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2013 Hawaii Preview - Offense

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 24, 2013


CollegeFootballNews.com 2013 Preview - Hawaii Warrior Offense


Hawaii Warriors

Preview 2013 - Offense

- 2013 Hawaii Preview | 2013 Hawaii Offense
- 2013 Hawaii Defense | 2013 Hawaii Depth Chart

What You Need To Know: Let’s try this again. The Hawaii offense went into the tank finishing with the third-worst attack in college football averaging under 300 yards per game with a passing game that didn’t work. The big plays weren’t there, the pass protection was non-existent, and it was like pulling teeth to score. Take away the 54 points scored against Lamar and the 48 in the explosion late in the year against UNLV, and the team struggled to average two touchdowns a game. But there’s hope. New offensive coordinator Aaron Price has a veteran crew to work with along with an upgrade at quarterback. Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham should help a passing attack that welcomes back almost all the top targets, and while the line won’t be fantastic, it’s full of veterans and should be far stronger.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Sean Schroeder
175-344, 1,878 yds, 11 TD, 12 INT
Rushing: Joey Iosefa
125 carries, 463 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Billy Ray Stutzmann
35 catches, 447 yds, 0 TD

Star of the offense: Junior QB Taylor Graham
Player who has to step up and be a star: Junior OT David Griffin
Unsung star on the rise: Junior WR Scott Harding
Best pro prospect: Junior C Ben Clarke
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Clarke, 2) Graham, 3) RB Joey Iosefa
Strength of the offense: Veterans, Receivers
Weakness of the offense: Proven Production, Pass Protection

Quarterbacks

It’s going to be a battle for the starting quarterback job, and the fight probably won’t end during the season, but Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham has the upside and ability to be the exact quarterback Norm Chow wants for his offense. The 6-5, 235-pound junior out of Wheaton, Illinois was a backup for the Buckeyes for two years, but he didn’t do much of anything and didn’t fit the Urban Meyer system. The son of former OSU and NFL quarterback, Kent Graham, is very smart, has a live arm and can wing the ball all over the yard.

Out of all the option in the mix last year, it turned out to be a bit of a surprise when senior Sean Schroeder turned out to be the main man, The 6-3, 200-pound senior ended up starting 11 games, but he struggles completing 51% of his throws for 1,878 yards and 11 touchdowns with 12 picks. While he threw three touchdown passes against Lamar early on, he had problems late in the year, missing all five of his passes against Air Force and completing 10-of-21 throws for 131 yards with a score and two picks in the season finale against South Alabama. The former Duke Blue Devil graduated and was able to come over to Hawaii without having to wait a year, and now he’ll likely be a key backup with the smarts and experience to step in if needed.

6-1, 200-pound junior Jeremy Higgins started out his career at Utah State and saw a little action before transferring back home with the hopes of playing in an offense where he could air it out. A superstar of a local passer, he led at Hawaii high school quarterbacks with 2,457 yards and 27 scores in 2012, and while he can throw, he adds a little more of a rushing element to the mix. He got in time late last season and had a few nice moments, completing 11-of-17 passes against Boise State, but on the year he only threw for 335 yards and a score with a pick.

Watch Out For … Aaron Zwahlen, but not for a few years. The 6-3, 185-pound freshman from California is a terrific pro-style quarterback who was wanted by Texas Tech and BYU, and has the type of gunslinger style to eventually make the Hawaii attack go. A good enough runner to get by, he’ll eventually do a little of everything for the offense, but he’ll get a few years of seasoning.
Strength: Norm Chow. The passing game struggled and his reputation is built on the production from a decade ago, but he’s still considered the ultimate quarterback coach. He’s going to handle the passers and he’ll make the starter shine.
Weakness: Sure-thing production. Nothing worked. The Warriors threw a mere 12 touchdown passes – a light afternoon back in the Colt Brennan days – and had the third-least efficient attack in the country.
Outlook: It’s Hawaii and it can’t throw the football with Norm Chow at the helm?! That might change in a huge hurry with Graham, the right fit with the right talent to make the offense go. He’ll need time to work behind a leaky line, and he needs to get his feet wet after not seeing the field in years, but, again, it’s Hawaii and Norm Chow. Eventually, this is going to work.
Unit Rating: 6

Running Backs

Junior Joey Iosefa is a big, strong 6-0, 240-pound back who can power away on the inside but has the quickness to be almost like an H-back as a receiver. He got dinged up in the middle of last year, but he still finished second on the team with 463 yards and a score while catching 19 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown. Great as a battering ram and a blocker, he ran for 106 yards against Colorado State and closed out the year strong, but now he has to stay healthy and be even more of a workhorse to provide a stabilizing force for the attack.

2011 Gatorade Hawaii Player of the Year Steven Lakalaka might turn out to be the team’s most talented back sooner than later. 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 after redshirting his first season.

Iosefa brings the thunder, but 5-7, 175-pound sophomore Jason Muraoka has to be the lightning. A speedster who can be used as a running back or a receiver, the transfer from Franklin College in Indiana is extremely quick, as is 5-7, 160-pound sophomore Samson Anguay, a promising local product who missed all of last year with a knee injury but has some of the best wheels on the team. A Hawaii state champion-level sprinter, the coaching staff will find ways to get him plays in space.

Watch Out For … Aofaga Wily, a 5-11, 210-pounder from O’ahu who carried his team to two straight state titles helped by a 1,744-yard, 27 score 2012. With 4,205 career yards, he finished as the state’s second all-time leading rusher. While cranking out rushing yards will be his job, he can catch, too.
Strength: The passing game. Even though Chow wants to balance out the offense, the goal will be to make the passing game shine first. The pressure is off the running backs with just about everyone worrying about the receivers, and there should, in theory, be tremendous holes to run through.
Weakness: Experienced options. There’s Iosefa and … Iosefa. Leading rusher Will Gregory is gone, as are all the other runners who did much of anything last year other than Iosefa. The rotation should be better, but there’s not a lot to rely on right away.
Outlook: Chow and offensive coordinator Aaron Price will rely on the backs in a bigger way. The ground attack worked at times when the offense truly committed to it, and as long as Iosefa is healthy, and if Lakalaka can live up to his prep billing, the Warriors could have an interesting backfield.
Unit Rating: 5

Receivers

The passing game might not have worked, but senior Billy Ray Stutzmann did his part to try making it fly. He led the team with 78 catches for 910 yards two years ago, but with the decline of the attack came a drop in his numbers with 35 grabs for 447 yards and no scores. He might have led the team again in receptions, but he struggled to come up with the big play and was more steady than spectacular.

Junior Scott Harding is a 5-11, 195-pound speedster from Australia who played in the Australian Football League six years before making the move over to American football. He has proven himself as a punt returner, and last season he turned into more of a receiver catching 20 passes for 321 yards and two scores. Tough as nails, he’ll be willing to go over the middle, block, and anything else needed for a player of his size.

Former JUCO All-American Chris Gant came in from Moorpark College where he caught 81 passes for 1,134 yards and 17 scores in 2010 before joining the Warriors. Last year he finishes third on the team with 22 catches for 232 yards and three touchdowns, and while he didn’t have any blow up games, he was good for a few catches a game. At 6-0 and 185 pounds he’s not huge, but he’s a good route runner who knows what he’s doing.

Somewhere in the mix will be junior Trevor Davis, a 6-1, 175-pound veteran who spent last year as a spot starter and decent reserve catching 17 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. One of the team’s best speedsters, he can fly, but he has to get the ball on the move more and has to get back in the mix after missing almost all of the second half of last season.

Former Washington State Cougar Jordan Pu’u Robinson saw a little time last season as a defensive lineman before getting knocked out for the year with a hand injury. Now he’ll work as the starting tight end with 6-4, 255-pound size and good mobility. The former high school quarterback, is smart, physical and should become an interesting go-to target. He’ll be backed up by 6-2, 255-pound sophomore Harold Moleni, an academic all-star who spent a few years on a church mission before returning and getting in a little work catching one pass for 16 yards last season. He’ll be more of a blocker than a receiver.

Watch Out For … 6-0, 180-pound junior Terrance Polk was brought in to see time right away. Polk caught 49 passes for 1,084 yards and 13 scores for Los Medanos JC last season and can be used as a dangerous kickoff returner.
Strength: Experienced options. If the line play is better and the quarterback play stronger, all of a sudden the receivers should shine.
Weakness: A sure-thing deep threat. There’s no questioning the speed of Davis, and Harding can move, but the team averaged just 11 yards per catch with a Harding 51-yarder the season’s big moment. The Warrior receivers have to stretch things out a bit more.
Outlook: The receiving corps should be better with more experience and a better overall offense to work in. If this was 2007, this group would blow up statistically, but the jury is still out on whether or not the attack can turn things around this year. If nothing else, this should be a steady corps that could be the strength of the offense.
Unit Rating: 6

Offensive Line

The line has to be better and more consistent, especially in pass protection, and it starts at tackle where 6-7, 315-pound JUCO transfer David Griffin, a big blocker out of Tallahassee who was wanted by a slew of Sun Belt programs and was a decent get for the Warriors. The former Mesa CC blocker started out committing to South Alabama, but now will be the Hawaii starting left tackle with his massive size and great frame. On the other side will be 6-5, 290-pound junior Sean Shigematsu, a five-game starter at right tackle who came back from the leg injury that knocked him out of the 2011 season to be a reliable part of the mix. Pass protection has been an issue, but he’s an excellent athlete with good upside now that he’s 100%.

The left guard situation should be a battle with 6-3, 310-pound Hartnell College transfer Mike Milovale starting for most of last season at right tackle. Smart, he was an academic all-star, but he had major problems against speed rushers and should be far better suited for the interior. Also in the mix is 6-4, 320-pound senior Chauncy Winchester-Makainai, spot starter at both guard spots with the versatility to kick out to tackle if absolutely needed. A Hawaii high school track star, he hasn’t been able to live up to his promise and potential, but he’s a big blocker and a key swing backup.

6-3, 305-pound junior David Lefottu started almost the entire season at right guard but could play left guard if needed. Now he’ll hold down the right guard gig where he should be a strong, solid run blocker with good physical skills. Originally a defensive line recruit, he’s working into the role on the offensive side and should be better with a few years under his belt. He’ll likely be backed up by sophomore Kody Afusia, a 6-2, 305-pound junior who can work as either a center or guard. A backup in a few games, he’ll be utilized more this season as a bigger part of the rotation.

Afusia will likely be the first one it at center if needed, but 6-7, 315-pound Ben Clarke will be the main man again after starting every game inside. Given the job as a true freshman, he’s a quick, smart blocker from Colorado who handled himself well under the circumstances. While he’s built like a tackle and is a bit tall for a center, he has the tools to be solid.

Watch Out For … Griffin. No pressure, but he might be the biggest key to the offense. The line has to be better in pass protection, and it has to start at left tackle where he needs to protect Taylor Graham’s blindside.
Strength: Experience. Considering Griffin has JUCO experience, the front five should be solid with veterans who won’t be fazed. Milovale is a senior, but the rest of the projected starters are veteran juniors who should know what they’re doing.
Weakness: Blocking. The Warriors couldn’t block anyone giving up 40 sacks and not giving the quarterbacks any time to work. The ground game averaged just 109 yards per game and finished 112th in the nation in sacks allowed. It’s going to take some work to merely be decent.
Outlook: The potential is there to be night-and-day better. The experience and size should translate into a better season, and while this won’t be a brick wall of a line, it should be solid as long as everyone stays healthy. If nothing else, things won’t be anywhere near as bad.
Unit Rating: 5

- 2013 Hawaii Preview | 2013 Hawaii Offense
- 2013 Hawaii Defense | 2013 Hawaii Depth Chart