NCAA Football

2010 NCAA Football Preview: Hawaii Warriors

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2009 Record: 6-7 (3-5 in WAC)
2009 Bowl: None
Final 2009 AP Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Greg McMackin (13-14 at Hawaii, 8-8 in the WAC)
Non-Conference Schedule: USC (9/2), at Army (9/11), at Colorado (9/18), Charleston Southern (9/25), UNLV (12/4)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 22.8 points per game (7th in WAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 100 (8th in WAC, 109th in Nation)
Passing Yards/Game: 337 (1st in WAC, 3rd in Nation)
Total Yards/Game: 437 (5th in WAC)

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 29.5 points per game (5th in WAC)
Rushing Yards/Game: 201 (5th in WAC)
Passing Yards/Game: 201 (4th in WAC)
Total Yards/Game: 403 (3rd in WAC)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: -0.85 per game (last in WAC)
Penalties: 50 yards per game (4th in WAC, 113th in Nation)

Returning Starters
Offense: 6
Defense: 7
Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Bryant Moniz, Jr (182 of 319 for 2396 yds, 14 TD, 10 INT)
Rushing: RB Alex Green, Sr (86 carries for 453 yds, 5.2 ypc, 2 TD)
Receiving: WR Greg Salas, Sr (106 rec, 1590 yds, 8 TD, 8.2 rec/game)
Tackles: FS Spencer Smith, Sr (77); SS Mana Silva, Sr (74)
Sacks: LB Corey Paredes, Jr (4)
Interceptions: SS Mana Silva, Sr (6)

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Athlon Sports: #94
Pre-Snap Read: #70

2010 Pre-Season WAC Prediction
Athlon Sports: #6
Phil Steele: #5 (tied with Utah State)
Sports Illustrated: #6

Bowl Predictions:
Phil Steele: Hawaii Bowl (vs. SMU)

Hawaii started off 2009 with 2 wins before dropping 6 straight games (5 in the WAC). Hawaii started to right the ship at the end of the season with a 4 game winning streak that included a win over Navy before dropping their season finale to Wisconsin. Hawaii finished 6-7 last year but had a team that returned just 1 starter on defense. This year they are a more experience team and it should translate to better results on the field. Outside of USC and Boise State every game on the schedule is winnable. We caught up with Tombo Ahi of the Hawaii blog  earlier this summer to find out more about the 2010 Warriors of Hawaii.

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the Warriors?

The defensive tackles will be the heart of the team. Lots of talented players will be competing for time, including Vaughn Meatoga, Haku Correa and Kaniela Tuipulotu. Whoever starts, the second and third string will rotate in extensively and will not represent a big drop-off in talent. On the other hand, the defensive ends are largely unproven and some freshmen may see the field early on. The offensive line will have to replace three starters, so they too are unproven and will need to gel quickly. If they do, the talented and experienced receiving corps will have a field day.... as long as the QB situation is resolved quickly in fall camp. Incumbent starter Bryant Moniz did not participate in spring practice due to personal reasons and will have to win back the starting job.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test?

UH opens with USC at home. No matter what kind of offseason drama USC has gone through, they're still USC, and they'll likely have something to prove in their opening game. After that is a very important road trip to New York to play Army followed by a swing over to Boulder to play Colorado. UH cannot come out of the first three games 0-3.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?


Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

Being that this team is known for their passing offense, the running backs get little attention. But the rotation of senior running backs Alex Green and Chizzy Dimude will put on a show this season. Green was the backup last year, but actually had more carries than the starter and had some brilliant runs, averaging 5.3 yards a carry. Dimude didn't get much playing time, but he showed some flashes of what he can do. He's quick, tough and can outrun a lot of guys. Ridiculous prediction: 1500 yards of combined offense between the two.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

Senior slotback Greg Salas. He had nearly 1600 yards receiving last year and should be the go-to guy again this year. He doesn't have blazing speed, but he knows how to get open, makes tough catches and fights for the yards-after-catch.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

Junior defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga. He's one of the most talented players, a leader and should be the heart of the heart of the defense. If he and the other tackles can cause havoc, they'll open up the rest of the defense to make plays.

What player needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it's full capability?

Sophomore linebacker/defensive end Paipai Falemalu. He played defensive end all of last year, but was moved to linebacker after spring practice. He may be jumping back and forth throughout the season. Regardless of where he plays, he needs to be on the field. He recorded 5.5 tackles-for-loss as a backup and should be able to double that total.

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

UH was woeful in converting red-zone scoring opportunities last year. Junior college transfer Darius Bright is a 6-5, 225 lb wide receiver who may need to forgo a redshirt year to play this season. He could make a huge impact in red zone scoring if he can consistently out-jump and out-muscle defenders.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

This is a complete guess, but true freshmen Beau Yap and Dustin Elisara may see some playing time at defensive end. This position is thin and unproven, so the coaches may call on these guys to fill out the depth chart.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

UH was plagued with injuries last season and it was hard to watch the toll it took on the team. They started turning it around in the later half of the season but still wound up with a losing record. This year, a winning record is an absolute must. Any sort of winning record is a success, but my ridiculous prediction is a 9-4 regular season record.

Make sure to keep up to date on Hawaii and the WAC this year by visiting You can also follow Tombo Ahi on Twitter @tomboahi.

Previous WAC Previews: 
Boise State Broncos 
Fresno State Bulldogs
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs  
New Mexico State Aggies

Next Up: Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns

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