Here is a look at Hawaii's offense heading into the 2013 season.
Sean Schroeder was the starter last year and he is returning for his senior season. In 2012 he completed 176 of 345 pass attempts for 1889 yards and a 51 percent completion. The Duke transfer started to impress as the year moved on and he should continue to get better again in 2013. One thing that will need to be cut out is the number of interceptions (12) that overtook the amount of TD's (11). Of course not all the blame can be put on Schroeder when throwing behind the porous line protecting him.
Despite the improvement shown it is the Ohio State transfer Taylor Graham that all the eyes will be on in 2013. Graham is a pocket passer that is intelligent and will be able to do what is asked of him in the system Chow employs. He comes to UH after a different style of offense was installed at Ohio State that didn't suit his game so he ended up sitting last year out. He is likely to be the starter but he's had a checkered history with injuries in high school so Schroeder could well be playing a lot too even after the back surgery he had in the off season. An interesting note is that Graham has been named as a team captain, an honor given to Schroeder last time out.
Projection: Graham, Schroeder, Higgins, Woolsey.
Last year Hawaii ran the ball nearly 400 times. Expect that to increase slightly this year with head coach Norm Chow hoping to create a more balanced offense than in previous years. The loss of Will Gregory is also a big blow to the running game. Steven Lakalaka should get the nod to lead the rushing attack should Joey Iosefa not be ready week 1 after having an impressive scrimmage that saw him rush for 106 yards and 2 TD's with 23 touches. Iosefa is hoping to be back for the opener having missed some time due to a displaced fracture in his left foot. He will be Hawaii's No. 1 guy when he reaches full fitness after playing second fiddle to Gregory last year. He rushed for 463 Yards and one touchdown off 125 carries last season averaging 3.7 yards. The offense is open for someone to step up, be it Lakalaka, Wily or Anguay to be a secondary rushing threat that Iosefa was to Gregory.
Projection: Iosefa, Lakalaka, Wily, Anguay.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Wide receiver and tight end is going to be a strength of this offense this year. There is an array of talent to spread across a 4 receiver rotation. A big bodied player will be needed and thats where one of the Tight Ends needs to step up and become a pass catching threat. At the moment its looking like Clark Evans will be the starter at Tight End. There should be ample opportunities for Evans to be a legitimate threat in the system Chow wants to employ. Craig Cofer and junior fullback Marcus Langkilde could also help catching passes in the shorter range.
At receiver Chris Gant will be looking to build on his 22 receptions and team leading three touchdowns from last season. Billy Ray Stutzmann who had a team best 35 receptions for 447 yards last year is still to come back into the team after he has recovered from his injury. Scott Harding and Vasquez Haybes will be the other starters. Other players that could see time at X,Y or Z are Ammon Barker, Daniel Masifilo, Donnie King, Allen Sampson, Duke Bukoski and Bubba Poueu-Luna.
X - Chris Gant/Marcus Kemp
Y- Scott Harding
Z- Vasquez Haynes, Keith Kirkwood
Tight End: Evans, Cofer, Langkilde, Pu-u Robinson
The offensive line is the biggest concern on the offense. Last year it was pretty much non existent and the quarterback had little to no protection. Injuries have also been a concern in camp and the group is thin across each position. Chauncey Winchester-Makainai and Jordan Loeffler have signed medical retirement papers. Both players would have been valuable to the group if they had stayed healthy and will be a considerable loss. At this moment the starting group is looking like it will be:
LT- Sean Shigematsu
LG- Mike Milovale
C- Ben Clarke
RG- Kody Afusia
RT- Frank Loyd Jr.
Sully Wiefels, Dave Lefotu, RJ Hollis, John Wa‘a, Brenden Urban, Leo Koloamatangi and David Griffin are the players that will be the swingmen and will be called upon if the line continues to struggle like last year. No doubt there will be tweaks before and during the season as Chow and his assistants look to build the best possible solution.
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