4. College Football News Preview 2020: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Defense 3 Things To Know
– The defensive coordinator combination of Victor Santa Cruz and Jacob Yoro get a defense that wasn’t miserable considering past problems for the program, but there were massive issues against the run and the team was last in the nation in total first downs allowed.
But there’s an overhaul happening up front, and seven of the top 14 tacklers are done overall.
– There isn’t a ton of size to work around, but 6-3, 275-pound Vega is back with a shot at playing a bigger role on the nose. Sophomores Andrew Choi and Jonah Laulu bring a little experience to the outside, and 225-pound senior Derek Thomas is coming off a 34 tackle season in the rotation at one end.
It will take a bit, but the line will be fine in time. Now the linebackers have to clean up everything else, starting with sophomore Darius Muasau coming off a 61-tackle season along with 210-pound junior Paul Scott. In the middle – depending on the alignment against a specific team – 225-pound Jeremiah Pritchard needs to be a rock after coming up with 34 tackles.
– The secondary wasn’t bad, especially when it came to picking off passes. Creating turnovers was a problem for a few years, and the 14 interceptions last year was a boost.
Three starters return to the back five, and that doesn’t include sophomore Kai Kaneshiro, who tied for the team lead with three picks. Khoury Bethley led the team with 83 tackles with two picks with one of the safety jobs, but the spotlight will be on the corners. Cortez Davis made 53 tackles and should be set at one corner, and it’ll be a fight for the other job.