2007 Hawaii Preview - Offense
Hawaii Warrior Offense
Preview 2007 - Offense
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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: 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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.