After a 2013 season that Norm Chow and the Warriors cannot wait to move on from, Mountain West media days signals the unofficial start of the 2014 season, and a fresh start for Hawaii. Can they climb out of the MWC cellar and maybe make a play for a bowl bid in 2014? Or will it be another early trip to the beach this December? Here's a collection of quotes from Chow, Beau Yap, and Joey Iosefa:
HEAD COACH NORM CHOW
On what excites him most about his team
"We're disappointed in the way we've played, but we finally have some Senior leadership with some older guys with experience. In order to get where you want to go, you have to have that kind of leadership and maturity. We return five offensive lineman who started one time or an another, we have a senior running back, and a lot of seniors in our front seven so we're excited about that"
On where he wants to see the most improvement in the offense
"Just some consistency, with the ability to finish. Last year, we were in a majority of our games but we lost a couple in overtime here and there. So our ability to finish, and that comes with the leadership with the seniors, that gives us the optimism and hope to get over that next hump.
On last year's finish (two OT games, one win), and what does that mean for this year
"It gave us that hope, and that optimism. Our mantra this year has been 'Finish', and I think the constant reminder that we have to do that will help us in the long run"
On making the switch from the 4-3 to 3-4
"We'll spend some time in both 4-3 and 3-4. We have a defensive coordinator that we're really excited about, Kevin Clune, who came from Utah State."
On Hawaii's biggest strength defensively
"It has to be our front seven. This league is so tough, that you have to be able to put pressure on the Quarterback. I feel like we finally have some depth on the defensive line, our linebacking crew is nice and solid with some veterans and good athletes, so the front seven has to be the key, and you have to play good defense to have a chance to win."
On how he defines success for Hawaii Football this year
"Everyone measures it by the numbers, and your job depends on it, but I don't, I've been around a long time. Just by the effort, I want to know that we got everything we can out of these players, and for the most part last year, we got that. I saw the look in these young people's eyes when the game was over, and I knew they gave me everything they had, so we just got to hope for a break or two and get lucky"
On the perception of Hawaii Football from the media members
"Obviously there's a lot of improvement that needs to be made, and we understand that, but I think there's a respect around the league for the way we play and how hard we play. We just need to get over that hump and finish, and I think everyone realizes that, especially our players"
On Hawaii's preseason MWC ranking (12th place)
On Quarterback situation
Chow on the QB situation..."We're going to have to decide very quickly who our starting quarterback will be." #hawaiifb— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) July 23, 2014
On Senior RB Joey Iosefa
Chow on Iosefa..."We're hopeful he stays healthy. With Joey in the lineup, he makes a big difference and everyone saw that last year."— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) July 23, 2014
On new Quarterback coach Jordan Wynn (Former Utah QB)
Chow says Wynn will be doing more of the play-calling this year— Lya Wodraska (@LyaWodraska) July 23, 2014
This could be interesting considered Hawaii is without an Offensive Coordinator for 2014. (It's Norm)
"It's hard to be both, I've talked about it with Kyle [Wittingham] since he tried it, and he said the same thing. But Jordan is doing a terrific job. He has more anticipatoin and understanding of the game than most younger guys."
SENIOR RB JOEY IOSEFA
On last year's close loses
On being picked 12th in MWC
"We’re going to play with a chip on our shoulder. Just take one game at a time. We had a great offseason training, so we know what we can do. Not a lot of teams are going to expect what’s coming from us this year."
On why finishing games is so important for success in 2014
"If you look back to last year, we had a couple of close games, but we didn't finish. We took everything from last season and we've learned from it and we're going to try and carry it on to this year. It's so meaningful for us to try and finish every play this year to get us over the hump from last year."
On his late season surge last year (586 yards, 5 TDs in last four games)
"It wasn't a surprise for me, just a part of me attitude those last four games. I was more hungry after sitting out those games and seeing my teammates out there without me"
SENIOR DE BEAU YAP
On last year's close loses
Adds Beau Yap: "That's (finish) our team motto this year. We're not going out the way we did last year." #hawaiifb— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) July 23, 2014
On the offseason
On new 3-4 defense
Yap on the retooled 3-4 defense: "It's fun to play in. We're going to be attacking a lot, it should be exciting." #HawaiiFB— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) July 23, 2014
On being picked to finish last in MWC
"It was expected to be picked last because of our record last year, but it’s just a piece of motivation that we use to train even harder and prepare ourselves mentally and physically for the season"
On tough non-conference schedule
"It's exciting to play teams of that caliber from the Pac-12. It's going to be a test for our team to see where we're at, and how much we've improved from last season"
On being an undersized defensive lineman (6-2, 290)
"Being short has it's advantages, especially in the run game when you can be lower than the offensive lineman, but it's also the drive factor of wanting to prove that I can play with the big guys and prove people wrong"
On UCLA transfer Jeremy Castro
"He bring pure athleticism to our defense. He can cover like any other linebacker, but he's a natural pass rusher off the edge and a good athlete."
Now that we're through media days, we're less than 40 days from kickoff and we're in the homestretch of--NORM JOEY PUT THAT DOWN YOU'LL JINX YOURSELF