HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With just 20 practices before the Rainbow Warrior football team plays host to Arizona in the 2019 season opener, head coach Nick Rolovich wanted to see his players come out with a sense of urgency this morning on the Manoa campus.
After a promising spring session and -- by all accounts -- an impressive offseason conditioning program, the Warriors put in the effort Rolovich and his coaching staff have been waiting for.
“Pleased with the energy, pleased with the effort,” Rolovich said. “We got a lot of work to do … we gotta get in playing shape but they gave us a lot today.”
Rolovich added that he was impressed with the freshmen and junior colleges that practiced for the first time with the team today, saying that it’s tempting to install more plays and offensive philosophies with his newcomers.
One player who is becoming more and more comfortable in the Run and Shoot offense is quarterback Cole McDonald, who enters training camp as the team's starting signal-caller.
Named to the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien Watch lists over the past week, expectations are high for the junior. Nevertheless, the hard work must be put in before celebrating any accolades.
“I’ve never been one to look at the hype,” McDonald said. “It’s just hype after all … To me, it’s more so just about the team. Personally, I wouldn’t know where I’d be without these guys. Just the camaraderie and the passion they’ve had this past year and this fall camp. I’m excited for what’s going to happen and actually go prove something.”
Every Warrior on the grass practice field felt as that they have something to prove. In particular, linebacker Penei Pavihi.
Pavihi stepped up for the Warriors last season after Hawaii lost Jahlani Tavai for the season due to injury. A playmaker needed to emerge in the front-seven, and Pavihi answered the call.
As for the 2019 season, the linebackers have been challenged by position coach Mar5k Banker, who wants his players to play with an added edge this fall.
“Coach Banker did a great job of setting our goals before we started camp and he wanted us to be more physical,” Banker said. “And we took that as a challenge... him putting us against us just made us more angrier and made us just go out there and blow a lot of stuff up.”