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Thursday in Hawkville: Be it Hebron or Hepeloni, by any name Fangupo is a load

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 13:

FOCUS ON

Hebron Fangupo. The massive Mormon has followed the path less traveled to the Seahawks’ practice squad.

While his college career took Fangupo from Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College, to USC for two years, to BYU for his final season in 2011, the 6-foot, 319-pound defensive tackle took a different road long before that. Born in Orange County, Calif., he moved to Tonga when he was still an infant and spent much of his childhood there.

“I loved it, growing up in the islands,” he said of a childhood filled with sun and sand.

Fangupo eventually returned to the mainland, but did not start playing football until his sophomore year at Century (Calif.) High School. Then he took his two-year Mormon mission to the Philippines. That’s why he’s a 27-year-old rookie free agent.

As for his move from USC to BYU, he offered, “It was the safest thing for my family to move out of L.A.”

Then there’s his first name. The Tongan version is Hepeloni, a Biblical site in Jerusalem where the prophet Abraham was buried. That led to the nickname Loni, so why Hebron?

“My boss/wife prefers Hebron,” he said.

Fangupo, who had been with the Texans, was signed on Tuesday. In the first two practices with his new team, he has been a two-fer addition – playing nose tackle on defense and center on offense.

“Whatever they need me to do, I’ve got to do,” he said. “Just trying to feed my baby and wife.”

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

OPPONENT WATCH

DeMarco Murray. After he ran for 139 yards against the Seahawks last season, coach Pete Carroll said the Cowboys’ rookie back surprised his defense. But don’t count defensive end Red Bryant among those who was caught off-guard by Murray’s combination of speed, power and ability to make tacklers miss.

“He didn’t surprise me, because I played against him when he was at Oklahoma,” Bryant said today, when the Seahawks continued to prepare for Sunday’s rematch with Murray and the Cowboys in their home opener. “So I knew what type of runner he was and what he brought to the table.”

Bryant, who played at Texas A&M, said the inability of a defense that entered that game allowing averages of 77.7 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry to contain Murray (6.3 yards per carry) was more about how the Cowboys blocked for him.

“They attacked us on the edges, so they had a real good scheme against us,” Bryant said. “It gave us a little bit of trouble.”

Now, no one is surprised by what Murray is able to do. In the Cowboys’ opener against the Giants, he rushed for a NFC-high 131 yards while averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

“We definitely know he’s a tough runner and we have to get his cleats off the ground,” Bryant said. “We’re looking forward to this opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for our defense.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by the team:

Out

WR Charly Martin (chest)

Did not practice

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

TE Zach Miller (foot)

Limited in practice

OT Russell Okung (knee)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

WR Golden Tate (knee)

DE Greg Scruggs (hamstring)

CB Byron Maxwell (shoulder)

Okung got his first work of the week after bruising his left knee on the final drive of Sunday’s opener against the Cardinals, but it was limited to individual drills and Frank Omiyale continued to work at left tackle. With Miller going from limited work on Wednesday to no work today, recently signed tight end Evan Moore got even more reps with the No. 1 offense. With Rice still sidelined, Ben Obomanu filled in at flanker.

For the Cowboys:

Did not practice

C Phil Costa (back)

S Matt Johnson (hamstring)

NT Jay Ratliff (ankle)

Limited participation

LB DeMarcus Ware (hamstring)

Full participation

WR Miles Austin (hamstring)

WR Andre Holmes (knee)

CB Mike Jenkins (shoulder)

RB Felix Jones (ribs)

S Danny McCray (neck)

RB DeMarco Murray (wrist)

LB Kyle Wilber (thumb)

TE Jason Witten (abdomen)

S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion)

PRACTICE SQUAD ROULETTE

The addition of Fangupo is just one move the club has made in turning over half its eight-man practice squad in the past three days.

Today, linebacker Allen Bradford was re-signed and tackle Mike Person also was added. Bradford was with the team during training camp, released on the roster cut to 53 players, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released Sept. 6. Person (6-4, 299) was a seventh-round pick out of Montana State by the 49ers in April’s NFL Draft. He also was released on the final roster cut.

To clear spots for Bradford and Person, linebacker and fifth-round draft choice Korey Toomer and rookie free-agent guard Rishaw Johnson were released.

Tuesday, former University of Washington wide receiver Jermaine Kearse also was re-signed. He had been released on the cut to 53, signed to practice squad two days later and released Sept. 8.

UP NEXT

The players will have a midday practice on Friday, their final full session before Sunday’s home opener.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I can’t wait for the 12th Man. I know it’s going to be a wild atmosphere. I know there is going to be enthusiasm in the stadium. That is going to help us for sure, and I’m so fired up to get out there again and play at CenturyLink.” – rookie QB Russell Wilson on playing his first regular-season home game


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