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2007 Hawaii Preview - Offense
Posted Jun 10, 2007

Preview 2007 Hawaii Warrior Offense


Hawaii Warriors

Preview 2007 - Offense

- 2007 Hawaii Preview | 2007 Hawaii Defense Preview
- 2007 Hawaii Depth Chart
| 2006 CFN Hawaii Preview 

What you need to know:
Everything worked last year as Colt Brennan and the offense exploded for a nation-leading 559 yards and 46.86 points per game. While Brennan is back, after flirting with the idea of turning pro early, along with star receivers Davone Bess, Jason Rivers and Ryan Grice-Mullen, the line isn't remotely as good as last year's and the running game will desperately miss Nate Ilaoa. David Farmer has to add the run to the run and shoot, or else Brennan won't be nearly as effective. Even so, expect video game numbers out of the nation's best passing attack.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Colt Brennan
406-559, 5,549 yds, 35 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Colt Brennan
86 carries, 366 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Davone Bess
96 catches, 1,220 yds, 15 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Colt Brennan
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior OT Keith Ah-Soon
Unsung star on the rise: Senior WR C.J. Hawthorne
Best pro prospect: Brennan
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Brennan, 2) WR Davone Bess, 3) G Hercules Satele
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, receiver
Weakness of the offense: Tackles, running back


Projected Starter
6-3, 196-pound senior Colt Brennan is the absolute, 100%, NFL-caliber real deal running a high-octane offense at peak efficiency. After throwing for 5,549 yards and 58 touchdowns with 12 interceptions, he'll have to be even crisper and sharper with plenty of holes on the line and new running backs who won't take the heat off like Nate Ilaoa did.  His NCAA record-setting stats are ridiculous: nine games last year with 400 yards or more, finishing up with 559 against Arizona State, two or more touchdown pass in every game, with eight games with five or more, and most amazingly, a 72.6 completion percentage. For his career, he's thrown 93 touchdown passes and 9,850 yards, and he can run with 520 yards and eight touchdowns. He's a superstar in full command of the offense as the perfect marriage of talent and system.

Projected Top Reserve: Junior Tyler Graunke was the starter coming out of 2005 spring ball, but quickly gave way to Brennan. He's seen a little time here and there, completing 32 of 43 passes for 501 yards and four touchdowns in mop-up duty, and can step in and keep the offense humming. He's not all that big at 6-0 and 202 pounds, but he's a strong, accurate passer who now knows the offense.

Watch Out For ... Brennan to not put up the same stats, but have just as effective a season. He has the receiving corps to work with, but he'll have to make quicker reads and decisions behind the lesser line.
Strength: Accuracy. Brennan rolls out of bed and completes 70% of his throws, while Graunke will be ultra-efficient whenever he gets a chance to work. Brennan led the nation with a passer efficiency rating of 186.
Weakness: Pressure and expectations. It's insane, but Brennan could throw for 4,500 yards and 40 touchdowns and be considered a disappointment. Now he's expected to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns game in and game out.
Outlook: Brennan's an All-American who'll be one of the top 64 players taken in next year's draft. Graunke isn't nearly the same talent, but he'll put up his share of big numbers before his career is over.
Rating: 10

Running Backs

Projected Starter
The loss of Nate Ilaoa is big, and it might take several backs to full the void. The best of the bunch is 6-0, 231-pound junior David Farmer, who fills the bill of a big, strong Warrior back who can catch. He's not going to provide the thunder of Ilaoa, but he'll be a great receiver. First he needs to show he can handle the workload after getting just nine carries for 30 yards and a score and catching four passes for 12 yards in a limited role.

Projected Top Reserve: Leading the parade of backup prospects will be 5-10, 187-pound freshman Kealoha Pilares, a darting, quick back who should be able to exploit the openings. Instead of thundering over defenders like Hawaii backs usually do, he'll zip around them.

Watch Out For ... more of a 1-2 rushing punch. It was almost all Ilaoa last season, with a little bit of Reagan Mauia for some more thunder. Expect a more even split between Farmer and Pilares.
Strength: Receiving. All Hawaii backs need to know how to catch, and the two can do it.
Weakness: Proven production. Ilaoa was the unsung star of the offense averaging 7.6 yards per carry with 13 touchdowns along with 67 catches for 837 yards and five scores. Farmer and Pilares can't combine and do that.
Outlook: Several backs will get a chance to fill in throughout the fall, but the running game could be a problem with Farmer and Pilares needing to take advantage of every opportunity behind a shaky line. Defenses will let Hawaii run all day long. Now it needs a back who can do it.
Rating: 4.5


Projected Starters
The receiving corps is loaded and should blow up with an even bigger season. The best of the bunch is 5-10, 195-pound junior Davone Bess, who led the team with 96 catches for 1,220 yards and 15 touchdowns at the inside H. That's a career for most receivers, and his two-year total is something otherworldly with 185 grabs for 2,344 yards and 29 scores. He's lightning quick, always open and as glue fingered as they come. A consistent scorer, with at least one touchdown in seven straight games last season, he also shows up in prime time with some of his biggest games coming against Boise State, Nevada, Purdue and Oregon State. He'll play at the next level.

On days Bess isn't torching secondaries, 6-2, 192-pound senior Jason Rivers will light them up from the outside X. The team's second leading receiver last year with 72 catches for 1,178 yards and ten scores, he averaged 16.4 yards per grab highlighted by an unstoppable 14-catch, 308-yard, two touchdown performance against Arizona State in the Hawaii Bowl. The former
Hawaii state high school sprint champion has been around the program forever having missed two years hurt.

At the inside Y will be 5-10, 179-pound junior Ryan Grice-Mullen
after making 46 catches for 770 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing four games in the middle of the season. When he came back, he was a scoring machine with nine touchdowns in his final seven games, and with everyone paying attention to Bess and Rivers, he should see plenty of openings. He'd be the number one receiver for just about any other WAC team.

The one new starter will be 5-11, 161-pound senior C.J. Hawthorne, a former JUCO transfer who came to Hawaii as a defensive back who made 16 tackles and a pick last year, and now will play at the Z position.
The team's fastest player adds yet another bolt of lightning to an already explosive corps.

Projected Top Reserves: 5-7, 165-pound junior Michael Washington isn't all that big, but he's speedy with even more speed than Bess on the H. He only made three catches for 50 yards, but he'll play more of a role after looking great this off-season.

Junior Aaron Bain fits the Hawaii mold of small, quick inside receivers who should be able to find the holes in the secondary. He's a fast 5-9 and 183 pounds with a little bit of experience making seven catches for 69 yards, and now he'll play behind Grice-Mullen at the Y.

6-1, 181-pound sophomore Malcolm Lane is a great athlete at the Z, with a little bit of work last year making three catches for 120 yards, while 6-1, 186-pound redshirt freshman Greg Salas is another speedster on the outside behind Rivers.

Watch Out For ... Hawthorne to come up with a ton of big deep plays. He won't come close to leading the team in catches, but he could use his next-level speed to average 20 yards per catch as a premier home run hitter.
Strength: Experience and production. The top three returning wide receivers combined for 214 catches for 3,168 yards and 36 touchdowns. Everyone will get their turn to blow up with huge stats.
Weakness: There's only one ball to go around. This will be the most productive receiving corps in America.
Outlook: Defenses will be able to take away one or two of the receivers, but not all of them. Colt Brennan does such a great job of taking what opposing defenses give him that he'll pick apart the weak link in the secondary over and over again. The Warrior receivers will do its part in exploiting the openings.
Rating: 10

Offensive Linemen

Projected Starters
The line will be tough at guard, questionable everywhere else. 6-2, 288-pound senior Hercules Satele isn't huge, but he's a whale of a left guard able to pound away when needed to go along with nice feet in pass protection. He's the one the offense works behind when it wants to run the ball.

Returning on the other side is 6-2, 290-pound sophomore John Estes after stepping in and starting as a true freshman. Extremely athletic, he moves well even after bulking up over the last year. If desperately needed, he can play center, but he's far better suited for right guard.

The biggest hole to fill is at center, where 6-4, 283-pound sophomore Aaron Kia will take over for all-star Samson Satele. While Kia might be roughly 300 pounds lighter than Satele, he's more athletic. He was an all-star high school swimmer.

Taking over for Tala Esera at left tackle will be 6-3, 269-pound sophomore Keoni Steinhoff, who has seen action as a reserve and now has to prove he can be a consistent pass protector. While Steinhoff might not be big or physical, he can move just enough to be decent as the year goes on. More important to the overall scheme is 6-1, 294-pound junior Keith Ah-Soon at right tackle, who's job will be to protect Colt Brannan's back. More of a guard than a pure tackle, his emergence might be the key to the Hawaii season.

Projected Top Reserves: A career backup, 6-2, 313-pound senior Larry Sauafea is one of the team's biggest lineman with good strength playing behind Estes at right guard. The former defensive tackle is physical, but he's not exactly light on his feet.

The team's biggest lineman is 6-3, 328-pound junior Ray Histake, who'll play behind Steinhoff at left tackle adding close to 60 pounds to the position. He fits last year's Hawaii mold for offensive linemen with his bulk, but being able to move will be his key to more playing time.

Watch Out For ... an early rotation at tackle before the right ones are found. Ah-Soon and Steinhoff have the most upside, but they're hardly sure-things and can be beaten out be big performances from the projected backups.
Strength: Guards. Considered the weak spot going into last year, now it's the strength of the line. Estes and Satele are All-WAC caliber blockers who'll have to carry the front five.
Weakness: Tackles. The Warriors lose top blockers on the outside, not to mention a star in the middle in Samson Satele, and they must be great right away or the dream season will be kaput. Brennan is a great passer, but he needs time.
Outlook: It's this simple. If the tackles are at least decent, the Hawaii offense will explode. If they struggle in any way, the season will be a disappointment. Last year's line was one of the best in the June Jones era allowing a mere 28 sacks in 615 pass attempts. That's one sack every 0.05 passes. This year's group has a lot to live up to.
Rating: 6


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2007 Hawaii Preview
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2007 Hawaii Preview - Defense
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2007 Hawaii Preview - Depth Chart
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