Hawai’i Football, The Sistahhood team up for 3rd annual “Sistahhood Social”

Hawai’i Football, The Sistahhood team up for 3rd annual “Sistahhood Social”

Sistahhood Social 2 held on August 19, 2023. Photo Credit: Na Koa Football Club

Hawai’i Football, The Sistahhood team up for 3rd annual “Sistahhood Social”

BY HSRN STAFF
PUBLISHED JUNE 11, 2024

HONOLULU – Just as Cyndi Lauper sang so passionately for the first time in 1983, girls just want to have fun.

Following an incredibly successful second year of the event that saw almost 300 women join together for a night of football-related fun and raised nearly $100,000 for the UH football program, the marquee event for ladies who love football is back for a third iteration as The Sistahhood set the date for “Sistahhood Social 3: Ladies of the 80s” for August 10, 2024.

The event will kick off inside T.C. Ching Complex and is expected to approach/exceed 300 participants again this year for a night filled with food, drinks, chalk talk with coaches, tours of the facility and locker rooms, football drills, a silent auction and more. All women who attend receive a “Swag Bag” filled with Hawai’i-football and Sistahhood-related goodies along with an exclusive “Sistahhood” shirt.

In two years of the event, The Sistahhood has helped raise over $150,000 that went directly to the nutrition of the Hawai’i football team, feeding players by providing snacks, shakes and meals during the season. Spots are expected to fill up quickly, so be sure to secure your spot for the biggest all-women football event in Hawai’i while supporting the ‘Bows in the process!

CLICK HERE to register and for sponsorship opportunities.

sistahhood social 2: Pretty in Pink

PHOTOS COURTESY OF NA KOA FOOTBALL CLUB

Hawai’i much improved but still falls, 3 takeaways from ‘Bows loss at Vanderbilt

Hawai’i much improved but still falls, 3 takeaways from ‘Bows loss at Vanderbilt

Aug 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Hawaii Warriors head coach Timmy Chang yells to his players during the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at FirstBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Hawai’i much improved but still falls, 3 takeaways from ‘Bows loss at Vanderbilt

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED AUG 28, 2023

After falling by seven on Saturday in Nashville, Hawai’i has started three seasons in a row with a loss. For the first time in years, however, there is an overwhelming feeling of positivity in the islands regarding the beloved Rainbow Warriors football team.

That’s enough, you’re here for some ‘Bows takeaways so without further ado…

Here are three ‘Bows takeaways from the season-opening 35-28 loss to Vanderbilt to match the vibes heading into home-opener week versus Stanford. 

1 Hawai’i’s 2022 end-of-season offensive jump was a preview, not a fluke. 

The Rainbow Warriors had a dreadful start to the 2022 college football season, posting just 10 points in the season-opener and flipping between quarterbacks as the staff evaluated what they had at the position (and elsewhere). 

Eventually, Brayden Schager (more on him later) won the starting job and the staff began to implement pieces of the Run-N-Shoot into their scheme. Results immediately followed, as the ‘Bows upped the scoring by four points a game and put up three 30-point performances in the final seven games. Still, questions remained for a Hawai’i program that lost three starters along the offensive line and the team’s top producing receiver (Zion Bowens) and running back (Dedrick Parsons).

Those questions were mostly answered Saturday, and a good part of it has to do with the return to the roots of what made Hawai’i the spectacle of the nation’s late-night game slot. The debut of Timmy Chang’s rendition of the full Run-N-Shoot resulted in the ‘Bows out-gaining the Commodores’ offense by nearly 100 yards and no shortage of weapons at the offense’s disposal. 

At the top of those weapons was redshirt freshman Pofele Ashlock, who reeled in seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown in his first appearance in a ‘Bows uniform. Those numbers were good enough to earn the Texas-native Mountain West Freshman of the Week honors. 

He wasn’t the only receiver to pop for Hawai’i on Saturday, as senior Steven McBride chipped in seven receptions of his own for 98 yards and a pair of touchdown grabs after his offseason transfer from Kansas to UH. Alex Perry, the ‘Bows 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman receiver, enjoyed a nice 2023 debut with four catches for 51 yards against the Commodores.

The most exciting part of Saturday’s offensive performance for Rainbow Warrior fans? There is still another level that the offense can get to.

It was not close to a perfect offensive night, as sophomore tailback Tylan Hines got off to a slow start for the season with just 15 yards on nine carries. UH’s rushing attack was led by sophomore Landon Sims, who finished with 38 yards over nine carries, ripping off a long run of 22 yards. Hawai’i was also without the services of Nasjzaé Bryant-Lelei, the senior bruiser running back who has been out with an injury. The talent is in the room, though it did not pop off the screen in game one. 

2 – Hawai’i has their quarterback, and he’s taking the leap under one of the greatest to do it for the program. 

Brayden Schager came to UH in the summer of 2021 under a different coaching staff and fighting for a chance to be the ‘Bows QB1 of the future. After a mass exodus from the program at the conclusion of that season and a coaching change, Schager found himself back at square one going into his sophomore year of college.

Once again, he was in the center of a quarterback competition while learning a new scheme on a roster that was not yet situated. As the 2022 season continued, Hawai’i’s coaching staff saw an improved Schager as the signal caller settled into the pseudo-Run-N-Shoot scheme that was pieced together midseason. With the positive offensive results, a full out commitment to the RNS was made by the ‘Bows.

Schager ran with it, working in the offseason with former UH quarterbacks coach and guru of the Run-N-Shoot Dan Morrison to improve the rising junior’s understanding of his reads and how to best utilize his abilities. The gunslinger also has benefitted with head coach and former UH record-setting quarterback Timmy Chang working closer to the quarterbacks this season and taking over play caller duties.

If there was anyone for ‘Bows fans to pick to show a young QB how to run this offense to the best potential, Chang would’ve been at the top of the list. During his famed time under center for the Rainbows, Chang finished with over 17,000 yards passing and 117 touchdown passes while leading his home state to the national spotlight. He is still the program’s all-time leader in passing yards, though the late Colt Brennan broke Chang’s TD pass record by tossing 131 of his own. 

While it might be a little late for Schager to reach those career numbers, he certainly jump started his way up the record books with his performance against the Commodores. He set a new career-high, tearing up the Vanderbilt secondary for 351 yards through the air and three touchdown passes. With his first touchdown pass of the night the junior extended a streak of throwing a TD to 10 straight games, dating back to last season. 

There will still be growing pains this year, as evidenced by a pair of back-breaking interceptions against Vandy during an otherwise-spectacular performance for the junior. While the timing of the picks was poor, Schager was surgical otherwise while showing off a cannon-right arm that uncorked a few ‘Schager Bombs’ while igniting the ‘Bows offense.

For the first time in his UH football career, Brayden Schager is feeling some stability under his feet. If his first performance of 2023 is any indication of his trajectory, this rocket ship has just started to take off. 

3 – The Rainbow Warriors front seven did not get enough buzz during training camp. 

 

How about some love for the boys up front? All of training camp, reports have been discussing the Hawai’i secondary being the strength of the defensive unit. On Saturday, the defensive line and linebackers played with an extra fire that hadn’t been talked about.

Vanderbilt is a program that has a desire to establish the run, play clean football and have had solid offensive line play since Clark Lea took over three years ago. It was an identity that the Commodores committed to and thrived with last season while doubling their win total from year one. After Patrick Smith ripped off a 21-yard touchdown run to open the scoring, Vandy’s rushing attack went quiet. 

Part of it can be attributed to the addition of DL John Tuitupou to the line before the game. The All-Mountain West honorable mention had run with the first-team defense throughout camp but didn’t get official word he won his appeal for an extra season of eligibility until just before the ‘Bows suited up for Week 0. With attention focused on him, others along the line consistently pressured Vanderbilt QB AJ Swann on passing downs and effectively shut down the run. Hawai’i held Vandy’s ground attack to an average of under two yards per rush across 26 carries on the night.

Not only was the line getting consistent penetration, but senior linebacker Isaiah Tufaga was also a menace defensively for the ‘Bows. The O’ahu native missed the final six games of 2022 with an injury but came back with a vengeance in the ’23 season-opener, leading the defense with eight total tackles, two sacks and three tackles for a loss in his return to action.

After an offseason and training camp of talking about the ‘Bows secondary, the rest of the unit looks determined to not be forgotten in the 2023 season. 

Hawai’i fights until end, but mistakes loom large as ‘Bows run out of chances in season-opening loss to Vanderbilt

Hawai’i fights until end, but mistakes loom large as ‘Bows run out of chances in season-opening loss to Vanderbilt

Aug 26, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Hawaii Warriors quarterback Brayden Schager (13) completes a pass during the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores at FirstBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Hawai’i fights until end, but mistakes loom large as ‘Bows run out of chances in season-opening loss to Vanderbilt 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED AUG 27, 2023

It may not have resulted in a win, but what a difference a year has made for the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors football program. 

The ‘Bows fell to the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday, 35-28, after waiting out a 101-minute lightning delay. The ‘Bows lost for the seventh consecutive time on the road, dating back to last season, but massive strides of improvement on offense and defense were evident for UH as the game progressed. 

Vanderbilt got started quickly, forcing the ‘Bows into a three-and-out on the opening possession and getting great field position after 0-yard punt set up the Commodores on the Hawai’i 32-yard line. Four plays later, Vandy RB Patrick Smith zipped through the defense for a 21-yard touchdown to give the home squad a 6-0 lead. 

Hawai’i answered back with a quick-striking eight play drive that was capped off by the first Brayden Schager-Steven McBride touchdown connection of the year, a seven-yard strike to give the visiting ‘Bows a 7-6 lead with 7:13 left in the opening quarter.

The lead for UH was short lived. Vanderbilt WR Jayden McGowan took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to the house as the Commodores jumped back ahead just thirteen seconds later. The Commodores momentum swing was accented with a successful two-point conversion, making it 14-7. 

The home-town swing continued with Vandy sophomore QB AJ Swann finding Biletnikoff Award watch list honoree Will Sheppard on the first play of the second quarter for a touchdown. A miscommunication on the back end of the ‘Bows defense left Sheppard wide open in the endzone, allowing the Commodores to push the lead to two scores, 21-7. 

It was the ‘Bows turn next as Schager uncorked the first ‘Schager Bomb’ of the season, a 45-yard rainbow on 4th-and-four that found McBride in stride for the duo’s second TD connection of the night, cutting it to 21-14. 

Hawai’i had a chance to tie it on the next possession after Solo Vaipulu rumbled his way down to the Vanderbilt 1-yard line, but a false start followed by a spectacular interception in the end zone by Vandy CB De’Rickey Wright ended the ‘Bows threat. 

Multiple ‘Bows struggled with cramping beginning in the third quarter, as DE Andrew Choi and LB Isaiah Tufaga both left with cramping in their lower extremities before returning. The two teams traded three-and-outs to open the second half, but Vanderbilt found footing again first with a touchdown on their second drive of the second half. Swann hit Sheppard for a big gain before the two connected for their second touchdown of the game to put the Commodores ahead, 28-14. 

The Rainbow Warriors worked their way down to the Vanderbilt 13 on the next possession, as Schager continued to show off all the new weapons in the UH Run-N-Shoot this season by including 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman WR Alex Perry in the target share while RB Landon Sims ripped off a 22-yard run to help the offense drive the field. Unfortunately for UH, the offense would sputter there and came away with no points as the Vandy defense forced a turnover-on-downs. 

It looked as though the ‘Bows defense had forced a three-and-out on the following possession after an illegal forward pass penalty initially wiped out a 41-yard gain on third down for the Commodores, but the call was overturned upon further review and set Clark Lea’s squad up in ‘Bows territory as the third quarter clock wound down. 

Like the second quarter, Vanderbilt spent little time before scoring in the fourth quarter as Swann found London Humphreys on fourth-and-seven for a 32-yard touchdown to give the SEC squad a three-score lead, 35-14, just twelve seconds into the quarter. 

The ‘Bows would not go quietly, driving the field on eight plays in under three and a half minutes to cut it to 35-21 as Schager continued to show off his arm and connection with the talented (and young) wide receiver room. This time, it was redshirt freshman Pofele Ashlock’s turn to show out with three catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on that drive alone. 

Reinvigorated by the score, the Hawai’i defense held strong and forced a turnover-on-downs, giving the ball back to the offense with just over seven minutes left down 14 points but out of timeouts.  

Schager uncorked another ‘Schager Bomb’ on the first play of the next drive, connecting with Ashlock again for 50 yards to put the ‘Bows in business at the Vanderbilt 17. Hawai’i made it a one-score game five plays later, as Navy-transfer Dalen Morris ran it in from a yard out with 4:49 left and momentum gaining for the ‘Bows. 

It took just four plays for the Hawai’i defense to force a punt and the Rainbow Warriors looked to fight their way all the way back from down three scores in the fourth quarter, as the offense would get one more shot with 2:14 remaining. 

The complete rally just wasn’t in the cards, as Schager was intercepted by Wright again to end the ‘Bows comeback bid, giving Swann and company the chance to run out the clock in victory formation. 

Swann finished 19-of-30 passing for 258 yards and three touchdowns in the win for the Commodores. McGowan and Sheppard combined for 12 catches and 140 yards and three of the five total scores by Vanderbilt. 

Hawai’i’s Schager set a new career high with 351 passing yards while completing 27 of his 35 pass attempts. The junior from Dallas, Texas also tied his career-high with three touchdown passes in the game, though he did toss a pair of interceptions as well. Pofele Ashlock made the most of his first career appearance for the ‘Bows as well, finishing with seven receptions for a game-high 127 yards and a score.  

Kansas transfer Steven McBride had a nice debut in his new Rainbow Warrior digs as well with seven catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns. The senior wideout had just two catches for 23 yards while suiting up for the Jayhawks last season before hitting the transfer portal, committing to UH back in December of 2022. 

The ‘Bows outgained the Commodores by nearly 100 yards of total offense, but small miscues in key moments would end up being the catalyst for a Hawai’i loss. Timmy Chang’s squad struggled to convert on third down (3-of-11) but saw a 75% success rate on their fourth down tries (3-of-4) as an aggressive Chang and company did not attempt a field goal all night. 

Red zone efficiency also came back to bite the ‘Bows, going 3-of-5 in the “money zone” for touchdowns after an interception in the endzone and a turnover-on-downs.   

One year after meeting Vanderbilt for the first time, it was a stark contrast for a ‘Bows program that finished last season just 3-10 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West Conference. After falling 63-10 to the Commadores last year, the Rainbow Warriors scared the SEC-squad this year in an exciting, back-and-forth contest that reminded many of the old “Late Night Hawai’i Game” era for college football fans. 

Moral victories do not count in the record books, but Hawai’i’s showing Saturday against Vanderbilt is about as close as you can get without the real win. Commodores head coach Clark Lea tried to warn everyone during the week leading up to the game and reminded the world again following the final whistle. 

Don’t sleep on Timmy Chang’s Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors. 

Well, unless you want to see them ‘Run-N-Shoot’ right by you. 

Sabers Second-Half Surge Powers Campbell by Waipahu in ‘Battle for Caneknife’

Sabers Second-Half Surge Powers Campbell by Waipahu in ‘Battle for Caneknife’

Sabers Second-Half Surge Powers Campbell by Waipahu in Battle for Caneknife 

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED AUG 14, 2023

WAIPAHU — Campbell junior quarterback Jaron-Keawe Sagapolutele racked up 431 yards through the air to go along with five touchdown passes as the Sabers beat the Waipahu Marauders, 62-34, on the opening weekend of high school football in Hawai’i. 

The Sabers racked up 749 yards of total offense on the night, more than half of which came after halftime for the visitors from the OIA’s Open Division. On a highly anticipated night by fans of both teams, Waipahu and Campbell fought to an even score, 21-21, through one half of play before Sagapolutele and Co. went to another level coming out of the break.

The matchup was supposed to put eight of the top ranked recruits in the state of Hawai’i for the classes of 2024 and 2025 against each other, but neither of Nebraska commit and Waipahu’s star offensive lineman Preston Taumua and University of Hawai’i commit and Campbell stud edge rusher Nazaiah Carvallo-Lawelawe suited up for the opening night matchup. 

There was no lack of talent on display, though.

Campbell received the opening kickoff, drove the field quickly and went to 3-star ATH Tana Togafau-Tavui in the red zone to punch in the opening score and give the visitors a 7-0 lead. 

The hometown Marauders, quarterbacked by a sophomore in Ben Strobel, answered back quickly with a 20-yard touchdown strike to wideout Jayden Chanel to tie the game at seven apiece.

It looked like the Sabers would answer right back with a score of their own after a long kickoff return set Campbell up with good field position, but a faulty snap that was mishandled by Sagapolutele ended up as a turnover recovered by Waipahu.

The Marauders took a 13-7 lead on the ensuing possession, Strobel finding Tai Aipia-Barrett on a 27-yard touchdown but couldn’t chip on the point after. 

Togafau-Tavui racked up his second touchdown of the day, this one a 20-yard catch to help put the Sabers ahead 14-13 to beat the end of the first quarter clock. 

It took the hometown Marauders less than three minutes to answer back, as senior running back Anieli Teleaai punched his first touchdown of the year in and Waipahu got the two-point conversion to go up, 21-14.

Sagapolutele tossed his second touchdown of the half with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter, connecting with sophomore Tainoa Lave for a six-yard score and send it to halftime tied at 21. 

Aipia-Barrett caught his second TD pass of the night to open the second half and give Waipahu the lead just a minute and a half into the third, but Campbell would answer back with 35 straight points to open a 62-27 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

A pick-six by Waipahu senior Zion Faleiva capped the scoring on the night, an effort too little too late for the Marauders, as the ‘Caneknife Trophy’ will stay in ‘Ewa Beach for another season. 

Strobel threw for 360 yards and three touchdowns, also getting tagged for two interceptions, in his first start of the year for Waipahu before leaving the game with an injury. One of the newest Marauders weapons, former Moanalua standout Eric Stephens, led the home squad with eight catches for 146 yards. Waipahu’s game against Maui for next weekend has been postponed due to the ongoing fire recovery efforts in Maui. You can donate, here.

Sagapolutele finished the night with 431 yards passing and five touchdowns, accounting for more than half of the total touchdowns scored by the Sabers on Friday night. Togafau-Tavui had seven catches for 99 yards and two total touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) for Campbell. The Sabers will take on Aiea next week, who fell 49-0 to Kapaa in their opening weekend matchup. 

Additional Maui Resources:

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“Keep Getting Better”: Hawai’i Football 2023 Training Camp Notes, Observations from First Week of Practices

“Keep Getting Better”: Hawai’i Football 2023 Training Camp Notes, Observations from First Week of Practices

“Keep Getting Better”: Hawai’i Football 2023 Training Camp Notes, Observations from First Week of Practices

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JULY 30, 2023

HONOLULU — Heading into year two at the helm, University of Hawai’i head football coach Timmy Chang and staff have put their desired culture in place, started down the recruiting trail and now have set eyes to being a true competitor in the Mountain West.

The ‘Bows, who went 3-10 last season, saw themselves on the wrong side of multiple one-score losses in 2022 as the program tried to settle on a new identity and the staff evaluated the in-house talent. 

They went to quarterback Brayden Schager full-time during the middle of the season and started to introduce bits and pieces of the “Run-N-Shoot” offense after a 1-4 stumble to begin the year, going to the same scheme that Chang dominated in during his time suiting up at QB for the Rainbow Warriors.

“It’s Hawai’i’s offense,” Chang said of the scheme back in February.

Results immediately followed, increasing points scored each game by four and putting up three 30+ point performances. Following their final game, Hawai’i made the full switch to the Run-N-Shoot with Schager written in as QB1 heading into the offseason and beyond.  

Spring practices were held earlier than ever due to the construction of the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex, a project that added seats to the on-campus game day site that UH’s football team will call home until the completion of the new Aloha Stadium.

Chang has worked closer with the quarterback group since the spring as well, trying to help with their understanding of the progressions of each play among other things. While the ‘Bows will take the easy completions, there is still a desire to complete multiple deep shots to open up defenses. 

Before spring camp, Schager returned home to Texas and worked with longtime QB coach Dan Morrison. The “quarterback whisperer” may be familiar to ‘Bows fans, as he worked with Chang and other QBs that have started for UH in this exact offense. Morrison has been around early in the opening week of camp still, though he isn’t expected to be around long-term.

After an offseason of recruiting players for the scheme and adding athletes to both sides of the ball, here’s what we saw during the opening week of training camp for the University of Hawai’i football team.

1. Run and … Ah, Shoot 

While it’s still (very) early, the first few practices were won by the defense. There wasn’t much doubt about that, forcing multiple turnovers on multiple days of practice that included Saturday’s “scrimmage” of units against each other. 

That’s not to say that the offense is doomed by any means. 

Quite the opposite, actually. 

It’s quite common for defenses to be ahead of offenses early in camp, especially as a new scheme gets put in place on one side. The Run-N-Shoot, specifically, is a scheme predicated on chemistry and timing between quarterback and skill positions. Without reps, it’s impossible to develop those things.

“I really think we’re in a good place right now, we just got to have the mentality of getting better every day and get ready to win,” Chang said while reflecting on the first four practices. 

2. The Defense Was Fueled Up, Ready to Go and FLYING Around 

In the same vein as the last observation, the defense should be an exciting unit for the ‘Bows this season. 

Senior linebacker and vocal leader Logan Taylor returns and, once again, is hard to miss on the field. When he isn’t barking out instructions for his teammates, he’s flying around in coverage and even recorded a would-be sack in Saturday’s scrimmage session. He led the ‘Bows with 85 tackles last season.

New number, same “dawg” in Peter Manuma, who had a pair of INTs last season as a true freshman and finished third on the squad with 70 tackles. He looks like he packed some muscle on in the offseason and could be seen in the mix on most tackles Saturday. 

One of the new additions to the defense that has excited everyone on the team, from staff to players, is Wyoming transfer DB Cam Stone. The senior was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection last season before coming to the islands.

Stone was selected by coaches as a preseason All-Mountain West team honoree, though he said the selection meant little to him without proving it again at his new home. The corner admitted that “it’s a cool accomplishment” but that his “goals are way higher than [preseason all-conference].”

The defensive line was getting solid penetration on passing downs, but Schager and quarterbacks showed mobility and made some solid throws in traffic, though the defensive backs had their fair share of PBUs throughout Saturday. 

3. The Running Game Could Be Fun Despite Increased Passing 

If you’ve paid attention to the ‘Bows in the last year-plus, you’ve heard the name Tylan Hines. 

You’ve probably gotten excited about him, too. The coaching staff sure has been. 

In his true freshman season, he was second on the team with 634 yards on just 83 carries (good for 7.6 yards per carry, second in the nation for freshman) while getting recognition in the form of an All-Mountain West honorable mention for his contributions. 

Sharing time in the backfield with Hines will likely be senior bruiser Nasjzaé Bryant-Lelei, who had himself a nice day Saturday. The senior out of Orlando, Florida showed good burst against the second-team unit and broke off multiple 10+ yard gains during his reps.

The combo of running backs complement each other well, with Hines speed being an explosive weapon for the ‘Bows, whereas Bryant-Lelei can be used in goal-line and third-down situations comfortably. 

The offensive line, which is still looking for a stable group of five after some departures from last season’s wall that gave up just 10 sacks in conference play, did an impressive job opening lanes for both backs and continued to improve as the week went on against the pass rush. 

4. New Additions Bring Much-Needed Juice on Both Sides of Ball 

While Stone is the biggest name addition to the ‘Bows defense, the staff worked hard with the transfer portal to bring in experienced players to contribute immediately to winning. They also looked to build towards the future, signing 24 players from the class of 2023 to come play for the ‘Bows. 

“I think we got more playmakers, on both sides of the ball” Chang said following Saturday’s practice. “We got more depth, now it’s just fine-tuning.” 

One of the new playmakers to look for is Kansas transfer Steven McBride. The wide receiver was an early favorite of Schager during spring practices and has been noticeable throughout the first week of camp, running with the first team. He was a three-star recruit and played snaps as a true freshman for the Jayhawks. 

Houston transfer OL Josh Atkins, another former three-star recruit, got some run Saturday with the first-team offensive line. The sophomore is 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds and moved his feet well, giving another big, athletic piece to the big boys up front. Keep an eye on him going forward.

Heading into the new week… 

Chang said that he and the coaching staff would take the weekend to break down the film from Saturday to key in on what each phase of the ball can improve on going forward. While vibes are high with a team injected with fresh playmakers, last year’s record is in the minds of everyone involved with the program. 

With that, an understanding that there are many improvements that need to be made everywhere has been echoed throughout camp. The focus must be on using every moment they get together to improve as a unit.

“There’s a lot of learning,” Chang said of his program’s progress. “It’s going to be a lot of teaching going on and we just got to keep getting better.” 

With miscommunications and quarterbacks and receivers not being on the same page yet, it’s easy to pick on the offense as not producing. As the days went on, it was clear that reps would remedy this issue. 

With an intriguing receiver room littered with different archetypes, the sooner chemistry can be had, the better. A desire to complete the deep ball will be there for Hawai’i this season, but continuing drives with underneath throws will be important and needs timing to line up. 

Speaking of, some quick hitters to end things out… 

  • QB2 competition between Joey Yellen and Jake Farrell, both got a few series with the 2s on Saturday, and each came away with a mixed bag of results. 
  • WR Jonah Panoke had some nice catches, bigger 6-foot-1 frame and 200 pounds made him look like he could be a YAC-machine this season. 
  • Defensive line has rotation of rushers that are ACTIVE, both on the interior and on the edge. If they are productive this season, increased pass-rush would help DBs who can make plays on the ball. 
  • Speaking of defensive backs who can create turnovers, Peter Manuma and Cam Stone should feast with this defense. Both chipped in a pair of interceptions last year, but don’t be surprised to see that number rise for both. 

Heading into week two of camp, things can improve. Now in year two of the Chang staff era, things are already looking up. Despite that, the aftertaste of only three wins last season remains. 

Each man holds the pen to his own life, and everyone with the ‘Bows has a desire to write a new story for Hawai’i football this season.