John Hardy-Tuliau and Bubba Poueu-Luna had a head start in developing chemistry well before they teamed up in the Hawaii secondary.
The cousins played on the same Pop Warner teams growing up in Southern California, separated to rival high schools, then reunited after they both signed with the Warriors as part of the 2010 recruiting class.
The course of their college careers diverged through their first two years in Manoa, but they've often worked side by side as a safety tandem over the first week of fall practice.
"Playing together on the same team was something I always wanted to do. We did it when were younger and I loved it, it was a lot of fun," Poueu-Luna said. "I don't know many other people who get the opportunity to play alongside family, so it's a good feeling and it makes me want to work harder."
Hardy-Tuliau's father and Poueu-Luna's mother are siblings, and although the two joined the program at the same time, Hardy-Tuliau is a year ahead in football eligibility.
Hardy-Tuliau emerged as a playmaker at nickelback as a true freshman and started at free safety last season. He practiced at cornerback in the spring, but has spent most of fall camp at safety as he enters his junior season with the most game experience of the UH defensive backs.
"I just help where I can, corner, nickel and safety," said Hardy-Tuliau, who has intercepted three passes, forced six fumbles and blocked five kicks in his career. "Just rotating and getting experience at all three positions to be well rounded in my coverages."
Poueu-Luna, a sophomore, redshirted his first season when he was sidelined by foot and ankle injuries. He saw action on special teams last year and was working toward playing time at safety when a case of mononucleosis caused him to lose 13 pounds in a week, effectively ending his season.