Satele, a linebacker his entire Hawaii football career, began the summer slated to compete at defensive end this season. But after shedding 26 pounds through a rigorous training regimen in Arizona, Satele will begin fall camp next week as the leader at middle linebacker.
"That's my house, I feel comfortable there," Satele said at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview.
"I guess Coach McMackin appreciated it and considered taking me back. ... My goal was just to get in shape for the season and do what was best for the team."
Satele weighed close to 265 pounds during spring practice while practicing at middle linebacker along with Mana Lolotai. After the Warriors closed the spring, Satele was listed as a defensive end on the Warriors' depth chart with Lolotai slated to start at middle linebacker.
Satele and Lolotai then spent much of their summer working with trainer Chad Ikei in Scottsdale, Ariz. Ikei, a Hawaii product who runs Ikei Sports Performance, also lists NFL players among his clientele and put the linebackers through a daily regimen that had them at the gym from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"That routine is killer," Satele said. "My goal was just to get in shape for the season and do what was best for the team. If I moved back to middle linebacker, I would. If not I'd play where coach wanted me."
Now at 238 pounds, Satele said he's at his lowest playing weight since his freshman year at UH, while Lolotai -- who could still be a starter at outside linebacker -- also returned in improved condition.
"It was a good thing that we were there pushing each other," Satele said.
Satele started four games at middle linebacker early last season but ended the year at an outside backer, picking up pointers from Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard along the way.
"I learned the position and I got to learn from the best," Satele said.
Satele said the most significant lesson he picked up from Elimimian was, "You have to be the man, you have to make those tough calls. You just have to take charge of that defense because they'll need somebody to look at."