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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lefiti, Ieru, Tackling in Practice, Etc

Stephen Tsai profiles backup center Matagisila Lefiti.
Lefiti is a third-year sophomore from Mater Dei, a football power in Southern California.

He met the NCAA requirements to play as a freshman in 2007, but fell short of UH's standards. After June Jones, who was UH head coach at the time, pledged his support of Lefiti, he was allowed to enroll at UH under probationary status. The terms called for Lefiti to not play football in 2007 while earning at least a 3.0 grade-point average for the fall semester.

"I took care of that," Lefiti said, noting his academic status is now "fine and dandy."

He also has progressed in his field work. In training camp, he has practiced at center, right guard and left guard.
Tsai also has injury news about Tuiatua Tuiasosopo, Tank Hopkins and Clayton Laurel, info about a benefit for former UH DB Mark "Scooby" Scroggins, and a note about Jovonte Taylor staying in Hawaii over the summer to catch up with missed school work.

Jason Kaneshiro profiles offensive lineman Raphael Ieru.
Ieru, who peaked at 365 pounds early in his UH career, reported for his final fall camp at 315, about 10 pounds lighter than his playing weight during spring practice.

"Running was brutal, but it's all worth it," said Ieru, the Warriors' starter at right guard as they approach next week's season opener against Central Arkansas.

Offensive line coach Gordy Shaw gave Ieru a target of getting to 315 after spring ball, and has noted the difference in his mobility and conditioning in preseason practices.

"It's made a tremendous difference in his stamina, and, knock on wood, he hasn't missed a practice or a drill," Shaw said.

"His durability is outstanding now ... and his movement has improved tremendously.
Kaneshiro also has notes about Jon Medeiros and tonight's practice at Aloha Stadium.

Ferd Lewis writes about the balance Greg McMackin is trying to set when it comes to hitting and tackling in the preseason.
This is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of football at UH and the philosophical tug-o-war over how much hitting is enough has probably been waged many of those seasons. One school of thought, embraced by Dick Tomey while he was at UH, held that the more a team hits in preseason practice the more game-ready it will be. But sometimes UH was its own worst enemy in injury-plagued starts, too.

On the flip side, the June Jones-held pro theory says it is wiser to save the wear and tear for the season, even if the crispness of tackling and blocking sometimes suffer in the beginning.

Attempting to plow the middle ground is McMackin, who has worked with both men and styles, coming to recognize the merits — and potential pitfalls — of each. "You don't ever want to lose anybody (in preseason), but I don't want to sugarcoat it, either," McMackin said.
And Kaneshiro previews Fresno State and Idaho.


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