade 3, in the lower portion,” Urban said.

His rehab includes ice treatments, strengthening exercises, and electrical stimulation. “I’ll do treatments three, four times a day, if I can,” Urban said.

Urban also has tutored his substitute, Asotui Eli, a second-year freshman who had never played center until this camp.

“I told him, ‘You’ve got to think about the play, and relax, and get your footwork,’” Urban said. “He’s going to be a great player. He just has to relax.”

Urban said he has heard jokes that he can do without training camp. Last year, he did not plan to play football because of financial constraints. But he was awarded a scholarship a week before the opener, then was summoned against Washington when center Kody Afusia was injured.

“What everyone doesn’t know was I was struggling when I first came back (last year),” Urban said. “It was brutal. Out there, I was surviving. I was doing the best I could.”

He said he entered this camp in better shape. There is no timetable when Urban, who made the line calls at center, will participate in full contact drills. But he said after Friday’s practice, “I’m feeling good.”

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