Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
2012 SEASON IN REVIEW: Hawaii brought in a new head coach for 2012 in Norm
Chow, the former offensive architect for all of those highly successful USC
squads only a few short years ago, but it made little difference for the
Coincidentally, Hawaii had the pleasure of opening up the season against said
Trojans and were blown away on the mainland, 49-10. Two weeks later the
Warriors did pick up their first win of the campaign, albeit against Lamar at
home in a 54-2 rout. Unfortunately, from there the next two months were all
down hill for Chow and his players as the team suffered through an eight-game
slide, the bulk of those setbacks coming against new conference foes from the
Mountain West Conference, after the program made the switch from the Western
The team was able to put an end to the swoon with a 48-10 romp over UNLV in
late November, marking the first win against an MWC opponent as well as
another program from the Football Bowl Subdivision. A week after, the squad
also claimed a 23-7 triumph over South Alabama outside of conference play in
order to finish with a very disappointing 3-9 record overall and a 1-7 MWC
mark, leaving the Warriors in a tie for ninth place in the standings.
After having one of the most aggressive passing offenses in the nation over
the last decade, the Warriors found themselves languishing in the seventh spot
in the MWC and 98th in the country overall in 2012 with a mere 188.8 passing
ypg. Put that together with a traditionally weak running game and it is no
surprise that Hawaii ended up 118th in total offense with a mere 297.4 ypg,
leading to just 21.2 ppg (tied for 100th), a number that was significantly
skewed by the 102 combined points tallied against the Cardinals and Rebels.
Add to that a scoring defense which was last in the league and 104th in the
country with 35.7 ppg allowed and Hawaii was a disappointment from all angles.
OFFENSE: Even before taking the field, the offense for the Warriors has taken
a significant hit, with coach Chow dismissing offensive coordinator Aaron
Price already. Price only joined the program in February, but Chow chose to
cut ties with the Washington State product due to issues that were not
divulged. Instead of filling the position, Chow plans on expanding the roles
of two graduate assistants who will be working with the quarterbacks and wide
receivers and will himself oversee the offense as a whole. Prior to taking
over the Hawaii program, Chow was an offensive coordinator himself, most
notably with the high-powered USC Trojans under Pete Carroll.
Following Chow's pro-set offense, Sean Schroeder was expected to be reprising
his role as the team's starting quarterback. After spending two years at Duke,
Schroeder earning the starting job last year and threw for close to 1,900
yards and 11 touchdowns, but he converted fewer than 50 percent of his
attempts and was picked off 12 times, so there's still plenty of growth to be
However, Schroeder is coming off back surgery and missed the entire spring,
opening the door for Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham to compete for the
"All the QBs are doing a good job of pushing Taylor and we're breeding good
competition within the group," noted quarterbacks coach Jordan Wynn the first
week of August.
The good news for whomever is under center is that there's a laundry list of
returning starters along the offensive line to provide protection and give the
signal-caller time to seek out receivers such as Billy Ray Stutzmann who led
the group with 35 catches for 447 yards a year ago. However, Stutzmann never
made it into the end zone, something he and the coaching staff would like to
"I believe, in every team it all starts up front, the O- and D-line," notes
offensive line coach Chris Naeole about the importance of players in the
Keeping the ball on the ground has never been a strong suit for the Warriors,
but the team still has a decent threat in Joey Iosefa who is the top returning
ball carrier after producing 463 yards and a score on 125 attempts through
eight games a season ago.
DEFENSE: Opponents jumped all over the Hawaii defense in the first half a year
ago, scoring not only 118 points in the first quarter, compared to a mere 55
points for the Warriors, but also adding another 139 in the second frame which
means those foes combined for more points in the first 30 minutes (257) than
Hawaii had in all four periods (254).
The unit really didn't have a single, standout performer on the defensive side
of the ball, as no one recorded more than 56 total tackles. However, that's
not to say that guys like Art Laurel and Beau Yap cannot be decisive factors
from one play to the next. Credited with 21 starts over the last two years,
Laurel is the leader of the linebacking corps, having posted four sacks and
13.5 tackles for loss in 2012.
Now a junior, Yap led all linemen with 10.5 TFL and three sacks, but he'll
need support from the interior guys if he hopes to get off the end quickly and
once again cause havoc in the backfield.
SPECIAL TEAMS: The bad news for the Warriors is that they need to find a
replacement for all-American punter Alex Dunnachie, who averaged an impressive
46.2 yards per punt a year ago. Oddly enough, the likely substitute should be
Scott Harding who stepped in and punted 15 times in 2012, but averaged only
34.7 yards per kick. It is an odd transition based on the fact that Harding
was also the team's top punt returner a year ago, bringing back one of his 23
tries for a touchdown. Harding will again be penciled in as the top returner
and could also find himself on kickoff returns as well, as long as it doesn't
become an issue with his other primary duties.
The placekicking will be handled by Tyler Hadden once again. Perfect on his 29
PATs, Hadden did have some issues with field goals overall, connecting on only
13-of-21 chances, with just three makes on six chances between 30-39 yards.
OUTLOOK: For a multitude of reasons, Hawaii was picked to finish last in the
West Division of the MWC this season. The coaching staff is still settling in
and trying to find a comfort zone in Honolulu and it certainly didn't help
that Price was sent packing so close to the start of the season.
As they did last year, the Warriors will again open against USC, albeit at
home this time around. Unfortunately, after that the team travels to both
Oregon State and Nevada. Playing on the road is never easy for Hawaii,
considering the heavy burden of long distances to locales on the mainland, but
facing off against Navy in Annapolis the second week of November will surely
be a tough test. Conversely, for programs to travel to the island, that
sometimes works in favor of the Warriors, but there are few weak visitors on
the schedule this year.
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