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Hawaiʻi Football Now: Episode 23

By Jarin Kobashigawa.

Since the last recording of Hawaiʻi Football Now, 12 coaches have been hired and 7 players signed to play/coach at the University of Hawaiʻi. This week on HFN Ep 23, Jordan Helle and Hunter Hughes offer their impressions of Coach Chang’s coaching staff thus far and also discuss the incoming players and their potential impact on the team.

Coach Chang’s Coaching Staff

All around, Helle and Hughes agree that in the short time since Chang was hired, he’s done a really good job of filling out his coaching staff with experienced coaches who have either played for the University of Hawai’i or have ties to the school in some way. Defensively, Jacob Yoro will be entering his 6th season with the ‘Bows but was promoted to Defensive Coordinator. Abraham Elimimian will be entering his 8th season with the ‘Bows and Hughes says he knows that he is a strong recruiter. And Chris Brown, Hughes said in 1999-2002, he looked and played like the Incredible Hulk for UH.

On the offensive side of the ball, early indications would point towards a “run-and-shoot” look since that is Chang’s forte. Kanoa Leahey and Helle, on his other ESPN Honolulu show, Lets Talk Sports, interviewed Chang about the expectations for his offense, and he said they’re looking to score a lot of points and want to be exciting.

The pick-up in Offensive Coordinator Ian Shoemaker supports Chang’s vision for an exciting offense. Shoemaker came from coaching an Eastern Washington team that stood out among the other FCS teams and averaged 48 points per game through 9 games. He also brings in over 25+ years of coaching experience. Roman Sapolu, son of Jessie Sapolu is a 4x Super Bowl Champion with the San Francisco 49ers and co-founder of the Polynesian Bowl Hall of Fame, as the offensive line coach is a very exciting pick-up for the team.

Through all the coach hires, Hughes and Helle see the merit behind Chang’s choices and are liking how the staff is coming together.

Filling Up The Player Roster

Seven players signed to the University of Hawaiʻi on Feb. 2, 2022, National Signing Day. The list includes two tight-ends, three linebackers, one defensive lineman, and one quarterback. Hughes and Helle quickly point to Wynden Hoʻohuli as one of the standouts. Hoʻohuli was the top-rated high school player out of Hawaiʻi in 2021 and has ties to Coach Chang as Chang and Wyndenʻs father played together at the University of Hawaiʻi. Malaki Teʻo, the nephew of Mantai Teʻo, moved to California for high school but is originally from Laʻie, Oahu.

The other players have impressive accolades that would lead one to believe that despite losing a lot of key players via the transfer portal, this team is bringing in some exciting talent as well.

Mahalo to Spectrum & Zanthosyn for sponsoring HFN!