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2011 Hawaii Preview - Defense
Hawaii LB Corey Paredes
Hawaii LB Corey Paredes
Posted Jun 22, 2011 2011 Preview - Hawaii Warriors Defense

Hawaii Warriors

Preview 2011 - Defense

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- 2011 Hawaii Defense | 2011 Hawaii Depth Chart
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What You Need To Know: After finishing second in the WAC in total defense and third in scoring defense, Hawaii’s D could be even stronger even with several new starters coming in. The defense was ultra-aggressive before, and it was a whole lot of fun, and it should be even more entertaining this year with the linebackers expected to be turned loose even more and the defensive front full of players who can get into the backfield from all four spots. Corey Paredes and Aaron Brown form one of the WAC’s best linebacking tandems, and the tackles should be solid with the return of Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu. The secondary is full of great athletes, but there are plenty of question marks with JUCO transfers and untested prospects needing to shine right away.

Returning Leaders
Tackles: Corey Paredes, 151
Sacks: Aaron Brown, Paipai Falemalu, 5
Interceptions: Corey Paredes, 4

Star of the defense: Senior LB Corey Paredes
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore CB John Hardy-Tuliau
Unsung star on the rise: Junior LB Brenden Daley
Best pro prospect: Paredes
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Paredes, 2) LB Aaron Brown, 3) DT Kaniela Tuipulotu
Strength of the defense: Pass Rush, Linebackers
Weakness of the defense: Sure-Thing Corners, Good Running Teams

Defensive Line

State of the Unit: The defensive line was aggressive and wasn’t bad at getting into the backfield. The linebackers helped and there was help from several places to get to the quarterback, but the line did its part. Not bad against the run, the stats are a bit misleading considering few teams in the WAC could run, but the line did its part. The tackles should be great and the ends should be stronger with some new roles being carved out.

The ends will be asked to do even more to get into the backfield on a regular basis, and that should be a good thing for 6-2, 260-pound senior Liko Satele, a very smart, very active defender who can get to the quarterback on his own but has the bulk to be a stronger run defender. He only started two times last year but he saw time in very game making 11 tackles with half a sack. He’ll work in a rotation with 6-5, 220-pound redshirt freshman Desmond Dean, a pure athlete and a pass rusher with track star speed and the athleticism to be a disruptive force. The son of former NFL superstar end Fred Dean, hitting quarterbacks is in the blood.

Starting on the other side will be 6-3, 240-pound junior Paipai Falemalu, a spot starter who got the call early on last year and worked as a key reserve the rest of the way finishing with 36 tackles with five sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. Very quick off the ball, he’s a blur when he gets a first step on a blocker. 6-0, 250-pound redshirt freshman Beau Yap is built like a linebacker, but he should be great for the line as a pass rushing specialist in the rotation. Not only was he a top high school wrestler, but he was also a top sprinter and a weightlifting star. The tools are all there to be a third down specialist.

Holding down the middle of the line will be 6-2, 285-pound senior Vaughn Meatoga, a 14-game starter who came up with 32 tackles with a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Very quick and very smart, he could do more as an interior pass rusher and should be a top run stopper. It’s a stretch to call him an anchor, but that’s what he could end up being. 6-2, 285-pound senior Zach Masch came over from Arizona Western Community College and made 13 tackles with two sacks in his limited role. While he’s not the run stopper that Meatoga is, he’s a quick pass rusher.

Bringing the bulk is 6-2, 300-pound senior Kaniela Tuipulotu, a transfer from Arizona and a Second Team All-WAC star making 34 tackles with a sack and 3.5 tackles for loss. He’s the block on the inside that everything works around against the run, and while he doesn’t operate as a nose tackle, he could sit in the middle of a 3-4. He started seven times for the Wildcats on the nose, and now he’s the star of the Hawaii line. 6-1, 280-pound junior Haku Correa will once again work in a rotation after making 45 tackles with 1.5 sacks and five tackles for loss. A spot starter and an academic All-WAC star, he’s smart, tough, and can do a little of everything at either tackle job.

Watch Out For … Dean. It’s never fair to compare a son to a Pro Bowl father, and Desmond doesn’t have the same look or body type as Fred, but it’ll be interesting to see what the speedy young player can do.
Strength: Pass rushing quickness. Even with new starters taking over on the outside, the production should be even better with Satele, Falemalu, Dean, and Yap all built to fly to the quarterback on a regular basis. This group will turn it loose.
Weakness: Consistency. The defense came up with just one sack in the first three games – fine, so Army only attempted five passes – and came up with four against Charleston Southern, eight against San Hose State, and four against Tulsa. There wasn’t any pass rush against Boise State, Colorado, or Nevada.
Outlook: The line should be a plus with a little bit of time. The rotation on the end should be terrific and the tackles have the potential to be the best in the WAC. The depth is solid, the size is great, and the production into the backfield should be excellent. It might take a game or two, but the line should dominate at times in WAC play.
Unit Rating: 5.5


State of the Unit: The Hawaii linebackers are always asked to be ultra-active and are always trying to get to make big plays. This year the coaching staff is creating a new role for one of the outside linebackers as a hybrid of end and pass rusher called the Elephant. With or without the gimmick, the corps should be fine with two starters returning and a few excellent new players being thrown into the mix.

So who gets to be the new star in the hybrid role? It’ll probably be a strongside linebacker, normally called the STUB, with JUCO transfer Brenden Daley, a tremendous pickup for the program, getting the first look. The 6-4, 255-pound junior was a devastating pass rusher for Ventura JC and should be used in a variety of ways. He could end up being an end or he could be a traditional linebacker, but he’ll put up big stats no matter where he plays. Also working in the new role will be 6-0, 230-pound sophomore Art Laurel, a speedy prospect who spent last year as a special teamer. Not as big as Daley, he has the burst and quickness to get the job done as a pass rusher or as a chase-down defender.

Back at the BUCK position after a dominant First Team All-WAC season is senior Corey Palades, a guided missile of a playmaker who came up with 151 tackles, four tackles for loss, and four interceptions. 14th in the nation in tackles, he came up with 16 stops against Colorado, 15 against Idaho, and 15 against New Mexico State. At 5-11 and 235 pounds he has decent size and is all over the field in both pass coverage and against the run, and with room to move he’ll get to the ball quickly and efficiently. He doesn’t miss a stop and is a mortal lock for another 100-tackle season if he can stay healthy. Backing him up is 6-3, 225-pound junior Aulola Tonga, a special teamer early on who redshirted last year. A great athlete and a lightning fast prospect, he’s too quick with too much upside to not get more of a chance on the outside.

returning to his starting spot in the middle it 6-1, 220-pound senior Aaron Brown, a very versatile, very smart all-around defender who finished third on the team with 83 tackles with five sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, and three interceptions. He should’ve earned All-WAC honors as one of the league’s top all-around playmakers, and now he’ll get more respect and more of the spotlight as a pass rusher as well as a run stopper. A star high school wrestler and rugby player, he showed right away that he was a top football player but gut hurt early on. There weren’t any problems last year and he should be a top tackler once again. Backing him up is 5-11, 235-pound sophomore George Daily-Lyles was thought to be a possible top tackler and a tone-setter before Brown became the star. Even so, Daily-Lyles started two games and finished with 28 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, and he has the toughness and ability to play anywhere in the linebacking corps to get his talent and athleticism on the field.

Watch Out For … Daley. If the coaching staff really is planning on developing one player as a pure pass rushing hybrid, that means either Daley or Laurel should blow up as a disruptive force in an already aggressive and already dangerous defense.
Strength: Tackling ability. Paredes and Brown can both hit and can both come up with huge numbers, and Daley will be more than great when he gets his chance in the starting mix. Even the backups, primarily Daily-Lyles and Laurel, will come up with stops, too, when they get the chance.
Weakness: Real running teams. It’s easy to look good against Idaho and San Jose State, but Boise State, Cal, Army, and USC ran at will. Against the mediocre teams the linebackers will be dominant, but they’ll struggle – it’s a stretch to say they’ll be exposed - against the better attacks.
Outlook: Hawaii didn’t allow a 100-yard rusher in WAC play and the linebackers should be even stronger and even better with the experience and the playmaking ability returning to come up with a big season. Paredes has WAC Defensive Player of the Year potential, Brown should be an all-star, and the rest of the gaps should easily be filled in for what should be a very good, very active group.
Unit Rating: 5.5

Defensive Backs

State of the Unit: Helped by an aggressive pass rush helping the cause, the secondary did a nice job finishing third in the WAC in pass defense allowing 222 yards per game while coming up with a whopping 23 interceptions. The active linebackers helped the cause, but the defensive backs did their job. Two starters are back but ball-hawking safety Mana Silva is gone after making 85 tackles with eight picks and there will be some shuffling to find the right starting mix.

Senior Richard Torres is back after starting 13 times at strong safety and finishing fourth on the team with 57 tackles with two picks and five broken up passes and a sack. At 5-8 and 180 pounds he’s not all that big, but he’s a great tackler for his size and is arguably the toughest pound-for-pound player on the team. Quick enough to work as a free safety if needed, he’s a far better option at strong safety where he can use his hitting ability to show off his toughness against the run. He’ll be backed up by 6-0, 210 senior Kenny Estes, an active special teamer who made 14 tackles with two broken up passes in his time in the secondary.

There should be a good battle for the starting free safety job with JUCO transfer Brandon Leslie will combine with 6-2, 200-pouind junior Darryl McBride for the job. Leslie comes in from the College of the Sequoias after starting out his career at Georgia Tech where he came in as a top prospect, but he transferred back to the West Coast after his father got sick. Wanted by several BCS schools, he’ll try to shine now for the Warriors, while McBride is stepping in after starting out his career at Mendocino College in Utah. He’s a big hitter with great range and the ability to work as a nickel or dime defender if he doesn’t take over the free safety job.

Returning to a starting spot is sophomore John Hardy-Tuliau, who started nine times as a nickelback and finished with 49 tackles with five tackles for loss and three broken up passes. He’s not all that big at a rail-thin 5-11 and 165 pounds, but he’s smart, a ball-hawker, and should be fine as a full-time corner. 5-9, 180-pound junior Kawika Ornellas is lightning fast and has the potential to shine either at corner or as a nickel defender. A Hawaii state championship-level sprinter, he has the wheels to stay with anyone in the WAC, and he can step in and start at any time after making 24 tackles with a broken up pass.

Ready to step into a starting corner job is 5-10, 175-pound sophomore Mike Edwards, a JUCO transfer who signed with Tennessee and made five tackles. He spent last year at Coffeyville CC and turned into a top prospect that Hawaii was fortunate to get. Potentially a star kick returner as well as a lock-down defender, he blew off Michigan and other Big Ten schools to come to Hawaii. He’ll work in a rotation with senior Tank Hopkins, a 5-9, 175-pound former JUCO transfer who sat out last year after making 14 tackles with five broken up passes. A 4.45 speedster and a good tackler, he should put up nice numbers when he gets his chances.

Watch Out For … Leslie. He still needs to get into the mix and show what he can do, but the talent and potential are there to immediately step in and pick up the slack left by the loss of Mana Silva. He has range, hitting ability, and the talent to be an instant all-star.
Strength: Speed. This might be a mish-mosh of talents and players, but there’s lots of athleticism and plenty of speed to go around. The corners are extremely quick and the safeties can move.
Weakness: Sure things. There are plenty of good talents, but Hardy-Tuliau has to prove he can be a stud corner and it’s always dicey to rely on JUCO transfers to be starts out of the box.
Outlook: The pass rush will be a huge help and there are several good athletes to play around with to find the right combination. There might be problems against the sharper passers, but there aren’t a lot of those in the WAC.
Unit Rating: 5

Special Teams

State of the Unit: Is Tyler Hadden ready to step in for Scott Enos, who nailed 17-of-21 field goals? The redshirt freshman has a good, consistent leg and has the range to blast away on kickoffs. A top prospect, he should be more than fine with a little bit of time, and the kicking job should be his for the next four years.

The punting game wasn’t awful, but it could stand to be better with more help from the coverage team. Junior Alex Dunnachie is a huge 6-6, 220-pound kicker who averaged 43 yards per blast putting 15 inside the 20. He needs to get his kicks up higher after forcing just six fair catches, but he can air it out.

The punt return game was among the worst in America averaging just 3.79 yards per try. The kickoff return game wasn’t much better finishing last in the WAC averaging just 27.78 yards per try. All the top returners have to be replaced – which isn’t a bad thing – with sophomore receiver Allen Sampson getting a long look for both jobs after averaging 20.3 yards per kickoff return.

Watch Out For … Hadden. It’s asking a lot to replace a consistent kicker in Enos, but Hadden has better range. He should be a great one, but it might take a year.
Strength: Dunnachie. He might not have worked well enough with the coverage team, but he showed off a great leg and could become an all-star if he can be a bit more consistent and a bit more accurate.
Weakness: Return game and punt coverage. The return game was miserable, and while that doesn’t really matter considering the Hawaii passing offense can eat up yards in a hurry, it would be nice to get more production. The punt coverage team was the bigger problem giving up 14.3 yards per try.
Outlook: The special teams could turn out to be decent if the return game is merely functional and if the coverage teams are stronger. Hadden has a big leg and should be fine in time, and Dunnachie is a big kicker who’ll blast away for the punting game. Things might have been a disaster at times last year, and even with so much uncertainly, the problems won’t be worse.
Unit Rating: 5
- 2011 Hawaii Preview | 2011 Hawaii Offense
- 2011 Hawaii Defense | 2011 Hawaii Depth Chart
- Hawaii Previews  2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006