SI.com 2003 College Football Preview




SI.com's College Football Team Previews - from Athlon Sports

  Hawaii Warriors

 
The Lowdown
Coach: June Jones (5th year, 31-20)
2002 record: 10-4 (Lost to Tulane 36-28 in Hawaii Bowl)
WAC finish: 2nd
2002 offensive stats:
Rush: 109.5 ypg
(10th in WAC, 100th in nation)
Pass: 386.1 ypg (1st, 2nd)
2002 defensive stats:
Rush: 168.7 ypg (5th, 79th)
Pass: 226.3 ypg (2nd, 71st)
Projected Starters
Offense (6 returning starters in bold)
WR  84  Britton Komine  Jr. 
WR   2   Chad Owens   Jr.  
WR   4   Nate Ilaoa   So.  
WR   19   Jeremiah Cockheran   Sr.  
LT  64  Samson Satele  Fr. 
LG   77   Shayne Kajioka   Sr.  
59  Derek Faavi  So. 
RG   69   Uriah Moenoa   Jr.  
RT  72  Dane Uperesa  Fr. 
QB   14   Timmy Chang   Jr.  
RB  Mike Bass  Jr. 
Defense (7)
DE   93   Houston Ala   Sr.  
DT   97   Isaac Sopoaga   Sr.  
DT   92   Lance Samuseva   Sr.  
DE  Travis LaBoy  Sr. 
LB  46  Keani Alapa  Sr. 
LB  56  Chad Kalilimoku  Sr. 
LB  51  Ikaika Curnan  So. 
CB   37   Abraham Elimimian   Jr.  
CB   3   Kelvin Millhouse   Sr.  
FS   17   David Gilmore   Sr.  
SS   33   Hyrum Peters   Sr.  
Special Teams
47  Justin Ayat  Jr. 
Tim Wright  So. 
KR  Chad Owens  Jr. 
PR  Chad Owens  Jr. 
2003 Schedule
Aug. 30  Appalachian State 
Sept. 13  at USC 
Sept. 19  at UNLV 
Sept. 27  Rice 
Oct. 4  at Tulsa 
Oct. 11  Fresno State 
Oct. 18  at Louisiana Tech 
Oct. 25  UTEP 
Nov. 1  at San Jose State 
Nov. 15  at Nevada 
Nov. 22  Army 
Nov. 29  Alabama 
Dec. 6  Boise State 
Here's some bad news for Western Athletic Conference coaches. June Jones, known for putting together high-powered run-and-shoot offenses, is actually spending more time talking about his defense.

"I think we're going to be better defensively this year since any time I've been here," Jones said. "This is the best talent we've ever had defensively on campus."

Considering that the Warriors are coming off an impressive 10-4 season in which Hawaii ranked third in the WAC in total defense and second in passing efficiency defense, that's quite a statement. The scary thing is that the Warriors, led by junior quarterback Timmy Chang and electrifying receiver/return man Chad Owens, should field one of the nation's top offenses again this season. Hawaii ranked eighth in the nation in scoring a year ago with a 35.9 average.

OFFENSIVE KEYS:

Hawaii has begun pumping Chang for the Heisman Trophy. And why not? Barring serious injury, Chang figures to shatter Ty Detmer's NCAA career passing mark of 15,031 yards. With two seasons still to go, Chang already has thrown for 8,615 yards and 50 touchdowns. Chang should be helped by the fact that four of the Warriors' top five receivers return and will be joined in the fall by talented freshman Jason Rivers .

The one loss, however, is a big one. Slotback Justin Colbert finished second in the WAC with 92 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight scores. Colbert's replacement likely will be junior Britton Komine, who had a team-high 10 touchdown receptions and caught 58 passes. The other slotback, Owens, had 47 receptions despite missing four games with a knee injury.

The two wide receivers will be senior Jeremiah Cockheran, who had nine receptions for a career-high 207 yards in the Warriors' loss to Alabama, and sophomore Nate Ilaoa, who had 46 receptions despite playing much of the season with a painful shoulder injury that required offseason surgery.

Just how potent Hawaii's offense will be depends on how quickly respected offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh can rebuild a line that lost two All-WAC players in guard Vince Manuwai and center Lui Fuata. Another ex-starter, left tackle Wayne Hunter, was a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks.

DEFENSIVE KEYS:

The defensive line, led by senior tackles Isaac Sopoaga, a second team All-WAC choice, and Lance Samuseva, is the deepest and arguably the most talented part of the defense.

The Warriors must replace all three starters at linebacker, but Jones is high on the talent and potential of their replacements.

All four starters return in the secondary, including first-team All-WAC safety Hyrum Peters and standout senior cornerback Kelvin Millhouse.

SPECIAL TEAMS:

The Warriors suffered a big loss with the graduation of first team All-WAC punter Mat McBriar, who averaged 44.8 yards on 48 punts. Sophomore Tim Wright, who averaged 43.5 yards at Southwest Mississippi College, will try to fill McBriar's big shoes. Junior Justin Ayat returns for his third season as placekicker.

The return game, featuring Owens, who set two NCAA return records against BYU as a freshman, should be one of the best in the WAC.

FINAL ANALYSIS:

It's scary to think of how good Hawaii can be if its defense is as good as Jones is hinting. The offense, led by Chang, appears to be loaded at the skill positions. The big question is, will a young and rebuilt offensive line be able to give the oft-injured Chang time to utilize all his weapons? Defensively, Hawaii needs to get solid play from a talented but inexperienced group of linebackers. The Warriors must hit the road for six of their 13 games this year, which could catch up to them later in the year. The good news is that key WAC games against Fresno State and Boise State are in Honolulu.

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