Feature on the Warriors’ special teams players

About how Richard Torres will be a head-hunter on their special teams, Ikaika Malloe said:
“That’s his job.” (HA)

HA Note: “To energize the Warriors’ kickoff, punt and kick return units, Malloe sought a few good — but crazed — men. The answers came from stars (linebackers Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian), starters (defensive backs Erik “E-Rob” Robinson and Calvin Roberts) and the fearless (defensive backs Spencer Smith, Dane Porlas and Torres). Smith and Torres are the bookends on the kickoff unit. They play the positions known as the head-hunters. Their primary role is to seek out the kick returner. Smith is 5 feet 11 and 200 pounds. Torres is 5-7 and 165. Both have to blast through man-made wedges of blockers.”

About Spencer Smith and Richard Torres blasting through the wedge on kickoffs, Dan Kelly said: said:
“I don’t know if they love what they do or if they’re completely insane. I like to think they’re insane. I’ve never seen people hit a wedge like they do.” (HA)

About people who think he’s crazy, Spencer Smith said:
“I don’t think I’m crazy. I’ll take ‘hard-worker’ over crazy. I try my hardest every time. That’s why I get labeled ‘crazy’ by Dan.” (HA)

About how he’s trying to emulate Guyton Galdeira and Ryan Keomaka from last year’s team, Torres said:
“Those guys are the crazy ones. All I do is try to run at full speed all of the time. When I see the wedge, I just react and go full speed. I figure if I slow down, I’ll get run over.” (HA)

HA Note: “After evaluating the first three games, the UH coaches felt changes were needed on some of the special-teams units. About 20 players were asked to audition. Torres seized the coaches’ attention.”

About Torres, Malloe said:
“I think people will be excited to see him play. His job will be the head-hunter. He’ll find the ball. If you watch the wedge, you should see Richard Torres. He’s what (long-time UH) fans remember seeing — guys running down there (on kickoffs), not caring about what’s in front of them. He’ll match up with guys twice his size. It doesn’t bother him. He loves it. He’ll run in there and knock himself out.” (HA)

HA Note: “Wanting to lead by example, two of the team captains, Leonard and Elimimian, volunteered for special duty. Leonard will be on punt coverage. Elimimian is the center on the front line of the kick-return team.”

About playing on special teams, Sol said:
“I’m a team player. I told (the coaches): ‘If you need me, let me know.’ They let me know.” (HA)

About how he let the coaches know he would be available to help out on special teams, Adam Leonard said:
“I want to help out any way I can. ‘m doing what I can.” (HA)

About being on 5 special-teams units, Tyson Kafentzis (who once played despite a broken pelvic bone) said:
“I want to be on every (unit). I’m a senior. I don’t want to graduate and second guess myself. That would be the worst thing. I would never want that. I want to go out with a bang. I don’t want to leave anything hanging.” (HA)

About how his father Mark played on special teams, Tyson said:
“I know the history. Special teams is huge here. Like coach said, some people come here just to watch kickoffs.” (HA)

About the toll it takes being a wedge buster, Tyson said:
“Being a wedge breaker takes a few years off your life. From my special-team (involvement), I’ve probably lost 10 years out of my life.” (HA)

Tyson added:
“It was definitely worth it.” (HA)


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