Feature on RJ Kiesel-Kauhane

HSB Note: “Junior R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, who impressed the UH coaching staff in last week’s 20-17 loss to San Jose State, has taken first-team reps at middle linebacker to add some flexibility to his resume.”

About how RJ played well when he replaced Adam Leonard (strained hamstring) in the SJSU game, Cal Lee said:
“To be honest, when he came in you wouldn’t know that Adam was out.” (HSB)

Praising the improvement RJ had made, Mack said:
“R.J.’s really improved, he’s really become a better player. He’s the strongest guy on the team, he’s improved his speed. I think he’s come of age, we’re not afraid to play him at any time.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Kiesel-Kauhane tallied three tackles and two quarterback hurries in just 29 snaps, and was never far from the action. It was the most action he’d seen outside of special teams, where he’s been looked to as the emotional pulse of the kickoff and punt return units since last year.”

About his play in the SJSU game, RJ said:
“I felt comfortable playing at home in front of so many fans, it’s a wonderful feeling. But, I just thought I really needed to make a difference in the game. It was a close game, I felt we could dominate them to a point where we could just take over. But as it was getting to the end … I really tried to make something happen which could turn it around and actually win the game.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “He’s become an essential piece in practice after persistent injuries to Blaze Soares and nagging ailments to starting veterans Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian. Now, with Leonard questionable at Fresno State on Saturday, the Warriors are preparing Kiesel-Kauhane to step in at any of the three linebacker positions — including middle, where he said he hasn’t played since his Pop Warner days. He took his first reps at the position on Tuesday.”

About teaching RJ all three LB positions, Cal Lee said:
“He knows the two outside positions like the back of his hands. Well, why not have him learn the middle just in case? You never know … if he’s the number three or four guy who’s gonna come in, why wait for him to be called on the outside? Just giving him more ammunition to go in there and play, any position if need be.” (HSB)

About learning the MLB spot, RJ said:
“It’s a lot more fun, all you gotta do is read and react. Coach Cal told me today, I’m taking to the middle kind of fast and I’m excited if he does put me in that predicament. But, I’ll be ready any which way he does. If I gotta go both, I’ll go both.” (HSB)

About how they wanted RJ to start at OLB during his sophomore year at Aiea, but the JV needed him to play QB so he didn’t join the varsity until he was a junior, Aiea head coach Wendell Say said:
“He’s one of those players who didn’t come off the field much. Running back, slotback, backup quarterback. Basically all the skill positions he could play on offense. (On defense) he’s probably one of the hardest hitters we had.” (HSB)

About how he knew that he had a chance to play no matter where he was on the depth chart at the start of camp, RJ said:
“Injuries always occur. As a backup linebacker you just always gotta be ready, knowing that you just might have a chance, and it came early in the season in camp where some guys were falling down. I just had to get my mind right where this season could actually be one where I play both sides, special teams and defense, so I just had to get ready and focus and that’s all that matters.” (HSB)

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