HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Football is back in Manoa — just six days after the Mountain West announced plans for a shortened eight-game football season, the Rainbow Warriors are back in action, hitting the practice fields for training camp on Tuesday.
Under new head coach Todd Graham, the 'Bows are looking to build off of a 2019 campaign that took them all the way to the Mountain West Championship, while maintaining that foundation for years to come.
“Well number one, we just want them to be relentless in their effort, we want them to have a championship attitude every single day.” Coach Graham told reporters after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m not interested in good attitudes, I’m not interested in any great attitudes, I want their best every single day and they’re going to get my best every single day.”
It’s been a roller coaster to get to this point, after losing spring ball and most of summer training to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the extended time off, senior defensive back Eugene Ford is treating 2020 like any other season.
“We’re going to take it on like it’s a regular season, no matter if they give us time to come back next year to play, this is a championship season.” Ford said. “The intensity level is very high because now we’ve got to catch back up because they took away spring, we didn’t have much of a summer ball, so now we’re playing catch up, but right now the ball is rolling.”
On top of playing catch up, the Warriors are also learning a brand new offense and defense, nevertheless the new coaches have high expectations for their players.
“No averageness on the field at all,” Ford said. “If you’re on the field, you’re taking the field with full intensity, we’re learning fast, we’re picking things up, we’re learning at an NFL level.”
Switching to the offensive side of the ball, red-shirt sophomore quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, is now the full time signal caller for UH — using his reps against the defense to improve.
“All of our receivers are good, we have depth with our receivers, slots, our running backs.” Cordeiro said. “Our o-line is doing good and our defense looked great, like I said iron sharpens iron and whenever we keep competing against each other we’re just going to get better and better.”
Coach Graham considers Cordeiro one of the leaders on the team, which comes with a lot of responsibility — responsibilities that the Saint Louis graduate is ready to take on.
“I’m more of a lead by example guy, but right now i’m working on my vocal skills, but like I said I just want to lead by example, do everything good and the right way.” Cordeiro said.
Setting a good example also falls on the coaching staff, says Coach Graham, who expects nothing less than competing for a championship this fall.
“Your team will play like you coach them, that’s how simple it is, if you do that you can produce discipline, but we’re after elite discipline and we’ve got four weeks to do that, we’ve had four practices since I’ve been here but that’s no excuse, we’ve going to get it done.” Coach Graham said. “I always say this is the United States of America, it’s about winning championships and that’s what I came here to do.”
UH plans to do a pull padded practice on Wednesday, despite not having an official exception from Gov. David Ige to host games this fall, however under the current rules they are allowed to hold full practices.
The 'Bows are still preparing to open their season on October 24th, with an official schedule to be released soon.