#87 Hawaii Football Preview

Hawaii Warriors

Overall Rank: #87
#3 Western Athletic

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2010 Record: (10-4, 7-1)
2010 Bowl: Hawai’i Bowl vs. Tulsa (L 35-62)
Coach: Greg McMackin (23-18 at Hawaii, 23-18 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Nick Rolovich
Defensive Coordinator: Dave Aranda

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Bryant Moniz, QB, 102 yards
Passing: Bryant Moniz, QB, 5,040 yards
Receiving: Royce Pollard, WR, 901 yards
Tackles: Corey Paredes, LB, 151
Sacks: Aaron Brown, LB, 5.0; Paipai Falemalu, DE, 5.0  
Interceptions: Corey Paredes, LB, 4

Other Key Returnees: OT Austin Hansen, CB John Hardy-Tuliau, DT Vaughn Meatoga, WR Billy Ray Stutzmann, S Richard Torres, DT Kaniela Tuipulotu

Key Losses: WR Rodney Bradley, CB Jeramy Bryant, CB Lametrius Davis, RB Alex Green, OT Laupepa Letuli, Wr Kealoha Pilares, DE Elliott Purcell, WR Greg Salas, S Mana Silva, DE Kamalu Umu

Is it possible that the strength of the nation’s sixth best offense a year ago is actually their defense? As odd as it sounds, it is the defense that will lead Hawaii back to a bowl game. And if the offense can keep up, this is a team that can take advantage of the departure of Boise State and the rebuilding efforts going around in parts of the WAC and win a conference crown.

The Warriors may just boast the best defense in the Western Athletic Conference. That does not happen too often, but the defensive line is solid led by tackles Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu. And, perhaps more importantly, Hawaii has the depth to keep them fresh. Paipai Falemalu will start at one end spot, but there is not another experienced pass rusher on the team. Yet, once again, there are plenty of options and at least one of them will pan out and turn into a solid player this year. The linebackers, and the entire defense, are led by Corey Paredes. He tallied an eye popping 151 tackles last year and will be this team’s leader as long as his spring shoulder injury does not cause much of a problem in the fall. With players like Brenden Daley, Aaron Brown, Art Laurel, Darryl McBride and a handful of youngsters who performed well in the spring, Hawaii has a ton of talented linebackers. The secondary took a big loss with Mana Silva, but they have the potential to be better. Corners Tank Hopkins and Mike Edwards, a transfer from Tennessee will join the mix at corner with returning starter John Hardy-Tuliau and strong safety Richard Torres is ready to take over the secondary. If Brandon Leslie, formerly of Georgia Tech, or the oft-injured Kenny Estes can step up, the secondary will hardly miss Silva.

Finding a returning starter on offense is not easy to do. Quarterback Bryant Moniz will not recognize many of his teammates. Wide receiver Royce Pollard is back and so is one offensive lineman…left tackle Austin Hansen. The new offensive line will be the biggest issue. Surely when you pass so much you are more likely to get sacked, but Hawaii still ranked 106th in the nation in sacks allowed. That number could get worse before it gets better. The ground game has a lot of retooling to do and former linebacker Sterling Jackson is atop the depth chart. There are, per usual, dangerous receivers at Hawaii. There may not be another Greg Salas or Kealoha Pilares ready to emerge this year, but Billy Ray Stutzmann is coming off a decent freshman campaign, Jeremiah Ostrowski is back in the mix after playing point guard for the basketball team and junior college transfer Darius Bright has the size and speed to be a dominating receiver.

The Bottom Line:
The Warriors offense will eventually be fine as long as the line can give Moniz a little time. Moniz did what Hawaii quarterbacks are supposed to do and threw for 5,040 yards and 39 touchdowns a year ago. His numbers may dip a little bit during his senior season, but he is the lone returning starting quarterback in the conference and Hawaii will take that in exchange for the loss of some linemen. This will be Moniz’s offense and he will have the weapons to make the passing offense the best in the nation again, but he may just have to do it a little faster than usual or he will spend a lot of time picking himself up off of the turf.

Projected Bowl: Hawai’i Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 106.36 (107th in nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 394.29 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 500.64 (6, 1)
Scoring Offense: 39.57 (10, 3)
Rushing Defense: 135.86 (40, 3)
Pass Defense: 221.71 (63, 3)
Total Defense: 357.57 (51, 2)
Scoring Defense: 25.50 (58, 3)
Turnover Margin: .86 (14, 1)
Sacks: 2.21 (45, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.86 (106, 8)

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