Rainbow Warriors Recap – Week 2 of Hawai’i Spring Football News, Notes & Observations

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED FEB 17, 2023

HONOLULU — With the second week of early spring practice in the books for the University of Hawai’i football team, coaches and players left the turf smiling and feeling good heading into the midway point of camp. 

The ‘Bows finished the short week, which started with Monday off due to head coach Timmy Chang’s belief that the day after the Super Bowl is NOT for working, with a scrimmage that saw the first, second and third-string units take the field for the offense and defense. 

While week one was a bit slower paced to get players used to each other’s tendencies once again, week two was much quicker from the jump and saw all three phases of the team increase in intensity. 

Installation of the Run-N-Shoot offense that the Rainbow Warriors will run this season has been smooth thus far, but it was the defense showing off Friday that it won’t be a unit to be forgotten this season. 

The ‘Bows defense added multiple key pieces this offseason via the transfer portal to an improving group of players, like Wyoming transfer Cam Stone. The defensive back was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection in 2022 and has made his presence felt in a talented DB room that continues to see growth among returning players like JoJo Forest. 

“I think [the coaching staff] really focused on bringing in some guys in on defense and the defense looks really good out there,” starting quarterback Brayden Schager said following practice. “I think we have a really good defense and that’s just going to continue to help me and the receivers as we try to develop this Run-N-Shoot. Going against a good defense really helps that.” 

Forest, Stone, and the rest of the defense used the rain on Friday to their advantage, punching the ball away from receivers a few times while also getting some pressure from the defensive line.

While conditions were not necessarily ideal for the offense on Friday, the unit did collectively get better as the practice progressed. 

Chang consistently works with his quarterbacks separately, making the signal-callers run some routes against air while the others throw passes to them. With rain added into the mix, some drops were expected but still not accepted. 

The ‘Bows then worked the offense together a bit more, adding skill position players to the mix with quarterbacks to run concepts together. 

Offensive and defensive linemen each worked in their own groups, as the pure size of the athletes were on display. The offensive line will be incredibly important this season, as establishing the running game will be essential for opening the offense. 

Arasi Mose, the St. Louis School product, took reps with the first-team offensive line, along with Luke Felix-Fualalo, Sergio Muasau, Zhen Sotelo and Maurice Ta’ala. With over 1,600 pounds of athleticism between them, the hope is that they will help the ‘Bows keep a pristine pocket and open holes in the running game with ease.

Schager continued to take the first-team QB reps, while Joey Yellen worked behind him with the second-string offense. Jake Farrell, the sophomore QB from Arizona, took third-team reps to close out the scrimmage portion of practice. 

“We’re continuing to get more comfortable, the timing with the receivers is getting there,” Schager said of the offense. “This early spring [practice period] really helps us develop [that on-field chemistry]. We can continue to get better [in the rain] but we’re using the weather to our advantage for that right now.” 

Spring football practices will continue to run for the ‘Bows until March 3, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7 A.M. to 9 A.M. on the campus of UH-Manoa.