Former Warriors Pilares, Salas return to Manoa, provide blueprint for Collie, Ursua


One of the biggest questions in University of Hawaii football’s spring training camp is who will step up to replace the production of recently graduated wide receiver Marcus Kemp.

Kemp totaled 1,100 yards in 2016, the most since Greg Salas (1,889 yards) and Kealoha Pilares (1,306 yards). Both eclipsed four digits in 2010.

Tuesday’s practice was a perfect forum for the duo to return to campus together and serve as motivation for head coach Nick Rolovich.

The pair of former two-time Western Athletic Conference champions were singled out by Rolovich after practice as the standard for current slot backs Dylan Collie and John Ursua.

“I wanted (John) and Dylan to get with those guys because Dylan and John have a good relationship, and nobody can convince me otherwise that Kealoha and Greg’s relationship didn’t make them better,” Rolovich said. “All of those guys being together, the little things got done because of that relationship, and I think Dylan and John are building that.”

Ursua and Collie were major factors in Hawaii’s offense jumping from averaging 17.6 points per game in 2015 to 28.3 in 2016. The two combined for 106 catches and 974 yards and 7 touchdowns.

Ursua was specifically spectacular in Tuesday’s morning workout in front of Pilares and Salas. The former Kealakehe High School standout says performing in front of his childhood idols was a good excuse to ramp up his competition.

“I always make sure they’re watching me,” Ursua laughingly said. “Those are definitely guys that when I was a kid growing up, those were the guys. I enjoyed watching them play together. The unity that they built was just amazing, and so it’s always fun to have them out here.”

Hawaii will return to the practice field Thursday for their eighth of 15 spring workouts at 6:30 a.m.

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