For an exceptionally young Hawaii football team, it seemed fitting that two true freshmen quarterbacks had just as many opportunities as everyone else on Day 1.
Saint Louis School product Chevan Cordeiro and Jeremy Moussa of Eleanor Roosevelt High (Chino Hills, Calif.) were among the six signal-callers sporting orange jerseys and getting reps at Cooke Field on Friday. A redshirt freshman out of Farrington, Justin Uahinui, was also in the mix.
“They got a ton of reps. That’s the most reps we’ve ever gotten on the first day for the young guys,” head coach Nick Rolovich said.
Cordeiro, who led the Crusaders to the 2017 HHSAA Open Division championship last fall, has drawn outsized attention for a true freshman. It was clear pretty quickly that he’s at home in UH’s Run and Shoot, very similar to the version he ran as a Crusader.
UH went with a two-huddle approach, breaking up the quarterbacks into groups of three, in a tactic brought over from Florida Atlantic University by new defensive coordinator Corey Batoon. Cordeiro, throwing after Cole McDonald, went 10-for-17 (with a dropped ball and one near interception) in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. Moussa, who has one of the strongest arms on the team, appeared to have similar accuracy in the other huddle.
True freshmen are off limits for interviews this season, but quarterbacks coach Craig Stutzmann weighed in on what he saw.
“Jeremy was with us in the spring, and he also had a very good offseason,” Stutzmann said. “He trimmed his body down a little bit. He looks more like a college athlete. He spent a lot of time in the film room, a lot of time in the offseason throwing the ball with receivers. I think his rhythm’s a lot better. It’s gotta get better, but it’s come a long way.
“Chevan’s in a different category. He is a twitchier athlete, and he’s come from Saint Louis, which runs a very similar offense to what we’re doing. So I think, reads and mentally, he might be a little bit further ahead, but probably the speed of the game and how guys move on defense might be a little fast for him right now. But, they’re both in different levels of knowledge and body types. At the same time too, they’re pretty much in the same point in competition, if you will.”
Stutzmann oversaw one half of the QBs on Friday, while Rolovich had the other group. They will flip it tomorrow.
“Being able to work with a clean slate is really what we’re looking at,” Stutzmann said. “I thought they all did a good job today. They made some mistakes, they all did, but they also made some good plays. It’s a matter of going to film and getting it corrected.”
Two players who were previously being held out of team activities for their involvement in an offseason fight at a night club, linebacker Jahlani Tavai and running back Kaiwi Chung, were back in the fold at practice on Day 1.
When their appearance was pointed out to Rolovich during a post-practice media scrum, the head coach responded in dry fashion, but did not elaborate on their status.
“Yeah, they were out here. I saw them too,” he said. “You’re right. You’ve got a good eye. Good job.”
A quick shot of Cordeiro from Day 1: