2012 Hawaii Preview - Offense
Hawaii WR Jeremiah Ostrowski
CollegeFootballNews.com 2012 Preview - Hawaii Warriors
Preview 2012 - Offense
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Head coach Norm Chow and offensive coordinator Tommy Lee should ramp up the offensive production, but it might not be the normal Hawaii offense everyone is used to moving to more of a pro-style scheme. There will still be plenty of passing and lots and lots of yards through the air, but it might turn out to be a bit more of a conventional balanced attack – and for good reason. The running back situation is terrific with several good options to play around with and work more into the scheme, while the line full of promising underclassmen has the potential to grow into the best front five the program has had in a long time. The quarterback situation will be up in the air until late this summer, but there's no real concern; Chow is simply giving everyone a shot. However, the receiving corps appears a bit average with lots of experience but without an obvious gamebreaker.
Star of the offense: Junior QB David Graves or Sophomore QB Jeremy Higgins
Passing: David Graves
63-110, 768 yds, 5 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Joey Iosefa
110 carries, 548 yds, 7 TD
Receiving: Billy Ray Stutzmann
78 catches, 910 yds, 4 TD
Player who has to step up and be a star: Sophomore WR Scott Harding
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman OT Blake Muir
Best pro prospect: Sophomore RB Joey Iosefa (as a fullback)
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Graves or Gregory, 2) WR Billy Ray Stutzmann, 3) Muir
Strength of the offense: Coaching Staff, Young Prospects
Weakness of the offense: Proven Playmakers, Inexperienced Line
So who's going to get the honor of being Norm Chow's quarterback? The possible front-runner for the gig was Cayman Shutter, an extremely promising 6-1, 185-pound junior with a live, accurate arm and the moxie to be the leader of the offense, but he was suspended indefinitely after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving. The job was wide-open before, and now it's really going to be a fun race going into the fall.
Even if Shutter was in the mix junior David Graves was the likely front-runner. The 6-0, 195-pound junior served as Bryant Moniz's backup last season and stepped in and started late in the season finishing with 768 yards and five touchdowns with just two interceptions. He was okay accuracy-wise, completing 57% of his passes, but he was dangerous when he took off running for 154 yards and five scores, with a touchdown run in each of the last three games he played a significant role in. Smart and with a decent arm, he's a safe choice, but he's not necessarily the best pure passer on the lot.
6-1, 200-pound sophomore Jeremy Higgins started out his career at Utah State and saw a little action as a true freshman, but he chose to transfer back home where he could start airing it out. A superstar of a local passer he led all Hawaii high school passers with 2,457 yards with 27 touchdowns in 2010 and now he's deep in the hunt for the starting job. While he can run, he's a passer.
The wild-card in the mix is freshman Ikaika Woolsey. At 6-1 and 215-pounds the California native looks like the other options, but he's an even bigger passer with a tremendous arm.
The walk-on started out his career on the bench at City College of San Francisco before transferring, and with excellent pure pro-style skills the talent is there to be Chow's star for the next few years.
The real star on the roster might be Taylor Graham, a transfer from Ohio State who's expected to be deep in the hunt for the starting job when he's eligible next year. An athletic 6-5 and 235 pounds, he's not a typical scrappy passer that Hawaii usually employs; he's a terrific pro-style bomber who's dad, Kent Graham, played in the NFL.
Watch Out For … the issue to remain open until late. Shutter might still be in the equation at some point, but after spring ball it appeared to be down to Graves and Higgins. Woolsey has a shot to take the gig by the horns if he can be lights out this summer.
Strength: Norm Chow. The bloom might be off the rose a bit, but he's still considered the ultimate quarterback coach. He's going to handle the passers and he'll make the starter shine.
Weakness: Experience. Who's the main man? It would be nice if someone stepped up and became the obvious choice, but at the moment it's still a fight that will be carried on late in the summer.
Outlook: Chow isn't in any rush. Graves is the likely top option with his experience from last year and his running skills, but this is going to be an ongoing process with Chow letting everyone get a proper shot. There's no better coach for a program that lives off the passing game, and while there isn't a Bryant Moniz to be a sure-thing playmaker, the Warrior air show will finish with well over 4,000 yards. The rating is based on expected production more than talent.
Unit Rating: 8
The running game is always going to be along for the ride at Hawaii, but sophomore Joey Iosefa provided a little bit of punch on the ground last year running for 548 yards and seven scores with two touchdowns against San Jose State, New Mexico State, and Tulane. An okay receiver, he caught 20 passes for 122 yards and a score, but his role is as an occasional battering ram and a blocker. He's an ideal fullback who'll be used as a tailback.
6-0, 190-pound redshirt freshman Will Gregory is the ying to Iosefa's yang. The Los Angeles native was an excellent recruit for the program last year but didn't end up getting any playing time in a redshirt season. Extremely fast, he's a tough speedster who can be used in a variety of ways and should be a perfect fit in a third down role for the passing attack.
Sophomore John Lister is a 6-0, 210-pound special teamer who ran for 17 yards in his one start against Louisiana Tech. A tremendous athlete, he has impressive quickness and deep speed with the potential to be used in a variety of ways in the rotation. He'll combine forces with senior Sterling Jackson, a 6-0, 220-pound veteran who starred at Mendocino College as a linebacker as well as a running back. He was supposed to be a key part of the puzzle last year but ended up finishing third on the team with 246 yards and two scores. Now he'll have a hard time fighting through the depth chart to see significant work.
2011 Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year Steven Lakalaka might be ready to roll right out of the box. Originally he was going to go to UCLA but changed his mind when Chow took over the Hawaii job. Now the 5-10, 225-pounder from Honolulu should be deep in the hunt for the starting job.
Watch Out For … Lakalaka. Iosefa is experienced and Gregory could blow up when used in a variety of ways, but Lakalaka is a legitimate No. 1 back who could've grown into a starter for a BCS offense.
Strength: Variety. For what Hawaii likes to do with its running backs there's a little something for every situation. There's power (Iosefa), speed (Dorsey), and a combination of the two (Lakalaka, Lister and Jackson) to make the running game a positive part of the offense.
Weakness: The opportunities. The offense might be more balanced than it was in past years, but the bread will still be buttered with the passing game. If the running backs can combine for over 1,500 yards, they'll have come up with a huge season.
Outlook: It's not like Hawaii hasn't had 1,000-yard rushers. Alex Green did it two years ago, and overall this might be the most talented group of running backs the program has had in a long time. Lakalaka takes the talent to another level while Iosefa and Gregory should form a solid 1-2 punch early on. This group is good enough to take the pressure off the passing game.
Unit Rating: 5
The Hawaii receiving corps was the Hawaii receiving corps last year with the new guys stepping in and producing well in place of the excellent departed veterans. Now there's even more work to be done with the loss of the team's most dangerous weapon, Royce Pollard, who was the team's lone 1,000-yard receiver. Taking over at the Z position will be sophomore Scott Harding, a 5-11, 195-pound speedster from Australia who played in the Australian Football League for six years before making the move over to American football. He stepped in and did a decent job as the team's main punt returner while catching eight passes for 67 yards.
While Billy Ray Stutzmann wasn't as dangerous as Pollard, he led the team with 78 catches for 910 yards and four touchdowns in the H slot. Now the 6-0, 175-pound junior will go from the slot to the outside X position where he should be more of a deep threat along with being the go-to target. Steady, he caught at least three passes in every game but one and cranked out three 100-yard games. He'll be backed up by 6-1, 170-pound sophomore Trevor Davis, a big option who saw time as a true freshman finishing fifth on the team with 28 catches for 356 yards and three touchdowns highlighted by a 79-yard scoring play against BYU. One of the team's best speedsters, he can fly.
The coaching staff will get creative at the F position, using it as partly a tight end spot and partly for an extra slot wide receiver. When a speedster is needed, 5-9, 175-pound senior Jeremiah Ostrowski will step in. The spot starter finished third on the team with 65 catches for 687 yards and five touchdowns highlighted by an 11-catch game against Washington and a 133-yard outing against Nevada. He's a basketball player who took over the starting point guard job but now is a key part of the passing game.
When the offense wants a bigger blocker at the F, 6-0, 240-pound linebacker Justin Vele will step in. Athletic, the freshman can be a playmaker on either side of the ball, while 6-4, 245-pound junior Clark Evans is more of a true tight end who can fill the traditional role. The JUCO transfer from Cerritos College and former Colorado Buffalo backup quarterback could become a terrific all-around player for the attack with excellent hands.
Combining for time somewhere in the receiving corps will be 6-2, 195-pound junior Justin Clapp and 6-0-180-pound junior Chris Gant. A JUCO transfer from Moorpark College, Grant was an All-American who caught 81 passes for 1,134 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2010 before redshirting last year for the Warriors. He'll be ready to go as a part of the rotation at the Z, while Clapp, an academic all-star, saw time throughout last year finishing fourth on the team with 38 catches for 356 yards and four scores.
Along with the F position, the Warriors will also occasionally use a true, traditional tight end. 6-5, 250-pound junior Craig Cofer saw a little action last year, but the former defensive lineman from Grossmont College is still learning the ropes on the offensive side. He'll be a good blocker, while 6-4, 230-pound senior Darius Bright is more of a receiver catching 19 passes for 192 yards and a score last season.
Watch Out For … Harding. He might not be as explosive as Stutzmann but he's a good, quick talent who should be able to do a good job of finding the seams and the holes in the defense on the way to a 70-catch season.
Strength: The Hawaii passing game. No, it's not going to be the fun ‘n' gun attack everyone is used to, but the passing game will still put it up over 500 times and everyone will get their chances. Everyone in the mix came to Hawaii to be a part of the high-octane fun, and they all know how to be a part of an offense that can put up big yards.
Weakness: A sure-thing deep threat. Stutzmann might be that guy, but he's more of a true slot receiver than a killer on the outside. There's good speed on the roster and there are plenty of options – Davis could turn into a big play threat – but Pollard added an extra dimension.
Outlook: The receivers were fine but the passing game didn't shine quite as brightly last year after losing Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares and Rodney Bradley. Even so, the offense move the ball through the air and this year's group will get the job done. The passes will be spread around again like they were last year, and Stutzmann and Pollard are good veterans to work around, but it would be nice if there was a star No. 1 target who could step up and scare defenses. The rating is based on expected production more than talent.
Unit Rating: 7.5
The line needs leaders and veterans to work around, and that might start at right guard where 6-3, 305-pound sophomore David Lefotu is back after starting the final seven games. A mauler with tremendous strength, he's a tough rock who should grow into more of a pass rusher. Not much of an athlete, he's at his best when in a phone booth when he can blast his man. He'll work in a rotation with massive 6-4, 325-pound junior Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, who was supposed to take over the right guard job last year but ended up spending the season as a backup tackle. A Hawaii high school track star, he hasn't been able to live up to his promise, but he's a big blocker who can fill in at a variety of spots.
Trying to anchor the rebuilt front five will be 6-3, 275-pound true freshman Ben Clarke, a quick, smart center from Colorado who has the athleticism and the maturity to handle himself being thrown to the wolves. He might not be big or bulky, but he's a technician who'll be given every shot to hold down the job. 6-2, 305-pound sophomore Kody Afusia is a bigger option who can work as both a backup center or guard.
Ready to roll after redshirting last season is 6-3, 305-pound redshirt freshman Ben Dew, a New Zealand native with surprising athleticism to go along with his toughness. It'll be his left guard job to hold down for the next four years, but 6-1, 275-pound junior Hunter Hallowed can step in at any time and be fine after learning on the fly for two year at Mount San Jacinto JC in California. He's undersized but he's powerful enough to get a little bit of a push.
6-5, 290-pound redshirt freshman Blake Muir, like WR Scott Harding, is an Australian native. He played club football for the Sutherland Seahawks and graduated from high school in 2008. Now he's ready to go after learning on the fly last season in a redshirt season and should be fine at left tackle. He's mature, big, and quick enough to become a strong pass protector. 6-3, 300-pound sophomore Frank Loyd Jr. is a big more polished. After seeing a little bit of time at guard he'll move over to tackle.
6-5, 315-pound sophomore Jordan Loeffler spent last season as a part of the backup tackle rotation, and now he'll step in and try to man the right tackle job. Meanwhile, ten-game starter Levi Legay will try to work his way back into the starting job despite suffering from a bad back. At 6-3 and 285 pounds he's not all that big, but he's versatile enough to play anywhere on the line but center.
Watch Out For … all the redshirt freshmen. They're coming in various shapes and sizes, but Muir, Drew and Clarke are all ready to build the foundation for the line for the next few years making the biggest advantage …
Strength: Youth. Actually, it's more like eligibility than youth with five underclassmen getting the starting nod. This is a group the program can build around for the next three years, unlike past seasons when the coaching staff seemed to be plugging holes.
Weakness: Blocking production. The offensive line was a disaster last year in pass protection, and while the running game was 113th in the nation because of the nature of the offense, the line didn't exactly do its part. Only one starter returned last year and it showed, and this year could be another season of rebuilding.
Outlook: No one seemed able to stay healthy last season with various lineup changes throughout. The continuity wasn't there and the offense suffered. This year's line might be starting from near-scratch in terms of starters, but it's a far better situation with five good options to work with as a building block. It might take a while to gel, but the upside is terrific.
Unit Rating: 5.5
2012 Hawaii Preview |
2012 Hawaii Defense |
Hawaii Depth Chart