FOOTBALL'S HERE! IT'S REALLY HERE! It's been so long, but now we finally get sweet relief. Well, not Buff fans. This Hawaii game is scary, and for good reason. Jeff covered a lot of it over in his preview from a CU perspective, but DontWarriorAboutIt from Mountain West Connection helped us understand the 'Bows team this year... from the inside.
I hate to harp on the biggest storyline for Hawaii this year, but I gotta ask- how’s Max Wittek look? Is his arm as big as you expected? Has he looked good so far in practice?
It is refreshing to go into a season with a quarterback set. For the longest time, we have been pulled in every which direction on who the quarterback is or should be. The media has painted a picture of him like he is kind of our savior here. I am excited because he looks better than any other QB that we've had in recent years. He has shown he can make all the throws and has given the fans something to hold on to in the offseason. Thursday will be a good indicator for us to see how good he really is.
Don Bailey comes over from a great FCS offense to coach the Bows up. What do you expect from the Air Raid-esque offense? Is Max Wittek a good fit? How should Colorado stop it?
It's my belief that a program like Hawaii needs a hook. We need something different to help us win. More times than not we can't recruit the quality of athletes to run pro style offenses and win. With that said this offense comes at a perfect time. This is the most talent that Norm Chow has had on offense since he started coaching at UH. The coaches and fans alike seem like really have faith in Wittek to lead this team and I think their faith is in good hands.
Like any offense, the play starts at the line of scrimmage. UH was among the worst in the nation at protecting their quarterback last year. We lost two starting lineman and have little experience on the line. Long-term this line can be something special but questions remain for 2015. Attack the line and things could blow up pretty quickly, especially early in the season.
On offense Bailey wants to work fast. What people often mistake about Bailey is that he will pass 90% of the time. Idaho State’s most prolific and successful offensive seasons, they totaled over 4000 passing yards but also 2500 yards of rushing. They actually ran 46% of the time.
Superstar DC Kevin Clune left after a great year last year (at least against CU). Tom Mason comes over from SMU, a veteran who has experience. How will the defense change and will it be better or worse than last year? How willl Colorado move the ball against him?
Problems in our defense more or less stemmed from the thin defensive line. For the most part Clune did a good job but you can only do so much when your line can’t win in the trenches. We also had problems with injuries throughout the past two years and with our limited depth that really hurt us. With a little luck in the health department the defense could be much improved.
Mason wants to "break" the opposing offense. I think the defense will be better but it will be hard to tell if it’s because of the system change.
Like I said earlier, our d-line depth is a problem. Wear them down and they will become ineffective. Then take to the air. Attack the secondary and we will have problems stopping it. Without proper pressure from the line, the secondary will be left out to try.
The defensive schemes have not changed much structurally but Mason will look to push and be aggressive like his offensive counterpart. Mason hates sitting back on defense or coaching. He wants to attack the offense and make them break.
Who should we watch on the D? What about the offense?
I think its not a matter of an individual but the secondary as a whole. We lost two starters to graduation and how the coaching staff filled those holes will be key to the success of the season. Their impending matchup with Sefo Liufau and Nelson Spruce will be a great test and indicator to how the season might go for them. On offense, I know the story lines follow our two captains and wide receiver Marcus Kemp.
I would like to bring some attention to Quinton Pedroza. He has been overshadowed by the highlight reel catches Kemp makes and his better stat line. However Pedroza is a superior athlete that needs to find consistency in his game. Towards the end of the season his consistency waned and his playing time decreased as a result. I am looking for a bounce back season from him, especially now that UH has their quarterback situation improved.
What’s your prediction for the game?
I really really really want to start the season off on the right foot. Whether we win or lose I want to see UH play well. Anyways, I think this will be a nail biter with the result being 31-28 Hawaii.