Against Northern Iowa, the Warriors will be monitoring how officials are calling hits on punter Scott Harding.
Harding is an intriguing test case because he is unique punter who can roll out to either side and punt with either foot. The rule is once he takes a few steps laterally, he should be treated as runner, even if his intent is to punt. That’s fine, and the UH coaches are OK with the rule. The objection is that last week, Harding was clobbered after he punted. UH coaches believe Harding should be treated like any unprotected player after his play is over — in other words, after he punts, a defender should not be allowed to plow into his leg.
Harding has absorbed a few hits this year at a position that is rarely hit. That has taken a toll on Harding, and forced UH to consider reducing his large workload at slotback.
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Diocemy Saint Juste and Dee Maggitt have been productive on kickoff returns, but slotback Keelan Ewaliko is considered an alternative this week. It makes sense. Saint Juste and Maggitt are valued at their regular jobs on offense and defense, respectively. Ewaliko — based on his success at Baldwin High and performances in UH practices — is an aggressive and daring runner.