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Friday, August 17, 2007

It's a snap for Sauafea

Perhaps the most accurate quarterback in college football and a posse of fleet-footed receivers to catch his passes. A group of 16 defensive linemen, all appearing worthy of Division I. Reinforcements at cornerback to add depth at a position where it is often rare.

Yes, in many ways Hawaii looked like a Top 25 team at practice yesterday. But none of it will matter if the Warriors can't snap the ball properly to quarterback Colt Brennan.

Several players had all kinds of difficulties getting the football to Brennan during the 2 1/2-hour session -- even starter John Estes, who had been on light duty nearly a week with an elbow sprain.

"We're not really concerned about it now because we have two weeks (before opening with Northern Colorado on Sept. 1)," Brennan said. "But it's an issue, obviously. So many guys have been snapping because John's been out. John was rusty today because he hasn't had reps."

After a particularly bad flurry of bouncing and flying footballs, Larry Sauafea was summoned from his right guard spot. He stabilized things nicely.

Sauafea played center for the first time in spring practice earlier this year. In high school, he played offensive tackle and linebacker. At UH, he's mostly been a guard, and was moved to defense on two occasions when the Warriors were short on that side of the ball.

He's glad to have a position to call home.

"I feel really good at right guard," the senior from Pago Pago, American Samoa, said. "But I have no problem with a ball in my hand. It was kind of strange at first, but I'm used to it.

"We had to adjust a little bit today. John and Aaron (Kia) are both a little bit sore. Everybody's going to have an off-day. They'll pick it up."

Sauafea hasn't had many bad days. He's been a rock at right guard this fall after reporting at 6-foot-2 and 294 pounds.

"He really committed himself. He lost 30-something pounds (in the offseason)," Brennan said. "Coach (June Jones) challenged him and he responded.

"Larry's done some snaps before. We have five guys snapping before practices and Larry's one of them. You never know when you'll need a new center."

Sauafea is known by some teammates as "Liger" for his long hair and resemblance to the half lion-half tiger drawing in the movie, "Napoleon Dynamite."

He said he likes the nickname because he loves the movie.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Sauafea said with a big smile. "The movie's hilarious. Funny, stupid-funny. Some people get it, some don't. Most of our guys get it."

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