HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Football is back in Manoa — the Rainbow Warriors opened training camp on Friday despite not having the official green light from Gov. David Ige to play the upcoming eight-game Mountain West season.
A decision from the governor was not on the minds of the 'Bows today, as they made their way back to the practice fields after an off season stuck in limbo.
“Everyone is excited about the opportunity to play football.” New Head Coach Todd Graham told reporters in a conference call. “We’ve been lifting, running and really working on conditioning, we’ve actually had more time to lift and run then we normally have and we’re going to have a regular camp with a ramp up that we normally have with our acclimation period and all that.”
With only 29 days before the Mountain West’s October 24th start date, coach Graham’s acclimation period was implemented to ensure a safe return to full speed football.
“First day acclimation period, were non-contact helmets-only for the first two days,” Graham said. “We take off Sunday, then we will be in shells for the next two days and then on Wednesday, it’ll be the first day of full pads and that’s what’s called our acclimation period.”
This gradual return to full contact hitting will be used to mitigate any injuries during practice or in-game, making sure that they can hit the field properly prepared.
“The key is that you have to handle each player individually, but for the most part, we’re not going to put somebody in a position that is not in the condition to be able to play the game safely.”Graham said. “We’ll work really hard to keep our guys fresh and keep them recuperated, the biggest thing is going to be teaching and coaching the fundamentals, being fundamentally sound as a football team.”
From a competitive standpoint, a new head coach comes with new coordinators, meaning the Warriors will have to learn the new schemes in just 29 days — but coach Graham is making sure that he doesn’t overwhelm his team.
“The most important thing is how well we adapt, there’s probably more new things on defense than there is on offense.” Graham said. “The biggest challenge is just going to be execution and making sure that you draw that line on what you can execute.”
The 2020 schedule, which has not been released yet, will hopefully clear up more of the issues the 'Bows face in regards to being able to play this fall.
Nevertheless, coach Graham and company are ready to make a run at a Mountain West Championship.
“We’ve got one mission, to serve these young people and to help them develop championship attitudes in life and we hope to be competing for a championship this fall.” Graham said.