The big 2014 Hawaii football preview: Rainbow Warriors weren't as bad as you think

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It's just about the most dubious distinction one can imagine, but Hawaii was just about the best 1-11 team you'll ever see last year. The Warriors were far better on paper than in the win column; does that translate to a leap forward in 2014?

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1. Yes, 82nd

SMU was 5-7 and three tight losses from bowl eligibility. Middle Tennessee was 8-5, Louisiana-Lafayette 9-4. San Diego State, Arkansas State, Rutgers, UNLV, and Ohio all went bowling.

All of these teams ranked behind No. 82 Hawaii in last year's final F/+ rankings. Yes, the Hawaii that went 1-11.

Photo credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

My first response to this: That can't possibly be right, this is going to make our numbers look terrible. My second response: Well ... it actually kind of makes some sense.

Hawaii lost to USC by 17 points and held a reasonably decent offense to 4.9 yards per play. The Warriors lost by a semi-respectable 19 points at Oregon State. They lost by five to Fresno State. They lost by two points at UNLV and by seven to Colorado State. They lost by seven to San Diego State and three at Wyoming. In all, they went 1-5 in games decided by a touchdown or less and lost only three games by more than 14 points.

None of this makes Hawaii a good team, obviously, but the Warriors were still quite a bit better than their record would suggest. The offense had its moments in the second half of the season, and the defense was downright decent on average. Play the 2013 season again, and maybe Hawaii rides some luck to 5-7. Hawaii grew quite a bit last season after putting a total dud of a product on the field in 2012. You just couldn't tell it in the win column.

2. So what exactly does that mean?

In some alternate universe, Hawaii has a decent 2013 season. That's great. In this actual world, however, Norm Chow is now 4-20 in two years on the islands and finds himself on the hot seat to a certain degree. Hawaii was unsatisfied with former head coach Greg McMackin, but at least he won 29 games in four seasons. For Chow to reach that, he needs to go 12-2 and 13-1 over the next two years. He's dug himself a hole. He's perhaps made that hole a little larger with some recent issues with the media.

Norm_chow_medium

Norm Chow/Photo credit: Rob Carr

There really was growth last year, but as I wrote a few days ago, wins matter:

Wins keep a squad glued together. Players are less likely to transfer, the head coach is more likely to receive further support from administration, etc. And even if you're a little lucky or underwhelming while you're initially winning, wins build infrastructure and beget more wins.

Losses obviously do the opposite. No matter how much Hawaii has grown on paper, every successive loss brings about the possibility of collapse. The Warriors really need a good season and return quite a bit of the talent responsible for last year's growth. Can they get over the hump that teased them for most of last fall?

2013 Schedule & Results

Record: 1-11 | Adj. Record: 4-8 | Final F/+ Rk: 82
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L 5-gm Adj. Avg.
29-Aug USC 11 13-30 L 9.7 - 25.2 L
7-Sep at Oregon State 42 14-33 L 15.0 - 26.0 L
21-Sep at Nevada 88 9-31 L 15.1 - 25.3 L
28-Sep Fresno State 49 37-42 L 26.6 - 24.7 W
5-Oct San Jose State 74 27-37 L 20.6 - 22.9 L -7.4
12-Oct at UNLV 96 37-39 L 28.8 - 27.7 W -4.1
26-Oct Colorado State 66 28-35 L 19.2 - 20.1 L -2.1
2-Nov at Utah State 32 10-47 L 26.9 - 34.7 L -1.6
9-Nov at Navy 58 28-42 L 32.8 - 30.4 W -1.5
16-Nov San Diego State 89 21-28 L 23.2 - 30.1 L -2.5
23-Nov at Wyoming 102 56-59 L 33.8 - 40.0 L -3.9
30-Nov Army 100 49-42 W 33.1 - 30.1 W -3.1
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk Spec. Tms. Rk
F/+ -8.9% 98 -0.7% 67 +1.0% 47
Points Per Game 27.4 72 38.8 116
Adj. Points Per Game 23.7 100 28.1 69

3. The average Hawaii game changed midway through the season

In the June Jones and McMackin eras, we got used to shootouts. From 2001-07, Hawaii played in 31 games in which both teams scored at least 30 points. The Warriors were a ridiculous 25-6 in such games, as well. Points and yards were the Hawaii m.o., for better or worse, and that continued to at least a small degree when McMackin took over in 2008. Hawaii played in two such games each year from 2008-11. They won the first three but dropped the next five ... which is perhaps part of the reason why McMackin isn't still Hawaii's head coach (other factors didn't help, of course.)

There wasn't a single shootout in 2012, primarily because Hawaii couldn't score. Only twice (once against FBS teams) did the Warriors put more than 27 points on the board. And in the early stages of 2013, the trend continued as Hawaii scored 36 points combined against USC, Oregon State, and Nevada.

But Hawaii games began to look like Hawaii games again as the season progressed.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 3 games): Opponent 25.5, Hawaii 13.3 (minus-12.2)
Adj. Points Per Game (next 4 games): Opponent 23.9, Hawaii 23.8 (minus-0.1)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 5 games): Opponent 33.1, Hawaii 30.0 (minus-3.1)

Hawaii's offense was never great, but it was above average more frequently after the start of the season. The Warriors averaged 5.5 yards per play against San Jose State, 6.2 against UNLV, 5.8 against Navy, 6.8 against Wyoming, and 7.1 against Army. Of course, the defense began to leak as the season went on as well; SJSU averaged 5.9 yards per play, Utah State averaged 6.2, Navy averaged 6.4, SDSU went for 6.8, and Wyoming got 8.1. The yards and points added up on both sides of the ball, and using the "both sides score 30" definition, Hawaii ended up in four shootouts in the last nine games of the year (and each of the last two).

Offense

FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.13 69 IsoPPP+ 98.1 73
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 39.5% 88 Succ. Rt. + 89.9 95
FIELD POSITION Def. Avg. FP 30.8 90 Def. FP+ 97.4 84
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 3.9 91 Redzone S&P+ 77.7 116
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 32.8 ACTUAL 34 +1.2
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 58 98 96 59
RUSHING 114 101 81 109
PASSING 19 96 104 23
Standard Downs 85 87 55
Passing Downs 112 105 104
Q1 Rk 80 1st Down Rk 75
Q2 Rk 89 2nd Down Rk 103
Q3 Rk 115 3rd Down Rk 115
Q4 Rk 76

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2014 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards TD INT Comp
Rate
Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Sean Schroeder 233 376 2960 28 14 62.0% 24 6.0% 7.0
Taylor Graham 6'5, 235 Sr. 4 stars (5.8) 46 100 462 2 5 46.0% 12 10.7% 3.5
Jeremy Higgins (2012) 6'1, 200 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 29 48 335 1 1 60.4% 5 9.4% 5.6
Ikaika Woolsey 6'1, 210 So. 2 stars 11 29 143 0 3 37.9% 5 14.7% 3.3

4. One last go-round for Taylor Graham

According to Rivals.com, four-star Illinois quarterback Taylor Graham committed to Jim Tressel and Ohio State on June 23, 2009. He was to be Terrelle Pryor's successor in Columbus. Five years later, his career will end in Honolulu. And it might end with him on the bench. He was beaten out by the younger Braxton Miller and transferred to play for Norm Chow, and he had an absolutely dreadful junior season. You know how Hawaii's offense picked up after the first three games? Graham started the first three games before getting replaced by Sean Schroeder. Schroeder's passer rating last year: 145.2. Graham's: 81.4.

Graham gets one last college try, but after offseason shoulder surgery, he has watched mobile sophomore Ikaika Woolsey take most of the first-string snaps. Graham, Woolsey, and Jeremy Higgins will continue their battle to replace Schroeder throughout the summer. Woolsey was even less efficient with his arm than Graham last year but does bring some running ability to the table.

Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards TD Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
Opp.
Rate
Joey Iosefa RB 6'0, 245 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 126 590 5 4.7 3.2 41.3%
Steven Lakalaka RB 5'10, 240 So. 3 stars (5.7) 113 468 4 4.1 3.2 32.7%
Diocemy Saint Juste RB 5'8, 180 So. 2 stars (5.4) 50 214 0 4.3 5.9 34.0%
Sean Schroeder QB 29 97 2 3.3 1.9 44.8%
Ikaika Woolsey QB 6'1, 210 So. 2 stars 21 103 0 4.9 8.9 23.8%
Aofaga Wily RB 5'11, 215 So. 2 stars (5.2) 12 23 0 1.9 1.8 8.3%
Marcus Langkilde RB 9 13 0 1.4 N/A 0.0%
Taylor Graham QB 6'5, 235 Sr. 4 stars (5.8) 9 35 0 3.9 1.8 66.7%
Chris Gant WR 5 14 1 2.8 1.6 40.0%
D.J. Riggins RB 5'10, 175 Fr. 3 stars (5.5)



Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Target
Rate
%SD Yds/
Target
NEY Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Chris Gant WR 97 59 973 60.8% 20.0% 59.3% 10.0 237 9.1 98.0
Scott Harding WR 5'11, 200 Sr. NR 88 56 631 63.6% 18.1% 58.1% 7.2 -51 7.1 63.5
Clark Evans TE 59 40 373 67.8% 12.1% 51.1% 6.3 -99 6.9 37.5
Vasquez Haynes WR 6'2, 215 Jr. 2 stars (5.3) 46 29 354 63.0% 9.5% 45.0% 7.7 -1 8.9 35.6
Billy Ray Stutzmann WR 45 22 355 48.9% 9.3% 62.5% 7.9 46 7.5 35.7
Marcus Kemp WR 6'4, 185 So. 2 stars (5.3) 28 11 110 39.3% 5.8% 57.9% 3.9 -66 2.4 11.1
Keith Kirkwood WR 6'3, 210 So. 2 stars (5.2) 27 12 250 44.4% 5.6% 45.0% 9.3 72 8.8 25.2
Donnie King Jr. WR 5'7, 155 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 22 11 118 50.0% 4.5% 55.6% 5.4 -35 5.8 11.9
Marcus Langkilde RB 16 13 85 81.3% 3.3% 93.3% 5.3 -56 9.4 8.6
Steven Lakalaka RB 5'10, 240 So. 3 stars (5.7) 15 13 93 86.7% 3.1% 55.6% 6.2 -44 5.8 9.4
Harold Moleni TE 6'2, 245 Jr. 2 stars (4.9) 13 7 71 53.8% 2.7% 53.8% 5.5 -22 5.4 7.1
Samson Anguay WR 5'7, 170 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 4 3 18 75.0% 0.8% 50.0% 4.5 -16 4.6 1.8
Jordan Pu`u-Robinson TE 6'4, 255 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 3 2 19 66.7% 0.6% 0.0% 6.3 -5 4.2 1.9
Josh Long TE 6'4, 240 Jr. 2 stars (5.4)
Quinton Pedroza (Utah) WR 6'2, 220 Jr. 3 stars (5.6)
Ammon Barker WR 6'4, 215 RSFr. 3 stars (5.5)
Darrian Josey WR 6'0, 170 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)
Mack Richards WR 5'10, 175 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)

5. The "all" in "all or nothing" is gone

Keith Kirkwood/Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hawaii had five different players with at least one 40-yard catch and nine with at least one 30-yarder. But of the seven players with at least 13 catches last fall, only two averaged better than 12.2 yards per catch (Chris Gant and Billy Ray Stutzmann) and both are gone. The passing game was more explosive than efficient in 2013, but it might have to lean on efficiency unless a new threat steps forward. Keith Kirkwood is an interesting prospect (he averaged 20.8 yards per catch as a freshman, albeit with a 44 percent catch rate), and Utah transfer Quinton Pedroza joins the mix, which could help. But Hawaii will need to stretch the field with its passing game to make room for a reasonably efficient run game, and there are no guarantees of that happening.

The run game does appear to be in pretty good shape, though. Hawaii is pass-first, but with a pretty experienced line blocking for 18th-year senior Joey Iosefa (okay, it just feels like he's been there 18 years) and a thunder-and-lightning duo of sophomores (big Steven Lakalaka and quick Diocemy Saint Juste), the Warriors might want to lean on the run a bit more this fall. It could pay off, especially if Woolsey ends up winning the starting quarterback job.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 95.1 2.85 3.31 35.8% 74.1% 19.0% 67.1 5.6% 11.0%
Rank 88 77 56 100 33 64 113 88 108
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals Career Starts Honors/Notes
Ben Clarke C 6'3, 285 Jr. 2 stars 25
Mike Milovale LT 22
Dave Lefotu RG 6'3, 305 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 21
Kody Afusia LG 6'2, 310 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 15
Sean Shigematsu RG 6'5, 290 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 15
Frank Loyd Jr. RT 6'3, 285 Sr. NR 8
Ben Dew RG


5
David Griffin RT 6'6, 315 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 2
Leo Koloamatangi LT 6'5, 275 So. NR 0
Brenden Urban C 6'1, 295 Jr. NR 0
Kory Rasmussen (Colorado) OL 6'2, 270 So. 2 stars (5.4)
John Wa'a OL 6'4, 310 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Elijah Tupai OL 6'4, 265 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)

6. The line should do its part

Hawaii's line was able to clear the way pretty well in short-yardage situations (having huge backs in the backfield didn't hurt) and was at least competent overall in run blocking. Pass blocking, meanwhile, was dependent on the quarterback. With Sean Schroeder behind center, the sack rates were tolerable; with anybody else, things fell apart pretty quickly.

With four line starters returning and six returnees with starting experience (86 career starts), it does appear that Hawaii should expect improvement up front. Hawaii could be starting as many as four seniors, however, so that could be problematic for 2015.

Defense

FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE
Raw Category Rk Opp. Adj. Category Rk
EXPLOSIVENESS IsoPPP 1.26 105 IsoPPP+ 91.5 106
EFFICIENCY Succ. Rt. 42.8% 68 Succ. Rt. + 103.1 47
FIELD POSITION Off. Avg. FP 31.0 49 Off. FP+ 102.5 32
FINISHING DRIVES Pts. Per Trip in 40 4.7 103 Redzone S&P+ 101.9 49
TURNOVERS EXPECTED 25.3 ACTUAL 24.0 -1.3
Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 117 53 47 93
RUSHING 105 61 56 89
PASSING 118 78 41 98
Standard Downs 34 33 77
Passing Downs 97 100 109
Q1 Rk 63 1st Down Rk 28
Q2 Rk 62 2nd Down Rk 76
Q3 Rk 64 3rd Down Rk 102
Q4 Rk 48

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 108.8 2.88 2.76 39.2% 61.5% 22.5% 119.9 5.8% 6.9%
Rank 33 50 17 65 31 22 29 33 61
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Beau Yap DE 6'2, 260 Sr. 3 stars (5.5) 12 32.5 4.1% 12.0 5.5 0 1 2 0
Siasau Matagiese DT 11 30.5 3.9% 6.0 2.0 0 0 0 0
Marcus Malepeai DE 6'1, 275 Sr. 2 stars (5.3) 12 29.0 3.7% 2.5 2.0 0 0 0 0
Tavita Woodard DE 11 28.5 3.6% 5.0 0.5 1 4 0 0
Moses Samia NT 6'1, 300 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 9 25.5 3.2% 6.5 0.0 0 3 0 0
Iuta Tepa DE 11 14.5 1.8% 4.0 1.0 0 1 1 0
Calen Friel DT 6'2, 320 Jr. 3 stars (5.6) 8 7.5 1.0% 1.0 0.0 0 1 0 0
Kennedy Tulimasealii DT 6'1, 280 So. 3 stars (5.6) 9 7.5 1.0% 2.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Niko Uti DE 6'2, 255 Sr. NR 5 4.5 0.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Craig Cofer DE 11 2.5 0.3% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Luke Shawley DE 6'2, 250 Jr. 2 stars (5.2)






7. The front four, er, three should hold up

It really was a "tale of two seasons" situation for Hawaii's defense in 2013. For most of the first half of the year, the Warriors' defense was average at worst, but things fell apart late in the season.

For 2013 as a whole, Hawaii graded out pretty well. The Warriors were particularly good when it came to efficient run support. The Warriors sliced into the backfield with regularity against run and pass, and the line was deep with play-makers.

Change is afoot, however. Former Utah State assistant Kevin Clune takes over as defensive coordinator, and he will attempt to implement the 3-4 defense that has been wonderfully effective for Utah State in recent years. Really, anything you can do to imitate what USU has done on defense recently is a good idea; the Aggies have shown spectacular improvement and maintained it after head coach Gary Andersen left for Wisconsin.

Attrition could hurt the defense -- of the top six linemen from last year, three are gone -- but as long as Beau Yap's on the field, Hawaii has at least one star. Yap might take over the new rush end/outside linebacker position within the 3-4 -- he'll be used in quite a few different ways, actually -- and if last season is any indication, he'll do just fine wherever he lines up. And in Moses Samia and Calen Friel, Hawaii has a couple of players big enough to handle the 3-4 nose position (often a problem in the shift to a 3-4), and generally speaking, the shift in alignment fits the personnel pretty well.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Brenden Daley MIKE 12 72.0 9.1% 13.0 4.0 0 0 3 0
Art Laurel WILL 12 62.0 7.9% 14.5 3.0 1 4 0 0
Jerrol Garcia-Williams SAM 6'2, 215 Jr. NR 12 56.0 7.1% 3.0 1.0 0 1 0 0
TJ Taimatuia SAM 6'3, 250 Sr. NR 11 29.5 3.7% 4.0 2.0 0 1 1 0
Tevita Lataimua MIKE 5'10, 230 Sr. 2 stars (5.2) 10 19.0 2.4% 2.5 1.0 0 0 0 0
Julian Gener WILL 5'11, 235 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 3 12.5 1.6% 2.0 1.0 1 0 1 0
Lance Williams SAM 6'0, 220 Jr. 2 stars 10 12.5 1.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Kamalani Alo MIKE 12 9.5 1.2% 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0
Benetton Fonua LB 6'0, 245 Jr. 2 stars 11 4.5 0.6% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
George Daily-Lyles LB 12 2.0 0.3% 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Jeremy Castro (UCLA) LB 6'3, 240 So. 4 stars (5.8)
Simon Poti LB 6'1, 235 Jr. 2 stars (5.2)
Rashaan Falemalu LB 6'1, 210 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)
Malachi Mageo LB 6'3, 190 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)






8. Missing two missiles

Perhaps the biggest shame with Clune's hire is that it didn't come last year, when Brenden Daley and Art Laurel still had eligibility. The duo combined for 27.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, five break-ups (all from Laurel) and three forced fumbles (all by Daley) and might have teamed with Yap to form one of the best mid-major linebacking corps around.

my faith in the Utah State system suggests this front seven will be pretty successful again regardless.

Alas. Clune still inherits some potentially solid playmakers in Jerrol Garcia-Williams, T.J. Taimatula, Tevita Lataimua, and Lance Williams, and the returnees will be joined by UCLA transfer (and former four-star recruit), Jeremy Castro. And my faith in the Utah State system suggests this front seven will be pretty successful again regardless.

What about the secondary? Hard to say. Hawaii used its defensive backs pretty aggressively a year ago, with four logging at least two tackles for loss and six defensing (picking off or breaking up) at least four passes. But the Warriors also gave up a lot of big pass plays and gave them up with increasing frequency as the season progressed. The cornerback unit is experienced, but two active safeties -- John Hardy-Tuliau and Charles Clay (combined: 13 tackles for loss, 10 break-ups) -- are gone. In all, Hawaii is tasked with replacing perhaps four of its five best players on defense, and one has to figure that will make improvement difficult, even if Clune is a home run of a hire.

Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
John Hardy-Tuliau SS 12 66.0 8.4% 7.5 2 0 6 0 1
Ne'Quan Phillips CB 5'9, 185 Jr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 55.0 7.0% 2 0 2 6 1 0
Charles Clay FS 12 55.0 7.0% 5.5 1 0 4 1 0
Dee Maggitt CB 5'10, 170 Sr. 2 stars (5.4) 12 43.5 5.5% 3.5 0 0 7 0 0
Marrell Jackson FS 6'0, 185 Jr. NR 9 30.0 3.8% 2 0 1 3 1 0
Trayvon Henderson NB 6'0, 190 So. 2 stars (5.4) 11 24.0 3.0% 0 0 3 3 0 1
Kawika Borden FS 6'1, 200 Sr. NR 12 15.0 1.9% 0 0 0 0 2 0
Kwamane Bowens DB


10 7.0 0.9% 0 0 0 2 0 0
Anthony Pierce CB 5'9, 160 So. 2 stars 10 6.0 0.8% 0.5 0 0 0 0 0
Joshua Donovan CB 6'0, 190 Jr. NR 12 4.5 0.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Damien Packer DB 5'11, 195 So. NR 9 3.0 0.4% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Barry Higdon DB 6'3, 190 RSFr. 2 stars (5.4)
Keelan Ewaliko DB 5'11, 175 RSFr. 2 stars (5.3)
Keahi Hogan DB 6'2, 175 Jr. NR
Cesar Fermin CB 5'10, 175 Jr. NR
Jalen Rogers CB 6'1, 185 So. 2 stars (5.2)
Daniel Lewis S 5'11, 180 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)
Jerrell Jackson CB 6'0, 175 Fr. 2 stars (5.4)
Manly Williams DB 6'2, 180 Fr. 2 stars (5.3)

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Scott Harding 5'11, 200 Sr. 56 40.2 0 10 18 50.0%
Ruben Guzman 5'8, 190 Sr. 26 40.0 1 8 4 46.2%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB OOB TB%
Tyler Hadden 5'11, 180 Sr. 64 61.6 26 2 40.6%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2014
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Tyler Hadden 5'11, 180 Sr. 36-37 5-8 62.5% 2-5 40.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2014
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Chris Gant KR 19 21.1 0
Diocemy Saint Juste KR 5'8, 180 So. 14 25.1 0
Scott Harding PR 5'11, 200 Sr. 21 8.3 0
Donnie King Jr. PR 5'7, 155 Sr. 3 3.7 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 47
Field Goal Efficiency 113
Punt Return Efficiency 48
Kick Return Efficiency 48
Punt Efficiency 5
Kickoff Efficiency 67
Opponents' Field Goal Efficiency 122

9. A+ coverage

Hawaii's special teams unit certainly had some issues. Place-kicker Tyler Hadden was far too inaccurate on shorter kicks and the punt return game was decent but not spectacular. But Diocemy Saint Juste emerged as a potentially strong kick returner, and the best offensive weapon on the team may have been punter Scott Harding. Nearly one third of Harding's punts were downed inside the 20, and the coverage unit helped to make Hawaii's punt game one of the best in the country. Field position can swing games, and Hawaii was good at the field position game, at least better than its offense and defense alone would suggest. In Hawaii's case, though, field position was effective at getting Hawaii close ... but it certainly didn't swing games all the way in the Warriors' favor.

2014 Schedule & Projection Factors

2014 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
30-Aug Washington 30
6-Sep Oregon State 39
13-Sep Northern Iowa NR
20-Sep at Colorado 96
4-Oct at Rice 88
11-Oct Wyoming 100
18-Oct at San Diego State 83
25-Oct Nevada 62
1-Nov Utah State 69
8-Nov at Colorado State 85
15-Nov at San Jose State 82
22-Nov UNLV 109
29-Nov at Fresno State 46
Five-Year F/+ Rk -11.8% (92)
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 103
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* -10 / -7.5
TO Luck/Game -1.0
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 13 (7, 6)

10. So what happens if Hawaii's 82nd again?

I was in no way high on the Norm Chow hire; I almost bored myself with the number of times I mentioned that Chow was an offensive guru who hadn't actually been in charge of a good offense in nearly a decade. I understood the hometown draw, but I wasn't a fan. That said, I'll defend the coaching job he did last year. Hawaii was far more sound and competent in going 1-11 last year than it was in going 3-9 the year before, and if the Warriors can keep it together long enough, they might begin to figure out how to win some close games this year.

Hawaii plays eight teams projected 80th or worse and get two teams projected in the 60s at home.

If you win or lose enough, you eventually become your record, and for all we know, things might fall apart for the Warriors this year. But if they don't, if Hawaii can replicate last year's mid-80s ranking (far from certain considering the losses on both sides of the ball), there are wins on the schedule. Hawaii plays eight teams projected 80th or worse and get two teams projected in the 60s (Nevada, Utah State) at home. A normal team that ranks 82nd or so could probably win five to seven games against this schedule, and needless to say, that would represent a step up from the four Hawaii has won under Chow so far.

But can the Warriors keep it together after losing 20 of 24? And what happens if they get blown out by Washington and Oregon State? Numbers or no, Hawaii faces the burden of proof to show that last year's numbers were on to something.

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