When speaking of football in Hawaii, the main topic of conversation will always be the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. Sure, in the minds of college football odds experts the Sun Warriors are not usually a team to garner up the biggest expectations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that fans of Hawaii’s premier NCAA football team shouldn’t feel optimism and excitement for what’s ahead in the new college football season.
While the 2020 season, one that will always be remembered by all sports teams and their fans as one that brought the world to a standstill and then went on to show everyone how sports were to be performed in times of a pandemic, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors still made some promising strides towards showing college football fans and experts that there where there’s a will, positive results usually come as well. So what’s in store for the Rainbow Warriors in a season that has already seen them lose against UCLA but take down Portland State? Let’s check it out.
It’s Time To Regroup And Find A New Home
After a 2020 season that saw the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, who ended with a 5-4 record, jet off into the offseason after winning the New Mexico Bowl against the Houston Cougars, this 2021 season has already started with a bang and not just on the gridiron but anywhere and everywhere for the team. On the one hand the passing of legendary Rainbow Warriors QB Colt Brennan, who could easily be considered the best football player to ever play for Hawaii, at the age of 37, was a hit nobody in the Rainbow Warriors organization was hoping to have to deal with.
Brennan, who in a span from 2005 to 2007 managed to either tie or break several NCAA records like the single-season touchdown passes record with 58 in 2006, a record that former LSU star Joe Burrow broke in 2019 or the fact that he passed for over 4,000 yards three times in his career, including 5,549 yards in that magical 2006 season, can be taken as the culprit of putting the Rainbow Warriors in the college football landscape.
On the other hand, Hawaii came to learn that the stadium which they had called their home since 1975, the Aloha Stadium, is no longer an option for the Rainbow Warriors to host their home games. Now, while they look for more permanent options, Hawaii will be playing their home games at the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex for the next three seasons while the Aloha Stadium goes through an extensive rebuild period in order to be able to host fans once again. Talks about building a completely new Aloha Stadium have been held with a project for a complete entertainment district around the stadium all being taken into consideration. For now, the T.C. Ching Complex has proven itself to be a worthy home for the ‘Bows who already got their first home win of the season against Portland State with other home games this season being against San Jose, Fresno, New Mexico, San Diego and Colorado.
Offensively It’s Time For Chevan Cordeiro To Step Up Even More
If there is one player from which the Rainbow Warriors can truly get the most out of their buck when it comes to their offense, it’s their dual-threat QB Chevan Cordeiro. Cordeiro, who in last season’s COVID-19 ridden season managed to put up 2,083 passing yards, 483 rushing yards, a combined 21 touchdowns and a 62.3 pass completion percentage, will come in handy as his level of experience, being a fourth-year sophomore for the team will be as valuable as ever. Taking into account that Hawaii’s offense is mostly based on a strong running game with doses of deep passes here and there, Cordeiro might be a pivotal key to how this offense functions.
But Cordeiro won’t be the only player on the ‘Bows offense that will be looking to cause some major splashes in the season. Running backs Dae Dae Hunter, Dedrick Parson who transferred from Howard University, Dior Scott, and of course, Calvin Turner Jr. will all be playing a huge part in helping Hawaii put as many points on the board as possible week in and week out. Add to that what WR’s like freshman Jonah Panoke, Zion Bowens, Nick Mardner and company can do with the deep game and Hawaii might be in for something good here.
The key for this run heavy offense to work is for the offensive line who has three of their most veteran players all returning to be able to protect the rush and passing pocket for all the other players to be able to do their own. Hawaii cannot afford to lose any of their aforementioned stars on offense to injuries or hits if they want to succeed, it’s as simple as that.
On Defense, Hawaii Can Feel True Optimism Here
The beginning of the 2020 season was not kind on Hawaii’s defense, but after shocking the Huskers and holding their offense to only 21 points and getting rid of Houston in the New Mexico Bowl game the Rainbow Warriors defense showed what they could truly do if taken seriously. Guys like LB Darious Massau, who was ranked 5th in tackles nationally last season, LB Penei Pavihi, Quentin Frazier, Jeremiah Pritchard and Isaiah Tufaga will surely be one of the reasons why this Hawaii defense will surely be a threat to all opposing offenses and maybe, one of the best that the Rainbow Warriors have had in ages. Add to those guys transferred players Zacchaeus Mckinney whose former Oklahoma experience will surely come in very handy and Pita Tonga from Utah and this defense will be sharper and sharper as time passes by.
If we want to talk about star power on defense, then let’s talk about CB Cortez Davis. He will be the leader of a ‘Bows secondary that will include himself, Michael Washington, Cameron Lockridge, Kai Kaneshiro and Eugene Ford, who’s coming back from an injury that made him miss the entire 2020 season. While Hawaii has always been known for being an offense driven team where scoring as many points is more important than being scored on, this defense is out to prove that they can bring any offense down if needed.