Strength in numbers: Rainbow Warriors boast deep backfield

Strength in numbers: Rainbow Warriors boast deep backfield

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The list of potential starting quarterbacks for the Rainbow Warriors was narrowed on Monday.  That may be easier to sort out than the stable of running backs vying for the job.

"I don't look at it as a battle," said University of Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich.  "I look at it is as a really strong group with a lot of contributors, and that's a good feeling."

That group, Rolovich said, consists of four, if not five or six, capable backs.

Paul Harris is balanced.  Last season, Harris led the team in rushing and was sixth in receiving.  The redshirt senior rushed for 1,132 yards, becoming the first 1,000-yard rusher at UH since 2010, only the second since 1992.

"I have to bring it everyday because if I don't, somebody is going to take my spot," said Harris.

When healthy, Diocemy Saint Juste is explosive.  Expectations were high in 2015, but his season never even got started.  The Florida native redshirted after sustaining a hamstring injury in fall camp.  This fall camp, Saint Juste has broken off long runs in each of the last two practices.

"This is not a sprint, it's a marathon," said Saint Juste.  "There's a whole season to get through."

Former Punahou standout Steven Lakalaka is the leader among the group.  The senior has been a contributor throughout his career, though he was hobbled by an injury last season.  Now healthy, Lakalaka is embracing the chance to go head-to-head with his teammates.

"We can't control the situation we're put in, but what we can do is cheer for each other and just compete," said Lakalaka.  "Off the field we're boys, on the field we're competing.  When coaches put us in, we have to control what we can control."

Senior Melvin Davis and redshirt junior Ryan Tuiasoa will also get reps in the backfield.

"Being deep's a good problem to have," offensive coordinator Brian Smith said.  "Pretty soon we'll have to start giving some guys more reps to get them more prepared for Cal, but the thing you see with them is there is diversity within the group."

As for the number of backs in the mix, Rolovich added, "it's better than none."