Feature article on UH’s kick and punt returners

About how the return team has to believe in each other, Taylor said:
“It takes a lot of trust. You have to have faith in all your guys that they’re going to do their job. If not, it could be nasty. But we all have faith in each other to know that we’re going to get it done.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Taylor is the leading contender to return kickoffs for Hawaii this season, and the Warriors hope his combination of speed and elusiveness can ignite the return game.”

About returning kicks, Taylor said:
“It’s something I’ve always done. You have to read your blocks, but it comes natural. … You have to have that feel for it. You have to be fearless. You have to know sometimes you’re going to get hit. But you just have to get up and get back to it.” (HSB)

About the importance of timing on kick returns, special teams coach Chris Tormey said:
“Kickoff return is a lot about timing. So everybody has to pick their man up at the right time at the right place on the field and keep proper leverage, and understand where the threats are. And Jovonte just needs to trust in his teammates and hit that thing full speed. It’s all about faith, belief without evidence. Because you have to hit that thing believing that hole’s going to be there.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The front line, a mix of safeties and linebackers, absorbs the initial push from the coverage team. The wedge then forms in front of the returner, leading him into the fray. Reserve running back Jayson Rego has been the hub of the wedge in practice, flanked by Victor Clore and Paipai Falemalu.”

About their wedge blockers, Tormey said;
“There’s a lot of detail that goes into it. (Rego’s) got to have a little center fielder in him. He has to do a good job of getting back in front of the returner and having the proper distance.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Punt returning is an area where the Warriors are seeking improvement. Hawaii ranked last in the country (119th) in that category with a total of 62 yards in 31 returns. Junior receiver Ryan Henry has gotten the most work returning punts, a role he’s eyed since he arrived on campus. Dustin Blount and Greg Salas have also gotten work fielding punts in practice.”

About returning punts, Ryan Henry said:
“It’s something I take pride in. I take it serious. It’s something I did in JUCO and high school and had fun with it.” (HSB)

Greg Salas said that he hasn’t returned punts since high school, but:
“you just have to keep practicing it and it comes back to you. It’s like riding a bike. The main thing is to secure the catch, not let it bounce and just give us better field position. That’s all I want to do.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “The Warriors open the season a week from today against a Central Arkansas team that gave up a total of 25 yards on punt returns last season. Punter Jonathan Beard is back after leading the Southland Conference in net punting at 40.3 yards per punt.”

About how Central Arkansas defends the punt returns well, Tormey said:
“They’ve got a very nice scheme, they do a great job, so it’s a great challenge for us.” (HSB)



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