Spring practice opened today — in the rain and in dimness. For the first hour of practice, the lights were in use at the Ching Athletic Complex field. A few observations:
• While the offensive linemen appeared to be fit collectively, there was no real contact drills. That won’t happen until probably Friday afternoon, when the Warriors will be in modified pads. Austin Hansen, who is appealing an NCAA suspension, was assisting the younger players with their stances and techniques.
• Cornerback Tank Hopkins appears to have fully recovered from the pelvic injury that hindered him most of the past two seasons. John Hardy-Tuliau, who was the starting nickelback last year, has made an easy transition to cornerback.
• While newly hired assistant coach Dick Tomey met with the kicking specialists, the Warriors did not practice any kickoffs, punts or placekicks. An audition was scheduled for today for potential walk-on kickers. That might be postponed while UH awaits for candidates to complete their medical examinations.
• Left wideout Darius Bright and right slotback Terence Bell finally got to work out exclusively with the first team. Bright ran crisp patterns; Bell also appeared to be comfortable running routes. Bell will move to left slotback when Miah Ostrowski rejoins the team. With the basketball Rainbow Warriors certain to play in the postseason CollegeInsider.com Tournament, it might be a while before Ostrowski suits up with the football Warriors.
• Linebacker Corey Paredes, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, is not expected to participate in contact drills this spring. He was working with the younger linebackers today.
• Ashley Lelie said he “definitely” will return as student assistant.
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It’s a tale of two Purcell cousins.
Former UH defensive end Melila Purcell III, who received a medical buyout from the Cleveland Browns a couple of years ago, is attempting a comeback. He is on the participation list for UH’s Pro Day March 31 in Carson, Calif.
But defensive end Elliott Purcell, who finished his UH career in December, has decided to give up football and instead spend time on his true passion: fatherhood. He texted to the Warrior Beat: “Can’t miss out on my 2 boys growing up. College ball already took a lot of time away from that.”
Both Purcell cousins have their bachelor’s degrees.