UH offensive linemen might be new but they bring experience

Feb. 8—For the Hawaii football team's offensive line, everything new is old again.

The tackles and guards who started in last year's opener completed their eligibility.

For the Hawaii football team's offensive line, everything new is old again.

The tackles and guards who started in last year's opener completed their eligibility.

"It's deceiving, " said co-offensive coordinator Roman Sapolu, who coaches the Rainbow Warriors' offensive line. "We lost a lot but we also have a lot of key pieces coming back."

Eliki Tanuvasa and Sergio Muasau rotated between guard and center last season. Offensive guard Solo Vaipulu, who was limited to four games last season to preserve a redshirt year, has made 44 starts since joining the Rainbow Warriors in 2018. "Zhen Sotelo is in there at guard, " Sapolu said. "He might be one of the most talented ones in the room."

Luke Felix-Fualolo, a 6-foot-8, 315-pound senior who transferred from Utah last year, and Virginia transfer Micah Mariteragi are completing at right tackle.

Left tackle Ka 'ena Decambra has been with the first-team offense during the first two practices of spring training. "Ka 'ena did a nice job for us last year, " Sapolu said. "We felt comfortable with him going into games."

In December, head coach Timmy Chang awarded a football scholarship to Decambra. "I appreciate what they did for me, " said Decambra, a Saint Louis School alumnus. "I'm grateful. All the hard work I was putting in, I had to keep putting my head down and keep working."

Decambra picked up tips from Ilm Manning, who was UH's blind-side blocker for five years, and by going against different pass rushers in practices. "All I can do is adjust, " Decambra said. "It's helping me to get better."

Decambra said he draws inspiration from his father Herbert, an avid surfer. Decambra is not a waterman—"surfing is a little harder for a 300-pounder "—but he found another way to pay tribute.

"I saw a picture of my dad when he was younger, " Decambra said. "I saw he had a nice mullet. He had nice-looking hair. I said I was going to give it a try."

Following his achy-breaky heart, Decambra's hair style is bangs and a mullet. "I don't think I'm there yet, " he said. "Hopefully, I can get there looking like him."

Muasau also has lived up to his family's hard-working standard. His older brother Darius Muasau was a standout UH linebacker who transferred to UCLA last year. At center, Sergio Muasau makes the line calls for the Warriors' newly implemented run-and-shoot offense. "I had to build that trust and confidence through preparation, " Muasau said. "I'm confident now in making all these calls. It's second nature."

Last year, there were run-and-shoot elements in the Warriors' eclectic offense, which featured Air Raid, spread, and run-pass option concepts. The pure run-and-shoot requires more pocket movement and quicker releases from the quarterback.

To fine-tune the blocking, Sapolu has consulted with former UH line coaches Mike Cavanaugh and Dennis McKnight. Cavanaugh was the line coach when the Warriors first began using the run-and-shoot in 1999. Cavanaugh also coached Sapolu at Oregon State. McKnight, who worked alongside Cavanaugh at UH, is the line coach for the XFL's Seattle Sea Dragons. Last month, Sapolu met with McKnight in Texas, where the XFL trains.

"There are some intricate details of the run-and-shoot that are a little different that we had to make sure we ironed out and did the right way, " said Sapolu, who sat in the Sea Dragons' position meetings, watched workouts and went "to midnight with Coach McKnight."