Norm Chow gets his first shot as a head coach with Hawaii after several seasons as an offensive coordinator, he'll open against one of those former teams the USC Trojans in LA . Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Know the Opponent: Hawai’i Warriors

We take a break from the run of FCS teams we’ve recently had and leave the mainland to preview our 20thteam in our know the opponent series. Next up are the Hawai’i Warriors who will be playing their first season in the Mountain West Conference. The Warriors will travel to Los Angeles to take on USC on September 1 at 4:30 on FOX.

The Warriors went 6-7 in their finals season in the WAC where they finished with a 3-4 conference record. Hawai’i also made a coaching change with a familiar name to those in the Pac-12 with Hawaiian native Norm Chow taking the reins after being Utah’s offensive coordinator in 2011.

Two juniors are back from the team at the quarterback position with David Graves and Cayman Shutter. We’ll see if that’s where the competition is for the starter with Graves throwing for 768 yards in six games with two starts with five TD’s. Shutter only made one appearance last season throwing for 13 yards on two passing attempts.

Leading rusher sophomore Joey Iosefa who started 11-of-13 games in 2011 rushing for 548 yards finding the endzone seven times, while averaging five yards a carry.  Senior Sterling Jackson is also back after a 246 yard campaign with two scores. Not to be overlooked was Graves who had five rushing touchdowns even if the team will probably run Chow’s preferred west coast offense.

Junior Billy Ray Stutzmann who started all 13 games last season and was second on the team with 910 yards and four touchdowns. Senior Jeremiah Ostrowski the teams third leading receiver is also back after having 687 yards with five scores both averaged over 10 yards a catch.

On defense the Warriors will have to replace their two leading tacklers from 2011, junior corner John Hardy-Tuliau will look to lead the defense. Last season Hardy-Tuliau had 73 tackles with 58 solo and assisting on 15, included were a sack with three interceptions. Junior linebacker Art Laurel will also be counted on for the team as he had 61 tackles (44 solo/17 assisted), 14.5 tackles for losses, team leading nine sacks and an interception.

The schedule won’t be the easiest with opening the 2012 season in Los Angeles against one of Chow’s former teams the Southern Cal Trojans. Conference wise they host Nevada, Boise State with road contests at San Diego State, Fresno State and Air Force. If they figure out the new offense quick I feel they can play in the Hawaii Bowl this season.

2012 Hawai’i Warriors Schedule –

@Southern California 9/1
Lamar 9/15
Nevada 9/22
@BYU 9/28
@San Diego State 10/6
New Mexico 10/13
@Colorado State 10/27
@Fresno State 11/3
Boise State 11/10
@Air Force 11/16
UNLV 11/24
South Alabama 12/1

Previous Previewed Teams -
July 2 – Nicholls Colonels (32)
July 6 – Northern Colorado (31)
July 12 – UNLV (30)
July 13 – Duke (29)
July 16 – Colorado State (28)
July 18 – Sacramento State (27)
July 20 – Fresno State (26)
July 23 – Rice (25)
July 25 – San Jose State (24)
July 27 – Syracuse (23)
July 29 – Southern Utah (22)
August 1 – Eastern Washington (21)

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