Batoon's platoon: 'Bows new defensive coordinator looks to turn unit around

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The exodus of players and coaches that the Rainbow Warrior football team experienced over the past few months has been well-documented.

From former offensive line coach Chris Naeole leaving the team to former starting quarterback Dru Brown using his last year of college eligibility to fight for the starting job at Oklahoma State, the 'Bows had to retool and rebuild on the fly with a litany of new players and coaches.

Among the new coaches is defensive coordinator Corey Batoon, a former Saint Louis School graduate who has watched the Warriors play for most of his life.

"As a kid, I went to high school right over there so you always knew about this place," Batoon said. "It's an awesome opportunity."

Batoon came over to join head coach Nick Rolovich's staff after spending the 2017 season on Lane Kiffin's staff at Florida Atlantic University.

FAU finished with an 11-3 record, captured the Conference USA title and defeated Akron in the Boca Raton Bowl with Batoon as the team's co-defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator.

FAU's defense ranks 21st nationally in yards allowed (332.6 per game) and 22nd in points allowed (20.2 per game.)

Implementing a new defensive scheme has its growing pains, but Batoon knows that first day jitters will diminish the more they practice.

"There was a lot of energy out there. I think they're anxious," Batoon said. "For us as coaches, it's a lot of trying to set the tempo and set the mindset - trying to get things right on the first day."

Helping Batoon's defense transition smoothly will be senior linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who was one of the few bright spots on Hawaii's defense last season.

"I know that coach Batoon came from a great program, two great programs and coach (Mark) Banker's just one of those guys who's been around for years now," Tavai said. "And he's coached some great players, some players that I look up to. I'm trying my best to understand his little details so that I can perfect my craft and try to help the rest of the defense."

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