2009 CFN Hawaii Preview
Hawaii C John Estes
Hawaii C John Estes
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jul 14, 2009


CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Hawaii Warriors

Hawaii Warriors

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

Interested in blogging about Hawaii football?  Let us know

- 2009 CFN Hawaii Preview |
2009 Hawaii Offense
- 2009 Hawaii Defense |
2009 Hawaii Depth Chart
-
2008 Hawaii Preview | 2007 Hawaii Preview | 2006 Hawaii Preview     

Head coach: Greg McMackin
2nd year: 7-7
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 34, Def. 27, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 26
Ten Best UH Players
1. C John Estes, Sr.
2. LB Brashton Satele, Sr.
3. DE John Fonoti, Sr.
4. QB Greg Alexander, Sr.
5. LB R.J. Kiesel-Kuhane, Jr.
6. WR/KR Malcolm Lane, Sr.
7. WR Blake Soares, Jr.
8. WR Greg Salas, Jr.
9. WR/RB Kealoha Pilares, Jr.
10. S Aaron Bain, Jr.

2009 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-8
2009 Record: 0-0

9/4 Central Arkansas
9/12 at Washington State
9/19 at UNLV
9/23 OPEN DATE
9/30 at Louisiana Tech
10/3 OPEN DATE
10/10 Fresno State
10/17 at Idaho
10/24 Boise State
10/31 at Nevada
11/7 Utah State
11/14 New Mexico St
11/21 at San Jose St
11/28 Navy
12/5 Wisconsin

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 5-8
2008 Record: 7-
6

Aug. 30 at Florida L 56-10
Sept. 6 Weber State W 36-17
Sept. 13 at Oregon State L 45-7
Sept. 20 OPEN DATE
Sept. 27 San Jose State L 20-17
Oct. 4 at Fresno St W 32-29 OT
Oct. 11 Louisiana Tech W 28-14
Oct. 17 at Boise State L 27-7
Oct. 25 Nevada W 38-31
Nov. 1 at Utah State L 30-14
Nov. 8 at N Mexico St W 43-20
Nov. 15 OPEN DATE
Nov. 22 Idaho W 49-17
Nov. 29 Washington St W 24-10
Dec. 6 Cincinnati

Hawaii Bowl
Dec. 24 Notre Dame L 49-21

As impressive as the Sugar Bowl season of 2007 might have been, last year might have been an even bigger feat.

The Colt Brennan-led team that went unbeaten in the regular season two years ago was loaded with offensive weapons and a strong defense that had come together in the dream year. Of course that was an all-timer of a campaign, but think about what the Warriors had to overcome going into last year.

June Jones, the architect of the program in its current form, bolted to SMU to get paid a bit more. Brennan and all the stars from the receiving corps were gone, a running back needed to be found, and the secondary needed to find a few new corners. This was a program that was starting over again. It was starting from scratch.

Greg McMackin took over the head coaching job and came up with another tremendous year from the pass rush, the offense did enough to be more than just average, and the team won the games it was supposed to … for the most part.

The key for Hawaii, and this was a huge piece of the puzzle in 2007, is the schedule and who has to make the trip across the pond. The Warriors weren’t good enough to beat Nevada, but they did it in a 38-31 victory at home only to go on the road the next week to get blasted by Utah State. There were nice wins over Fresno State and Louisiana Tech, but for Hawaii to be successful, it has to beat the teams like Weber State, New Mexico State and Idaho, like it did last year. There’s a major difference between the haves and have-nots in the WAC, and while Hawaii won’t be special, it’s good enough to beat the bad teams, pull off an upset over a Boise State or a Fresno State at home, and get back to a bowl game. But more rebuilding will have to be done.

The offensive line has to replace three starters and has to be far, far better after doing nothing, nothing last year. The secondary has big-time upside, but it has to find four new starters, the defensive line loses David Veikune and two other starters from a group that was camped out in opposing backfields, and even though the linebacking corps should be solid, it’s hard to be better after losing Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard. And then there are the special teams that could be a total and complete disaster outside of Malcolm Lane as a kickoff returner. However, even with all the holes that need to be filled, things are far, far better now than they were going into last year.

What to watch for on offense: An upgrade in the numbers. Greg Alexander still has to solidify himself as the starter, there’s lip-service being paid to an open quarterback derby, but he’ll be the man. With the receiving corps looking stronger than last year when it was green and still trying to find playmakers, Alexander should be able to make a big leap up in production. He started to shine as last year went on and now he knows what he’s doing.

What to watch for on defense: The linebackers. The secondary is undergoing a wholesale change and the defensive line needs time to rebuild and reload, but the linebacking corps should be fine. How is that possible after losing WAC Defensive Player of the Year-caliber playmakers like Solomon Elimimian and Adam Leonard? Brashton Satele is a nice piece of the puzzle in the middle, while R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane has the potential to be special on the weakside. Blaze Soares returns from an injury and could be an all-star on the strongside.


The team will be far better if … it can protect the passer. The quarterbacks held on to the ball too long and struggled with their decision making at times, but the offensive line was a disaster finishing last in the nation in sacks allowed giving up 57 while doing nothing for the running game. The line will still give up plenty of sacks, but it has to get the total down in the 30s.

The Schedule:
Hawaii being Hawaii, it'll get a slew of the road games out of the way early on with four road games in five. Getting Boise State and Fresno State at home will help, but those are offset by road trips to Louisiana Tech and Nevada. The early road games means there's a slew of home dates to close things out playing four of the final five in Honolulu. Non-conference-wise, Navy and Wisconsin to close things out will be interesting tests against two tough running teams.

Best Offensive Player: Senior C John Estes. The line might have been miserable last year, but it wasn’t Estes’s fault. The two-time All-WAC star has started every game in his career after starting out at guard. Now he’s among the nation’s most dominant technicians in the middle of the line. While it’s hard to praise a player too much on such a bad line, but he really is that good. He doesn’t make mistakes.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Brashton Satele. DE John Fonoti could quickly become a star pass rusher now that he’s the main man on the line, and outside linebackers R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane and Blaze Soares could blow up the stat sheet, but Satele is a nice inside presence who should do far more with more responsibility and more experience. He has the size and the quickness to be an all-star.

Key player to a successful season: Senior OT Aaron Kia. There are only two starters returning to one of the least productive offensive lines in America. Center John Estes is an all-star, but there isn’t much around him to get excited about. Kia is the other returning starter, working at left tackle, and he has to prove he can do more in pass protection. He has the athleticism, the talent, and the upside to be better. Now he has to be a bit of an anchor.

The season will be a success if ... Hawaii gets back to a bowl game. It’s hard to be excited just to get an extra home game when you’ve tasted the BCS a few years ago, but another bowl game would be a major positive for a team that needs to completely rebuild on defense and has to get far more out of the offensive line. There isn’t enough in the bag to win the WAC title, but the Warriors get Boise State and Fresno State at home to help the overall cause.

Key game: Oct. 10 vs. Fresno State. Beyond the WAC implications, the timing of the game makes this a must win. Hawaii starts out the year at home against Central Arkansas before going on the road for four games in the next five. Fresno State is the oasis after spending most of September away. Considering the WAC opener is at Louisiana Tech and the Nevada game is away, the Warriors can't afford to give away any conference home games.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- Penalties: Hawaii 122 for 1,097 yards – Opponents 86 for 739 yards
- Punt return average: Opponents 9.9 yards per try – Hawaii 2.0 yards per try
- Fumbles: Hawaii 30 (lost 15) – Opponents 30 (lost 15)

- 2009 CFN Hawaii Preview |
2009 Hawaii Offense
- 2009 Hawaii Defense |
2009 Hawaii Depth Chart
-
2008 Hawaii Preview | 2007 Hawaii Preview | 2006 Hawaii Preview

     

Related Stories
2009 Hawaii Preview - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 14, 2009
2009 Hawaii Preview - Defense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 14, 2009
2009 Hawaii Preview - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Jul 14, 2009








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