2022 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Preview

by Matt Fargo

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

2021-22 Season Record 6-7 (3-5 MWC West) - 5-7-1 ATS - 6-7-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 4
Defense - 2

Overview

After a solid three-year run with a cumulative 23-15 record from 2018-2020, last season was average as Hawaii went 6-7 and missed out on a bowl game after three in a row. However, it was more than just the record as head coach Todd Graham lasted only two seasons as he was let go following misconduct in the program that included player abuse. A slew of players left the team because of him and now former Rainbow Timmy Chang takes over in one of the biggest rebuilds in the country. The Warriors have the second lowest returning production in the nation as they return only six starters along with many others missing from a very good roster that had potential to be good going forward. The one positive is another 13-game schedule that is far from difficult including seven home games and a quick start should take place which could add confidence heading into MWC time.

Offense

This was a middle of the road offense last season and with only four returning starters, work needs to be done. The strength will be the offensive line as three starters are back in a new scheme under offensive coordinator Ian Shoemaker and the line will be asked to hold the unit together until the chemistry falls into place. The quarterback situation is unsettled heading into fall camp as the battle will come down to Brayden Schager, who had saw limited action last season and incoming transfer Cammon Cooper from Washington St. who worked in a similar high potent offense. Someone will have to emerge at wide receiver as the three top pass catchers are gone with Zion Bowens and his 257 receiving yards likely being the leading candidate. Dedrick Parson returns as the leading back after rushing for 618 yards and eight touchdowns while also securing 279 receiving yards.

Defense

The defense was awful, especially defending the pass and immediate changes are on the way. Everyone from the secondary is gone that allowed 289.7 ypg which was No. 126 in the country but they did have 14 interceptions yet none of that matters now as Hawaii is hoping some transfers can plug the holes. Linebacker Penei Pavihi saw action in 12 of 13 games and is one veteran who can take over as the leader of the defense but needs help around him, especially in pass coverage. The defensive line is the one area that Hawaii does have experience coming back as Blessman Ta'ala and John Tuitupou are both seniors and will anchor the inside. The defensive ends are a different story however as the depth chart shows no one as a starter and the roster is small and inexperienced. The hope is the offense can score enough to take pressure off the defense.

2022 Season Outlook

The passing offense was decent under Graham but we will see a different look going back to the days when Chang led the offense from 2000-2004 and is still the leading passer in program history. It might take some time for the unit to hit its stride but the Warriors will take chances and it will be at least entertaining. While there are seven home games, there is not a big edge as Hawaii is playing in a 9,000 seat facility until the new Aloha Stadium is complete. Vanderbilt, Duquesne and New Mexico St. are three of the first five foes with Michigan and Western Kentucky sandwiched in so a 3-2 start is likely. The MWC slate is doable at home with Utah St. the only big challenge but the road portion is tough. The O/U win total is 4.5 and Hawaii does have an opportunity to go over that as long as it avoids the upsets and can steal a road win at either Colorado St. or San Jose St.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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