Hawaii Rainbow Warriors College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The offense might not have been anything amazing, but the defense picked up the slack with a terrific season – even if it wasn’t consistent. It dominated Houston, stepped up against Nevada, and was always great at taking the ball away.
Now head coach Todd Graham can take his defensive style to a whole other level with just about everyone coming back. If you made a tackle for Hawaii in 2020, you’re probably returning in 2021. It all starts with …
– LB Darius Muasau is a big hitter on the inside, and he’s got veterans around him who’ll attack the ball. The defensive backs can all hit, starting with part linebacker, part safety, all-baller Khoury Bethley – he made 153 tackles over the last two years.
It’s a smallish, fast defense that uses five defensive backs and Bethley, who’s like an extra safety. That means 225-pound Jeremiah Pritchard has to be a star next to Muasau and the secondary has to keep being strong.
Cortez Davis is an all-star at one corner, and sophomore safety Cameron Lockridge gets all over the field finishing fourth on the team in tackles.
– The pressure into the backfield mostly comes from the back 7/8, but the Rainbow Warriors have bulk up front. The goal is to hold up against the run and let the speed everywhere else handle the work, so it all works around 6-1, 300-pound Blessman Ta’ala coming off an all-star season on the nose. Helping in a big way is 300-pound Oklahoma transfer Zacchaeus McKinney and former Utah Ute Pita Tonga.