August 15, 2011

2011 Preview: Hawaii Warriors


Unluckily for Hawaii, the key reasons behind last year’s surprising success have graduated, and in their final season in the Western Athletic Conference, the Warriors will need new faces to step up if they are to claim a conference title for the only year Boise State will be out of their way.

Last year, the Warriors passing attack was the best in the nation at just under 400 yards per game. While the trigger man Bryant Moniz does return, his key targets do not: WR Greg Salas (1,675 receiving yards, 12 TD), WR Kealoha Pilares (1,306 receiving yards, 15 TD), and RB Alex Green (1,168 rushing yards, 17 TD) are all gone.
Bryant Moniz returns to reprise
last year's 5,000+ yard performance

Only three offensive starters return, leaving offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich with the job of finding the right pieces and managing the depth chart to get the best result come week one. All eyes will be on Royce Pollard to emerge as Moniz’s premier target. What has become clear for Hawaii is that despite changing personnel, they will continue to sling the ball all over the field and do so successfully.

The defense had a very solid season throughout last year, giving up a very manageable 22.7 points per game until getting bombed with 62 points against Tulsa in the Hawaii Bowl (which was largely a function of the offense committing 6 turnovers). That defense returns six starters this year, including all-WAC honorees LB Corey Paredes and DT Kaniela Tulpulotu. The defense will need to continue to be aggressive at the right times to get similar results this season.

After playing its usual role of road warriors throughout the season, Hawaii finishes the year with a welcome three-straight home games, including a pivotal conference matchup with Fresno State and the beginning of a renewed rivalry with BYU. A high-powered offense should garner Hawaii a fourth-straight home game to end the year in the Hawaii Bowl.

SCHEDULE & PREDICTIONS
Date/Time
TV
Opponent
Zach
Brett
Sat. 09/03/11
4:15 p.m. HT
ESPN2
COLORADO
W*
L
Sat. 09/10/11
9:30 a.m. HT
ROOT
at Washington
L
L
Sat. 09/17/11
4:00 p.m. HT
---
at UNLV
W
W
Sat. 09/24/11
6:00 p.m. HT
---
UC DAVIS
W
W
Sat. 10/01/11
1:00 p.m. HT
---
at Louisiana Tech
L*
L
Fri. 10/14/11
3:00 p.m. HT
ESPN
at San Jose State
W
W
Sat. 10/22/11
6:00 p.m. HT
---
NEW MEXICO STATE
W
W
Sat. 10/29/11
11:00 a.m. HT
ESPN
Regional
at Idaho
W
W
Sat. 11/05/11
6:00 p.m. HT
---
UTAH STATE
W
W
Sat. 11/12/11
10:15 a.m. HT
---
at Nevada
W
L
Sat. 11/19/11
6:00 p.m. HT
---
FRESNO STATE
L*
W
Sat. 11/26/11
5:00 p.m. HT
---
TULANE
W
W
Sat. 12/03/11
2:30 p.m. HT
ESPN2
BYU
L*
W*

9-4
9-4
(schedule courtesy of FBSchedules.com)

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