Mauia settling into new position
By Stephen Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Stephen Tsai
This summer, University of Hawai'i running back Reagan Mauia had a ball . . . at home ... at the mall ... on errands ...
"I wanted to get used to holding a football," said Mauia, a converted nose tackle, "so I carried one everywhere. I'm very comfortable holding a football now."
Indeed, the most difficult transition for Mauia was not learning the blocking schemes in UH's four-wide, one-back offense � after all, he was an offensive guard in junior college � but learning how not to run like a former lineman.
"It's a different kind of running style," UH coach June Jones said.
Mauia said he is trying to run "lower, not so upright."
And those moves he envisions making while sitting in team meetings? Not such a good idea in practice.
"He's got to understand he's a fullback and not a make-you-miss guy," Jones said. "He has to learn how to get north and south all of the time."
Jones and Wes Suan, who mentors the offensive linemen and running backs, have offered private lessons.
"They taught me a couple of moves to do, to stay focused on," Mauia said. "They don't want me to be too shifty. It takes away from my momentum and power. I have to utilize my power."
Mauia, who is 5 feet 11 3/4, weighed about 360 pounds when he was moved to running back with two games remaining in the 2005 season.
He lost 80 pounds during offseason training, gained back another five, and now weighs 285.
"Last year, he was so big, he couldn't put it away," Jones said, referring to Mauia's difficulty in trying to run with the football secured with one hand. "It was like he had another human being on his right side. He lost (the equivalent weight of) a 12-year-old kid."
Mauia was last timed running 40 yards in 4.89 seconds.
Still, he has maintained his strength, bench-pressing 225-pounds 37 times. After slimming down, his maximum bench-press went from 494 pounds to 475.
Mauia said he has always been naturally strong.
"When we were growing up, we didn't have forklifts, we used each other," he said. "My mom used to always tell me I don't know my own strength."
Like other teen-aged boys, Mauia said, "I had chores around the house. But I took it to another level. I picked up couches. I moved refrigerators by myself, things like that. I learned the power of leverage. If you have leverage, anything is possible."