2014 Hawaii Preview: What You Need To Know
Hawaii DE Beau Yap
Hawaii DE Beau Yap
Posted Jul 8, 2014

Preview 2014 - What You Need To Know About Hawaii (Getty Images)

2014 Hawaii Preview

What You Need To Know...

- 2014 Hawaii Preview  
What You Need To Know About The Offense: It’s time for the offense to start working after an inconsistent year without enough of production in key spots. Norm Chow is known for being an offensive genius, but he needs to get the passing game going after an inefficient and ineffective season. The quarterback situation needs to be settled, and receivers have to emerge to help out Scott Harding, but the running game could be strong with barreling back Joey Iosefa working behind a veteran offensive line. Pass protection has been a huge, HUGE issue under Chow, but if there’s some continuity with the quarterback and receivers, that might improve.

What You Need To Know About The Defense: It’s been a big problem, and now it’s up to new defensive coordinator Kevin Clune to fix it after finishing 115th in the nation in total defense, having equal problems against the pass and the better running teams. The former Utah State linebacker coach needs to work his magic with the linebacking corps that loses top tacklers Brenden Daley and Art Laurel. Finding more of a pass rush is a must, but Beau Yap is a good end to start with. The secondary should be the strength with Marrell Jackson and Ne’Quan Phillips the veterans who should be better with more help from the pass rush. Coming up with bigger plays will be vital after picking off nine passes and struggling to make enough key third down stops.

Players You Need To Know

1. RB Joey Iosefa, Sr.
He’s back and ready to roll. Out for the first half of last season with a foot injury, the 6-0, 245-pound banger came back and was the main man for the offense tearing off 191 yards against Navy, 150 against San Diego State and 154 against Army as the workhorse for the attack leading the team with 590 yards and five scores despite getting in four real games of work. While he can catch, he only made ten grabs for 87 yards and a score, and now he’ll have to do more with the hands to make things happen on the move. With his size, he’s built to handle 25+ carries per game, and he’s quick enough to be used like an H-back and a receiver. Staying healthy has been a problem, but when he’s fine, he’s a dominant force.

2. DE Beau Yap, Sr.
Built like a big linebacker, the 6-2, 260-pound junior is a great athletic on the outside with the ability to get into the backfield without too much of a problem. The team’s top pass rusher, he generated 5.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss with 37 tackles in an all-star season. Very strong, he holds up well against the run and has a good burst to get behind the line. Now he’s the main man, though, and has to get used to being keyed on by blocking schemes.

3. S Marrell Jackson, Jr.
He stepped back after coming up with a fantastic true freshman season, coming out of Florida and into a starting role tying for the team lead with 56 tackles and five broken up passes. At 6-0 and 185 pounds, he’s a great tackler with terrific range and instincts. Last year he got banged up with a hand injury and missed time, making 33 tackles with a pick and three broken up passes, but he still was solid when he was on the field. If he goes back to his 2012 form, he’ll be an all-star.

4. WR Scott Harding, Sr.
Possibly the most unique player in college football, the Australian native was the team’s second-leading receiver with 56 catches for 631 yards and a score, the top punt returner averaging 8.3 yards per try, and also the punter averaging 40.2 yards per punt putting 18 inside the 20. Tough and with great hands, he’s built for the Hawaii offense, but now he has to do even more as a go-to, No. 1 target – the passing game loses most of the top receivers. New ones will pop up, but it’s Harding who has to use his experience and skills to be one of the team’s most reliable playmakers.

5. CB Ne'Quan Phillips, Jr.
The athletic corner out of Miami turned into a nice tackler and one of the team’s best pass defenders making 64 tackles with two picks and six broken up passes. At 5-9 and 185 pounds he’s not all that big, but he’s great in the open field and he doesn’t shy away from contact. Can he make more plays when the ball is in the air and be a lockdown corner? Hawaii needs it.

6. LB Jerrol Garcia-Williams, Jr.
A spot starter on the strongside, he ended up finishing fifth on the team with 67 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss. While he’s not all that big at 6-2 and 215 pounds, he handles himself well against the tougher teams and is good at making plays in the open field. A safety-size speedster, he played like a mature veteran from the moment he stepped on the field. A tremendous athlete, he has the upside to grow into more of a disruptive force.

7. C Ben Clarke, Jr.
One of the key parts to the line over the last few years, he earned all-star honors after starting every game in each of the last two seasons. At 6-3 and 285 pounds, the Colorado native has good size and is a mauler in the middle. He needs to be better in pass protection against the craftier defensive linemen, but he’s very smart and he’s quick.

8. QB Ikaika Woolsey, Soph.
While he’s not huge at 6-1 and 210 pounds, and he didn’t get too much time completing just 11-of-29 passes for 143 yards with no touchdowns and three picks, he’s a mobile, active option with a ballers’ mentality. A holder for the kicking game so far, he has a little bit of experience and he has the skills to grow into the job, but he has to be a far more accurate passer and he has to use his legs to become a weapon when he takes off. At the very least, he’ll be a change of pace option.

9. S Trayvon Henderson, Soph.
The hope was for the 6-0, 190-pounder out of Sacramento to be a playmaker right away, after coming up with 113 stops in ten games for his high school team, and he came through. He blew off other Mountain West teams to come to Hawaii, and he made his mark getting two starts and seeing time in 11 games making 26 tackles with a team-leading three interceptions. Always around the ball, he also recovered two fumbles – he was one of the few defenders who made things happen.

10. QB Taylor Graham, Sr.
The Ohio State transfer was the main man before getting hurt. At 6-5 and 235 pounds he has the size, smarts and the arm, but he struggled with his accuracy completing just 46% of his passes for 462 yards and two touchdowns with five picks. The son of former OSU and NFL quarterback Kent Graham has the skills and the upside to be far, far better after working as a backup for the Buckeyes for two years and seeing a little time last season. The four interceptions against USC to start the season were a problem, and he never really got back into the starting mix after getting hurt in the third game of the year.

- 2014 Hawaii Preview