2009 Hawaii Warriors Football Preview
2008 Record: (7-7, 5-3)
2008 Bowl: Hawaii Bowl vs. Notre Dame (L 21-49)
Coach: Greg McMackin (7-7 at Hawaii, 7-7 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ron Lee
Defensive Coordinator: Cal Lee
Other Key Returnees: C John Estes, QB Inokie Funaki, OT Aaron Kia, WR Malcolm Lane, G Laupepa Letuli
Key Losses: WR Aaron Bain, CB Jameel Dowling, LB Solomon Elimimian, K Dany Kelly, LB Adam Leonard, DT Joshua Leonard, RB Daniel Libre, S Keao Monteilh, CB Ryan Mouton, S Erik Robinson, OT Keoni Steinhoff, G Lafu Tuioti-Mariner, DE David Veikune, WR Michael Washington, DT Keala Watson
Hawaii had to go through a lot of transition after they lost superstar quarterback Colt Brennan and head coach June Jones. Coach Greg McMackin did a decent job with the tools he had to work with and ended up going to a bowl game. However, it was the defense that kept the Warriors in games a year ago, not the offense. Yet, once again it will be Hawaii’s offense that makes headlines this year.
Quarterback Greg Alexander might not be the second coming of Brennan, but he did a decent job while starting the last six games of the season. On the year he connected on nearly 63 percent of his pass attempts and threw 14 touchdowns and just five interceptions. That should be enough to keep Alexander firmly entrenched on top of the depth chart. With receivers Malcolm Lane and Greg Salas back, the passing attack could be one of the best in the nation, again. The offensive line should be in good shape with the return of three starters, most notably center John Estes. That should help out running back Kealoha Pilares. He only carried the ball 56 times last season, but he averaged 5.4 yards per carry and could be in for a big year if he is given the opportunity.
The defense ranked third in the conference in total yards in 2008, but it would be a miracle if they can do that again. Nine starters are gone and the unit will not be the same without Solomon Elimimian, Adam Leonard and David Veikune…among others. The lone returning starters are defensive end John Fonoti and linebacker Brashton Satele. Fonoti will be the leader of the line after tallying 3.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles-for-loss in 2008. Now a senior, the Warriors will depend upon Fonoti. The same can be said for Satele. The 6-1 linebacker is not as experienced as Fonoti, but he will have to step up and become a leader in the middle of the field and help out all the youngsters who will be forced into major playing time.
The Bottom Line for the Warriors:
This is not quite the Hawaii of old, but Coach McMackin needs time to get the ball rolling, or more accurately, get the ball flying. And it will happen sooner or later. The offense will get back to their high flying ways and that is all Hawaii needs to get to a bowl game. But this year the offense might not be good enough to do it on its own and the defense is unlikely to help.
By Joel Welser
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