Coach: June Jones (7th season, 48–30) 2004 record: 8-5 (Beat UAB in Hawaii Bowl) WAC finish: 4-4 (5th) 2004 I-A offensive rankings: Rushing: 108th (95.9 ypg) Passing: 2nd (338.6 ypg) 2004 I-A defensive rankings: Rushing: 117th (252.6 ypg) Passing: 83rd (235.2 ypg)
at Michigan State
at Louisiana Tech
New Mexico State
at San Jose State
San Diego State
Depth Chart: Offense
4 returning starters in red
Depth Chart: Defense
6 returning starters in red
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Hawaii coach June Jones is the first to admit it will be a little strange not having Timmy Chang on the sidelines anymore.
After all, Chang, who last season shattered Ty Detmer's NCAA career passing mark with 17,072 yards and 117 touchdowns, was a starter since Jones' second year as head coach of the Warriors back in 2000. Chang even started the first three games in the 2001 campaign before redshirting with a wrist injury.
"It's not going to be the same, that's for sure," Jones said. "He was here for five years and he'll be missed."
Jones auditioned five quarterbacks in spring practice to try and find a replacement for Chang but said he won't name a starter until the fall. That's when junior college transfer Colt Brennan of Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif., gets a chance to show what he can do.
But the Warriors, who are coming off an 8-5 season and wild 59-40 victory over UAB in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, also have some major rebuilding to do at other spots on the squad. The hard-hit areas include running back, linebacker and wide receiver, where All-America slotback/returner Chad Owens is among three starters who must be replaced.
"The team this year will be very young," Jones said. "We're obviously in a rebuilding stage. But I think we'll be real competitive. By midseason, I think we'll be pretty solid."
Sophomore quarterback Jack Rolovich, younger brother of former Hawaii quarterback Nick Rolovich, has the strongest arm of the five quarterbacks in the running while Kainoa Akina, who started seven games at Eastern Michigan in '01, is the most experienced. Senior Jeff Rhode and two freshmen, Tyler Graunke and Inoke Funaki, who spent the last two years on an LDS Church mission, are also in the running. Junior college transfer, and former Colorado backup, Brennan will be a walk-on this fall, after throwing for 2,532 yards, 23 touchdowns and four interceptions during the regular season last year.
The two top running backs in Hawaii's one-back offense, Michael Brewster and West Keliikipi, both graduated, leaving the position pretty thin. The frontrunner is converted slotback Nate Ilaoa, who has played in just one game the last two seasons while battling knee and shoulder injuries.
The Warriors were hit hardest by graduation at wide receiver where three starters, including Owens (17 touchdowns), move on. A fourth starter, Jason Rivers, missed spring practice while attending a community college to earn some missed credits.
The offensive line, which returns four starters, should be the strength of the offense.
Former NFL head coach Jerry Glanville, 63, who hasn't been on the sidelines since 1993 when he was fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, was hired as the team's defensive coordinator and will oversee the rebuilding of the team's shaky defense.
Senior defensive end Melila Purcell, who was an honorable mention All-WAC pick after finishing with 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, returns to anchor a veteran defensive line that could be one of the best in the WAC.
The biggest changes could come at linebacker, where Jones said he will take a long look at four true freshmen recruits in fall practice.
The secondary must find a replacement for cornerback Abraham Elimimian, a first team All-WAC performer. But junior Kenny Patton returns at the other corner spot and senior Turmarian Moreland also saw plenty of action a year ago.
Justin Ayat, who kicked 59 field goals in his four years as the team's placekicker, graduated, and Jones was still looking for a replacement in the spring.
Punter Kurt Milne, who ranked third in the conference with a 39.9 average, returns for his junior year. But the big loss will be Owens, who returned an amazing five punts for touchdowns last season.
The Warriors open the season at home against two-time defending national champion USC. Michigan State and Wisconsin also dot a very difficult non-conference schedule.
Hawaii has traditionally struggled badly on the mainland, but this year the Warriors have winnable road trips to Idaho, San Jose State and Nevada. And the Warriors play five of their last seven contests at home at the always-tough Aloha Stadium.