Because of hiring policies, spring break and other factors, the Warriors become one of the last schools to open spring training with today’s first of 15 practices. This could be a good thing. The five new hires were able to get acclimated; injured players had more time to heal.
Every year there’s a QB battle. And with Aaron Zwahlen joining in late May, the Warriors probably will wait until training camp to announce an opening-day starter. But here are some positions to watch:
> Center: Kody Afusia has graduated. John Wa‘a is one of the top contenders for the position. Wa‘a has the tools — strength, high football IQ, toughness. There are 15 practices to see how it goes.
> Nose tackle: Kennedy Tulimasealii isn’t a prototypical nose. But neither was Moses Samia, and he did a terrific job when he played in the middle. Tulimasealli is naturally strong and quick. He’s added weight since joining two years ago, and he became a vocal leader during offseason conditioning drills. Penitito Faalologo reminds people of a raw Lance Samuseva.
> Corners: Tom Mason’s defense relies heavily on good cover defenders who can occasionally blitz. Ne’Quan Phillips, Nick Nelson, Gaetano DeMattei and Jalen Rogers are corners who have cross-trained as nickels. The more tacklers in the backfield, the better.