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Hawaii football: Zak Hill named offensive coordinator, other staff additions

In a little less than a day after Nick Rolovich retained Jake Cookus, he brings back former Warrior Brian Smith to help with the offense and names his offensive coordinator.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It didn't take new Head Coach Nick Rolovich long to get going. He has already retained three coaches from the previous administration and has added more to the mix. Yesterday the team announced Brian Smith, a former offensive lineman and assistant at UH, would be brought back to Hawaii to be a part of the new staff. Smith is the fourth coach to be hired by Rolovich.

Brian Smith will join UH after spending three season with Occidental College as their offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. While at Occidental, Smith led the Tigers to average 33.8 points (56th) and 480.6 yards per game (23rd) in 2015.

The Tigers were led by conference player of the year Kwame Do. He ran for a single-season record of 1,571 yards and 13 touchdowns. Do was 2nd in Division III in rushing and ended his career as the league's career rushing leader. He ran for 1,000 yards each year Smith was a coach with Occidental.

Key Offensive Statistics of the 2015 Occidental Tigers under Brian Smith:

  • 33rd in 3rd down conversions at 44.9%
  • 17th in giveaways with 12 total (6 ints and 6 fumbles)
  • 3rd in red zone offense converting 91.9% of their chances and 85% of their scores were touchdowns

He also was the starting center for Hawaii from 1998-2001 which included two seasons with Rolovich. In 2008 he served under Greg McMackin as the offensive line coach and then transitioned to running backs coach in 2009-2011. During this time UH saw its run game elevated to a whole new level. The team rushed for 106.6 yards per game (1,942 yards total) in 2010. They were led by Alex green who finished 2010 with 1,199 yards rushing, which is the second highest total in school history. He was later drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 3rd round in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Rolovich hopes that Smith will lend a hand in resurrecting the Hawaii offense saying, "Brian brings offensive coordinator experience to our program. He's a former Warrior player and coach with a high level of offensive knowledge and understanding and pride of the University of Hawai'i."

His role on the team remains to be seen with offensive line coach Chris Naeole already on staff and...

Zak Hill from Eastern Washington being named the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this morning.

Hill's tenure at Eastern Washington consisted of two years as a student assistant and seven as a full-time assistant serving as their quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. They were top ten in scoring four times, six times for total offense and eight times in passing. This season he helped lead the team to become the top pass attack, averaging 353.3 yards per game also ranking 9th in total offense with 478.5 yards per game and 19th in scoring with 34.6 points per game.

Jordan West was the starting quarterback and he ranked 2nd in the FCS with 300.2 yards through the air with 30 touchdowns. During Hill's time with EWU they won their conference (the Big Sky) six times and were the 2010 FCS national champions.

Key Statistics of the 2015 Eastern Washington Eagles under Hill:

  • 9th in passing efficiency with a rating of 155.68
  • 26th in 3rd down conversions, converting 44.5% of opportunities
  • 36th in red zone scoring, converting on 82.2% of their trips and scoring touchdowns on 91.9% of all scores

Adams Jr. totaled 10,438 passing yards with 110 touchdowns and only 31 interceptions. He added 1205 rushing yards and 11 more touchdowns on the ground. In his best season he led the Eagles to a 12-3 record and totaled nearly 5,000 passing yards with 605 yards rushing and accounted for 59 total touchdowns (55 passing).

While mentoring Adams, the football team broke school and conference records in 2014 in scoring (44.1 ppg) and total touchdowns (84). They ranked 1st in the nation in scoring, 2nd in passing and 3rd in total was equally as impressive at Central Washington. In his career he completed 60.2% of his passes for a total of 8,882 yards and 76 touchdowns all the while breaking more than 20 Division II records. In 2013 his playing career was honored as he was inducted into the Wildcat Hall of Fame.

Rolovich hopes to have Hill's success with quarterbacks continued at UH noting that he's heard his name for a while now and saw him work first hand at various quarterbacks camps. He said, "I've enjoyed how he's dealt with the kids. He's a well-respected offensive mind and has been with a program that's been consistently successful for many years. I believe who he is as a person will fit perfectly with the local culture."

It looks as though Nick Rolovich is working his tail off to get this program off to a great start in 2016. He seems to be committed to bring in talented young coaches to help him with "Pride Rock". He also remains very vigilant on the recruiting front already re-securing multiple local recruits and bringing back a highly regarded lineman from UCLA. With so much activity coming from "Rolo" just weeks after being hired, it is hard not to be excited about Hawaii football right now.