Phase two is underway

University of Hawai‘i football team opens 2019 spring practice

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The University of Hawai‘i football team opened its Spring 2019 practices with motives set for next season. 

After reinstalling the run-and-shoot offense, the Rainbow Warriors finished the 2018 season with an 8-6 overall record, their first winning season since 2010. UH also finished third in the Mountain West Conference west division. 

Redshirt junior quarterback Cole McDonald returns after finishing the season with 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns. McDonald was also an honorable mention all-Mountain West selection. 

“I have the same mindset as last year,” McDonald said. “I’m working with the guys, and we’re building chemistry. The goal is to have a cohesive offensive.”

Also returning is redshirt freshman quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, who was McDonald’s backup and made one start and threw for 384 yards and six touchdowns. Cordeiro said everyone feels comfortable with the system. 

“We need to practice more and works towards being on the same page with the receivers,” Cordeiro said. “I’m excited to be out on the field with the team and practicing against the defense again.”

Also leading the offense is running back Fred Holly III (468 yards, 4 TDs), wide receivers Cedric Byrd (970 yards, 9 TDs) and JoJo Ward (865 yards, 9 TDs), and the entire offensive line: tackles Ilm Manning and Kohl Levao, guards J.R. Hensley and Solo Vaipulu and center Taaga Tuulima.

The defense returns nine starters, including the team’s top tacklers: linebacker Solomon Matautia (92 tackles, 4.5 TFL), safety Ikem Okeke (87 tackles) and linebacker Penei Pavihi (87 tackles, 6.5 TFL). The secondary returns Kalen Hicks (76 tackles), Rojesterman Farris II (12 PBU, 1 INT) and Eugene Ford (4 PBU, 1 INT).

Head coach Nick Rolovich will enter his fourth season. In 2018, UH made its second Hawai‘i Bowl appearance in the last three years. Rolovich also returns his entire coaching staff, which includes offensive coordinator Brian Smith, defensive coordinator Corey Batoon and special teams coordinator Michael Ghobrial. 

Ryan Meskell (placekicker) and Stan Gaudion (punter) return among the specialists.