Penei Pavihi looks to fill void left by Detroit Lion Jahlani Tavai


The University of Hawaii football team completed day two of training camp on Saturday.

It is still early in the preparation for the season, but one this is certain: the Rainbow Warriors plan for linebacker Penei Pavihi to be a big part of their defense this year. The junior out of American Samoa had a breakout sophomore campaign last season. He went for 87 tackles which was second best on the team.

Pavihi stepped up when linebacker Jahlani Tavai was hurt last season and will continue in that role now that Tavai is in the NFL.

“When Jahlani went down for us last year, you really saw Penei see that opening and walk through it,” said Rainbow Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich. “Not only as a linebacker but as an inspirational leader on the field. I don’t think any fan can doubt his passion when he makes plays.”

“Coming in after a big season last year, my mentality coming in is forget about what happened last season,” said Pavihi. “Last season was last season. I’m trying to up my game. With that I have to be more vocal. Because last year I didn’t feel like I was more vocal. So I need to show more leadership to the incoming freshman and everybody, just showing them the way.”

Camp continues on Monday and goes through August 17th. Opening day is on August 24th.

Meanwhile, Tavai, arguably the best player on last year’s UH football roster was drafted in the second round — 43rd overall by the Detroit Lions. The NFC North franchise just started training camp this week.

“There’s so much to improve on,” said Tavai to members of the Detroit media. “I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes. So what great about practice is you get to learn from those mistakes. Instead of the game where you might give up a touchdown or something. So it’s been a great opportunity learning from the vets, whether it’s how to play man or how to play in this specific defense. I’m just out here competing and building trust with the team. That’s all that matters. You can’t have a defense without trust. So we got to trust all eleven guys out there so it’s a great opportunity right now.”

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