Only two games into the UH Rainbow Warrior's season and there are already a lot of questions with the offense and how it has been producing. With so much hype with Junior quarterback Taylor Graham, the offense has been a disappointment thus far this season. UH is 92nd overall in passing (189.0 yards per game), 123rd overall in rushing (46.0 yards per game) and 120th in points for (13.5 points per game). But the slow start to the season does not fall solely on Graham. Our wide receivers, while young and inexperienced, should be making more plays on the outside. Our running backs, led by Steven Lakalaka, have been average at best (17 carries for 50 yards this season thus far for Lakalaka). While all the skilled offensive positions get the shine when performing and the blame when not, the offense always comes back to how the offensive line is playing.
Our offensive line is led by Sophomore center Ben Clarke, a 290 lb force that has been named All Conference Honorable Mention by the Mountain West coaches in the preseason. While the line by the naked eye looks to have been struggling this season thus far, 10 sacks allowed so far this season, overall the line has been playing much better than last year and could possibly be the strength of our entire offense so far this season. While UH allowed 7 sacks in the season opener against USC, the Rainbow Warriors improved by only allowing 3 sacks against Oregon St. We talked to Ben during training camp and he attributes the improved line play to the new strength/conditioning coach, Coach Gary Beemer. A former University of Florida and Minnesota Vikings Strength & Conditioning coach has brought a new type of program to the University of Hawaii. "Coach Beemer has us concentrating more on conditioning versus strength training," Clarke stated after practice. We also asked him how he thought the line was playing this years compared to last year and he said that with any line play the more time they play together the more chemistry can be built. "We're a young line, but as training camp goes on we'll get better and better every day." As the season goes on UH's O-line will continue to gain that chemistry, along with gaining chemistry with Taylor Graham, that will allow the offense to start running on all cylinders.
As UH ends its bye week, it awaits its first Mountain West opponent in the University of Nevada Wolfpack this Saturday in Reno, Nevada. The Rainbow Warriors hope to improve its mediocre offense as it will need to if it hopes to make some noise in the West Division this season. With any offense it is always led by its quarterback and sometimes its skilled positions. But with the Rainbow Warriors, the offensive line will need to continue its solid play if it is to contend this season in the Mountain West. And as always, Let's Go Bows!
Let me know if you have any questions. All my stats were from espn.com