2008 Hawaii Warriors Football Preview
Hawaii 2007 Record: (12-1, 8-0 WAC)
2007 Bowl: Sugar Bowl vs. Georgia (L 10-41)
Hawaii Head Coach: Greg McMackin (1st year at Hawaii, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ron Lee
Defensive Coordinator: Cal Lee
Returning Leaders for Hawaii:
Other Key Returnees: OT Keith AhSoon, C John Estes, RB David Farmer, DT Fale Laeli, S Keao Monteilh, OT Keoni Steinhoff, S Desmond Thomas, RB Leon Wright-Jackson
Key Losses: WR Davone Bess, QB Colt Brennan, WR Ryan Grice-Mullen, WR C.J. Hawthorne, LB Brad Kalilimoku, DT Michael Lafaele, CB Gerard Lewis, CB Myron Newberry, DE Karl Noa, S Jacob Patek, DE Amani Purcell, WR Jason Rivers, G Hercules Satele, G Larry Sauaea
How vital was former coach June Jones to the success of the Hawaii program? We are about to find out. Coach Greg McMackin is taking over and he has retained a majority of the staff. The product on the field might not change too much, but Coach McMackin has some work to do since his quarterback and top four receivers are gone.
Lost in all the hoopla that is the Hawaii offense is the fact that the defense was not too bad itself. The unit ranked second in the conference in rushing defense, passing defense, total defense and scoring defense. And while the offense retools, it will be up to the defense to keep Hawaii in the race for a WAC championship. Linebackers Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard earned all-conference accolades last season and have to be the leaders while some new faces are inserted around them. The key last season was getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. End David Veikune, who led the team in sacks with seven, is back but he will need some help if the Warriors want to accumulate three sacks per game again this year. And if the pressure is on the quarterback, it will make replacing corners Gerard Lewis and Myron Newberry much easier.
It is not fair to call the quarterback or the wide receivers a weakness, but certainly there will be a drop off in talent after the departures of Colt Brennan, Ryan Grice-Mullen, Davone Bess, Jason Rivers and C.J. Hawthorne. Tyler Graunke is the most experienced quarterback left, but he will feel some pressure from the emerging Inoke Funaki and junior college transfer Greg Alexander. The offense will still air it out as always no matter who is under center. And there will be some experienced wide receivers to throw the ball to…just not experienced at this level. Five junior college transfers are expected to battle it out for playing time at the receiver spots and will be joined by the team’s leading returning receiver, Malcolm Lane, and a handful of less experienced players.
The Bottom Line for the Warriors:
Balance might not be the best way to describe what Hawaii hopes to do with its offense, but they might have to at least take a step in that direction while the passing game adjusts to life with the newcomers. Running backs Kealoha Pilares, Leon Wright-Jackson, Daniel Libre and David Farmer are all back. Pilares got most of the carries last year, but all have the potential to fill in when necessary. Adding to the depth at running back is junior college transfer Jake Huen. At 255 pounds, Heun looks and plays like the usual big, bruising Hawaii back.
2007 Hawaii Warriors Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 72.62 (116th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 439.46 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 512.08 (3, 1)
Scoring Offense: 43.38 (1, 1)
Rushing Defense: 133.77 (41, 2)
Pass Defense: 214.00 (37, 2)
Total Defense: 347.77 (34, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.46 (46, 2)
Turnover Margin: -.46 (93, 6)
Sacks: 3.00 (15, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.69 (100, 9)
By Joel Welser
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2008 WAC Football Preview
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