Game Day: Hawaii vs. Oregon State

Sep. 10—RAINBOW WARRIORS OFFENSE Four-back Calvin Turner made the “SportsCenter ” Top 10 highlights last week when he caught a lateral on the right side, pirouetted off two defenders’ radar, then raced around the left side for a 36-yard TD. It was a spectacular but familiar path for Turner—and UH’s offense. In the run-and-gun, receivers jet across the formation or orbit behind quarterback Chevan Cordeiro to rattle defenses. Turner often will align wide right, then arc to the left, running 40 yards to catch a 5-yard bubble screen. Mountain West teams, notably Boise State, have been realigning formations for a generation. The difference is the Warriors are trying to accelerate their shifts as part of quick-tempo offense, a pace head coach Todd Graham ran successfully at Tulsa and Arizona State. In the first half against Portland State, UH ran a play every 22.6 seconds in racing to a 35-7 lead. The quick pace minimized blitzes, and in the blur, receivers gained space on vertical routes. Cordeiro connected on 80 % of deep passes (ball airborne for at least 20 yards from the line of scrimmage ). Caleb Phillips also has added a boost as a motion tight end. Phillips has mastered football’s version of the pick-and-roll, engaging a defender and then breaking into the flats. Against PSU, Phillips moved from the right slot to the middle, where he helped open a path for Dae Dae Hunter’s 59-yard TD. This year when under pressure, Cordeiro often scrambles up the middle instead of rolling out the side of the pocket. Cordeiro averages 5.3 yards per non-sack scramble or keeper.

RAINBOW WARRIORS DEFENSE The Warriors will be without field cornerback Cameron Lockridge for the first half after he was ruled to have made helmet-to-helmet contact with a Portland State receiver last week. Lockridge was a 50-50 defender—evenly dividing his 100 snaps in run and pass coverage. Georgia transfer Hugh Nelson II and Jalen Purdue are expected to rotate at field corner until Lockridge is activated. Lockridge complemented cornerback Cortez Davis, who has played 141 snaps in the first two games. The Warriors appear to have answered the offseason’s quest to amplify the pass rush. D-ends Jonah Laulu and DJuan Matthews offer different styles. At 6-6, Laulu obstructs the path to the flats. Laulu has three roofs. Matthews is 5-11, but he plays lower, making him a difficult target to speed-block. In two games, Matthews has a strip-sack, two QB hits, four hurries, and a forced fumble. OSU, similar to UH’s first two opponents, is seeking to establish the run. The first two games have resulted in intriguing statistical splits. The Warriors are allowing 7.9 yards per rush in the first half and 2.1 per carry after the intermission. But UCLA and PSU combined for passing yards of 175 in the first half and 375 in the second half. During contact practices this week, head coach Todd Graham has emphasized consistently aligning correctly and avoiding chunk-yard plays.

It was an uncharacteristic performance for Calvin Turner, who muffed two Portland State punts and could not field a short-hopped kickoff that resulted in a touchdown. Of the muffs, Turner said he wanted to make a move before securing the football. He has worked after practices on his punt returns. Turner still is a threat on special teams. He had a 16-yard punt return.

BEAVERS OFFENSE Influenced by mentor and former Idaho head coach Tom Cable—the Las Vegas Raiders’ O-line coach who was instrumental in the Seattle Seahawks winning Super Bowl XLVIII—offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren began cobbling schemes to create the Beavers’ pro-style offense. The attack features an experienced offensive line, speedy receivers and multi-purpose tight ends. Against Purdue, tight ends Teagan Quitoriano and Luke Musgrave had this workload : 40.6 % on routes, 15.8 % pass blocking, 43.6 % run blocking. Musgrave’s father, Bill Musgrave, was in the NFL 26 years—seven as a quarterback, 19 as a coach or coordinator. All five starting linemen returned, including former Warrior right tackle Brandon Kipper. The quarterback situation remains unsettled. Tristan Gebbia appears to be a scratch for the second consecutive week while mending a surgically repaired hamstring. Colorado transfer Sam Noyer started last week but was pulled after going 10-for-21 for 94 yards in three quarters. In relief, Chance Nolan was 10-for-16 for 157 yards. Noyer has the stronger arm (11 completions of 25-plus yards in 2020 ); Nolan is a better improviser (6.5 yards per scramble last week ). The Beavers hope to revive a running game that averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2020. Last week, the committee of backs combined for 3.1 yards per carry, including an average of 1.3 yards on rushes between the guards. As a wildcat quarterback, linebacker Jack Colletto gained first downs on 12 of 15 rushes last year.

BEAVERS DEFENSE Defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar has a diverse coaching background, learning the odd front at North Dakota and the pressure schemes at Wisconsin (serving under former UH defensive coordinator Dave Aranda ). Wisconsin sometimes employed a 2-4-5 look, which was on par with Tibesar’s time in the Canadian Football League. “You couldn’t call your American coaches and say, ‘How do you deal when you’ve got three receivers that all change positions at the snap of the ball ?'” Tibesar said of the CFL’s 12-man offenses and wider fields. Tibesar’s OSU defense revolves around inside linebackers Avery Roberts and Omar Speights. Roberts was the Pac-12’s leader in tackles (69 ) last year. Roberts, who began his career at Nebraska, can mix it up in the box or use his speed (4.52 seconds in the 40 ) to cover the second level. Roberts played 78 snaps and Speights logged 75 against Purdue last week. “If we’re running this defense correctly, those two inside linebackers should lead our team in tackles, ” Tibesar said. “Then the outside linebackers can lead in those big impact plays—tackles for loss, sacks, hits on the quarterback.” The Beavers amassed nine backfield tackles last week. Nickel Jaydon Grant (son of former NBA player Brian Grant ), came up with a timely interception in the opener. Right corner Alex Austin has emerged as a lockdown defender. Linebacker Addison Gumps, who has endured two ACL surgeries, appears fit to make his 2021 debut.

OSU has a two-sided approach to punting. Luke Loecher is left-footed, Josh Green punts with his right foot. The platoon might be on pause after Loecher rocketed a 72-yarder on his first punt of the season. He averaged 48.4 yards on his five punts, none of which was returned. Everett Hayes’ four kickoffs all exceeded 65 yards for touchbacks. Hayes is a deep-scoring threat. In high school, he connected on a 53-yard field goal.—For more Hawaii football, visit the.