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1. Taking on a hard job
Hard jobs remain hard. I repeat it so much during this preview series (example 1, example 2) that it becomes a mantra. Budgets, history, and recruiting bases assure difficulty remains high and margin for error remains low for certain jobs in college football, perhaps more than in any other sport.
At UL-Monroe, you have to make a great hire to be good. But at Alabama, you only have to make a good hire to be great. (And if you make a great hire, you can become transcendent.)
Hawaii is a hard job, not only because of those things, but also because of pure geography. You have to travel absurd distances to recruit or even to play against other teams.
To make money, you have to agree to games with nice payouts, and that leaves you open to impossible arrangements, like playing Cal in Australia the Saturday after school starts, then at Michigan the next, with a trip to play Arizona right after your first home game.
Because of the growing money chasm in FBS, a job like Hawaii is not only tough, but getting tougher. Granted, the state and university still have quite a few things going for them, but this is an uncertain time.
The Rainbow Warriors have had quite a few runs of success. Dick Tomey finished .500 or better for seven of eight seasons in the 1970s and 1980s, Bob Wagner went 18-6-1 in 1988-89 and 11-2 in 1992, and June Jones engineered five seasons with nine-plus wins between 2001-07. But after reaching seven bowls in nine seasons under Jones and successor Greg McMackin, Hawaii has reached only one in the last seven. McMackin won only seven games per season from 2008-11, which felt disappointing, but since he left, the Warriors have averaged three.
It could be worse. After dumping Norm Chow, Hawaii could have found someone less uniquely qualified than Nick Rolovich.
His résumé reads like that of someone being groomed for the Hawaii job. In 2001, as a senior at UH, Rolovich threw for 3,361 yards and 34 touchdowns and finished 10th in the country in pass efficiency and fourth in total offense. In 2003-04, he was a student assistant for the Rainbow Warriors. In 2008-09, he returned to serve as quarterbacks coach, and in 2010-11, he took over as offensive coordinator.
When Chow came back to the islands, Rolovich left. He spent the last four seasons as Nevada's offensive coordinator, first under Chris Ault, then under Brian Polian. He came up as a passer, then spent time with Ault, one of football's best run innovators.
At 36, Rolovich is one of FBS' youngest head coaches, but what he lacks in volume of experience, he makes up for with relevant experience. As a player, low-level assistant, and offensive coordinator, he's been exposed to what it takes to win at Hawaii.
Knowing what the job entails and being up for it are two different things. Nevada's offense slipped in each of Rolovich's four years in, which is a red flag. But he's hired a young, hungry staff of assistants to bring energy to a program that needs it, both metaphorically and literally -- his team will have already flown about 10,000 miles this fall by the time it plays its first home game.
2015 Schedule & Results
|Record: 3-10 | Adj. Record: 2-11 | Final F/+ Rk: 120 | Final S&P+ Rk: 118|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|12-Sep||at Ohio State||3||0-38||L||10%||0%||+9.0||+2.0|
|3-Oct||at Boise State||37||0-55||L||1%||0%||-36.1||-30.5|
|10-Oct||San Diego State||43||14-28||L||24%||2%||-14.0||-17.0|
|17-Oct||at New Mexico||99||27-28||L||61%||74%||-2.5||+5.0|
|21-Nov||San Jose State||89||23-42||L||8%||0%||-13.8||-9.0|
|Points Per Game||17.6||118||35.6||105|
2. An empty tank
You can talk yourself into Hawaii improving this year. [...] Unfortunately, the early schedule is miserable. By Oct. 4, Hawaii will have played on the road against three teams that ranked 25th or better in F/+ last year. If the Warriors don't beat Colorado in the opener, they're staring at a 1-4 start when San Diego State visits on Oct. 10.
If this snowballs, Chow could be gone by the time lesser teams begin showing up.
There was danger in Hawaii's 2015 schedule. The Rainbow Warriors brought decent experience and faced quite a few teams destined for the lower end of the S&P+ rankings. And they actually didn't ply that poorly out of the gates. They upset Colorado, performed well compared to expectations against Ohio State and Wisconsin, and put away UC Davis with ease.
But the hurdles were too much. After a loss to Wisconsin, UH got smoked by Boise State. And after three competitive results -- a home loss to conference champ SDSU and road losses by a combined 11 points to two bowl teams (New Mexico, Nevada) -- the bottom dropped out.
- First 8 games
Avg. percentile performance: 33% | Avg. score: Opp 32, UH 17 | Avg. performance vs. S&P+ projection: -2.6 PPG
- Next 4 games
Avg. percentile performance: 9% | Avg. score: Opp 46, UH 16 | Avg. performance vs. S&P+ projection: -24.7 PPG
Through eight games, Hawaii had laid only one real egg. But starting on Halloween, there were four straight. Chow was let go after the Air Force loss, and interim head coach Chris Naeole (the offensive line coach, retained by Rolovich) couldn't stem the tide. The Rainbow Warriors were out of gas, especially on defense, where they were suddenly allowing 14 more points per game.
There was a nice rally in the home finale against ULM (another hard job), when Hawaii jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the first half. Chow finished with a 10-36 record, and Naeole moved back to OL coach with a 1-3 lifetime record.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||35.4%||117||Succ. Rt. +||89.2||109|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||32.0||110||Def. FP+||30.6||90|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.3||76||Redzone S&P+||98.0||80|
|Q1 Rk||122||1st Down Rk||116|
|Q2 Rk||113||2nd Down Rk||121|
|Q3 Rk||63||3rd Down Rk||103|
3. A Rolovich offense?
It's hard to know what defines one at this point.
He came up in the run-and-shoot system, then spent the last four years running the option at the home of the pistol formation. He's never been nearly as interested in pace as a lot of other up-and-comers, but he's been involved in significantly run-heavy and pass-heavy offenses.
Rolovich's initial coordinator hire hinted at an attempt to move back toward the former, but former EWU coordinator Zak Hill was only on the job for a couple of months before getting plucked away by Boise State. While he has not yet announced a new hire, coming after Hill suggests Rolovich's preference is to throw the ball.
He inherits a set of personnel that showed big-play potential but was lacking terribly in efficiency. Returning quarterback Ikaika Woolsey completed only 49 percent, and that was better than leader Max Wittek. Leading receiver Marcus Kemp averaged 15.6 yards per catch but caught only 46 percent of his passes. Experience is a plus -- Woolsey, Kemp, and last year's top two running backs are all seniors -- but at first glance, this doesn't appear to be experienced, efficient personnel.
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|Ikaika Woolsey||6'1, 215||Sr.||2 stars||0.7444||73||149||908||5||6||49.0%||9||5.7%||5.3|
|Beau Reilly||6'6, 190||So.||2 stars||0.7593|
|Cole McDonald||6'4, 195||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8056|
|Davine Tullis||6'2, 195||Fr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7683|
|Paul Harris||RB||5'11, 190||Sr.||NR||0.8000||197||1132||6||5.7||6.1||39.1%||2||2|
|Diocemy Saint Juste
|RB||5'8, 195||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8256||73||372||3||5.1||5.9||37.0%||3||1|
|Melvin Davis||RB||6'2, 235||Sr.||NR||0.7900||59||218||6||3.7||2.4||33.9%||2||2|
|Steven Lakalaka||RB||5'10, 210||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8578||48||187||0||3.9||2.5||31.3%||1||0|
|Ikaika Woolsey||QB||6'1, 215||Sr.||2 stars||0.7444||38||150||2||3.9||2.0||42.1%||2||0|
|Ryan Tuiasoa||RB||5'11, 210||Jr.||NR||NR||18||79||0||4.4||4.9||33.3%||2||1|
|Freddie Holly||RB||6'0, 210||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8509|
|Max Hendrie||ATH||6'4, 235||Fr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.8300|
4. Big-play potential
With the return of Diocemy Saint Juste from a 2015 injury, Hawaii brings back two explosive rushers. In Saint Juste's absence, Paul Harris had a nice year. Granted, a nice chunk of his season yardage came from the UC Davis game (10 carries, 147 yards), but he finished strong. In the last four games, while almost everybody else was struggling, he rushed 101 times for 661 yards (6.5) and three touchdowns while catching seven passes for 51 yards.
Harris gained at least five yards on just 39 percent of his carries, and at 5'11, 190 pounds, he's not going to be a major power presence. But he can scoot when he has some daylight.
Kemp can be a vertical threat. In two seasons, he's caught 92 passes for 1,360 yards (14.8), and he was a difference-maker at times. In Hawaii's three wins, he caught a combined 14 passes for 279 yards (19.9) and two touchdowns. The problem: his catch rate was horrendous, and in Hawaii's 10 losses, he caught just 22 passes for 284 yards (12.9).
Rolovich secured the signatures of a few exciting skill position threats in February: high-three-star running back Freddie Holly, mid-three-star receiver Kalakaua Timoteo, and, most interestingly, Australian rugby player Max Hendrie. Add them in with other youngsters (sophomore receivers Dylan Collie and Devan Stubblefield), and you've got the makings of a solid supporting cast for whoever wins the quarterback job.
But there's not a proven efficiency weapon to be found. Not a single returning running back had even a 40 percent opportunity rate last year, and not a single returning wide receiver had a 60 percent catch rate. This will be a hit-and-miss offense.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Marcus Kemp||WR||6'4, 200||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7819||79||36||563||45.6%||19.9%||7.1||60.8%||39.2%||1.65|
|Devan Stubblefield||WR||6'0, 190||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7333||67||30||351||44.8%||16.9%||5.2||58.2%||31.3%||1.60|
|Dylan Collie||WR||5'10, 175||So.||3 stars||NR||53||29||342||54.7%||13.4%||6.5||66.0%||49.1%||1.12|
|Isaiah Bernard||WR||6'1, 190||Sr.||NR||NR||45||21||219||46.7%||11.3%||4.9||53.3%||31.1%||1.32|
|Metuisela `Unga||TE||6'5, 240||Jr.||NR||NR||25||11||170||44.0%||6.3%||6.8||60.0%||36.0%||1.55|
|Makoa Camanse-Stevens||WR||6'4, 205||Sr.||NR||NR||22||13||191||59.1%||5.5%||8.7||59.1%||45.5%||1.78|
|Dakota Torres||TE||6'2, 245||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7719||21||11||98||52.4%||5.3%||4.7||42.9%||38.1%||1.13|
|Paul Harris||RB||5'11, 190||Sr.||NR||0.8000||17||14||151||82.4%||4.3%||8.9||52.9%||35.3%||2.21|
|Vasquez Haynes||WR||6'2, 210||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8122||7||1||2||14.3%||1.8%||0.3||28.6%||0.0%||0.00|
|Steven Lakalaka||RB||5'10, 210||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8578||6||4||14||66.7%||1.5%||2.3||33.3%||16.7%||1.48|
|Melvin Davis||RB||6'2, 235||Sr.||NR||0.7900||5||3||52||60.0%||1.3%||10.4||60.0%||20.0%||4.22|
|Davasyia Hagger||TE||6'6, 230||Jr.||NR||NR||3||1||13||33.3%||0.8%||4.3||33.3%||33.3%||0.85|
|Ammon Barker||WR||6'4, 205||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8210|
|Keelan Ewaliko||WR||5'11, 200||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7905|
|Marcus Armstrong-Brown||WR||6'3, 195||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7000|
|Kalakaua Timoteo||WR||6'3, 195||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8422|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Dejon Allen||RG||6'3, 290||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8472||13||24|
|Elijah Tupai||LG||6'4, 300||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8150||11||14|
|RJ Hollis||RT||6'4, 295||Sr.||NR||NR||13||13|
|Asotui Eli||C||6'4, 295||So.||NR||NR||12||12|
|Leo Koloamatangi||LT||6'5, 290||Sr.||NR||0.7733||1||4|
|John Wa'a||LG||6'4, 315||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7832||1||3|
|Matt Norman||OL||6'5, 260||Jr.||NR||0.7000||0||0|
|Luke Clements||OL||6'5, 300||Jr.||NR||NR||0||0|
|J.R. Hensley||OL||6'5, 310||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7833|
|Austin Webb||OL||6'8, 310||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Fred Ulu-Perry||OL||6'2, 305||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.9318|
|Josh Hauani'o||OL||6'4, 300||Fr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8000|
5. The line will be a (relative) strength
Compared to Hawaii's offensive stats, the line stats were pretty decent. The Rainbow Warriors ranked in the top 60 in stuff rate, power success rate, and standard downs line yards per carry, and the sack rates weren't awful. Offensive line coach Chris Naeole was held in high enough regard that Rolovich retained him. That's a pretty good sign.
Four of last year's starters are back, along with two upperclassmen who have had spot-starting experience over the years. And while the loss of four-year starting tackle Ben Clarke isn't a good thing, UCLA transfer Fred Ulu-Perry, once a four-star recruit per the 247Sports Composite, is eligible. I would be surprised if UH's line stats regress.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||45.6%||105||Succ. Rt. +||86.2||117|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||26.8||121||Off. FP+||27.3||110|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||4.9||106||Redzone S&P+||94.8||88|
|Q1 Rk||100||1st Down Rk||94|
|Q2 Rk||109||2nd Down Rk||103|
|Q3 Rk||44||3rd Down Rk||46|
6. A Kevin Lempa defense
Most of Rolovich's hires are on the younger side. Kevin Lempa is not. The 42-year veteran began his career at Southern Connecticut State in 1974, spent all of the 1980s with Jack Bicknell's Boston College, and served as defensive coordinator at Dartmouth (1991-96), Hawaii (2000-02, when Rolovich was quarterback), Central Connecticut State (2011), and Columbia (2012). He also spent three years with the San Diego Chargers, giving him a unique, coast-heavy résumé.
As far as I can tell, Lempa's defenses have been react-and-swarm units. Neither CCSU in 2011 nor Columbia in 2012 had much in the way of tackles for loss, but they broke up or intercepted quite a few passes, and they forced a quite a few fumbles. So they react to what you're doing (instead of trying to disrupt it), then they go for the ball.
That approach might work pretty well with what Lempa inherits. Hawaii's was a bend-don't-break defense that certainly bent a lot but did a decent job of limiting big plays -- the Warriors allowed 24 gains of 30-plus yards, 45th in FBS. On passing downs, the Warriors were particularly solid at preventing big gains. You might gain eight yards on third-and-8, but you aren't going to gain 80.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Kennedy Tulimasealii||DE||6'1, 285||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8369||13||52.5||6.1%||18.5||3.5||0||0||1||0|
|Kory Rasmussen||NT||6'2, 295||Sr.||2 stars||0.7961||13||32.5||3.7%||4.0||2.0||0||0||0||0|
|Penitito Faalologo||NT||5'11, 300||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7000||13||18.5||2.1%||0.5||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Ka'aumoana Gifford||DE||6'4, 275||So.||2 stars||NR||12||16.0||1.8%||1.0||0.0||0||2||0||0|
|David Manoa||DE||6'3, 240||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7685||13||13.0||1.5%||2.5||2.5||0||0||1||0|
|Meffy Koloamatangi||DE||6'5, 240||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||NR||8||8.0||0.9%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Zeno Choi||DE||6'3, 260||So.||NR||NR||5||3.5||0.4%||1.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Jamie Tago||DE||6'2, 250||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7733|
|Sione Kauhi||DE||6'5, 275||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Netane Muti||DT||6'4, 275||Fr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7900|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Jerrol Garcia-Williams||ILB||6'2, 235||Sr.||NR||0.7000||10||72.0||8.3%||3.5||1.5||0||0||0||0|
|Jahlani Tavai||OLB||6'4, 235||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7333||13||41.5||4.8%||5.0||3.0||0||0||0||0|
|Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea||LB||6'3, 240||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8002||10||16.0||1.8%||2.5||2.5||0||0||0||0|
|Jeremy Castro||OLB||6'4, 240||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8861||7||15.5||1.8%||4.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Russell Williams, Jr.||OLB||6'1, 230||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||NR||12||14.5||1.7%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Noah Borden||LB||6'1, 215||So.||NR||NR||10||3.5||0.4%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Malachi Mageo||OLB||6'2, 210||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7000||12||3.5||0.4%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Rashaan Falemalu||LB||6'1, 230||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7633|
|Solomon Matautia||LB||6'1, 220||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8331|
|Manly Williams||LB||6'2, 220||RSFr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7867|
|Jeremiah Pritchard||LB||6'0, 200||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8300|
|Ikem Okeke||LB||6'0, 210||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8223|
7. Run defense was a (relative) strength
Lempa does inherit a legitimate play-maker up front, however. Kennedy Tulimasealii was second in the MWC with 18.5 tackles for loss, most of which came in a form other than sacks. And Hawaii was able to generate a decent passing downs pass rush by attacking from everywhere -- nine guys had at least 1.5 sacks, and none had more than 3.5.
Tulimasealii's partner in crime, inside linebacker Julian Gener, is gone, but this front seven does seem to have decent size and experience. Six of the aforementioned nine pass rushers return, and while injuries thinned out depth at end and linebacker last year, the experience gained from those injuries has potentially created better depth this time around.
The run defense wasn't good last year (80th in Rushing S&P+), but it was obviously better than the pass defense, and I would be surprised if the Warriors didn't match that ranking this year. Tulimasealii's invasive presence won't hurt, but there seem to be enough linebackers and ends here to pursue the ball pretty well.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|S||6'0, 200||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8093||11||58.5||7.9%||3||1||2||0||0||0|
|Nick Nelson||CB||6'0, 200||Jr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7926||13||45.5||5.2%||1.5||1||0||15||1||0|
|Daniel Lewis Jr.||S||5'11, 180||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8141||13||40.5||4.7%||3||1||0||3||0||0|
|Jalen Rogers||CB||6'1, 200||Sr.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7000||13||35.0||4.0%||2||1||1||5||0||0|
|Dany Mulanga||S||6'3, 200||So.||2 stars (5.2)||0.7783||10||33.0||3.8%||0.5||0||1||0||2||0|
|Jamal Mayo||CB||5'11, 185||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8381||13||12.0||1.4%||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Dejaun Butler||DB||5'11, 180||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8033||7||9.0||1.0%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Damien Packer||DB||5'11, 210||Sr.||NR||NR||13||8.5||1.0%||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Cameron Hayes||DB||5'11, 180||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8115|
|Mykal Tolliver||DB||6'0, 175||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8156|
|Keala Santiago||DB||6'0, 185||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8115|
|Scheyenne Sanitoa||DB||6'0, 185||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7900|
8. Experience in the back
Shuffling was constant in the back of the defense, too. Starting safety Trayvon Henderson played in only two games, and of the 10 players to record at least 8.5 tackles (a sample that doesn't include Henderson), five of them combined to miss 24 games.
Again, though, that could be a boon in 2016. Henderson returns, as do seven of the 10 tacklers referenced. If he has help, Nick Nelson appears to be a nice ball hawk at one corner position, and both Jalen Rogers and Jamal Mayo showed a little bit of ball skill as well. Plus, aggressive-but-small safety Daniel Lewis Jr. returns, and Rolovich signed a pair of three-star (per 247) defensive backs.
Depth issues sank this defense late last year and could again if the injury bug bites enough. But given the experience the Warriors return, improving on last year's No. 99 Def. S&P+ ranking doesn't seem impossible. This unit seems pretty capable of riding a bend-don't-break structure into the 80s or 70s.
|Rigoberto Sanchez||6'1, 190||Sr.||74||45.1||2||18||27||60.8%|
|Rigoberto Sanchez||6'1, 190||Sr.||22||64.2||14||0||63.6%|
|Rigoberto Sanchez||6'1, 190||Sr.||23-24||3-4||75.0%||5-7||71.4%|
|Keelan Ewaliko||KR||5'11, 200||Jr.||22||26.3||1|
|Nick Nelson||PR||6'0, 200||Jr.||19||7.4||0|
|Special Teams S&P+||11|
|Field Goal Efficiency||29|
|Punt Return Success Rate||37|
|Kick Return Success Rate||78|
|Punt Success Rate||10|
|Kickoff Success Rate||37|
9. Special teams will be an (actual) strength
If you have to punt a lot, you might as well have a great punter. And Rigoberto Sanchez's 45-yard average, combined with a pretty low rate of returnability, may have made him one of Hawaii's better weapons. But the special teams unit had a few of them -- Sanchez was also good at kickoffs and showed good accuracy on deep field goals. Plus, Nick Nelson was almost as good at gaining seven to 10 yards on punt returns as he was at breaking up passes. Keelan Ewaliko was an inconsistent but explosive kick returner, as well.
All three of these players return in 2016, and another top-20 rating in Special Teams S&P+ is conceivable.
2016 Schedule & Projection Factors
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|8-Oct||at San Jose State||92||-12.1||24%|
|22-Oct||at Air Force||80||-16.3||17%|
|5-Nov||at San Diego State||55||-20.9||11%|
|19-Nov||at Fresno State||94||-11.9||24%|
|Projected wins: 3.9|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||-32.1% (115)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||102 / 100|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||-23 / -16.5|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||-2.5|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||67% (66%, 69%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||3.8 (-0.8)|
10. The start of the season is unfair
Hawaii enters 2016 with a roster that appears deeper than it was last fall and features a solid offensive line, a play-making defensive end, and experience most everywhere else. The Warriors might not have the pieces to be efficient enough offensively, and they might retreat into a bend-don't-break that's a little too flexible. Still, they seem to be set up to improve in 2016.
Now look at the schedule and tell me how much that matters. Hawaii opens in Sydney, then travels to Ann Arbor, returns home for a week, and heads to Tucson. The Warriors play five projected top-70 opponents, four are away from home, and three are in the first four weeks.
That is insane. Purely insane. Hawaii's always going to have to travel pretty silly miles, but ... Hawaii to Sydney to Ann Arbor to Hawaii to Arizona, all before September 20. (Here's where you're free to make your own "...all while going to class" remark.)
If the Warriors can maintain some semblance of morale and health, they might find some wins. They do get a bye week after Arizona, and of their nine remaining opponents, six are projected 90th or worse. If UH overachieves its No. 118 projection, then getting to 5-8 or 6-7 wouldn't be out of the question. But a brutal September and a barrage of injuries ended any hope last year. There's at least a chance that the same thing happens this time around.
If nothing else, though, Rolovich knew exactly what he was getting into.