With less than a month before opening the 2019 season against Arizona, the University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors started fall camp on July 26.
“We got a lot of work to do,” fourth-year head coach Nick Rolovich said.
To start this season, UH will compete against three Pac-12 squads (Arizona on Aug. 24, Oregon State on Sept. 7 and at Washington on Sept. 14).
The team will also have to replace star players Jahlani Tavai and John Ursua, who were selected in the NFL draft this past off-season.
UH returns 18 starters, one of the most in the nation, from last year’s squad that finished 8-6. UH also has its entire coaching staff back.
The ‘Bows are in the second year of the run-and-shoot offense, with redshirt junior quarterback Cole McDonald entering the camp as the squad’s top signal caller.
After throwing 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns last season, expectations are high for McDonald.
“I can take the leadership role that comes along with being a quarterback,” McDonald said. “At the same time, I’m not taking it for granted. I can lose the spot, you know. I’m still competing everyday. We’re just all to get better and help each other, you know, pursue a common goal, which is to win football games.”
Headlining to replace Ursua (now with the Seattle Seahawks), who was the nation’s leader in receiving touchdowns (16), is senior wide receiver Cedric Byrd II. He finished second on the team and eighth in the Mountain West with 970 receiving yards.
Byrd was the only UH player named to the conference’s preseason all-conference team.
On the defense, one of the players that is expected to emerge as a playmaker is junior linebacker Penei Pavihi. When Tavai (now with the Detroit Lions) went down with a season-ending injury, Pavihi stepped up.
Pavihi, who finished last season tied second on the team in tackles (87), said that he is trying to “be more vocal” heading into the fall.
“We’re always underrated, that’s just how I feel,” he said.
Senior defensive back Rojesterman Farris II echoed his remarks, reiterating the “come in here and compete” mentality.
“Just coming into this camp, and this season in general, we’re just locked in,” McDonald said. “We’re focused, we know what task ahead is, and we know how to handle it and we’re just going to do business.”