Honolulu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Where there's injury there's demand.
Craig Cofer has learned that lesson first hand this spring. The senior for the University of Hawaii has traded in his white jersey (the one worn by offensive players) for a black one (the color of jersey designated for defense) as the injuries pile up in the Warriors defensive trenches.
Hawaii's defensive line, specifically the defensive ends, took a hit in the past couple weeks with defensive end Beau Yap suffering a broken foot in practice and transfer Iuta Tepa undergoing back surgery. Both are expected to miss the remaining 11 Spring practices.
Enter Craig Cofer who's move from tight end to the defensive line happened so quickly, he was still wearing a blank black jersey with no number on it, during Thursday's practice.
"That's one thing I learned about being in Hawaii it's all about ohana," Cofer said. "sometimes the family needs to do something and we had Beau go down, a couple guys go down on the d-line. Spots had to be filled and that's what being a team is all about."
The 6-foot-5 250-pounder entered Manoa as a defensive end in 2010. When coach Norm Chow began installing his pro-set offense last Spring, Cofer's size and athleticism -- along with Hawaii's initial lack of a tight end on its roster -- was moved from the defensive line to tight end. The California native appeared in all of 12 of Hawaii's games, making one start and recording three catches for 17 yards.
Cofer says his brief time running plays with the offense has helped his approach on defense.
"It's a completely different mentality you know, defensive end compared to the tight end. I guess you go from a player. where you think at tight end, to defense where you're more of a reactionary player. Now I shut off my mind. I see that football and I go get that football."
SAMIA EASING BACK INTO THINGS
The rehab process is a slow but positive one for defensive tackle Moses Samia.
This Spring, the junior has been kept out of contact drills and 11-on-11 situations but he has been allowed to participate in individual drills to keep his fundamentals fresh.
"Yeah, the rehab is going good," Samia said. "It's more tough mentally just seeing all the guys grinding, I just want to be part of it. I'm just hoping that come season it'll be 100-percent."
Samia started two games for Hawaii in 2012, but his season was cut short after suffering a torn ACL against Lamar.
Hawaii is scheduled to begin practicing in pads on Saturday, March 6th.