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Hawaii Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/20/2008
No. 85 Hawaii Warriors
2007 Record ~ 12-1 SU ~ 4-7 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (3) Defense (4)
It was a magical season in Hawaii last year as the Warriors went the entire regular season without a loss and went to the Sugar Bowl to tackle Georgia before ultimately being overmatched. Oh how times have changed. Gone is Heisman Trophy finalist Colt Brennan. Gone is head coach June Jones who in nine seasons took a 0-12 team into a 12-0 team. Gone are the top four receivers who combined for 4,671 yards. Gone are dreams of another BCS Bowl but there is still optimism on the island.
The offense needs to be basically started up once again from scratch and it will revolve around junior college transfer Brent Rausch who was the surprise choice at quarterback after Tyler Graunke was kicked of the team. He isnâ€™t going to be asked to replicate the work of Brennan but just to run an efficient offense without a lot of mistakes. That is easier said than done. He does have a strong offensive line in front of him as well as a solid crew of running backs but finding targets to throw the ball to might be a challenge.
The defense is the side of the ball that Hawaii will rely upon this season to carry the team. The offense got all of the press a season ago but the stop unit finished 34th in total defense and 46th in scoring defense and it should be just as good this year. Despite only four starters coming back, there is a lot of depth and experience on this side thanks to a lot of players getting time in blowout situations last year. The linebacker duo of Adam Leonard and Solomon Elimimian is one of the best in the WAC.
The Warriors will get a chance to see how far it has fallen as it steps onto the field in the season opener at Florida. It probably will not be pretty but Hawaii hosts Weber St. the following week before another tough battle at Oregon St. The conference slate is not easy as the Warriors must travel to Boise St. and Fresno St., the top two teams in the preseason. Hawaii will be a play against numerous times although laying five touchdowns with the Gators on opening Saturday is not recommended.