2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 85 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
[wibbitz id=”b6343d852eb36465d93103041824c57d3″ autoplay=”true”]
No. 85: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Prespring Status
That’s exactly what the program wanted and needed out of first year head coach Nick Rolovich. Not only did he make Hawaii a bowl winner – with a four-win improvement – but he made the offense fun again. The Rainbow Warriors still aren’t pass-happy show of the June Jones era, but they rolled over the final few games of the season putting up 98 points in wins over UMass and Middle Tennessee. Now it’s time to do more.
There’s still a bit of a talent gap between Hawaii and the other top Mountain West teams, and the finishing kick sort of glossed over the offensive fizzle over the first three weeks of November. Throw in the defense that got ripped to shreds – giving up 461 yards per game – and Rolovich’s team still isn’t there quite yet.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Biggest Issue
It’s improving a defense that couldn’t slow down anyone’s passing game, or running game, or anything a good offense wanted to do, but at least it’s a veteran crew returning. However, while it might not seem like much, the punting and placekicking could turn into a concern this spring without Rigoberto Sanchez to handle all the work. Stephen Yaffe will get the shot at both gigs, but it’ll be impossible to improve on Sanchez’s 13-of-13 job on field goals and whopping 44.6-yard punting average.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Biggest Positive
The passing attack was just getting going. Dru Brown got a full season to work, growing into the quarterbacking job in his first season and closing out with a flourish, throwing nine of his 19 touchdown passes in the final two games. He’s back, along with 1,006-yard rusher Diocemy Saint Juste, and rising receivers John Ursua and Dylan Collie. Leading target Marcus Kemp is done, but this is still a veteran receiving corps.
Really, Why Are The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Ranked Here?
This might be a nationally hot team this offseason, but there’s still a long way to go to become a major player again. On the plus side, Rolovich appears to be the right coach at the exact right time for a team loaded with veterans on both sides of the ball. Give it another year before the O does everything Rolovich and the coaching staff might want, but it’ll be a team to keep an eye on all year.